It's already time for Washington to start thinking draft position originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
It's time for us to be real with ourselves and admit the annual tradition is already here in Washington -- looking towards next year.
I know the Washington Football Team is still technically in the NFC East race even though it is 1-5. But if you read that sentence out loud can you honestly say it without laughing?
This team was a mess when Ron Rivera got here, and trying to wiggle your way into the hunt sitting multiple games under .500 in late October won't benefit this rebuild as much as keeping focus on the bigger, long-term picture.
That means thinking about draft positioning -- again.
— Tankathon.com (@tankathon) October 19, 2020
I won't use the word "tank" if it makes you feel better (even though I kind of just did), so we can call it whatever else you want. "Evaluating young players". "Assessing assets". "Building the foundation for long-term success". Whatever makes everyone happy, go with it, but weekly decisions should be made based on what it means for the future, not trying to win seven games and being a watered-down division champion.
Plus, at this point doesn't the chance of even winning six or seven games seem ridiculous?
Remember, players don't tank anyway, organizations do. Teams just put out an inferior roster (or, you know, a "young and inexperienced" one) that isn't good enough to win and can package that image with whatever narrative they want to throw out at us.
But in the end this season is really about next season and beyond, and that's okay.
Now yes, that's tough on you the fan since we've been down this road a thousand times already, but the timing finally lines up. You have a new head coach with a history of turning an organization around quickly, and some really talented young players already in place.
This isn't year six of Jay Gruden, this is the infancy of what hopes to be a much better era, and it needs to be done with patience, even if it's hard to watch every week in 2020.
Rivera is coming in to renovate a dilapidated house, and he needs to gut this thing to the studs, deal with how ugly it looks at first, if he wants to build it back up to be the best looking house on the street.
Sure "Tank for Trevor" is going to grow as the weeks progress, but the Jets are clearly making every effort they can to not even come close to winning a game this year, not to mention a bunch of other teams sitting on just one win. It'll be hard, but not impossible for this Washington team to end up with the worst record in the NFL and the No. 1 overall pick.
That being said, if Jets fans are put out of their misery and Adam Gase is finally fired, a team that's clearly quit on their current coach could find new motivation to win a few games. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened.
Washington doesn't have to end up with the No.1 pick, by the way, to still benefit. There's a ton of holes for this team to fill, and even a top-5 pick will land them someone they're in dire need of.
Their offensive line is downright offensive, they need another playmaker (or three) at wide receiver, and who knows, there could be some surprises on the free agent market at quarterback Rivera may like just as much.
Nothing should be off the table for the rest of this season. Let the young guys go out and play, make mistakes, and see who has what you're looking for as an organization for the long-term.
Yes, it means we have to suffer through another miserable losing season, but we're not in the Bruce Allen era anymore. If we want real, sustainable success in Washington, this is the most realistic road to be taken given where the team sits after six games.
It is 2021 when the clock really starts ticking anyway. That's the benefit you get in year one of a rebuild, but take advantage now because next fall we won't be so patient.