Don't count on Washington trading up with Atlanta for the No. 4 pick

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Ryan Homler
·5 min read
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Don't count on WFT trading up with Atlanta for the No. 4 pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

One thing is clear with the NFL Draft: Anything can happen.

Just like how Sonny Weaver Jr. traded up to the first pick for the Browns and then surprisingly drafted Vontae Mack, there's no model that can fully predict a draft strategy for a team.

Okay, that was a movie, but the point still stands. Nothing is certain in the NFL Draft until the pick is in.

So, with the Atlanta Falcons reportedly shopping the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft, there are a ton of scenarios that could come to be. One includes the Washington Football Team potentially trading up for that pick, something NFL Network's Peter Schrager believes makes sense.

But, is that really the best play for Washington this year? That's a question the Washington Football Talk Podcast aimed to tackle on its latest episode. Beginning with JP Finlay, he doesn't really see it happening.

“If you’re Washington would you call? I’ll start and say no," Finlay said. "I don’t think Washington is going all-in on one of these quarterbacks.”

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The keyword there is "quarterbacks." Though there is a reality where Washington may want to trade up for a phenomenal athlete like tight end Kyle Pitts, the group focused mainly on a scenario in which a passer is the goal in a trade where Washington moves up the ranks.

As it stands now with the Jaguars, Jets and 49ers holding the first three selections, some combination of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields or Trey Lance should be off the board by the time the team holding the No. 4 pick is on the clock. Realistically if Washington likes a quarterback and wants to go get them, it will be Fields or Lance.

Finlay can understand that and could see Washington trading up for one of those options, but he's not sold that it has to come that early in the draft. Instead, if Fields or Lance is still on the board a few picks later, that's when Washington could pull the trigger.

“I think if Fields or Lance start to slip and then all the sudden Carolina at eight is really just gonna ride with Darnold or the Broncos don’t take somebody and then you only have to move up to 10,12 14? I think that would get pretty interesting for Washington if they really like one of those guys," Finlay said. "But I don’t see a move from 19 to 4 at all, do you guys?”

Mitch Tischler doesn't either, as he shares a similar mindset to Finlay. While he's all for giving Atlanta a call and seeing what the price is, he doesn't feel that mortgaging the whole future is truly worth it.

Like Finlay said, Tischler also feels that there is a chance Washington could obtain one of the passers later in the draft. After the first three picks, the chances of a quarterback being the pick decreases slightly.

The Falcons are looking to deal because they don't need one, and neither do the Bengals or Dolphins. The Lions have Jared Goff, the Panthers just traded for Sam Darnold and there's no guarantee the Broncos draft one either. The Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Chargers and Vikings could put the focus on another position as well.

Therefore, Tischler feels there could be a deal to be made later than No. 4.

“The Patriots at 15, I think after you get past that first four are really the next team that is in your mind quarterback-needy. So I don’t know that you need to move all the way up to four if your guy starts sliding," Tischler said. "Maybe you’re looking at a move with the Chargers or even the Vikings at 14.”

Moving on to Pete Hailey, he understands where the others are coming from, but he does see a potential positive of trading with the Falcons.

Should Washington be enamored with one of the quarterback options, waiting to see where they slide in the draft comes with risk. A surprise could have them on a different team because Washington didn't jump high enough. Therefore, Hailey is of the mindset that if Washington really likes a prospect, there's no reason to risk missing out.

If you really love Justin Fields...if you love the guy you just trade up all the way to ensure you get him, kind of like San Francisco did," Hailey said. 

“I just think if they believe all the way to take a first-rounder on Field or Lance they might as well take the biggest shot and make sure they can really get him," Hailey said.

Finlay agreed with that point, and he also noted that the whole scenario is something that may not play out until draft night. It's hard to know what will really happen until the picks start coming in, meaning Washington may have to react quickly in the heat of the moment.

Based on the conversation in the podcast, it's clear that there are positives in each scenario that could play out. It could benefit Washington to go all-in if they love a quarterback, but the team could also see what happens and only move up a few picks rather than jump into the Top 4. Holding at No. 19 and grabbing a top option at another position also works.

Whatever Washington ends up doing, the group will be okay with it. As long as the team gets what it considers to be "the guy," it is the right move.

“Listen if they make a big move like that, I’m not knocking anybody for it," Finlay said.