The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinion of the team.
Ron Rivera hit a proverbial home run with his first draft pick as the head coach of the Washington Football Team.
Chase Young, selected second overall, exceeded expectations by making the Pro Bowl, earning Defensive Player of the Month in December and becoming the franchise's first Defensive Rookie of the Year. His game-changing plays, combined with his "crazy unusual" leadership, immediately made him one of the faces of a team on the rise.
Rivera's second swing will be with the No. 19 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he'll have a pair of new executives -- general manager Martin Mayhew and executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney -- helping him make that decision. They'll aim to add another valuable piece to help build a consistent winner.
In anticipation for that selection, which will be made April 29, Washingtonfootball.com will highlight one mock draft from a notable draft expert each week and delve into how that player would fit with Washington. After starting with Mel Kiper Jr., next up is NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Jeremiah has actually released two mock drafts over the past month. The first came in January and initially had Washington taking Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney. However, Jeremiah altered his perspective over the past four weeks and changed his pick for Washington to Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw.
"Washington is going to address the quarterback position one way or another," Jeremiah wrote. "I'm guessing the Football Team goes with a veteran addition to free them up to upgrade the offensive line with this pick."
If Washington is looking for a college offensive linemen with experience, it will find that in Darrisaw. He has started in 22 games since his sophomore year and was one of nine true freshmen to receive starting reps for the Hokies in 2018. A litany of awards have followed in each of the past three seasons for Darrisaw; he was an ESPN Freshman Midseason All-American in 2018, and he was one of Pro Football Focus' favorite players during his sophomore season, making the PFF College National and ACC Team of the Week a combined three times.
Turn on the tape, says PFF's Austin Gayle, and people will see the kind of talent Darrisaw possesses. He was the second-highest graded offensive tackle (96.0) in the country behind only BYU's Brady Christensen (95.6). Perhaps one of his biggest strengths lies in his pass-blocking, as he allowed only six pressures and zero sacks on 293 pass plays in 2020. That earned him the Outland Trophy, which PFF gives out to college football's best interior lineman.
Darrisaw is an "ox of an OT," according to his PFF scouting report. His strengths include his punch, which "stops rushers in their tracks," and he does not get overextended when trying to block defenders. Although PFF does believe he has some faults, like being over patient at times, it also believes there is "little doubt" Darrisaw has the physicality to be an elite offensive tackle.
"Darrisaw showed up in 2020 a different player than he was in his first two years at Virginia Tech," Darrisaw's PFF scouting report reads. "In his first game against N.C. State, outsiders could tell he was a different player. He went on to not allow a single sack or hit all season, with his lowest single-game grade being 77.5. The sheer number of positively graded run blocks he generated is stunning. He's uniquely capable of moving men against their will."
Similar to PFF and Jeremiah, ESPN Senior Writer Todd McShay holds the 6-foot-5, 314-pound Darrisaw in high regard. He has Darrisaw ranked 24th on his most-recent top 32 prospects on 2021, giving him an overall grade of 90.
Washington seems to like the group of offensive linemen at its disposal. Coached by experienced offensive line coach John Matsko, the position has a mix of veterans like Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff as well as young players with upside like Saahdiq Charles and Keith Ismael. However, one area it could improve upon is pass protection -- it allowed 50 sacks last season -- and that is an area Darrisaw excels at.
Head coach Ron Rivera likes to create competition at every position; drafting Darrisaw at No. 19 would do exactly that.
"Darrisaw has been a mainstay at left tackle for the Hokies," McShay wrote. "Over the past two years, he has allowed just three sacks on 643 pass-blocking snaps. Darrisaw is powerful as a pass protector and smooth working to the second level as a run-blocker. His technique is a little inconsistent, but he has a high ceiling and the tools to be a starting left tackle from day one."