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Rivera, Mayhew on what it would take to move from pick No. 19

/ by Ethan Cadeaux
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The Washington Football Team currently holds the 19th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but whether the franchise ultimately picks in that slot come April 29 remains in question.

For much of the past few weeks, there have been reports of Wahington being interested in moving up in the draft, specifically to take a quarterback. North Dakota State's Trey Lance has been a popular name linked to the organization during this pre-draft process.

During a pre-draft media session on Friday, Washington Football coach Ron Rivera was asked about the possibility of moving up at all in the draft. While the Washington head coach didn't get into specifics whether they were trying to, he also did not rule out the possibility.

Unsurprisingly, he and general manager Martin Mayhew didn't rule out much, keeping their draft plans close to the vest.

"As far as the draft is concerned, we're going to react to what happens in front of us," Rivera said. "Picking at 19, kind of putting us in the middle is going to be interesting as far as we're concerned."

Mayhew did shed some light on his thinking when it comes to deciding whether to trade up in the first round.

"Any time you look into moving up or down, it's really about can you create value making that move? Obviously, if you can move up and get a player who you really like and not give up a whole lot, that's what you want to do," Mayhew said.

 

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While most mock drafts predict that if Washington does move in the draft it'll be by trading up, Mayhew didn't rule out the chance of moving back in the draft, either.

"If you can move back and get a lot in return for moving back...it's about the value that exists there, either way," he said. "From my standpoint, we're open to doing either right now. It's just going to depend on that process."

As part of his pre-draft process, Mayhew and his front office staff plan to reach out to other teams picking around where Washington is slotted, trying to gain a sense of what those clubs are looking for with their respective selections.

"We certainly plan to be aware of team's needs around us. We will have an idea of what the teams around us are looking for. Really, you have to make a decision at 19, it's about what happens in front of you," Mayhew said.

"Does it make sense to go up if you're concerned about losing a guy? Does it make sense to move back if we feel there are a large pool of guys available to us? All that is very fluid. All that happens on draft day. We will definitely be prepared for that."

For Rivera, Washington is in a lot different position come draft night than they were a year ago.

In 2020, Rivera's club held the second overall pick, one they likely knew they'd be using on Ohio State star Chase Young for months once it became clear Joe Burrow would be headed to Cincinnati first overall.

One year later, Washington now is set to pick 19th overall. While the franchise might have an idea of which players will be on the board when that pick rolls around, there's no way of truly knowing who will be available until draft night begins.

"What happens is we've got to follow the first 18 picks," Rivera said. "Then we go from there. We'll have a group of guys that we really like."

In 2020, Washington's first-round selection of Young worked out. The pass rusher was incredible for Washington in 2020, earning Defensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors. But, regardless of who the club drafts at No. 19, the expectations for that said player will be different than those Young had one season ago.

"It's obviously a little bit different picking at No. 2 versus No. 19. When you're picking a guy in the top five, top 10, you do expect that immediate impact," Mayhew said. "At 19, pretty much everyone that you're looking at that spot, there's going to be something they need to work on that's pretty significant."

 

No matter who Washington ultimately ends up selecting on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, Rivera has one specific goal in mind.

"The way I look at it is, no matter where we pick or who we pick, hopefully they contribute," Rivera said.