The Redskins have fixed the OL with a new RT and C, now it is time to address the rest of the team's needs.
The good people of Hogs Haven have spoken, and the Offensive Line was once again at the top of the list for areas that needed improvement. The 2nd Round gave the Redskins a new RT in Cyrus Kouandjio, and the 3rd Round addressed the interior with a new Center in Marcus Martin. With the additions of OG Shawn Lauvao, OG/C Mike McGlynn, the release of C Will Montgomery, and the trio of 3rd year players(LeRibeus, Gettis, Compton) waiting in the wings, the OL should be vastly improved from last year.
Now we move on to the Redskins third pick in the 2014 NFL Draft at the top of the 4th Round. The top 3 rounds of the draft are generally where you look to find players that can start for you early, depending on the position they play. With the Skins picking so early in every round, you have the chance of grabbing talent that should have gone in the previous rounds. In the late rounds, 4th-7th, you are looking for hidden gems and players to develop for the future, unless you take a punter.
Christian Jones, ILB, FSU:
The Redskins addressed the loss of London Fletcher at the Inside Linebacker position in free agency by signing Akeem Jordan, Darryl Sharpton, and Adam Hayward. Jordan and Sharpton both signed 1 year deals and Hayward is mainly a special teams player. The Redskins also have Keenan Robinson who has been injured the last two seasons, and several other unproven players at the position on the roster. The team needs to find a long term solution to the position next to Perry Riley, and could look to the mid rounds of the draft to find someone this year. Enter Christian Jones, who is currently ranked #124 overall by CBS Sports, and is projected to go in the 4th Round.
STRENGTHS: Tremendous athlete with has fluid footwork who flawlessly flips his hips to blanket tight ends or receivers down the field in coverage. Tall and long, which he uses well in coverage. Plays with excellent range and speed to chase down the action, taking proper angles in pursuit. Flashes the take-on strength to blow past blockers when he uses proper technique.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to improve his awareness to turn his head and find the ball. Length is advantageous, but at times will cause him to play too upright, and he needs to improve his overall leverage, especially on tackle attempts. Will get hung up on blocks at times.
Hogs Haven Draft Profile: Christian Jones
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa:
Fiedorowicz has good hands and is a physical blocker which will be valued in Washington's offense. Jordan Reed is the clear-cut starter on the Redskins, but his season was cut short last year by a severe concussion. Behind Reed, there is Logan Paulsen who is due $2.23 million this year, and Niles Paul who is more of a special teams player. If the Redskins don't draft a TE early, CJ will definitely be on Gruden's radar. He is currently ranked #105 overall by CBS Sports.
STRENGTHS: Good versatility, showing the ability to come off a down block to get past defenders as a receiver. Good body control and soft hands for such a large man, traits that have led Washington junior Austin Seferian-Jenkins to earn a lot of attention as a possible first-round pick. Fiedorowicz isn't as flashy as ASJ, but he's just as big and fast in a straight-line and is a much more physical and attentive blocker.
Hogs Haven Draft Profile: CJ Fiedorowicz
Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida :
From his player visit article yesterday, "Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett loves versatile/utility players in the secondary which is one reason the team re-signed CB E.J. Biggers this year. Watkins could be the kind of player that comes in and takes Biggers spot on the team with his ability to play multiple positions in the secondary, and he also plays all phases of special teams. If the Redskins choose to go cornerback early, they will want someone that projects to be a starter in a year or two when Hall and Porter are possibly gone." He is currently ranked #95 overall by CBS Sports, and projected as a 3rd round prospect. He could be available at the top of the 4th, and I don't think the Redskins look at him before that.
STRENGTHS: Watkins possesses a lean, athletic build more suited to cornerback. He's a willing hitter, however, with good vision and closing ability, making it likely that he'll be able to successfully handle the transition to safety. The willingness to change positions during his senior season is a good indication of Watkins' selflessness and maturity.
Hogs Haven Draft Profile: Jaylen Watkins
James Gayle, OLB, Virginia Tech:
The Redskins have been bringing in pass rushers for pre-draft visits for the last few weeks. Brian Orakpo signed his franchise tag tender, but they have not been able to work out a long term deal with him yet. This could prompt Bruce Allen to draft another OLB this year as insurance for Orakpo next year. If the Skins don't draft one early, James Gayle could be an option if he is still there at the top of the 4th. He is currently ranked #109 overall by CBS Sports. I have seen him projected between the 3rd and 5th rounds.
STRENGTHS: Gayle lacks imposing size, but is strongly-built throughout his frame with the natural burst and quickness to explode off the edge with flexibility and raw power. He is balanced enough to dip under the reach of pass blockers and has functional flexibility, allowing him to turn the corner and close.
He has experience rushing out of the three-point and two-point stance, showing burst to cross the face of tackles from either role. Gayle locates the ball quickly and shows good effort laterally and downfield in pursuit. Has some experience dropping back into coverage, showing reasonable awareness and the ability to drive on the ball, though only average fluidity, overall.
Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia:
Sims was one of the Running Backs that the Redskins brought in for a pre-draft workout, and fits the criteria for the pass catching back that Coach Gruden is reportedly looking for. Sims finished his college career with 3465 rushing yards, 40 rushing TDs, 2108 receiving yards and 11 TDs. He is considered one of the better pass catching backs in the draft this year. He is currently ranked #129 overall by CBS Sports and is projected to go in the 4th round.
STRENGTHS: Possesses a high-cut frame, which gives him an unusual torso for the running back position. His size belies impressive quickness and acceleration, making him a tough target for would-be tacklers. Presses the hole before making decisive cuts with a strong plant foot to burst through the crease. Shows good vision and beautiful acceleration to speed up in a hurry.
Good receiver with excellent hand-eye coordination who caught a team-high 45 passes in 2013. Frequently targeted on screens and quick passes to the flat. Can split out wide and put defensive backs on their heels with a hesitation move off the snap. Shows good burst and understanding of route concepts. Can accelerate to create separation and has the leaping ability to make catches in traffic.
Reliable pass blocker who shows good recognition skills and courage in taking on hard-charging pass-rushers.
WEAKNESSES: Runs with some tightness and lacks natural bend. Sims is tough and physical but doesn't have an ideal body type for the position, running too tall at times with inconsistent pad level and ball security.
Hogs Haven Draft Profile: Charles Sims