Step 2: Nail Their Draft Picks
This should be self-explanatory, but it is a crucial ingredient. A major reason for the Nationals’ contention window being forced shut was due to the front office continually whiffing on their draft picks.
Since 2012, Washington spent first-round picks on Lucas Giolito, Erick Fedde, Carter Kieboom, Dane Dunning, Seth Romero, Mason Denaburg, Jackson Rutledge, Cade Cavalli, and Brady House. Giolito and Dunning were flipped for Adam Eaton. Seth Romero has been plagued by injuries and off-the-field issues. Denaburg has also dealt with injuries and has yet to make it past the Rookie League.
Kieboom and Fedde have both made their Nationals debut, but neither has proven they belong to stay long term. Rutledge, Cavalli, and House are all seen as future cornerstones, but still need to prove they can stick. Washington has the fifth pick in the upcoming draft and cannot afford another whiff.
Joe Burrow and Ja’marr Chase have transformed the Bengals into one of the most electric teams in the NFL, but it hasn’t just been them. Cincinnati’s drastic transformation is due to the front office’s shrewd drafting. Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, C.J. Uzomah, Evan McPherson, and Jonah Williams are all key contributors to the Bengals turnaround.