We're less than a week away from the start of the 2015 NFL Draft! This will be the 2nd to last mock draft roundup this year, with the final one coming on draft day morning for the final predictions. Mock draft fatigue has set in for everyone, and the draft can't get here soon enough. The NFL's decision to move the draft back a few weeks has been awesome...for their profit margin, not so much the fans. Under the old timeline, we would already have a dozen new articles posted on the newest group of Redskins saviors, and several more lauding new GM Scot McCloughan as a genius for his draft moves.
Last night, ESPN's draft "experts" Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay participated in a three round mock live mock draft, and made some interesting choices(Vic Beasley in the 2nd, Todd Gurley to the Giants). McShay was first up for the Redskins, and unlike his amazing mock earlier this week, takes Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida to replace Brian Orakpo. In the 2nd round it's Kiper's turn, and he goes with a player that I picked in the MTD Mock Draft last week, T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt. The next two players taken in the mock(Eric Kendricks and Landon Collins), could also be in play for the Redskins in the 2nd, especially safety Landon Collins. Finally in the 3rd, McShay is up again, and he gives Jay Gruden the RB he has been looking for in Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah. This pick would surely piss many Redskins fans off who don't feel that RB is a need, but it has been reported all offseason that Gruden is looking for a RB, and there are question marks on Silas Redd and Chris Thompson.
6 more days until the draft...
McShay's pick: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
We're thrilled that Fowler is available at this spot, as he's the top-ranked edge rusher on my board, and that's Washington's biggest need. He also has the size new general manager Scot McCloughan covets at the position.
Kiper's pick: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Clemmings has a little boom-or-bust to him because the talent and frame are ahead of the skill set, but the value is fine here at a need position. Next two picks: Eric Kendricks, ILB; Landon Collins, S.
McShay's pick: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Abdullah is a great value pick here, and the Redskins could use a difference-maker as a change-of-pace back -- particularly in the passing game and on third downs -- to pair with workhorse back Alfred Morris. Abdullah fits the bill.
Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB/DE, Florida, Jr.
Edge rusher is now a significant need with Brian Orapko bolting for Tennessee. The numbers don't always show it, but Fowler is the definition of disruption and his experience in a hybrid system at Florida will make his transition at the next level even easier.
2nd Round: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
3rd Round: Cody Prewitt, FS, Ole Miss
Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
I had the Redskins picking Danny Shelton in a previous update, but with Terrance Knighton signed on, Washington can select the top player available who makes sense for them. That would be the rising Vic Beasley, who was terrific at the NFL Combine.
Beasley doesn't really fill a glaring need, as the Redskins have Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy as edge rushers. However, Brian Orakpo left for Tennessee, so depth is needed. Beasley would join the two to form a very strong rotation of pass-rushers to harass Tony Romo and the other opposing quarterbacks in the NFC East.
2nd Round: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
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.
3rd Round: Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State
The Redskins could pick Amari Cooper or Kevin White at No. 5 overall. If not, perhaps they'll look at a receiver in the middle rounds. Pierre Garcon didn't take to Jay Gruden's scheme, so Washington may want a new starting receiver.
Leonard Williams, DT/DE, USC
The Redskins lost Brian Orakpo in free agency and could use another pass-rusher to team with Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy. Joe Barry could get a versatile weapon for his defense with Williams, who played the three-technique for Barry's mentor Monte Kiffin as a freshman and would also be a perfect fit as a five technique in a 3-4.
Williams recorded 80 tackles, seven sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss, one interception, three forced fumbles and three passes batted in 2014. The 6-foot-5, 302-pounder has some natural strength and speed, plus the ability to play all over on the defensive line as a 3-4 defensive end, 4-3 end or tackle. Williams could stand to get stronger for the NFL and gets in trouble when he plays too high, but a shoulder injury that required surgery could have impacted his power in 2014. Still, Williams is very disruptive and capable of taking over games.
Williams played well for USC in 2013. He recorded 74 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and five sacks. The sophomore generated more pass rush than the numbers indicate. Williams was the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2012 after a fabulous debut for the Trojans. He totaled 64 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, four passes batted and an interception that season.
2nd Round: Byron Jones, CB/S, Connecticut
Obviously, the Redskins need safety help. Adding a fast defensive back who can cover a lot of ground would help them to improve their defense in the deep portion of the field.
Jones (6-1, 199) recorded 24 tackles, four passes broken up and two interceptions in 2014 before a shoulder injury ended his season after seven games. He made himself a star of the Combine with huge broad and vertical jumps. He followed that up blazing a fast 40 time at his pro day.
Jones played well in 2013 - his first season at cornerback - with 60 tackles and three interceptions. In 2012, Jones was a starter at safety and had 88 tackles with an interception. He broke into the starting lineup during the 2011 season and had 51 tackles.
3rd Round: A.J. Cann, G, South Carolina
The Redskins grab some offensive line depth and competition.
Cann (6-3, 313) is a strong run-blocker who opened up a lot of holes for Mike Davis. Cann put together a number of good games and steadily improved his pass protection. He broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2011 and was a mainstay in the lineup from then on.
Cann has to further improve his pass protection and his ability to play in space. He struggles with speed rushers and when he's forced to get out of the phone booth. Sources with NFL teams said they view Cann as a likely third-round pick and a poor man's Larry Warford or Gabe Jackson.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
RGIII told Jeff Darlington that he was told by Scot McCloughan, "I'm going to put the 10 best players around you to maximize your potential." Adding Amari Cooper to an already-strong receiving corps would certainly be adding to the talent around RGIII as well as giving the Redskins the ability to shed some of the $25m cap allotted to their top three receivers in 2016.
2nd Round: Carl Davis, DE, Iowa
In addition to RGIII's comments about new GM Scot McCloughan bolstering the offense, the Redskins quarterback said he expects the draft to make the team "tough in the trenches." This goes along with ESPN reporter John Keim's assessment that McCloughin likes to go with tough, 'meat and potatoes' players in the draft. Carl Davis certainly fits the bill as he adds depth, toughness, and grit to the trenches on the (3-4) defensive end. See what I did there?
3rd Round: Eric Rowe, CB/S, Utah
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
Comment: Beasley is the most explosive edge rusher in the draft.
2nd Round: Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
Comment: Fisher could start at RT from Day 1 and provide insurance at LT.
Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida
Might be an easy decision for the Redskins, as they would get their hands on one of the most talented players in the draft.
2nd Round: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Clemmings is still learning the position, but has the tenacity to move defensive ends in the run game -- something the Redskins desperately need.
3rd Round: Alex Carter, CB/S, Stanford
Carter's a versatile defender who could step in at corner or safety for the Redskins. His presence, along with former 49er Chris Culliver, should improve a sieve-like pass defense that gave up a league-worst 8.2 yards a catch in 2014.