This year's Senior Bowl roster might not be filled with as many early first round picks or impact players like in year's past, but then again it might be too early to make that prediction. Last year similar concerns were being raised about the Senior Bowl level of talent and all they did was produce the PFWA's Defensive rookie of the year Aaron Donald and 1st team All-Pro Guard Zack Martin, as well as a host of other quality rookies.
As for this year's roster there are probably going to be between only 3-6 first round picks, but there is talent up-and-down this roster at a variety of positions. I will have a couple articles with thoughts from the Senior Bowl over the next week, but I wanted to start out looking at some guys the Redskins could target in the early rounds. Here are some thoughts on 10 guys the Redskins could look at in the first 3 rounds:
DT Danny Shelton:
-Shelton is the only player the Redskins should consider in the 1st if they stay where they are at the 5th pick from this Senior Bowl, but even that might be a stretch. Shelton clearly had a strong week and looks every bit the top nose tackle in this class, but whether that is worthy of a top 5 pick is still up for debate. Shelton has great size, and power and decent quickness for his size. The question though is can he play enough downs to get the ROI of a top 5 pick?
Top NT's play 70-80% (sometimes more) of the defensive snaps, if the Redskins were to draft Shelton that high that has to be what they are hoping for. At times in college he tired out, and now he's going to be facing a steady stream of top interior linemen. Ideally the Redskins could trade back slightly and Shelton would still be on the board, but he's at least got to be considered for the top 5 pick given his skill set.
OT T.J. Clemmings:
-Now I wouldn't take Clemmings anywhere near the 5th pick in the draft, but if the Redskins were to trade back to the late teens, early 20's Clemmings could be a very intriguing option. From an upside stand point Clemmings potential matches up with nearly anyone in this draft. He's only in his 2nd year of being an offensive lineman after spending his first 3 years in college on the defensive side of the ball, yet he's already shown enough to get top 25 consideration. He had a real dominant senior season and though he struggled some this week at the Senior Bowl, he does appeal to the Redskins more than other teams in some ways. One issue that Clemmings had was trying his hand at both right and left tackle this week, but with LT set for the Redskins they can just have him focus at RT where he's definitely much closer to being NFL ready. While his rookie year may be a little rough (hey so was TW's) his potential long term could give the Redskins elite bookend tackles.
OT/OG La'El Collins:
-Collins is similar to Clemmings in that he would be a later target after a trade back. I feel similar to Clemmings that he's more of a project at LT in the NFL and is better suited for another position. I actually like Collins best as a guard and think that he could make that transition quickly at the next level similar to Zack Martin or Joel Bitonio. He could probably play right tackle as well, but he is at his best as a mauler who can just be physical at the point of attack. He struggled (in his career as well) this week with edge rushers who used speed or quickness, which is why I would kick him inside to guard where he won't see that as much. Where ever you play him (at least RT or G), Collins has the chance to make an early impact and become a star on the line.
OLB Nate Orchard:
If the Redskins were to let Brian Orakpo walk this offseason they will need to find a pass rushing outside backer to pair with Trent Murphy. Murphy is a poor fit to rush the passer consistently vs LT's so the Redskins will need to give him some help. Orchard had 18.5 sacks this past year in a breakout campaign where he terrorized offensive tackles. One thing that stands out about his season is he didn't just do his damage vs small or weak schools as he combined for 11.5 sacks in 4 games vs Michigan, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA. Orchard looks like he has the skill set to be a high end pass rusher at the next level. Run support is a concern which is why Murphy could be a good complement.
OLB Hauoli Kikaha:
-Kikaha is similar to Orchard as he's a good 2nd round option to pair with Murphy to help increase the pass rush ability of this defense. Kikaha is a high motor, quick rush linebacker who plays with good leverage. He can get to the edge and win with speed and quickness. He's not strong vs the run and is a guy who might be limited some early on in his career. The good news is the skill set he brings is highly valuable in the NFL. The one real concern with him is going to be his medical history, as he has 2 ACL injuries in his past. Since the 2nd one though he's amassed 32 sacks in two seasons so NFL teams are going to take a shot on him.
OG Laken Tomlinson:
-If the Redskins want to fix their OL early in the draft they could take a shot at Duke guard Laken Tomlinson. Tomlinson weigh-in at 6'3" 323 and showed brute strength throughout the week of practice. How one blocked Danny Shelton and Carl Davis became a great barometer of how one was doing on the offensive line, and Tomlinson handled the two top tackles the best. Though he lost some battles to both Shelton and Davis, he won his fare share and did his best to slow them down. He may be more of a 3rd round pick, but after this strong week he should rise up some draft boards.
DL Carl Davis:
-Davis is one of the most intriguing guys in the draft in my opinion. From a size/power/speed standpoint he should be a first round pick and honestly could go in the top 15. He's also flashed elite talent on tape throughout his career. The problem is he hasn't been nearly consistent enough to warrant that high of an investment despite his 6'5" 321 size. To most he's a 75-100 type of prospect, but after a big week this week I think he'll rise some and could end up going in the 2nd round. He was so explosive in drills throughout the week and was the 2nd toughest guy to block after Danny Shelton. Davis has the size to play NT or the 5-tech and he offers more pass rush ability than most nose tackles.
OG Tre Jackson:
-If Scott McCloughan wants to add some size and muscle to the offensive line Tre Jackson would be a nice option in the 3rd round. At 6'3" 323 he profiles as a mauling guard at the next level. He had 1st round consideration heading into the season, but had a down senior campaign. This week though was a bounce back of sorts and it looks like he dropped maybe some of the extra weight he played with during the season. He has a strong anchor in pass protection and can move the pile in the ground game. Now he's not a great zone fit overall, but it sounds like the Redskins may move away from some of that.
CB Quinten Rollins:
-A lot of people like Rollins more than me so there is a real chance that he goes in the top 50 picks, but he's a little too raw for me to take that early. Rollins spent 4 years at Miami of Ohio playing basketball before deciding to try his hand at football. In one season he went from a no body to a top 100 pick in the Draft. He's got excellent size and speed/quickness and shows his physicality. The only real knock on him is from a developmental stand point. In the 3rd round though he's worth the risk.
S Cody Prewitt:
-Prewitt had a really good week playing both strong and free safety. He's got good size, speed and really good instincts. He had great reaction time and took great angles throughout the week. His ability to flip his hips is probably just in the adequate range, but overall I think he could handle the FS position (and he definitely could be a starter at SS). Prewitt may go in the late 2nd, but if he's sitting there in 3rd he would be a good pick by the Redskins.
Bonus Player: TE Clive Walford:
-I really wanted to keep it to 10 guys, but I felt remiss about not fitting Walford in here. Walford had a great week and is probably in that 75-100 range of prospects at this point. He showed he's a complete tight end as he did exceptionally well both as a blocker and a receiver. He's strong at the point of attack and was able to handle most DE's and LB's here on his own. He was very good at blitz pick-up as well and can be used out of an H-back role as well. With Jordan Reed showing he is basically just a receiving TE only grabbing a guy like Walford makes some sense.
Check out all my Senior Bowl Notes at our Senior Bowl Page also don't forget to get a head start in fixing the Redskins problems with our Free Agency Simulator