When Washington takes on Cincinnati on Sunday, the top two picks in the 2020 NFL draft will face each other, with Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow trying to avoid Football Team defensive end Chase Young. Washington coach Ron Rivera revealed this week that his team, picking second, always viewed Burrow and Young as the top two picks in the draft, and would have been happy with either.
Rivera said he wanted to draft Young because he thinks defense wins championships, but he was also very high on Burrow and would have taken him if the Bengals had taken Young.
“We feel like championships are won by playing good defense. We felt pretty strongly about him. The only other option we felt was a viable one for us was Burrow and obviously he was taken by Cincinnati,” Rivera said, via SI.com. “We think Joe is the full package. We really do. We think Chase is the full package. Depending on what Cincinnati did, that’s what we were going to do. The opposite. We didn’t think we would lose out either way. We really didn’t. We think both players are going to be great players and have great careers and we’re fired up that we have Chase.”
Rivera’s comments provide an interesting insight into his mindset about Dwayne Haskins, the quarterback Rivera inherited in Washington. If Rivera was ready to draft Burrow second overall, that means he was also ready to move on from Haskins just a year after Washington took him in the first round.
Now it appears that Rivera is ready to move on from Haskins anyway, as he was benched after a poor start to the season. But that raises the question of why Washington didn’t draft Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. Young may prove to be a great defensive end, but contrary to Rivera’s belief that defense wins championships, what really wins championships is having a franchise quarterback. And Washington may have passed on two of them when passing on Tagovailoa and Herbert.