PFF has ranked Washington’s 2021 NFL draft class

Where did PFF rank Washington’s 2021 NFL draft class after one season?

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Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 NFL teams 2021 NFL draft class and where players were taken is part of their formula determining how successful a draft class performed.

For instance, Chase Young was drafted in round one, Antonio Gibson in round three and Kam Curl in round seven of the 2020 Washington draft. Their value would be determined upon what they’ve produced and according to where drafted.

According to PFF, Washington’s 2021 NFL Draft class came in at 22nd behind a good year from tackle Sam Cosmi (round two). But LB Jamin Davis (round one), CB Benjamin St Juste (round three) and WR Dyami Brown (round three) left much to be desired last season.

TE John Bates (round four) came on strong later in the season, while S Darrick Forrest (round five) was mostly injured. LS Cameron Cheesman (round six) snapped consistently, while round seven choices William Bradley-King, Shaka Toney and Dax Milne flashed some potential in their limited action.

The Patriots, Texans and Chiefs graded out as the top three 2021 draft classes, while the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Vikings were ranked the bottom three classes.

Philadelphia was ranked the top team in the NFC East at 9th behind some good play from WR Devonta Smith, guard Landon Dickerson and defensive lineman Milton Williams.

Dallas got great play from Micah Parsons (round one) ranking 12th.

Washington was next at 22nd, and the NY Giants 26th who no doubt would have been higher had WR Kadarius Toney been able to stay on the field longer this season.

We here at Washington Wire recently graded Washington’s class:

Grading each of Washington’s 2021 NFL draft selections

 

How did Washington’s special teams perform in 2021?

How did Washington’s special teams perform in 2021?

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Late last week, Rick Gosselin of FanNation released his annual NFL Special Teams Rankings.

Gosselin ranked all 32 teams in 22 kicking-game categories. Points were assigned according to their standing — one for best and 32 for worst — and in the end, the Baltimore Ravens finished atop the rankings.

Washington placed 20th in the rankings with the Eagles close behind at 21st. BTW, Dallas placed 6th and the NYG rounded out the top ten.

DeAndre Carter’s kickoff return touchdown against Atlanta helped Washington finish third in kickoff returns category averaging 25.1 yards.

Washington did have some other success on special teams this season, as Tress Way was fifth in yards per punt at 48.4 yards.

Joey Slye kicking for three teams (Houston, San Francisco, Washington) placed 21st in yards per kickoff with 63.6. Washington, of course, was hurt in the kicking department this season, resulting in their releasing Dustin Hopkins and Chris Blewitt.

Slye had an extra point attempt blocked on MNF at home against Seattle. Even more, the kick was scooped up by Seattle and returned all the way, scoring two points. On the play, Slye pulled his hamstring during the return and was replaced by Brian Johnson who kicked three games for Washington before Slye’s return. Johnson kicked the game-winner against the Raiders in Week 13.

15 NFL teams did not have a kick blocked this 2021 season. Unfortunately, the team that was dead last at No. 32 was Washington. It was one of the real low marks of the season as Washington had an overwhelmingly embarrassing six kicks blocked during 2021.

But Joey Slye saved the kicking inconsistency for Washington upon his return. Slye would finish making 9 of 10 extra-point attempts and all 12 of his field-goal attempts for Washington.

 

Washington’s 2021 top performer: No. 1, Jonathan Allen

Jonathan Allen is Washington’s top player in 2021.

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This week, Washington Wire is counting down the top five Washington Football Team performers for the 2021 season.

No. 1 Jonathan Allen (DT)

Allen continued to live up to his first-round selection (17th overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft, with perhaps his best season in his short career.

The former Alabama Crimson Tide lineman led Washington in sacks (9.0), tackles for a loss (10) and QB hits 30. Allen’s penetration was so dominant, his 30 QB hits were double that of his closest teammate Daron Payne’s 15.

Here are Jonathan Allen’s sacks during the 2021 season:

Allen led Washington defensive lineman with 62 combined tackles (31 solo and 31 assisted). According to PFF, Allen had the third-highest pass-rush win rate among interior defenders in 2021. Aaron Donald (LAR 22.9%), Javon Hargrave (PHI 21.1%) and Jonathan Allen (WAS 20.0%).

No Washington players were voted to the NFL 2021 All-Pro Team however Brandon Scherff and Allen did receive votes. Allen and Payne were the only defensive players for Washington to start each game. Allen is also Washington’s nominee for the NFL Man of the Year Award.

Allen’s career season came after he signed a four-year extension back in the summer.

Several Washington players stand out in ESPN’s win rates measuring success in the trenches

ESPN’s new metrics further prove Washington as having one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, despite all of the injuries.

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There are all sorts of ways to measure player efficiency in 2022. Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus first come to mind when using different forms of data to evaluate individual and team performance.

ESPN Analytics created a new metric in 2021 using NFL’s Next Gen Stats to measure individual and team success in the trenches. ESPN’s new metric measures pass-rush win rate, stop-run win rate, pass-block win rate and run-block win rate.

Washington’s team was built to win in the trenches. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned in 2021, with defensive end Chase Young lost for the season in Week 10 and fellow defensive end Montez Sweat also missing several games.

The WFT also had numerous injuries along the offensive line, including playing the final weeks with their fourth-string center.

According to ESPN’s win rates, Washington held up well in the trenches despite the injuries.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen ranked No. 8 amongst defensive tackles in pass rush win rate. No Washington interior defensive lineman ranked inside the top 10 for run stop win rate. However, as a team, Washington ranked No. 13 in team run-block win rate.

Washington ranked No. 19 in team pass-rush win rate. That’s certainly a disappointment considering what Washington has invested in its front four. Even before the injuries, Young had issues getting to the passer consistently.

Washington’s offensive line had plenty of success. Left tackle Charles Leno was ranked No. 10 in pass-block win rate for offensive tackles — tied with Trent Williams. Left guard Ereck Flowers ranked No. 6 among guards. Center Chase Roullier would likely have been ranked if not for his season-ending injury in Week 8.

Washington was even more successful in run-block win rate. Right guard Brandon Scherff was No. 1 among all guards, while rookie right tackle Sam Cosmi was No. 3 among all offensive tackles.

As a team, Washington was No. 9 in pass-block win rate and No. 1 in run-block win rate. Now, you understand why the metrics favor Washington’s offensive line success.

Even if Washington loses Scherff in free agency, the WFT’s offensive line is set up for success in 2022 and beyond.

Former Washington players see playoff action, Saturday

Two former Washington players were in action in Saturday’s playoff game between the Raiders and Bengals. How’d they do?

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Former Washington running back Semaje Perine and former wide receiver DeSean Jackson both saw action in the NFL playoff game in Cincinnati between the visiting Las Vegas Raiders and the home team Bengals.

In the fourth quarter, Bengals running back Joe Mixon appeared to turn an ankle, grimaced in pain, looked to the sideline, then proceeded to take himself out of the game.

Perine entered the game with the Bengals leading 23-16. Perine then got an early carry for two yards, and cameras displayed Mixon getting his ankle re-taped over on the sidelines. Mixon indeed returned, and Perine would be limited to the single carry.

DeSean Jackson made a big play for the Raiders Saturday. The Raiders were trailing 26-16 in the final quarter on their own 44-yard line facing a fourth & 5 with 4:27 remaining.

QB Derek Carr from the shotgun formation took the snap and appeared to have looked for Jackson and no other receiver on the play. Carr found and connected with Jackson on a crossing route over the middle for a huge 26-yard gain to the Bengals’ 30-yard line.

On the previous Raiders’ possession, Carr found Jackson for a 35-yard gain; however, a holding penalty against Alex Leatherwood negated the huge Jackson gain for a first down into Cincinnati territory.

Jackson also found himself in the news twice this week at the close of Week 18 of the regular season. When Washington back Antonio Gibson and receiver Terry McLaurin both went over the 1000-yard mark for the season, they became the first Washington duo to do so since the 2014 duo of Jackson and Alfred Morris.

Also, in the season’s final week, Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith eclipsed the 2008 Eagles rookie record for most receiving yards set by Jackson.

Finally, in Saturday’s playoff loss at Cincinnati, Jackson also dropped a deep Derek Carr pass in the first half for the Raiders.

Perine was a fourth-round draft choice by Washington in 2017 and spent two seasons with the WFT. Washington signed Jackson as a free agent in 2014, and he spent three seasons in D.C. In two of those three seasons, he went over 1,000 yards receiving.

Washington’s 2021 schedule was NFL’s strongest

Washington’s 2021 schedule was the most difficult in the NFL.

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Ten of the 17 Washington Football Team’s 2021 game opponents will be playing in this season’s NFL playoff tournament.

I had not sat down and tallied the numbers, but driving in my car, listening to “The Al Galdi Podcast” Thursday morning, when Galdi proclaimed this statistic it certainly grabbed my attention.

Washington faced Dallas and Philadelphia twice each, and also the Chargers, Bills, Chiefs, Packers, Bucs, and Raiders. Washington in those 10 games, unfortunately only came out on top twice, defeating the Bucs and Raiders.

Galdi continued, “The Washington Football Team in the 2021 regular season played the hardest schedule in the NFL per Football Outsiders DVOA metric.” By contrast, Galdi then revealed that per the same metric, Washington in the 2020 regular season played the fifth easiest schedule.

Galdi then asked his listeners, “So you tell me, which season is more impressive? Going 7-9 against the fifth easiest schedule in the NFL, and yes winning the NFC East which was atrocious. Or, going 7-10 against the hardest schedule?”

“I know which season felt better. Obviously, the 2020 season felt better. But put aside your feelings, and get out of your feelings. Just look at this thing objectively. Which season is better? The answer is the 2021 season. And yes, neither season is some great season. And yes, there were things about the 2021 season that were off-putting…”

Galdi was not saying 2021 was a great season; not even saying it was a good season. He was saying, we were all fooled by the 2020 season, because it felt good to win the NFC East, when it was a weak year.

Bill Parcells for a couple of decades has been known for having said, “You are what your record says you are.” The TV football commentators bow their knee to him acting as if Parcells was so profound in that statement.

But ever since I was a college student watching BYU finish 13-0 in the 1984 season, including beating a very average Michigan team in the Holiday Bowl, a thought pressing me is, “Ok, you are undefeated, but whom did you play on your schedule?”

Here is the link to Thursday’s “The Al Galdi Podcast.”

 

 

Gibson runs Washington to win over NY Giants

Antonio Gibson had a big day in leading Washington to a win over the Giants.

The Washington Football Team rushed for a season-high 226 yards on their way to a 22-7 triumph over the last-place New York Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Antonio Gibson led the way gaining 146 yards in 21 carries averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Leading 12-7 Gibson had an 18-yard touchdown run which culminated an eight-play, 72 yard drive. Gibson’s touchdown came with 6:28 remaining and put Washington up 19-7, and with the way the woeful Giants’ offense looked, every person in the stadium knew the game was clinched.

Washington was able to run the ball well in the first half as Gibson accumulated 71 yards in only ten carries (7.1 ypc). However, Taylor Heinicke struggled inside of Giants territory and Washington had to settle for two Joey Slye first-half field goals for a 6-0 lead.

Heinicke had Cam Sims wide open in the end zone on the game’s first Washington offensive possession, but was late throwing the pass, and then threw it high for the 6-foot-4 Sims. Joey Slye then kicked a 23-yard field goal for the early 3-0 lead.

Leading 6-0, Washington’s Bobby McCain picked off a Jake Fromm pass, running it back 30 yards for the WFT’s first touchdown of the day, pushing the score to 12-0 with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter.

Gibson’s 146 yards were a season-high surpassing his 111 rushing yards gained in a home MNF 17-15 win against Seattle.

Gibson came into the game with 841 rushing yards for 2021; consequently his 146 today gave him 1,037 for the season. Gibson thus became the first Washington running back rushing for 1,000 yards in a season since Adrian Peterson in 2018 (1,042).

The Giants (4-13) closed their season losing their final six games, while Washington (7-10) had been 6-6, and thus broke their four-game losing streak.

Antonio Gibson goes over 1,000 rushing yards for the season

Antonio Gibson goes over 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his young career.

On a day where Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin went over 1,000 yards receiving for the second consecutive season, another young Washington player celebrated his own milestone.

Second-year running back Antonio Gibson went over 1,000 rushing yards in the fourth quarter of Washington’s game against the Giants. Entering Sunday, Gibson had 891 rushing yards on the season, needing 109 against the Giants.

Gibson was sitting at 102 yards, needing seven to reach 1,000 for the season, when he took the Taylor Heinicke handoff and rumbled 18 yards to clinch the first 1,000-yard rushing season of his young career.

A few plays later, Gibson took the ball into the end zone, giving Washington a 19-7 lead and essentially securing win No. 7 for the WFT.

Gibson has a career-high 146 rushing yards on the day, on 21 attempts.

 

WATCH: Washington safety Bobby McCain with a pick-six vs. Giants

Bobby McCain intercepts Jake Fromm and returns it for a touchdown.

The Washington Football Team was clinging to a 6-0 lead during the third quarter of the Week 18 regular-season finale against the New York Giants. While New York’s offense was going nowhere, Washington still couldn’t pull away from its NFC East rival.

Washington safety Bobby McCain decided to do something about the WFT’s one-score lead, picking off New York quarterback Jake Fromm and returning the ball 30 yards for a touchdown to give Washington a 12-0 lead.

Washington went for the two-point conversion in an attempt to make it a 14-0 lead, but Taylor Heinicke’s pass to Antonio Gibson fell incomplete, and Washington maintained its 12-0 lead.

It was McCain’s third interception of the season, which leads Washington, and the first touchdown of his career.

Washington now leads the Giants 19-7 in the fourth quarter.

Washington leads Giants 6-0 at halftime

Washington leads the Giants 6-0 at halftime. At least Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson were worth watching in the first half.

The Washington Football Team leads the New York Giants 6-0 at halftime in Week 18 of NFL action.

It was an ugly half of football that featured bad football, weird coaching decisions, such as Giants coach Joe Judge calling for consecutive quarterback sneaks, including one on third-and-9 and good defense. Wait, was it good defense or bad offense? Or, perhaps a combination of both.

Washington’s first drive was impressive, as quarterback Taylor Heinicke found Terry McLaurin for two completions for 41 yards, and Antonio Gibson did the rest. Unfortunately for Washington, Heinicke’s third-down pass to Cam Sims in the end zone was high, and the WFT settled for a field goal.

Some good news for Washington was McLaurin went over the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season, becoming the first Washington player to do so since Henry Ellard in the mid-1990s.

McLaurin caught three passes for 53 yards in the first half, while Gibson rushed for 71 yards on 10 attempts. He needs 38 more rushing yards to go over 1,000 for the season.

Heinicke completed three of six passes for 53 yards — all to McLaurin.

Washington’s defense held the Giants to 48 total yards in the first half, including just 10 passing yards.

The Giants will receive the second-half kickoff.