Look, on paper, the 2021 Washington Football Team might have its best roster since the Joe Gibbs 2.0 teams around 2005.
Chase Young, Montez Sweat, William Jackson III, Kam Curl, Brandon Scherff, Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas -- these are all potential Pro Bowl players, and for Young, maybe even All-Pro.
But that's on paper, and in some key position groups, the depth is questionable as mandatory minicamp gets underway this week.
Like where? Let's examine:
- Loose ends - Thomas headlines the tight end position for Washington and he was an excellent value signing last year. But after Thomas there are nothing but question marks. Rookie John Bates looks poised to step in as the No. 2 tight end (which plays a ton), but he's a rookie. Nobody knows for sure how the acclimation will go from Boise State to the NFC East. After that? Athletic monster Sammis Reyes has never played football before. Ever. Is he going to be ready by September? Washington just signed Ricky Seals-Jones, a journeyman-level player, and that shows the organization isn't sure about Reyes being ready this fall.
- Stars and somebodies - Young and Sweat are great players. Franchise cornerstones. After that? Questions. The organization opted to let all-time sack leader Ryan Kerrigan walk in free agency, not to mention losing Ryan Anderson too. The team has spent a number of late-round draft picks on other pass rushers - James Smith-Williams last year and Shaka Toney and William Bradley-King this year. Casey Toohill is on the roster too. Those guys could prove to be stout backups, but at least two of them need to be ready to play this fall. Young and Sweat will dominate the snaps, but they still won't get all of them, and that's assuming full health. Somebody else will need to play.
- Go wide - This isn't nearly the problematic position group it's been in the past, but Washington definitely has some questions at wide receiver. It's not about if there are enough good options (like last year) but about who makes the team. McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown are roster locks. Adam Humphries and Cam Sims seem like certainties too. Then there's another group of players competing for one or maybe two more spots: Kelvin Harmon, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Stephen Sims, Isaiah Wright and Dax Milne among them.
- Who's on third? - Kendall Fuller and Jackson are locked in as the top two cornerbacks Washington has. After that, it's unclear, and the third CB will play a lot in Jack Del Rio's defense. Could that be 3rd-round rookie Benjamin St. Juste? It could, he's got size and speed but will need to learn the NFL game fast. He's a player that could be much better in November than in September. Jimmy Moreland also looks like a real option, and don't forget about Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson. Cornerback is a unique position where good depth is almost more important than elite talent. Washington has elite CB talent; do they have good depth?
- Wheeling & Dealing - Okay fine, this isn't a position group but whatever, it's a minicamp preview and there needs to be a reminder that Washington has two of its best players on one-year contracts. All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff is playing on his second straight franchise tag, and it seems like he will be headed towards free agency after the season. That's not a certainty but reports suggest that's the direction of the negotiations, especially considering a mid-July deadline for a new deal. Washington also might be working for a new deal with defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, who will be playing on the fifth-year option from his rookie deal. There is no deadline for a new deal for Allen, but if the team and player can agree on a contract, it would eliminate the possibility of a franchise tag in 2022.