Too early for a mock draft? Probably, but college football is in the books for the season with only the bowl games and playoffs to go. Mock drafts pop up all year round, but people usually pay attention when ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, Jr. start their mock drafts for the year.
McShay released his first mock of the 2017 draft season, and it’s going to upset a lot of Redskins fans. Washington shocked many people when they traded down one spot last year and selected TCU WR Josh Doctson with the 22nd pick of the draft. Most people wanted some defensive help, especially with a stacked defensive line draft. That’s not the direction Scot McCloughan went, and time will tell if it was a good call. Doctson spent the majority of his rookie campaign on the shelf with an Achilles injury that eventually landed him on IR.
The Redskins are obviously in need of help on the defensive side of the ball this year, and for the future, but will McCloughan give the defensive need more weight in his grades this year, or go offense in the 1st round for the third year in a row?
Todd McShay has the Redskins taking another WR in the first round, picking JuJu Smith-Schuster(6’2”, 200lbs) from USC. Smith-Schuster has played for 3 seasons at USC, and has 206 receptions for 2959 yards(14.4ypc) and 24 TDs. He will announce his decision to return to school or declare for the NFL draft after USC plays Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
McShay brings up the impending free agency of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, but the Redskins are expected to re-sign at least one of their receivers. Washington also has Jamison Crowder who is having a breakout season, Josh Doctson who should be healthy, and some young players who are pushing for playing time. This pick will upset many fans who are desperate for an at least average defense. But if the Redskins don’t re-sign Jackson and Garcon, does this make more sense than it seems to right now? I would take a top defensive player in this position, but there is a lot of time between now and next year’s draft in April.
3 Players Selected before Redskins Pick:
19. Houston Texans Carl Lawson, OLB, Auburn*
20. Green Bay Packers Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State*
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State*
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC*
Watching Smith-Schuster's tape, it's clear that he loves the game and works hard. He's not a burner by any stretch, but his good size (6-2, 220), ball skills and toughness will keep him in the first-round mix for teams with a need at the position, such as Washington, which could lose Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to free agency.