* Who's the best available prospect? How well do they fit our scheme? Will they be able to come in and make a difference right away? Which prospects have the highest upside?
Those four questions are just a few of many that every NFL team's front office and scouting department ask one another when putting together the draft board every year.
With the NFL Draft less than three weeks away, NBC Sports Washington is running through Mock Draft simulations for the Washington Football Team trying to answer those questions above. On Monday, Ryan Homler put together a draft based on best player available, while Pete Hailey then followed with a draft simulation based on players who have the highest upside.
Today, we're going to veer off and do something a bit more fun -- something that would make the late Al Davis quite happy: what would Washington's draft board look like if the franchise focused on one specific aspect when drafting this year: speed?
When going through this exercise, Washington's needs were accounted for. But, when it came to choosing the prospects, each player's speed was the determining factor. Here's what we concluded with:
Now, let's run through each selection with a quick explanation.
- My first selection, Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, was by far the easiest of the bunch. The linebacker -- who can even play a bit of safety -- has exceptional sideline-to-sideline speed that every great defense covets. Washington's defense is already borderline elite, but its linebacker play could certainly use an upgrade and "JOK" could certainly be the missing piece. This was a home run selection by Washington and one that is also plenty realistic come Draft Day.
- With Washington's second-round selection, I addressed the linebacker position once again with the selection of LSU's Jabril Cox. Yes, it might be unconventional to draft two linebackers with consecutive picks, but it isn't out of the question with Washington's current needs. Cox has yet to run in front of scouts this offseason. He sat out LSU's Pro Day with an injury, but the linebacker will run on April 26 and said in March he's aiming to run in the 4.4/4.5 second range for the 40-yard dash. Should Washington add both JOK and Cox in the draft, that linebacker group will look immensely better -- and certainly faster -- than it did one season ago.
- It's no secret that Washington could be targeting a quarterback in the middle rounds of the 2021 Draft and Stanford's Davis Mills has been floated as a possibility. Mills, a former five-star recruit, did not have the typical college career, playing in just 14 games over three seasons with the Cardinal. However, Mills is incredibly athletic -- he ran a 4.58 unofficial 40-yard dash at Stanford's Pro Day -- and has seen his stock rise during the draft process where he's almost now expected to be a Day 2 pick. At No. 74, Mills would make plenty of sense for Washington. He wouldn't have to play right away and could learn behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.
- Moving on to my favorite selection of this mock simulation: Miami tight end Brevin Jordan. Washington needs help at tight end behind Logan Thomas and Jordan could be that perfect fit in the middle rounds. The Miami product ran an unofficial 4.69 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, a disappointing number for Jordan, but it appears that he plays faster on tape. Jordan can line up on the line or in the slot and has the size and athleticism to be a matchup problem for multiple defenses. Many view Jordan as the second-best tight end prospect in the class and he could be a valuable piece of Washington's offense moving forward.
- Entering this simulation, I didn't expect to avoid the tackle position until Washington's fifth selection with the pick of East Carolina's D'Ante Smith. At 6-foot-5 and 294 lbs., Smith -- a three-year starter at left tackle for ECU -- might not have the size to play tackle in the NFL but has great size for a guard. For his size, Smith has above average athleticism, according to NFL draft experts, has a strong base and incredible hands. Smith's versatility could be something that Washington covets.
- With the next two selections, Stanford WR Simi Fehoko and Louisiana RB Elijah Mitchell, Washington now adds two weapons on offense who both have sub 4.4 speed. Washington signed both Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries this offseason, but the team can use WR depth and Fehoko -- who has great size (6-foot-4, 220 lbs.) and speed (4.39 40-yard dash) -- would be a welcome fit. The Mitchell selection might make a little less sense to some, considering Washington's current backfield of Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic, but the Louisiana rusher would give the group its fastest option while still possessing a solid frame (5-foot-10, 201 lbs). And depth is always important.
- To conclude this exercise, Washington adds a depth tackle in Texas A&M's Carson Green. At 6-foot-6 and 319 lbs., Green is not the fastest tackle but has more than above-average athleticism, which might be his best trait and that should translate to the NFL level. Green can play tackle or guard, too, which fits the versatility trait that both Ron Rivera and Scott Turner have coveted since arriving in Washington.