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An Updated Way-Too-Early List of 2017 Redskins Draft Prospects Pt. 1

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Cadillactica takes a look at potential Redskins Targets, Stud / Sleeper Style. Aaron Lesher’s prospects to follow soon!

Washington v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We’re back! Here is a mid-season (college) primer on our prospects before and who we like now. See our original post here.

Cadillactica’s Prospects

Updates

*(Projections based on a 12 game season if player keeps up current pace)

Running Back

Stud: Dalvin Cook, Florida State

5-11 / 213lbs

He is having a great season. He has disappointed in some aspects and hasn’t done all he can to back up my claim that he is the 2nd best RB in college football (McCaffery is still doing very well, Royce Freeman is having a great year too). Still putting together a hell of a season as FSU struggles a bit. As of this writing, he is on pace for 267 carries, 1,570 yards, 14 TDs, 40 rec, 690 yards 2 TDs*.

Sleeper: Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt

5-10 / 202 lbs

Not having the breakout season predicted by some yet but quietly effective for a lowly Vandy team. Projected Stats: 272 carries, 1,364 yards, 10 TDs, 17 rec, 128 yards 0 TDs*.

Sleeper: Joseph Yearby, Miami

5-9 / 200 lbs

He's not having the breakout season I expected. Locked in a time-share and being outperformed by Sophomore Mark Walton Jr. The duo’s production is helping Miami a lot though. Projected Stats: 130 carries, 864 yards, 12 TDs, 14 rec, 130 yards 0 TDs*.

Wide Receiver

Stud: Mike Williams, Clemson

6-4 / 220 lbs

No talent drop off here just not getting the ball nearly enough in the Clemson offense. Still, he’s their leading receiver in yards. Projected Stat Line: 54 rec, 864 yards, 6 TDs*.

Sleeper: Jehu Chesson, Michigan

6-3 / 203 lbs

It’s clear if you watch Michigan games that Jake Butt and Amara Darboh have become the favorite targets of the QB. Chesson’s production has slipped. I still think he’s a baller though. Projected Stats: 30 rec, 462 yards, 2 TD, 14 carries, 88 yards, 2 TDs*.

Guard / Center

Stud: Pat Elflein, Ohio State

6-3 / 300 lbs

Not much to update, Elflein may be the first center taken in the draft. Technician.

Sleeper: Dan Voltz, Wisconsin

Retired at the beginning of this season due to injuries

Defensive Line

Stud: Carlos Watkins, Clemson

6-3 / 300 lbs

If you’ve watched any Clemson games this season you’ve seen Watkins have an impact in one form or another. He’s on pace for a career year and is likely to go in the first couple rounds of the draft. Projected Stats: 34 tackles, 4 for loss, 6 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries*.

Sleeper: Caleb Brantley, Florida

6-2 / 297 lbs

I don’t think he’s a sleeper anymore. Brantley has been one of the top graded DL this college football season. He has great power coming from the end position and is no Johnathan Bullard ;) but he has good size (6-2 / 300lbs) that could make him scheme versatile as a DE or DT. Projected Stats: 24 tackles, 6 for loss, 3 sacks*.

Inside Linebacker

Stud: Kendell Beckwith, LSU

6-2 / 252 lbs

Beckwith is still putting up decent numbers but he, like his team are struggling right now. He’s still one of the first players to the ball this season. Projected Stats: 108 tackles, 8 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 passes defended*. He sure can hit though.

Sleeper: Taylor Young, Baylor

5-10 / 225 lbs

Baylor’s 3-4 scheme has taken advantage of Young’s skill set. He’s a smaller LB but has good speed, athleticism, and good power. This season he is lining up at both Will (inside) and Jack (outside) LB. Projected Stats: 106 tackles, 13 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 passes defended*.


Safety

Stud: Eddie Jackson, Alabama

6-0 / 194 lbs

Jackson is probably one of the more versatile defensive backs in this draft class. In addition to being about to cover deep, he can come up make hits and has return skills. Projected Stats: 28 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 INT, 2 for TDs, 4 passes defended*.

Sleeper: Quin Blanding, Virginia

6-2 / 205 lbs

Blanding is having a decent season. I like defensive backs that play all over the field (which he does an excellent job of in terms of tackling) and can disrupt the pass (aka passes defended on the stat sheet) so I expect more out of him in that regard IF he is a true FS. Projected Stats: 92 tackles, 2 INT, 2 passes defended*.


New Prospects

Running Back

Stud: Brian Hill, Wyoming

6-1 / 219 lbs

Hill is Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher. A physical player that as of this writing is 6th is rushing yards in the country. I can’t help but think people will compare him to Matt Jones when they watch. Big guy (6-1 / 220 lbs) runs a big upright but can deliver punishment. You gotta watch this run. Projected Stats: 290 carries, 1,442 yards, 16 TDs, 4 rec, 20 yards 0 TDs*.

Sleeper: Matt Dayes, North Carolina State

5-9 / 203 lbs

A smaller back (5-9 / 203lbs) Dayes has a nice combination of shiftiness and power. It’s sort of unreal he isn't in the conversation (yet) with all the other backs who may come out this year. His production at NC state has been on par with theirs. Projected Stats: 235 carries, 1,351 yards, 7 TDs, 31 rec, 230 yards 0 TDs*.


Wide Receiver

Stud: Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse

6-2 / 202 lbs

He is leading the nation in receiving yards (876 yards in 6 games). The former Maryland WR is crushing ACC opponents and seems to be uncoverable. His technique and footwork are insane. Projected Stats: 102 rec, 1,752 yards, 12 TDs*.

Sleeper: Aaron Peck, Fresno State

6-3 / 225lbs

Huge body (6-3 / 225 lbs), athletic, strong hands and tough to bring down. He was lost for all of the 2015 season due to a foot injury in camp. I haven’t seen him on any major outlets draft list yet so consider him a deep sleeper right now. Watch him, if he stays healthy he’s going to rise. Projected Stats: 56 rec, 958 yards, 6 TDs.

Tight End

Stud: Jake Butt, Michigan

6-6 / 250 lbs

Butt, (obligatory hehe) is probably the most well-rounded of this year’s TE group. If you have watched any Michigan games this year you know that he is a money target in the red zone and on 3rd downs. He also isn't bad in pass protection and plays with more technique than just a body to go around. He very well may be a first rounder if he keeps up his receiving production. Projected Stats: 46 rec, 540 yards , 6 TDs*.

Sleeper: Cole Hikutini, Louisville

6-5 / 248 lbs

I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about Cole Hikutini until two weeks ago. I was watching the Louisville vs. Clemson game in my hotel room in Nashville and Hikutini kept jumping out with the plays he was making. It’s hard to jump out when you play with an explosive talent like Lamar Jackson. Hikutini makes Jackson look good and is a well-rounded player. Projected Stats: 46 rec, 626 yards, 7 TDs*

Guard / Center

Stud: Mason Cole, Michigan

6-5 / 305 lbs

This is Cole’s first season playing center and he is simply excelling at the position. The former LT was moved to center this season after the departure of Graham Glasgow (drafted by the Lions in the 3rd round). Michigan’s offensive line coach called Cole a smart, physical, and versatile player. Look at the push then look at the finish.

Sleeper: Austin Stephens, Utah State

6-3 / 305 lbs

Stephens was a player I considered writing a profile on last year. When he didn’t declare as a junior I knew if he kept up his level of play the Redskins could potentially have a mid round center prospect to look at in 2017. Stephens was named to the Rimington watch list before the beginning of the season. It's rare for me to talk stats with an o-lineman (in part because they are difficult to find) but in Stephen’s junior year he recorded 42 knockdowns (aka “pancakes”). I think that's impressive by any measure and speaks to the leverage and power he plays with. Look at him take out two blockers here:


Defensive Line

Stud: Elijah Qualls, Washington

6-1 / 321 lbs

Qualls is a big man. At 6-1 321lbs he’s like a wall in Washington’s front 4. He definitely is a talent when stopping the run but he isn't bad when getting after the QB either. What's great about Qualls is his combination of size and athleticism. He is likely to draw interest from a whole lot of NFL teams as I believe he can play DT in a 4-3 or NT/DE in a 3-4.

Sleeper: Jake Replogle, Purdue

6-5 / 289 lbs

Replogle has the potential to be one of Purdue’s highest draft picks in a few years. Somewhat quietly the Senior has put together solid Sophomore and Junior seasons with his Senior year looking like it could be the best yet. According to PFF, Replogle currently leads all FBS DT’s with 22 QB pressures. He get’s more than QB presures though, he has the ability to wreak a play Projected Stats: 75 tackles, 6 for loss, 4.5 sacks, 3 FR*.


Inside Linebacker

Stud: Azeem Victor, Washington

6-3 / 230 lbs

Victor is an athletic linebacker that has insanely good instincts. He is always around the ball. He is a large reason why Washington is having the success they are this season. His leadership and contributions are evident on defense. He can diagnose plays instantly and make a sure decision to bring down the ball carrier. Projected Stats: 92 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 passes defended, 2FF, 2 FR*.

Sleeper: Hardy Nickerson Jr., Illinois

6-0 / 230 lbs

It’s hard to not like Hardy Nickerson Jr. I wondered if he would declare last year when he was at Cal. Nickerson Jr. transferred to Illinois once former NFL coach Lovie Smith was hired as the head coach there. Smith hired Hardy Nickerson (Hardy Jr’s dad) as defensive coordinator. Nickerson Sr. spent 16 years in the NFL as a linebacker and Nickerson Jr. knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play for his dad. Nickerson is instinctive and can defend running lanes and drop into coverage. He’s the leader of the Illini defense and is extremely smart. Projected Stats: 113 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 INT*.

That was a big update. I will revisit this list once more around Bowl Season. Let me know if you guys (and gals) have any questions, if you hated this list, or if you think I snubbed someone. Thanks for reading!