Rdskins Trio

One of the quiet storylines of draft weekend was the job the Washington NFL team did in executing a two-week coup during which they added a slew of impact players to a club that won the NFC East division last year.

A few days after signing prized free agent cornerback Josh Norman, Washington followed up that with back-to-back-to-back impact picks in the first three rounds of the draft, making the 2016 class the largest haul since the team traded away a massive array of picks back in 2012 to acquire Robert Griffin III.

It’s rare that Washington receives high marks for their draft exploits, but they earned it this year. Their early round pick of TCU receiver Josh Doctson provides another weapon to a revamped offense led by quarterback Kirk Cousins. Doctson wasn’t needed for next year, but he could earn a starting spot if Pierre Garçon or DeSean Jackson are cap casualties heading forward. In the meantime, the trio of receivers will pair with athletic tight ends Niles Paul, Vernon Davis and the emerging Jordan Reed to give Washington perhaps the most diverse offense in the division.

Cousins couldn’t miss during the regular season last year, and if he backs up a solid 2015 campaign, Washington’s offense could be ready to soar to new heights. Doctson was arguably the best wide receiver in the draft, and joins an offense in which he won’t be pressed into action right away.

It was clear the Washington brass was determined to fix a secondary that was burned on too many occasions last season and they demonstrated their dedication by grabbing USC hybrid safety/linebacker in Su’a Cravens in the second round and catching a falling star in Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller, who may have been a first-round pick if not for a knee injury last year. Fuller, a hometown prospect from the Washington, D.C. area, was a lockdown, physical cover corner during his days in Blacksburg, Va. Similar to his brother, Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller, Kendall is a tall corner with enough size to develop into a capable player in the back seven. If he can recover from a torn meniscus in his right knee, then Washington may have found a capable contributor.

The offensive and defensive lines still need retooling but Washington has done a solid job sprinkling in youthful talent into the skill positions with their two-week tear. The rest of the NFC East had solid drafts, but questions ring throughout the rest of the division. The Philadelphia Eagles could open next season with either a disgruntled quarterback or a rookie signal-caller. The Dallas Cowboys would need everything to bounce their way coming off a 4-12 season. Although the New York Giants spent heavily in free agency to improve the team, it’s going to take a while for those changes to gel.

Cousins just has to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke. If he performs anywhere near his franchise-record setting 2015 campaign, then Washington could repeat as NFC East champs. The additional draft talent, along with Norman’s arrival and another year for Cousins in head coach Jay Gruden’s offense, could prove that Washington is an annual playoff contender.