What would Ryan Zimmerman do in the NFL Draft if he was a GM? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Longtime National Ryan Zimmerman knows what it's like to be a top draft pick. In 2005, the infielder was the No. 4 overall selection by Washington and has been with the organization ever since.
Although it's a different sport, the NFL Draft is just one week away. Zimmerman and his Nationals teammates have been paying attention to the draft hype, too.
On Thursday, Zimmerman joined the Sports Junkies and after he shared a few draft stories of his own, the 36-year-old was asked what he would do if he was on the opposite end of the spectrum: as a general manager. His way of thinking will please a lot of old-school football fans.
"We've been talking about all this stuff in the clubhouse," Zimmerman said. "If I was an NFL team, I would draft offensive linemen, defensive ends, corners and just draft the heck out of them. Draft them over and over again."
Zimmerman understands why several teams at the top of the draft board use their picks on quarterbacks, but he's not one who would go that route.
"These quarterbacks, it's amazing. And I get why these teams take them," Zimmerman said. "If you have a rookie quarterback that's on a deal where you can go out and afford to pay other people, you're getting a quarterback on the cheap. But it just seems like, especially over the past 10 years, so many of these quarterbacks don't work out."
The Nationals two-time All-Star has a point. Since 2009, no quarterback that was a first-round pick is still with their original team after Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz all left their respective clubs this offseason.
"It just feels like offensive lineman and defensive ends, there's less risk for them not to be somewhat of a good impact player in the NFL," Zimmerman said.
As far as what he would do at quarterback, Zimmerman would prefer to take a flyer on one of the later-round prospects and have him sit behind a veteran. He even specifically name-dropped Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as the type of veteran Zimmerman would want to sign.
"I would draft guys and then go out and draft a quarterback in the fourth-, fifth- or sixth round and get a veteran, then let the quarterback learn for a couple years," Zimmerman said. "Then if he becomes something, you still have the opportunity to have a good quarterback."
Growing up in Virginia Beach, Va, Zimmerman has followed the Washington Football Team since he was a kid. Rooting for them only became easier when he joined the Nationals, who have many of the same fans as the WFT.
In the 2021 NFL Draft, Washington can go a bunch of different directions. Offensive line, linebacker, wide receiver and defensive back are all on the table. Maybe even quarterback, too.
But, if it were up to Zimmerman, there's one specific area he would target for Washington.
"I would go best offensive lineman and go from there," Zimmerman said. "I think offensive line is the most important. It protects the quarterback, especially left tackle. If you have a really good offensive line, there are plenty of guys that can play running back in the league and can be really darn good if you have a good offensive line."
For more interviews, tune into the Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington, weekdays from 6-10 a.m.