It's no secret that the Redskins have defensive needs going into the offseason, especially in the secondary. Fortunately for them, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock thinks there are plenty of options for them despite not having a top-50 pick in this year's draft.
"I think [safety] Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International is a guy you ought to be looking at really closely," Mayock said in a conference call on Monday. "He had a great Senior Bowl week. I've got him as my No. 3 safety and I think he's a guy that's going to be around somewhere in that middle-to-end of the second round. I think he could start immediately for the Washington Redskins and makes a ton of sense."
Mayock ranks Texas' Kenny Vaccaro and Florida's Matt Elam ahead of Cyprien, but believes they will be selected before the Redskins are on the clock. Should the team not find someone at safety they like enough to pick, there are also options at cornerback that could warrant selection.
Mayock listed California's Marc Anthony, UConn's Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Southeast Louisiana's Robert Alford, William & Mary's B.W. Webb and Rutgers' Logan Ryan as potential options.
"There's five guys there that could go in the second or third round," Mayock said. "Some of them are longer, outside corners, some of them are quicker inside slot type guys, but are going to fall in that range from [pick number] 50 to the end of the third round."
Mayock also thinks former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu could potentially go in the mid-rounds of the draft, but doesn't anticipate he will wow scouts at the combine.
"Mathieu is a really interesting wild card this weekend," Mayock said. "My gut tells me he's a better football player than an athlete. Most teams I have talked to have him in the fourth round because they don't think he's very big or going to run real fast and has had off the field issues. That could change with a really good time."
Mathieu often draws polarizing opinions due to his physical shortcomings and failed drug tests, but had a reputation as an electric playmaker at the collegiate level. The Redskins need in the secondary coupled with Mathieu's affordable draft stock could make him a potential target.
1. Mayock opened the conference call by saying that this year's draft has more depth than he's seen in 10 years, but lacks the top-tier talent recent draft classes have provided.
2. One running back has a first-round grade from Mayock, and that's Eddie Lacy from Alabama. Said he could warrant consideration from the Pittsburgh Steelers on day one.
3. When asked about the Philadelphia Eagles' draft position, said that best value would be in taking a left tackle. A quarterback at No. 4 is not a justifiable pick in this draft based on the talent at the position. Also said that even though the Eagles are transitioning to a 3-4 defense, they should not consider a five-tech lineman early on because they can be had in the later rounds of the draft.
4. Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Georgia's Alec Ogletree could fall to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 32. If so, Mayock said the team would "sprint to the podium" to take either.
5. If California wide receiver Keenan Allen runs a sub- 4.5 40-yard dash, Mayock said teams will "bang on the table" for him and he would be a top-25 pick.
6. Mayock noted that offensive line, defensive tackle and safety are the deepest positions in the draft.
7. On the draft's depth, Mayock said that a lot of teams are going to want to trade down, but there won't be many takers to trade up. Said ""I wouldn't want a top 10 pick in this draft. The fifth pick and the 25th pick are very similar."
8. Based solely on talent, four players are worthy of the top pick: Alabama guard Chance Warmack, North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher.
9. Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib could experience an ascension in his draft stock, similar to what Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins experienced in recent years. Mayock said Nassib's work ethic and intelligence will make coaches fall in love with him.
10. Oregon St. cornerback Jordan Poyer has a third-to-fourth round projection and South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger has a fourth-round grade from Mayock.