2nd Round S Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International:
I actually had a hard time with this one, because my original pick for the Redskins in the second round was Phillip Thomas. While they both have versatility, cover skills, and ball skills there are two skills that Johnathan has over Phillip Thomas, which are he is better against the run and he plays the game a lot faster. These skills are essential at the next level, but if Johnathan is off the board before the Redskins are on the clock then I think Phillip Thomas would be our guy.
3rd Round CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU:
I know some people are going to look at this selection and say to themselves “oh no not again, what’s up with the Tyrann Mathieu gimmick”, but to be honest Tyrann Mathieu is the most natural football player of all the defensive backs in this year’s draft class. Analysts have ripped him for his size, drug use, speed, etc. Say whatever you want about this kid, but one thing you can’t say is that his presence on the field doesn’t make a difference in a game. He is the type of player that makes a game changing play in the clutch to win the game that everyone else thought was all but over. Also, I think the cornerback Darius Slay would be an excellent alternative if the Redskins aren’t sold on Mathieu.
4th Round WR Da’rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech:
There is a fifty-fifty chance that Da’rick Rogers will still be on the board in the fourth round, because of some off-the-field issues that involved drug use. If that is the case he would be a late round steal, because he is a receiver with first round talent. In recent months some analysts have argued that he is better than his former teammate Justin Hunter. He is not only a possession receiver ( he didn’t drop a single catch due to a jarring hit last year) he is also a deep threat that lines-up on the outside. He is a strong receiver that is hard to bring down and gets a lot of yards after the catch. He can also go up vertically and snag the ball with his strong hands. In my humble opinion he is an exact replica of Pierre Garcon; therefore, Da’rick could become the Redskins number two receiver. However, if he is off the board, I wouldn’t mind us taking the tight end from Rice Vance McDonald.
5th Round RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon:
I’ve seen a few mocks drafts that have Kenjon Barner falling to the fifth round, but unlike a lot of other mock drafts I don’t believe that it’s that far-fetched. Although Kenjon is a speedy cut-back runner he is not an every done back, which may make teams hold-off on him until the third day. He is definitely someone that the Redskins should show some interest in, because he is a patient runner who waits for a whole to open up then he hits the whole hard. This running style is perfect for the stretch-zone scheme. He would be a great compliment to Alfred Morris in the back-field. However, if Kenjon Barner is off the board then the running-back out of Nevada Stephfon Jefferson would suffice.
5th Round OT Jordan Mills, Louisiana Tech:
This pick is purely strategy considering the fact that any offensive linemen selected after the first round in this draft will be a work in progress. Any way you look at it you’re going to have a project, so why not select a good offensive tackle in the later rounds and groom him into the caliber of a starting tackle? Most people have pegged Xavier Nixon for this spot in the fifth round, but he is way too inconsistent and his nagging injuries scare me. At 6’6 and 315 lbs Jordan Mills is a not so jolly green giant that has a gritty mean streak; he is a relentless run and pass-protector. Although Jordan Mills suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2010, it didn’t stop him from being a dominant force on the offensive line at right tackle for the past two-years. In 2012 he paved the way for Louisiana Tech to run for 333 yards against Rice and he didn’t let up a single sack in Louisiana Tech’s 56-49 win in Houston. Jordan Mills also has some experience at left tackle (hence his ability to pass-protect) and we all know how old Shanny likes versatility. However, if he isn’t on the board when the Redskins are on the clock at this point in the fifth round then the offensive tackle out of Wisconsin Rick Wagner wouldn’t be a bad pick either.
6th Round S Dominick Reyes, Stony Brook:
Lately this kid has been getting some attention from scouts and for a very good reason; this small school player has a larger than life presence on the football field. At 6’4 and 220 lbs he is an anomaly at the safety position, because he is built like a small linebacker. You would think that at that size he would be slow, but he runs the 40 yard dash in the 4.6 range. He doesn’t get caught out of position often, but if he does he has the technique and recovery speed to make up for the mistake. He also is a high character player that was voted team captain and defensive MVP for the Stony Brook Seawolves. He is also a student of the game and a coachable player. Last season Dominick accrued 75 tackles; his flawless tackling technique is due to his wrestling background. He displays a great ability to effortlessly wrap-up and bring down opposing players in the open-field. Dominick seemed to dominant opposing offenses while at Stony Brook, which may suggest that he was playing below his skill level in that conference. Many teams will wonder how he will perform at the next level, because Dominick didn’t face elite level competition at the college level. However, his high motor is already driving him to prepare for the NFL by practicing MMA cage fighting. How does this translate to production on the field? Well just ask Clay Matthews who during the 2011 lockout was practicing for MMA cage fighting and ended up having a phenomenal year; needless to say MMA cage fighting will make an already hard-hitting physical specimen like Dominick Reyes even more terrifying to opposing offenses. It won’t be long before the cat is out of the bag about Dominick, so if he is off the board before the Redskins are on the board in the sixth round the safety out of N.C. State Brandan Bishop would be a good choice as well.
7th Round LB Travis Long, Washington State:
You may remember the draft profile that I wrote on Travis Long close to a week ago; truthfully Travis is worthy of at least a seventh round pick even with the knocks against him. The biggest reason I think he is worth the risk is because Travis was the only bright spot on the Cougar’s defense. The two biggest knocks against him are that he is recovering from a torn ACL injury and that he doesn’t have a defined position in the 3-4 scheme. The ACL tear doesn’t worry me, because before this freak accident Travis hadn’t had any durability issues. It just so happens that he suffered a serious injury at the wrong time, but his high motor will give him the drive to rehab from his injury and prove that he can make an impact in the NFL. In the 4-3 scheme Travis was a defensive end, but in the 3-4 he lined up as both an outside linebacker and middle linebacker. However, Travis long is more of a bull-rush pass-defender, which would make him best suited as an outside linebacker in the pros. Ultimately, Travis Long’s instinctive, intelligent, and versatile style of play will get him picked up by one team or another; hopefully it’s us, but if not then Mike Mauti is also a good prospect to look at in the seventh round.