If you're a Redskins fan and watching the National Championship game, draft season has probably already began for you. With Scot McCloughan calling the shots, Redskins fans are buzzing with excitement at the thought of the possibility of a solid draft class coming to Washington. With that being said, here are the prospects you need to keep an eye on in tonight's matchup between the Oregon Ducks and Ohio State Buckeyes.
Michael Bennett, DT, #53
Bennett is a disruptive defensive tackle that could provide the youth that the Redskins desperately need in the middle of their defense. Bennett is a bit of an undersized defensive tackle listed at 6'2 288 pounds, however, Bennett makes up for it with some impressive athletic ability for someone his size. Bennett's draft position is tricky, he had a slow start to his senior year but has come on as of late notching 11 total tackles for loss in his last six games alone, including a sack against Alabama. Bennett is widely considered a late first, early second round prospect. The Redskins could look at Bennett if they trade back in the first or could very well be the best player available if Bennett should fall to the top of the second round.
Devin Smith, WR, #9
Devin Smith is one of the best deep ball threats in all of college football. I have not watched a lot of Smith's tape, but I did watch him in the semi-final game against Alabama, and Devin Smith reminds me of a taller (6'1 199 pounds) DeSean Jackson. Smith has phenomenal body control and adjusts to the ball in the air much like Jackson. Smith has only caught 32 passes this year, but 10 of them have gone for scores and his average reception comes in at an impressive 28 yards per catch. Smith is considered a mid-round pick, and although the Redskins have bigger needs they could address with a mid-round selection this pick could pay dividends down the road. With Jackson, Garcon, and Roberts already on the roster, Smith wouldn't be pressured onto the field early in his career, allowing him to add some muscle and polish his game. Smith and Jackson on the field together would provide a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and down the road if for some reason the Redskins cannot resign DeSean Jackson Smith could replace him as the Redskins homerun threat.
Jeff Heuerman, TE, #5
Heuerman's numbers aren't the greatest, but the Ohio State offense doesn't use the tight end as much as other systems. However, the 6'5 senior is a very athletic tight end with a high ceiling and will be a vertical threat at the next level. Heuerman would provide the size that the Redskins lack. However, due to the relatively weak tight end class Heuerman will likely be drafted higher than the Redskins would like to take him. If the Redskins were to take a chance on Heuerman it would be based on upside, but its tough to see the Redskins spending a second or third round pick on a tight end.
Tayler Decker, OT, #68
Decker made the transition to left tackle this season and has consistently protected the blindside of whichever Buckeye quarterback was playing very well throughout his junior season. Decker is a huge prospect at 6'7 315 pounds, and could provide the Redskins with a mid-round answer at right tackle with a high ceiling. Decker would probably benefit from heading back to school for another year, but if he does declare the Ohio State product could provide the Redskins with a valuable mid to late round selection.
Doran Grant, CB, #12
The Redskins need help at cornerback, heading into 2015 the only cornerback that can be relied upon is Bashaud Breeland. Grant is a physical corner who isn't afraid to stick his nose in on the run game, who is the sixth leading tackler on the Buckeyes defense. Along with his physical presence Grant has five interceptions and fourteen passes defended. Grant isn't the bigger type of corner that McCloughan made so successful in Seattle, but Grant does have decent size standing at 5'11 193 pounds. Grant is another potential mid round selection that could be on McCloughan's radar.
Arik Armstead, DE, #9
Armstead is a physical freak, the defensive end is a perfect fit for the 3-4 scheme who stands at 6'8 290 pounds. Armstead was a two sport athlete at Oregon, also playing basketball during his time in Eugene. Armstead is an athletic prospect and the raw tools that make scouts drool. The disruptive junior would add athleticism and youth to the Redskins defensive line. Should Armstead declare, the Skins could call his name in the second round of May's draft.
DeForest Buckner, DE, #44
Yes, Oregon has two defensive ends that are perfect fits for the 3-4 scheme. Like Armstead, Buckner provides an athletic end with a great combination of size and speed. Buckner stands at 6'7 290 pounds. The junior led the Ducks defense with 13 tackles for loss this season, and like Armstead has yet to reach his full potential. Either Ducks defensive ends would be worth a look in the second or third round for the Redskins, adding youth, size, speed, and some much needed athleticism to the Skins defensive front seven.
Erick Dargan, S, #4
Dargan may be the most intriguing prospects to watch in the championship if you're a Redskins fan. Dargan paid his dues and didn't get significant playing time until his senior year, where he has been an absolute stud for the Ducks defense. Dargan has been a playmaking machine and shown the range necessary to play free safety at the next level, as well as being a special teams ace for the Ducks. Dargan would be a solid mid round addition for the Redskins, who could be at the very least an upgrade on special teams early in his career and be groomed to be the long term answer at free safety the Redskins have so desperately been trying to find.
Troy Hill, CB, #13
Hill is undersized for an NFL corner, who stands at 5'11 and just 175 pounds. However, Hill has been a solid cornerback for the Ducks throughout his senior season. Hill is a physical corner who uses good technique to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. With Ifo Ekpre-Olomu out with an ACL Hill will be responsible for keeping Ohio State speedster Devin Smith in check. Hill has some slight off the field issues, which could cause his stock to fall, but could be a late round steal for whoever takes a chance on Him. Much like Bashaud Breeland, Troy Hill is a competitor and has a nasty streak in him. The Redskins could use some more players like that in their secondary and across the roster.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, #14
Although Ekpre-Olomu will not be participating in the national championship game, he is a player that could be on the Redskins radar come May. The senior is a very small corner, (5'9) however, Ifo has been impressive during his time at Oregon and could solve the Redskins slot cornerback position that has needed improvement for some time now. The senior didn't have his best season before going down with an injury, which could cause him to fall to the second or third round where he would pose great long term value for the Redskins. The Jaguars used a similar strategy to draft Aaron Colman who also tore his ACL late in the draft process, but was a starter by the end of his rookie campaign.
Jake Fisher, LT, #75. Hroniss Grasu, C, 55.
The Ducks have a pair of offensive lineman that have a future in the NFL. However, with Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan's preference for bigger offensive lineman up front they may not be the best fit for the Redskins. Fisher is the bigger prospect at 6'6 300 pounds, who is athletic enough to run the zone blocking schemes that have been so successful with Alfred Morris. Fisher could be another potential answer at right tackle for the Redskins through the middle of the draft. However, the Redskins lack a true backup at center, and that's where Grasu comes in. The Redskins current backup is Christ Chester who may not even be with the team next year, and with Kory Lichtensteiger set to turn 30 before the season, the Skins would be wise to invest in a backup to groom for the future. Grasu may be too small for McCloughan's taste, who may favor a prospect from last season's championship game, Cam Erving. However, Grasu could still be a potential fit to give the Redskins some added youth and depth up front.
Did I miss a prospect, have draft questions? Tweet me @Justin_Byram!