From lottery tickets to parlays to going for the green on a drivable par-4 to investing in a penny stock, everyone loves doing things with high upside.
That's true in an NFL sense, too, as teams often target prospects in the draft who may be raw or inexperienced upon turning pro but who could eventually develop into a serious contributor in the right environment.
So, if the Washington Football Team chose to go with an all-upside approach in the 2021 NFL Draft, what sort of haul could they land? Well, that's the point of this story.
Download and Subscribe to the Washington Football Talk Podcast
On Monday, NBC Sports Washington's Ryan Homler stuck to a best player available mindset and came away with this group of rookies for the Burgundy and Gold.
Today, however, it's all about firing up PFF's mock draft simulator and identifying the guys who could become home run selections — even if they're just as likely to result in strikeout choices.
I didn't care at all about size concerns or injury problems, for example, when making my calls; instead, I was dead set on coming away with eight additions who can pan out in a major way.
And here's what I have to show for after my mock concluded:
Now, let's get to some notes.
- Interestingly enough, my first-round pick — Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah — was the same as Ryan's. JOK's far-from-typical weight (he's listed around 215 pounds) could scare off some who wonder if he can thrive when taking on NFL linemen or attempting to cover giant tight ends on Sundays. While those worries are fair, of course, I see him as the perfect acquisition for where the league is going, one who can be deployed in a variety of ways, match up with anyone and fill any other cliche that relates to versatility.
- My second-rounder, Walker Little, is a pick that would make Bruce Allen proud. Back when he was in charge of Washington, Allen loved plucking players with an injury history in hopes of getting the healthy version of that player for his franchise. Little, a Stanford left tackle, played just once in 2019 before tearing his ACL, and then he opted out of this past season. So, the dude has only suited up once in the past few years — but even so, he's tantalizing. After going linebacker 19th overall, taking a risk on Little at 51 was my next move.
- In the third round, I went linebacker back-to-back. Is that partly because I simply didn't realize that would give me three LBs out of my first four selections? Yes, that's correct. Sorry, I was trying to do some laundry while drafting and it led to me being a bit distracted. Even so, snagging both Jabril Cox from LSU and Jamin Davis from Kentucky netted me two defenders who possess exceptional burst but also only showed that trait and their other strengths prominently in 2020. They have small sample sizes but large potential.
- Jaelon Darden is my most cherished find. The North Texas receiver is tiny at just 5-foot-8 and 170 or so pounds, but as NFL.com puts it in a scouting report of his game, "He can mash the turbo and get to top speed instantly." I'm swooning! Darden racked up 31 receiving touchdowns in his last 21 contests in school, just so you know. With that sort of all-world speed and scoring success, I'll gladly give him one of my uniforms and overlook his diminutive figure.
- The last two players I'll touch on are Tommy Tremble and Ian Book, two more Notre Dame alums. Tremble, a tight end, won't impress you with his college numbers, but he will catch your eye with both his blocking and his athleticism. With how tight ends coach Pete Hoener meshed with Logan Thomas, I'd be intrigued to see what he could do with Tremble. As for Book, he's not exactly special, which is why he was around at No. 244, but I am enticed by how he could help in a package that looks to emphasize his running abilities.