Ryan Anderson signing with Giants further highlights Washington's second-round struggles

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Peter Hailey
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Anderson moving on further highlights WFT's 2nd-round struggles originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In a little more than a month, the Washington Football Team is slated to make the 19th pick of the NFL Draft. At that spot, it'll be crucial for Ron Rivera and the scouting staff to net a prospect who can immediately contribute next season and also develop into a reliable building block for the long run.

However, while the first round rightfully gets a ton of attention, what happens one round later for the Burgundy and Gold might be more interesting.

On Tuesday, Ryan Anderson reportedly became an ex-Washington defender, as he signed a deal with the Giants. The former second-round pick by the organization can now officially be called a disappointment.

And that's a sentence that can be used to describe a slew of recent choices for Washington in that portion of the draft.

Anderson, who joined the franchise in 2017, recorded an unsatisfactory six sacks across 52 games for the club. Four of those came in 2019, with some wondering if he was finally ready to emerge, but all hope for that outcome was erased when Anderson went sack-less under Ron Rivera.

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One year before selecting Anderson, meanwhile, Washington plucked Su'a Cravens out of USC 53rd overall in the 2016 edition of the event.

Cravens was supposed to act as a multifaceted piece on defense after a promising career in school, but that potential was never realized as he surprisingly threatened to retire a week ahead of the 2017 opener, which would've been his second pro season.

From there, he bounced around on various league lists and was ultimately traded to the Broncos, where he appeared in only five matchups. 

And one year after nabbing Anderson, Washington took a risk on Derrius Guice in the same round.

The running back's rookie go-round was wiped out by a knee injury, and his second campaign involved two separate injured reserve trips. In all, Guice suited up just five times for the team, logging two touchdowns and 42 total carries.

His tenure came to a dark conclusion last offseason, when Rivera released Guice soon after domestic violence allegations involving him surfaced. 

Those three players, clearly, didn't come close to justifying their Day 2 billing. But even before them, Washington has had problems finding talent that's worth keeping around in that specific sliver of the draft.

Preston Smith and Trent Murphy also left the squad after their rookie contracts expired, and David Amerson didn't even reach the end of his. 

That means that, of Washington's last six second-round additions, none have secured a follow-up agreement with the team. Calling that pathetic isn't severe enough, honestly. Almost mercifully, they haven't had the capital to possibly extend that streak during the past couple of springs.

Now, there is a basic reason to believe that this trend can be corrected: Ron Rivera is in charge now, and his track record with the Panthers includes major hits like James Bradberry, Curtis Samuel, Taylor Moton and Kawaan Short. Marty Hurney, who's now a part of Rivera's front office, was with Carolina last year when they grabbed star safety Jeremy Chinn. 

So, the current regime should be more capable of navigating the second round — uncovering simply average talent would be progress, after all — and they'll get their first crack at doing so on April 30 when they go on the clock in the 51st slot.

There have already been so, so many signs that Washington is in much better hands than it has been in some time, but taking care of business with that decision would be quite significant in its own right.