The Redskins are currently slated to have the #5 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. With a little help from the Jaguars and Raiders, and a continued commitment to losing, the Redskins could get into the Top 3. The Best/Worst scenario is they will still have a Top 10 pick when the draft rolls around in May.
ESPN's Todd McShay released his first mock draft for the 2015 NFL Draft season, and he has the Redskins using their first pick on an OLB for the 2nd year in a row. In this year's draft, the Redskins traded down from #34 overall with the Cowboys, adding pick #47 and a 3rd round pick(#78). With the 47th pick in the draft, the Redskins selected OLB Trent Murphy from Stanford.
The team had a big decision for the future of the franchise with OLB Brian Orakpo this year, and when they could not agree to a long-term deal, they opted to use the franchise tag to retain his rights for a year for $11.455 million. The Redskins face a similar situation this season with Brian Orakpo, but he will be returning from an injury after his season ended in Week 7 with another pec tear. Do the Redskins attempt to sign him for a team-friendly deal and let him walk if he wants to be paid like an elite OLB? Do they offer him a reasonable 1 year deal to take pressure off Trent Murphy? Do they let him walk and draft someone? Or is Trent Murphy the answer and they just need depth?
Trent Murphy has taken over Orakpo's ROLB position since his injury, and has played 565 defensive snaps(64.3%) along with 229 special teams snaps(56.4%). Murphy has 2.5 sacks, 32 tackles, 1 pass defended, and two forced fumbles for the season. He has not created the same type of pressure that Orakpo was producing early in the season, but he has 2 more sacks than Orakpo for the year. Orakpo was also better against the run this year. Can the Redskins stick with Murphy and Kerrigan again next year, or will they look to the draft early to get more from the OLB position?
McShay has the Redskins taking Missouri DE/OLB Shane Ray with the 5th overall pick.
CBS Sports currently has Ray ranked #8 overall, and the 2nd best DE in this year's projected draft class. The Junior is coming off a 14 sack season. During his 3 year career at Missouri, he has 18.5 sacks, 80 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles. The Redskins have a lot of questions going into the offseason, and coaching changes seem inevitable, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
STRENGTHS: Extraordinary athlete who reportedly has been clocked at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has a 40-plus-inch vertical, 10-foot broad jump and bench presses over 400 pounds.
Launches himself off the line with an explosive first step to beat tackles off the snap and can fly by and around them, showing the flexibility and balance to scrape the corner and close. He complements the speed rush with a quick jab-step back to the inside and a swim over the top to counter when opponents start leaning outside.
Ray locates the football quickly and changes directions fluidly to pursue. Reaction quickness is awesome, decisively making plays and chasing down the action with an outstanding motor. Shows good effort in run pursuit.
Good bloodlines. His father, Wendell Ray, was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of the 1981 draft after starring for Missouri, himself.
WEAKNESSES: Overly reliant on his athleticism to wreak havoc, and is still developing his array of pass rush moves. Could improve his functional strength and awareness of cut blocks.
His awareness in the run game is a work-in-progress. Struggles to disengage once blockers latch on, showing only average power in his hands. Can be too aggressive, as evidenced by his ejection in the SEC Championship for launching himself into the quarterback.
IN OUR VIEW: Ray is still developing his pass rush sequence and arsenal of moves, but his first step quickness and sustained burst off the edge are special and should have him drafted very early when he decides to enter the NFL Draft.