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2021 Draft Breakdown: Prospects Washington Could Target In Round 5

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(Photos taken by the Associated Press)

The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinion of the team.

The 2020 NFL Draft is inching closer every day, and the revamped front office will soon have its opportunity to improve the team's roster with eight new players.

In preparation for the three-day event, which begins Thursday, April 29, Washingtonfootball.com is breaking down the team's picks in each round with prospects fans should look out for. See all of Washington's picks, HERE.

After going through Round 7, we now focus on the fifth round, where Washington picks 163 overall. Here are 10 prospects it could target:

Thomas Graham Jr., CB, Oregon

A four-star recruit out of Rancho Cucamonga High School in California, Graham was a three-year starter for the Ducks before opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. No one was better than Graham against the pass in the first three years of his career, as he was the FBS active leader in passes defensed (40) and pass breakups (32) heading into his senior season. Graham also corralled eight interceptions in three seasons, so he could provide some extra help in Washington's secondary.

Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State

Washington has already addressed the receiver position this offseason, but if it wants a project with upside, Johnson could be its guy. Johnson chose to focus on the draft when the Missouri Valley Conference postponed its season until the spring since he had already proven himself as a stud for the Jackrabbits with single-season records in touchdown receptions (17 in 2018) and kickoff return yards (839 in 2017). He may be a little small (5-foot-10, 180 pounds), but seeing as he's one of the most prolific athletes in SDSU history -- he is third in touchdown receptions (28), fifth in receiving yards (2,872) and sixth in receptions (162) -- he might have enough talent to become an NFL-caliber receiver.

Janarius Robinson, EDGE, Florida State

If Washington is looking to put another run-stopper on the defensive line, then it could find that in Robinson. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound senior has developed a knack for getting tackles behind the line of scrimmage, with 19 of his stops coming at a loss. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein believes he is "an agile athlete with rare length and has the traits necessary to make plays on the next level," but consistency is a nagging issue. That is something defensive line coach Sam Mills III can help him fix.

Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina

Smith was consistently a spark plug for South Carolina's offense, averaging at least 11 yards per reception in four seasons with the team. The 2020 season was one of his best, as he hauled in 57 passes for 633 yards and four touchdowns, tying a career-high. Despite some believing he has issues with tracking passes downfield, he ranks fourth in program history with 174 receptions. Still, being around receivers who run consistent routes like Terry McLaurin and Adam Humphries would benefit his development.

Stone Forsythe, T, Florida

Washington has continued to beef up its offensive line depth in the past month, but why not continue that by adding Forsythe? The biggest knock against Forsythe is his starting experience; he was only a starter for two seasons with the Gators. Don't let that fool you, though. He played a massive role in protecting quarterback Kyle Trask as he led one of the nation's best passing attacks with 378.6 yards per game. Forsythe gave up zero pressures in the SEC Championship game against Alabama, according to Pro Football Focus, so he has already shown he can hold his own against an elite college defense.

Charles Snowden, LB, Virginia

Originally a player with his heart set on basketball in high school, Snowden has been a starter since his sophomore year with the Cavaliers. Versatility comes easy for Snowden, as he has padded his stats with 191 tackles, 15.0 sacks, 15 passes defensed and three forced fumbles. He might be considered more of an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio should have no issues finding a role for someone with that kind of skill.

Monty Rice, LB, Georgia

Rice is not as well-known as some of this year's top linebackers, but he certainly impressed people in 2020 with 49 tackles and two forced fumbles in nine starts. That was enough to make him a finalist for the Butkus Award -- presented to the top linebacker in the country -- along with the likes of Zaven Collins and Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, both of whom are projected as first-round picks. Washington found a starting linebacker in the fifth round when it took Cole Holcomb in 2019. Perhaps it can do so again in 2021.

Deon Jackson, RB, Duke

It looks like Washington is set at running back for the foreseeable future. Still, it can't hurt to add more competition, and that is exactly what Jackson has to offer. Jackson averaged about four yards per carry for the Blue Devils and was a touchdown machine with 22 total scores. Plus, the Atlanta native posted a slick 4.32 40 time, so he would be yet another speedy option for Washington's offense.

Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn

If Washington is looking for more speed, it won't find many better options that Auburn's Schwartz. He was literally a track star for American Heritage high school, setting a world youth record in the 100m with a 10.15 time at the 2017 Florida Relays. The next year, he was the Gatorade national boys' track and field athlete of the year and took the silver medal in the 100m and gold in the 4x100 relay at the IAAF U20 world championships in Finland. The Tigers used that world-class speed to its advantage, and Washington could do the same.

Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State

Jefferson is a couple seasons removed from his breakout 1,380-yard season in 2018, but the 5-foot-10, 217-pound back still had no trouble finding open lanes for Oregon State. The 2020 Co-Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year had 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons, ranking him fifth in program history, and averaged an impressive 6.5 yards per carry last year. What's more, he is the first player in program history to have two four-touchdown games in one season as a freshman. That kind of nose for the end zone would be of use in Washington's backfield.

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