Color my heart warmed.
Thank you, Mel Kiper, for your amazing three-round mock of the first trio of Redskins picks in the 2015 NFL Draft. When I saw what Mel did, all I could think of was, "If this was the actual draft, I would have run out of clean shorts by now."
As most of you know...ahem...I favor rebuilding the line of scrimmage. McLovin' used free agency to bolster the defensive side of the ball, and I have argued that the draft should be our hunting grounds for no less than two possible upgrades to our current offensive line.
Sure...I have been a rather large proponent of burning our first round pick on the best offensive lineman available when we draft, but I have stopped short of suggesting there is NO other way. I suppose using the top pick on an OL would pretty much mean only one OL in the first three picks. I say that because of the obvious reality of our roster right now: a first round resource is a ton, so subsequent picks would almost have to be used to cement other spots.
With the fifth overall pick, Mel Kiper added the talented Dante Fowler to our linebacking corps. As much as I love the idea of adding the "best" OL in the first round, there is no denying our need for a potential blue-chipper to put behind our new bulk on the defensive line. So right away, Mel isn't giving me what I want, but then he goes and TOTALLY REDEEMS HIMSELF!
He follows up the Fowler pick with a high second-round selection of the offensive tackle out of Texas A&M, Cedric Ogbuehi. On one hand, the idea of once again taking a "first-round talent available in the second round" makes me cringe. We have gone this route...ummmm...before. If this was all Kiper gave me, I would be splashing in my bathtub more furiously than that guy from The Truman Show. Our history is littered with table scraps from drafts where we got a little too cute with our picks. As much as I hate to hear myself say it, Ogbuehi could be a bigtime upgrade for us at right tackle--IF his knee isn't a longterm problem. (Trust me, this pick scares the crap out of me, but he is a big man, and if healthy, Cedric could be the kind of player that Gruden favors.)
What really excites me is the use of our third-round pick on A.J. Cann, the guard out of South Carolina. Rated by most as the top guard prospect in this draft (depending on where a guy like Scherff plays), Cann would be a straight-up answer to our guard problem. Given my belief (that is not shared by everyone here, it is worth noting) that Spencer Long is a starter for us in 2015, the addition of Cann would give us a young and EXTREMELY promising offensive line.
These first three picks represent the kind of haul that would place the Redskins on rather solid footing as they look to develop a quarterback, grow in Jay Gruden's offense and become a contender. It should go without saying that these three picks would still need to be supplemented by sound decision-making in the middle rounds of the draft, especially with regard to our secondary.
Here is what Mel had to say:
Analysis: If there's been one thing that defines our defense in Washington over the past couple of seasons, it's been a lack of physical play up front and a ton of bad tackling pretty much everywhere. Fowler doesn't just bring the presence of a pass-rusher -- in reality, he still has a ways to go to be really good in that area -- he also is just a relentless battler up front, is versatile and is going to help us against the run, where we were simply awful last year. Combine him with the big bodies we've added in free agency and there's reason for optimism. Maybe we don't have certainty at the QB position, but adding Ogbuehi (a first-round talent available in Round 2 because of a knee injury) and Cann will help up front. In rebuilding this roster, my focus is on the trenches, and I think free agency and these picks start the process of improvement.