Hitting on a first-round pick is a challenge in its own right, but finding value later in the draft and eventually landing a starter with a pick on Day 3? That's how you build championship rosters in short order.
The Washington Football Team found that kind of late-round value in Kamren Curl last season. Curl went from a seventh-round pick to starting safety for a playoff team in his first season. Without Curl's play last season, it's fair to wonder whether Washington would've been able to sustain the loss of Landon Collins.
Armed with two third-round picks, a fourth, fifth and two seventh-round picks, Washington will be tasked with finding more players who can contribute right away. NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, Pete Hailey and Mitch Tischler each picked a player they liked in the later rounds for Washington to target.
Jabril Cox: LB, LSU
Cox joined LSU as a transfer from North Dakota ahead of the 2020 season and balled out in his first year in the SEC. He made 10 starts for the Tigers, made 58 tackles, three interceptions and 6.5 tackles for loss. With his level of athleticism and physicality, Cox projects as a linebacker who can play in coverage.
"I think he can play all three downs in the NFL," Finlay said. "He dealt with a hamstring injury in the predraft process, so he didn't take part in LSU's pro day. That might knock him down a little bit, and maybe make him accessible to Washington in the third round."
Washington has a need at linebacker, and if they address other needs in the first two rounds of the draft, the third round would be a good place to search for someone to play in the middle of the defense. Good linebackers can be found at any point in the draft. Teams don't always have to invest high selections to get quality production out of that position.
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Jaelon Dardon: WR, North Texas
Washington has proven, explosive options at wide receiver with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, as well as a reliable pass catcher on the inside with Adam Humphries and Logan Thomas. Still, you can never have too many weapons on offense and Dardon would add a ton of speed.
"[Dardon's] 5'8, 170 [pounds] but he can blaze it down the field," Hailey said. "With the two studs on the outside in McLaurin and Samuel, Jaelon Dardon in the slot is an intriguing Day 2, maybe Day 3 pick. When they have elite traits like that, I'm all for it."
Dardon was a model of production with North Texas, reeling in 76 passes for 736 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior and then 74 balls for 1,190 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior.
Walker Little: OT, Stanford
Surprise, surprise. Mitch goes with an offensive lineman.
Jokes aside, Washington is certainly in the market for a left tackle during this draft and if they don't get one with their first-round pick (i.e. Christian Darrisaw) they can address the need on Day 2 or 3.
"[Little] might be a plug-and-play tackle," Tischler said. "Guys just don't have a lot of tape on him, so for me, Walker Little is a guy Washington should be looking for on Day 2 and maybe even into Day 3."
Little was a starter at Stanford as a freshman, tore his ACL during his sophomore season and opted out of his junior season before declaring for the draft. Little has first-round talent, but the mystery surrounding him could push him down draft boards.