If you listen really carefully, you might be able to make out an extremely faint bumping in the distance. It's going really fast, too. Probably dangerously fast.
It's my heartbeat, nervously pumping blood as I stress and worry about every minute detail of the piece of writing you're currently reading. That's because it's my first article here on Hogs Haven.
Hey there! My name's Ryan. Before I get to the actual point of this post, I figured I'd give you all a little bit of context on my personal life and my Redskins fandom. I'm a Maryland-born sophomore journalism student at Mizzou (who, by the by, has their sports teams covered wonderfully over at fellow SBN blog Rock M Nation), and while I was raised a ‘Skins fan from birth, it wasn't until the ‘05 Monday Night Miracle that I realized how in love with the Burgundy and Gold I really was. Two weeks ago, below Mark's post on that exact topic, I commented with an article I had written about that wonderful night, and one thing led to another from there. I'll be doing a few posts here and there for HH when my schedule allows it, so I hope to get to know all of you in the comments in the future.
But I'm boring, enough of that stuff. Let's move on to that football team in the Nation's Capital.
Sunday might have been the death knell to the Redskins' 2013 season, a 24-16 defeat at the talons of the Philadelphia Eagles that stings with a special ferocity, since the team came oh-so-close to a legendary 4th quarter comeback. Feel free to stay optimistic if you wish, but my focus as a Redskins fan is now on 2014 and beyond. There are tons of glaring weaknesses on the team, and even though Washington gave up it's 2014 first rounder in the Robert Griffin III deal, they still have 6 picks with which to try and improve the team. To get you prepared (unnecessarily early) for the Draft, let's examine a few guys the ‘Skins could target on May 9th and 10th.
DB Marcus Roberson, Florida:
An extremely talented corner, Roberson would probably be a first-round lock (and still may end up there) if not for all of the other über-gifted corners most likely entering the Draft this offseason. Roberson led the SEC with 14 passes defended in 2012, and also recorded 12 pass break-ups, the most by a Gator since Joe Haden did the same in 2008. He did miss three games this season due to injury, and this past weekend was suspended for Florida's game against South Carolina, but if anything, those flags will increase the likelihood that he is there for the Redskins in the second round. He's not a ball hawk like last year's second round pick David Amerson (Roberson only has 3 INTs in 3 seasons), but he's a great cover corner, and with the potential departure of DeAngelo Hall, the Redskins secondary will need all the help it can get. Roberson would do just that.
WR L'Damian Washington, Mizzou:
Alright, I'm a little biased when it comes to Mizzou players, but Washington is a 6'4'', speedy receiver who can both work the middle of the field and beat defenders deep. While his pure numbers may not be as impressive as other receivers, he's had to play with a Redshirt Freshman quarterback for a large chunk of this season, and a glorified practice squad QB during the majority of 2012. Even with those issues, his 18.9 Yards/Catch ratio is good enough for 13th in the nation. Washington has steadily improved each year at Mizzou, and there's no reason to think that development will cease to continue once he reaches the pros. The Redskins have severe lack of depth at the Wide Receiver position right now, with only Pierre Garcon contributing consistently. They need another threat on the outside to open things up for him and TE Jordan Reed. In the fourth round, Washington could end up being a huge steal, and I'd love to see him wearing Burgundy and Gold on Sundays. Plus, did I mention his speed?
LB Shayne Skov, Stanford:
It's no secret that London Fletcher has regressed a ton this season. While obviously still a great on-field leader, it's probably one year past when he should have retired. Whether he decides to finally hang up the cleats this offseason or not, I believe the Redskins need to move on and find a solid replacement to play alongside Perry Riley. Skov is seemingly an android programmed to tackle, and tackle a whole heck of a lot. While he'll never be mistaken for a track star, the guy has fantastic instincts and plays with a fire not unlike a certain linebacker named after a British city. He is also incredibly smart, and is the type of player to step in and contribute right away, which is exactly what the Redskins will need next season. Skov did miss most of the 2011 season with a gruesome injury (ACL/MCL tear, plus a broken tibia), but recovered well and has looked like himself this season. Even when obviously not himself in 2012, he still led Stanford in tackles. The guy is a bona fide stud, and I'd be ecstatic if the Redskins snatched him up in the 3rd round, if he's still on the board.
RB/KR Dri Archer, Kent State:
Okay, so running back being a "need" is a stretch, but we all know that Shanahan (if he's still here in May) is going to take at least one of them in the Draft anyway, so he might as well make it one of the most electrifying guys in college football. Dri Archer is the epitome of shifty. He has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as run it, and would be a legitimate threat on kick/punt returns. No, he's never going to be an every-down player, and for many Redskins fans he might induce flashbacks to the Brandon Banks era (*sigh*), but the 5'8'' Archer is more talented than Banks ever was offensively. When you're averaging 7.3 yards per rush and 13.7 yards per catch, you're doing something right. Opinions on where Archer may go in the draft are varied, but if the opportunity to draft the human lightning bolt is afforded to Washington after the second round or so, his talent is too good to pass up.
OL prospects are hard to project (‘sup, Josh LeRibeus), but if anyone is curious, a few guys who could pique the interest of the Redskins early on include Tennessee T Antonio Richardson, Clemson T Brandon Thomas, Mississippi State G Gabe Jackson, and Stanford G David Yankey.