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2015 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Pass Rushers Take Over the Redskins Top Pick

The Combine ins finished and we're starting to see some adjustments in the weekly draft projections.

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If you are in the "OL is the only pick in the 1st Round" crowd, this week's mock draft roundup is not for you.  There is exactly one offensive lineman mocked to the Redskins at #5.  There are several mocks that have the Redskins taking either A.J. Cann, Cameron Erving, or T.J. Clemmings in the 2nd Round after going pass rusher in the 1st, but there is a definite shift away from OL at the top of the draft.

The most popular name among the pass rushers for the Redskins is now Dante Fowler, Jr. with Shane Ray a close second.  Fowler had a very good Combine, but has strengths and weaknesses like all of the other players at the top that need to be evaluated closely.  There is still a wide range of pass rushers being projected to the Skins, and with this class, it will probably remain that way until the draft takes place in 65 days.  Other names this week include Vic Beasley, and Bud Dupree who both put on a show at the Underwear Olympics.

Mocking the Draft

Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

Before the Combine, Gregory said he wanted to be a linebacker. At the Combine, he had the build of a linebacker and showed the movement skills of a linebacker. If he's on the board for Washington, he should be the pick and replace Brian Orakpo.

Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

The Redskins need to upgrade the offensive line, but there aren't any candidates worthy of the fifth overall pick. Gregory would add some punch to the Redskins' pass rush.

Sports illustrated(Banks)

Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

With Brian Orakpo heading into free agency after his injury-shortened 2014 season, Washington goes out and lands a substantial upgrade for the pass rush in the draft's top five.

Bleacher Report(Miller)

Dante Fowler, Jr., DE/OLB, Florida

New general manager Scot McCloughan has been very influential in building powerhouse football teams in San Francisco and Seattle-now he'll take that mentality to Washington, where Dan Snyder's team needs an identity.

McCloughan has favored athletes with long arms and big hands in his previous stops, which is what makes Dante Fowler such a good fit here. Fowler is only 6'3", but his arm length of 33.75" is very good. Add in a 9.5" hand with an impressive 261-pound frame, and Fowler is one of the bigger edge-rusher's in the class.

With Brian Orakpo set to leave in free agency, Fowler can step into this defense and be the complementary rusher Ryan Kerrigan needs.

Round 2

T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt

CBS Sports(Kirwan)

Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida

The Brian Orakpo experiment is over and the Redskins need a pass rusher opposite Ryan Kerrigan. Fowler is a 260-pound pass rusher that can play from any stance and he is big enough to play all three downs.


Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida

The Redskins could use offensive line help and a safety, but they also could consider an edge rusher as they like the in-house offensive linemen drafted last year. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if Washington signed Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist in free agency. Redskins executive A.J. Smith drafted Gilchrist, while defensive coordinator Joe Barry knows him well. Barry will probably run a hybrid 4-3/3-4 defense, and Fowler is a perfect fit to pair with Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy.

Fowler finished 2014 with a total of 60 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, one pass broken up and a forced fumble. He was extremely disruptive and a big presence behind the line of scrimmage. The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder is fast and physical. He has a lot of upside for the NFL. Fowler could play defensive end or stay as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Fowler was excellent for the Gators in 2013. He racked up 50 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one pass batted and three forced fumbles for the season. Fowler was a First-Team All-SEC Freshman-Team selection in 2012 even though he was a backup. Fowler recorded 47 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks that year.

Round 2

Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State

The Redskins add more offensive line competition and depth. With a draft pick to compete with Spencer Long and Morgan Moses, Washington should be set with an improved young line.

Erving struggled at left tackle in the first half of 2014, but part of it could be attributed to Florida State's alignment not allowing Erving to have depth in his stance. Florida State moved him to center, and Erving really played well in the middle of the line. Sources say they view him more as a right tackle or guard, but Erving has a lot of flexibility due to his athleticism and he could play possibly any position on the offensive line on game days.

Erving did a good job at protecting Jameis Winston in 2013. Erving also opened up a lot of holes in the ground game. The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder missed the 2010 season with a back injury. Erving then played defensive tackle in 2011 as a redshirt freshman backup. The Seminoles moved Erving to left tackle for 2012, and the sophomore ended up starting 14 games there.


Danter Fowler, Jr., DE/OLB, Florida

Fowler played the same position in Will Muschamp's defense as Washington's Brian Orakpo. Adding Fowler opposite Orakpo in their 3-4 defense could provide Washington with the ability to contain the pocket and provide edge pressure without loosing anything in run defense.

Missouri's Shane Ray could also go here playing the same position, but there are some size concerns that aren't present with Fowler. The Redskins also have a need along the offensive line, so Scherff again could be a possibility here. But Fowler is the stronger prospect, and does help the team fulfill a need.


Dante Fowler, Jr., DE/OLB, Florida

In the Fowler-over-Randy Gregory argument, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry had more success with the forceful edge players such as Melvin Ingram (when he was healthy) in San Diego, even though the Chargers drafted more of a speed option in Jeremiah Attaochu, who had an uneventful rookie season, last year. Ray would add some life to a lifeless Redskins rush and give the defense a little more vinegar.

Round 2

A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina

The Redskins could use a little more grit and force up front, and even if Cann is strictly a guard he could help anchor the run game with his experience and toughness.


Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri

The Redskins are not filling a primary need at all. Brian Orakpo is heading for free agency, but they still have Ryan Kerrigan and 2014 second-rounder Trent Murphy. However, Shane Ray is the best player on the board, so I don't think Washington will be able to pass on him, given how this mock draft has played out with Ronnie Stanley headed back to school. Besides, the Redskins can rotate three talented pass-rushers, and Ray will give them depth at a key position.

Round 2

Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State

The Redskins obviously need to make multiple upgrades to their woeful secondary. Help is needed at both corner and safety, so Washington can take the best player available at either position.

U~T San Diego

Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri

If the Redskins resign Brian Orakpo, this pick will likely be an offensive tackle. Ray would be a solid replacement otherwise. Top needs: DB, DL, OL

Round 2

A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina

CSN Washington

Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri

Perfect world, the Redskins fortify the offensive line. At least that's what the masses believe. No doubt upgrades are needed and obviously, that could take place in free agency. Still, I keep going back to the quality numbers generated on the ground and how the sacks dramatically decreased with Kirk Cousins under center rather than Robert Griffin III. Then factor how there isn't apparently a tackle worthy of this high-end district and I'm going elsewhere for the Redskins. Specifically, a pass rusher and there a few good ones. Ray recorded 14.5 sacks this season at Missouri. Not sure what the Missouri star's addition means for Trent Murphy in the starting lineup - please, don't tell me about packages-, but it should mean applying more pressure on the Tony Romo's of the world.

Round 2

Carl Davis, DT, Iowa

If the Redskins insist on sticking with the 3-4 scheme, they must upgrade the nose tackle slot. The 6-foot-5, 321-pound Davis rocked the Senior Bowl practices and is generating first-round buzz. Backup plans: Florida OT D.J. Humphries, Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson, South Carolina G A.J Cann.

CBS Sports(Brugler)

Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson

With Brian Orakpo set to hit free agency, pass rusher will be high on the Redskins' wish list. Beasley absolutely crushed the combine, showing up at a good weight (248 pounds) and showing off the strength/athleticism combo that teams covet at the position.


Alvin "Bud" Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky

This could be a prime trade spot for a team looking to move up to get Mariota, but if they keep it, they can grab pass rush help in the form of Dupree. He possesses a variety of pass rush moves and a quick first step, which will get him on the field early opposite Ryan Kerrigan, especially in obvious passing situations.

USA Today

Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

The Redskins need to get younger and stronger up front to help their secondary while opening rush lanes for OLBs Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy. Shelton will tie up plenty of blockers with his massive body (6-2, 339) and relentless effort.

Riggo's Rag

Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

I think Danny Shelton will be the Redskins pick. He vaulted himself up draft boards with an impressive performance during the Senior Bowl and topped it off by performing well at the NFL combine. The Redskins have never had a true nose tackle for their 3-4 defense and Shelton could give them that. At 6,2, 339 he has great size, but Shelton also possesses freakish quickness and agility for a man that big.

FOX Sports

Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

This could be a great opportunity for Washington to trade back. A team with so many needs across the board, there could be many teams looking to jump up in front of New York to get a sniff at Marcus Mariota here. Shelton was the star of Senior Bowl week, and in a Draft light on big-boy defensive tackles, he could go as high as top 5 this April. Shelton was a man amongst boys in Mobile, tossing centers and guards with ease, and penetrating the backfield. He had some injury issues at Washington but looked good during his senior year and interviewed well in Indianapolis.

CBS Sports(Rang)

Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

Jay Gruden's success as the play-caller in Cincinnati came with one of the league's biggest offensive lines. He inherited one of the smallest in Washington and there is no question that upgrading the O-line is an offseason priority. Not everyone sees Scherff (or any offensive lineman) as a top 10 talent, but he plays with the grit and physicality Washington is lacking and would be an immediate upgrade at right tackle.


Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

The only question here is which story will land on the front page of the Washingon Post on Friday, April 31? A photo of Marcus Mariota proudly holding up a Redskins jersey with Roger Goodell? Or will it be a black-and-white photo of RGIII, the savior of the franchise just two seasons ago, walking away into obscurity? Mariota played in a system similar to RGIII, a spread system with limited reads and without the need for pocket presence. If you believe pocket presence is learned, you could argue that Mariota has an entirely different, and more humble, leadership style than the one that doomed RGIII and will therefore be willing to do anything and everything in order to learn how to play from the pocket. If you agree with Mike Mayock and believe pocket presence is innate, well, this staff better hope Mr. Mariota possesses it.

Round 2

T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt

TJ Clemmings has been billed by ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper as the OT with the highest upside in this year's draft. Having played only two years on the offensive side of the ball, Clemmings is still learning the position and is just scratching the surface of his vast potential. He possesses prototypical size at 6' 5" 307 pounds, and was a standout DE in high school before switching to OT a mere 26 months ago at Pitt. Clemmings would add size to a Washington offensive line that is not yet built to run Jay Gruden's power run-game. Having three young (and large) pieces in Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, and T.J. Clemmings will give the Redskins plenty of options in rebuilding the offensive line.


Landon Collins, S, Alabama

The Redskins could go one of several ways with the fifth overall pick. They could continue fortifying their offensive line a year after drafting Morgan Moses. They could add a pass rusher to replace Brian Orakpo. Or they could rebuild their pass defense, which gave up a league-worst 8.2 yards per attempt in 2014. Alabama safety Landon Collins is aggressive, can play either safety spot and is equally at home roaming center field or stopping the run.