Mike Mayock has released his top 5 rankings, and now most mock drafters will be adjusting their drafts accordingly. This is Mayock's first attempt to rank the draft prospects and is a preview for this week's NFL Combine. These rankings are sure to change several times between now and the Draft in May, but for now we have some insight from one of the draft's most respected analysts. Mayock is also holding a conference call today at 2 pm, which should help explain why some people are ranked where they are. You can read his full rankings here.
Let's look at a few of the positions that the Redskins could be interested in at pick #34 in the 2nd Round this year. We'll start with a position that a lot of people think is very deep this year, a need for the team, and a priority for Jay Gruden to address early.
Top 5 Wide Receivers:
1. Sammy Watkins, Clemson
2. Marqise Lee, USC
3. Mike Evans, Texas A&M
4. Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
5. Jarvis Landry, LSU
Landry is a surprise in the top 5, and Benjamin is a big boom/bust candidate. Watkins, Lee and Evans are the consensus top 3 WRs in this draft so there isn't much of a surprise there, and they will not be available at the top of the 2nd. A few other names that could be considered here are Odell Beckham Jr, Allen Robinson, and Jordan Matthews
Top 5 Defensive Tackles:
1. Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
2. Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
3. Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
4. Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
5. Dominique Easley, Florida
Aaron Donald continues to rise up draft boards and is Mayock's #3 DT in this draft right now,and he is CBS Sports #22 overall prospect. Stephon Tuitt is not listed here,but remains a heavy favorite in mock drafts for the Redskins at the top of the 2nd. Hageman is the player from this list that I would love to see fall to the top of the 2nd, but it's probably not going to happen.
Top 5 Cornerbacks:
1. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
2. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
3. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
4. Jason Verrett, TCU
5. Bradley Roby, Ohio State
Cornerback is still a big need depending on what the Redskins do in free agency. Amerson, Crawford, and Minnifield are the only CBs on the roster and that combination has opposing QBs doing the happy dance. Mayock has Kyle Fuller ranked higher than most sites currently do, and he could be one of the players available for the Skins at the top of the 2nd Round. Bradley Roby is ranked 5th, but he could realistically go anywhere from the 1st-3rd round because of his skillset and question marks about him.
Top 5 Safeties:
1. Calvin Pryor, Louisville
2. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
3. Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
4. Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
5. Deone Bucannon, Washington State
Safety is another position that seems to be a need every single year for this team. The Skins drafted two late round safeties last year, with Phillip Thomas going to IR during the preseason and Bacarri Rambo being inconsistent and in and out of the lineup all season. Pryor and Clinton-Dix are considered 1A and 1B at safety this year by many analysts with Mayock preferring Pryor here. If either of them fell to #34, the Skins would have to seriously consider taking one to "fix" the position.
These rankings will shift over the next few months, but they are a great talking point from one of the industry's best draft experts. Here are Mayock's first rankings from last year's draft season to get a perspective on where he saw the players pre-Combine. Jordan Reed was the only player the Redskins selected from these rankings, and he was Mayock's 5th rated TE at the time.
And I'll just leave this here: