The 2020 season served as a clean slate for the Washington Football Team.
They ditched their controversial name and logo in the offseason, opting to play without a permanent solution.
The Football Team also hired Ron Rivera to rectify the image and culture of the franchise.
They initially struggled to find a winning formula, starting the year by losing five of their first six games.
Washington found their stride from that point on, though, clawing their way to a 7-9 record.
Through their defense, they limited opponents to just 14 points per game over the final seven contests.
They also benefitted from a historically weak NFC East, with every team finishing with a losing record.
Regardless, Washington found themselves atop the division and secured their first playoff appearance in five years.
The Washington Football Team is heading to the NFL playoffs! They're the third team to make it in with a losing record in a non-strike season:
• 2010 Seahawks
• 2014 Panthers
• 2020 Washington Football Team
The previous two teams won a playoff game 🤔 pic.twitter.com/4NrmfbIwfH
— SB Nation (@SBNation) January 4, 2021
And with Rivera at the helm, the franchise is no longer the toxic blackhole it used to be.
Here are three positions the Football Team needs to address in the draft to continue their upward trajectory.
Smith is an inspirational story and a serviceable starter, but his physical limitations cap the upside of the offense.
He could also be a cap casualty, saving the team $19 million if he is cut after June 1st.
Washington recently resigned Heinicke, who impressed in his playoff debut against the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Washington Football Team has agreed to terms on a 2-year extension for QB Taylor Heinicke, sources say, worth $8.75M. There are also incentives depending on how many games he starts. Real security for their resilient QB who started and impressed in the playoff game.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 10, 2021
However, he has little experience and may not be anything more than a flash in the pan.
Few teams enjoy success without a steady quarterback, and the franchise should do everything it can to find a long-term solution.
With the 19th pick of the draft, though, the Football Team might be too far out to select an elite quarterback prospect.
But if Trey Lance of North Dakota State or Mac Jones of Alabama is still available, they could pull the trigger.
Florida’s Kyle Trask is a name to monitor should Washington decide to wait until the later rounds.
2. Wide Receiver
If there is a position that the Football Team is in dire need of, it is a wide receiver.
Outside of McLaurin, the roster is devoid of talent at the position.
⏪ Wide receiver reset ⏪
Our staff writers dive into Terry McLaurin's 1,000+ yard campaign, Cam Sims' emergence and more from the past season
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) February 12, 2021
According to PFF, Washington had the lowest-ranked receiving corp in the NFL.
That McLaurin managed to eclipse 1,000 yards despite being the only threat was nothing short of a miracle.
Cam Sims was the next most effective receiver, posting an uninspiring 32 receptions for 477 yards and just one touchdown.
Luckily for the Football Team, the draft is deep at wide receiver.
They could feasibly wait until the later rounds and still find a significant contributor.
Potential draft steals include Purdue’s Rondale Moore, Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, or LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr.
Even after Washington’s impressive display on defense this past season, there are still holes they need to fill.
Their dynamic defensive line can mask many deficiencies, but they can only do so much.
Therefore, the Football Team needs to find an upgrade at linebacker.
They were especially poor at defending against the run, as PFF only graded Cole Holcomb as an average run defender.
Otherwise, Jon Bostic and Kevin Pierre-Louis were liabilities in this facet of the game.
Realistic candidates with their first couple of picks include Tulsa’s Zaven Collins or Missouri’s Nick Bolton.
Other options include Alabama’s Dylan Moses or Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
What can't Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah do? pic.twitter.com/KsiBtLkDO3
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 5, 2021
Addressing this position would transform this front seven into a complete unit.NEXT: Commanders Making A Bold Defensive Move Ahead Of Dolphins Matchup