Well Redskins fans, it's that time of the year again. The Redskins have been out of the playoff race since about October and Redskins nation has been thinking about the 2015-2016 season since about mid‑November.
With the combine underway in Indianapolis there's no better time for a mock off-season post! Using Fanspeak's manage the cap and on the clock tools, I have made my predictions for how McCloughan will handle his first season at the helm.
First things first, gutting the current Redskins roster. A roster that is filled with a lot of players over 30 and not a lot of depth. As a result I relieved the following players of their duties:
The common theme among these players is that they are either too old, ineffective, or a combination of both. In addition to these cuts, I also restructured Pierre Garcon's contract. After these moves I had roughly 33.5 million dollars to play around with. I made the following moves via free agency:
Re-signed Colt McCoy and Niles Paul: McCoy grasped Gruden's offense well, and wasn't expensive to retain. Paul is underrated in my opinion and also wasn't expensive to keep around, with Jordan Reed's inability to stay healthy and Logan Paulson's cut I felt the Redskins needed to keep Paul around for depth reasons.
Rob Housler TE:
At just 26 years old, 6'5", and 250 pounds Housler can help the Redskins in a variety of ways. Housler is big enough to be an in line blocker, and is a pretty good receiver as well. He isn't a Pro Bowl type player but he is consistent and does just about everything well.
Byron Bell T:
Bell is McCloughan's type of lineman, 6'5 and 340 pounds. Bell is the perfect fit for new offensive line coach Bill Callahan's power schemes, and can come in and start right away so that Morgan Moses doesn't have to rush back from injury and the Redskins don't feel the need to reach for a starting right tackle in the draft.
George Selvie DE:
While the Cowboys are busy trying to figure out how to re-sign Dez Bryant and Demarco Murry, I gladly stole their quietly productive defensive lineman George Selvie. Selvie will help add depth to a defensive line that desperately needs it, and will be a solid rotational player who came pretty cheap.
George Johnson DE:
Similarly, while the Lions try to figure out what to do with Ndamukong Suh, I quickly signed another solid defensive lineman in George Johnson, who enjoyed a bit of a breakout season, registering six sacks. Johnson had a long road to the NFL, and at 27 still has a lot of tread on the tires. Adding Johnson and Selvie adds quality players capable of starting, giving the Redskins a good defensive line rotation, something more and more defenses are using.
Dan Williams NT:
To finish up the defensive line over haul, I brought in Dan Williams, who will be the first legit 3-4 nose tackle to be a part of the Redskins roster since the team made the switch back in 2010. At just 27, Williams can be the anchor of the Redskins defense for at least a few years.
Malcolm Smith LB:
The former Super Bowl MVP comes to Washington to help in many different ways. I think Smith can make the shift inside and start beside Keenan Robinson, and would help by giving the Redskins another athletic linebacker capable of covering backs and tight ends.
Da'Norris Searcy FS:
For far too long, the Redskins have failed to properly fix the safety position. However, instead of bringing in a guy like Devin McCourty or Rahim Moore on some record breaking deal worth way too much money, I opted to sign one of the best up and coming free safeties in the league. While Searcy may not be the player McCourty is, I feel I got the better value, signing the 26 year old to a modest deal which he will likely out play by the time it is all said and done.
Ron Parker SS:
Ron Parker is a versatile player capable of playing either safety position and has some corner experience as well. I brought Parker in relatively inexpensively to likely start beside Searcy. Parker can compete against Phillip Thomas, Akeem Davis, and future draft picks, however, I feel much better going into 2015 with Searcy and Parker patroling the back end than I did entering 2014.
Kyle Arrington CB:
While the Patriots are trying to figure out how to keep Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis in Foxborough I gladly signed Kyle Arrington away from the defending champs. A solid slot man as well as a very good special teams player, Arrington would be a welcomed addition along with Searcy and Parker to the Redskins secondary.
The theme of free agency? Young, up and coming, and cheap. The oldest player I signed was Arrington at 28. Considering the Redskins have 7 wins in the last two years, I didn't make a ton of signings trying to turn things around, because like McCloughan I believe that has to come through the draft, but I feel good leaving free agency believing that the Redskins are a better football team moving forward.
In order to stockpile selections, I made a few trades, including trading back twice in the first round. When it was all said and done, I ended up with a total of eleven selections, and here's how I filled those eleven selections:
Round 1, Pick 19: Brandon Scherff, G, Iowa:
I was surprised to see Scherff still on the board at 19, although I do think with his skill set and the fact that he will likely play guard in the NFL the middle of the first is an appropriate place to select him. So, when he was still available at 19 I did not hesitate to add some beef and toughness to the interior of the Redskins line. Scherff is a mauler who can be a day one starter at guard.
Round 2, Pick 6: Paul Dawson, LB, TCU:
I recently did a draft profile of Paul Dawson, and if you read it you already know that I was thrilled to have Dawson on the board at the top of the second round. With Keenan Robinson, Malcolm Smith, and Dawson now on the roster, the Redskins have some of the most athletic linebackers in the league in DC. New defensive coordinator Joe Barry will have plenty of ways to use the athletic, over achieving linebacker.
Round 2, Pick 19: Cam Erving, C, FSU:
I was surprised to see Erving still on the board at this point, and was happy to select him here. Although Kory Lichtensteiger was a bright spot on the offensive line last year (did not let up a sack) he will turn 30 before the season starts, and has no true backup. Erving is versatile and can play different positions across the line or even challenge Licht for the starting job.
Round 3, Pick 5: Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss:
I really like Cody Prewitt coming out of Ole Miss, I think he could challenge for a starting job, or at least be groomed into a quality starting strong safety. Prewitt has good range and plays man to man very well, and has a knack for making plays whether it be interceptions or forcing fumbles. The Safety position that was such a mess entering into the off-season is finally getting some depth.
Round 3, Pick 11: Tre Jackson, G, FSU:
I feel like a bit of a hypocrite here because I don't really believe the Redskins offensive line needs the total overhaul most people think it does. However, I stick to a best player available mentality when making selections and it's just not my fault that I have now drafted the third offensive lineman with the ability to make an impact early in their careers in the first three rounds. Regardless, I'll take it.
Round 3, Pick 13: Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn:
Coates is a raw prospect, but an electrifying athlete. Since the Redskins have good depth at the receiver position they can focus on improving Coates overall game and route running without forcing him on the field early. I know receiver isn't the biggest need here, but Coates' ceiling is huge, and think about how tough it will be for defenses to stop Coates and Jackson on the field at the same time.
Round 4, Pick 6: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama:
I really like Yeldon, and thanks to a deep running back class I was able to wait until the fourth round to snag him rather than spend a second rounder on another guy I liked in Jay Ajayi. Yeldon is big and fast enough to run between the tackles and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. I believe Yeldon can immediately replace Roy Helu as the teams third down back.
Round 4, Pick 17: Ronald Darby, CB, FSU:
I guess this is the draft of the Seminoles, this time I selected cornerback Ronald Darby. Provided that either David Amerson can break out of his sophomore slump or DeAngelo Hall can recover from two Achilles tears to man the corner position opposite Bashaud Breeland and that Arrington can man the slot Darby will be able to wait his turn and work on perfecting his technique to go along with his phenomenal track speed. If developed well, Darby has star potential.
Round 5, Pick 5: Rob Havenstein, T, Wisconsin:
I am just on a roll when it comes to offensive line today, managing to grab Havenstein in the fifth round presents fantastic value. Havenstein has outstanding size (6'8" 333) and I think he can be developed into a quality starting right tackle. Havenstein is also a local kid, playing high school football at Linganore High School.
Round 6, Pick 6: Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss:
I took advantage of the NFL's recent obsession with longer cornerbacks to grab the diminutive 5'9 former Rebel standout much later than I should have been able to. Golson had 9 interceptions and 16 pass breakups his senior year. Golson provides good depth at the slot cornerback position, and can be groomed to be Arrington's ultimate successor.
Round 7, Pick 7: Jessie James, TE, Penn State:
In the seventh round I selected Penn State's mammoth tight end Jessie James (6'7" 254). James is a talented player, whose production doesn't match his potential. James could compete for a roster spot initially by solid special teams play, but would likely land on the practice squad for a year.
The Bottom Line:
I feel good entering the 2015 season. I don't think I've put the Redskins in a position to compete for a Super Bowl (I'm only human after all), but I feel like the Redskins are a deeper, more competitive team after this potential off-season. Not everything worked out the way I wanted it, I probably ended up with too many offensive lineman, and I didn't really address the outside linebacker position like I had hoped too. But at the end of the day, I'm happy with the results, how do you think I did?