- The Washington Times - Friday, April 30, 2021

Justin Fields fell out of the top ten. Mac Jones did, as well. 

But despite two of the top five quarterbacks unexpectedly sliding, Washington ultimately didn’t move up to grab a long-term answer at the position during the first round of the NFL draft — selecting Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis at No. 19 instead. 

Coach Ron Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew both said Washington never got close on a deal, preferring to stay pat. The Chicago Bears traded up to No. 11 for Fields, while the New England Patriots snagged Jones four picks later.

Washington’s brass said the team could be “patient” in its approach to finding a long-term solution. 

“Up really until our pick, (the draft) went pretty much the way we thought it would go,” Mayhew said. “We got a few calls, but we didn’t think seriously about making any move. We felt very comfortable there.”

One of the reasons Washington didn’t move up likely was the cost. The Bears gave up four picks to the New York Giants to grab Fields, sending picks 20, 164 in the fifth round, a first-round pick in 2022 and a fourth-round pick in 2022.

Washington made the playoffs last year, but is still coming off a 7-9 season. Rivera cautioned giving up additional assets when the team has holes to plug. 

“We felt strong about it, we really did,” Rivera said. “This isn’t just about putting together a piece. We have the chance to put pieces into place. We felt that was a better direction for us right now.” 

In the meantime, Washington will go into training camp with free-agent addition and journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick as the favorite to start. Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen are two young players who can provide a start if need be as well, each doing so last year. 

Rivera and Mayhew didn’t rule out taking a quarterback in Day 2 or 3 of the draft this weekend. The team is rumored to be interested in Stanford’s Davis Mills and Florida’s Kyle Trask. 

But if Washington comes away empty-handed, the team appears fine waiting until next year to address the position again.

Mayhew said the team’s draft picks are “very valuable” and aren’t in a rush to part with them.  The team has seven picks remaining, beginning again Friday with the 51st overall pick in the second round. 

“We want to build this team through the draft,” Mayhew said. “We want to supplant our draft process through free agency. For us, where we are as a football team right now, we see (that) investing in this group with draft picks is going to make us better and make us better, fast.” 

Rivera said there were only a “couple of guys” who they would have considered moving up for, though declined to name them.

“If you get to a point where you do that in my opinion, where you give up too much for the wrong guy … how badly do we need him if we’re going to handicap us at another position?” Rivera said. “You have to do it judiciously.”

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