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Draft Prospects To Watch In The 2016 College Playoff

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Watching the College Playoffs this year? Here are some prospects that could help the Redskins.

Texas A&M v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Washington Huskies

Sydney Jones, CB
6’0” / 181 lbs. | Jr

If I’m honest there are a crap-ton of players I could have told you to keep an eye on if you're planning on catching Washington in the College Football Playoff. I chose Sydney Jones for one simple reason he is arguably the lone cornerback back in this draft with true shutdown potential. I did a double take at his stats because it seemed so unreal even at the college level.

Forget those stats though when you watch Jones play. You’ll see just how sticky and annoying he is to his opposition. At this moment I think that Jones is the best CB in the country and is a sure-fire 1st-round pick if he decides to declare. -Cadillactica

Budda Baker, FS
5’10” / 192 lbs. | Jr

If you like following draft prospects, and really want the Redskins to invest in a safety this draft class, I would definitely keep my eye on Budda Baker. I write about lots of guys I think have talent and help the Redskins but Baker is one player that I think is a McCloughan draft pick through and through. He is physical and aggressive with decent ball skills. He may not be a true single-high FS, but he just makes plays. -Cadillactica

Vita Vea, DT
6’5” / 332 lbs. | RS So

Vea is only a redshirt Sophomore so while he’s technically eligible to declare for the NFL Draft in 2017, it’s unsure whether he actually will. What’s certain though is Vita Vea is a grown-ass man at 6’5” and 332 pounds. His lateral agility is the most impressive aspect of his game which allows him to make athletic tackles in the backfield.

Vea appears to be a strong run defender with interior pass-rushing upside (4 sacks, 1 forced fumble in ‘16). He needs to keep improving his strength, pad level, and hand usage, but he’s a promising defensive line prospect that would fit in our scheme as 1-gap defensive tackle or end. -Aaron

Clemson Tigers

Jordan Leggett, TE
6’5’’ / 258 lbs. | Sr

Yes, I know TE is not a priority. As much as some want the Redskins to go defense with every single pick this year talent and ability trump position in a BPA approach. Leggett is a highly athletic TE so I can see why he would be compared to our own Jordan Reed. Leggett is coming off a career year with the Clemson offense and has a propensity for getting open. -Cadillactica

Ben Boulware, LB
6’0” / 240 lbs. | Sr

If Will Compton were an iPhone, Ben Boulware would be ‘Will Compton S’. He’s been the heart and soul of the Clemson defense for the past year and in 2016 logged 105 total tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception. The following adjectives come to mind when watching Boulware’s tape: toughness, motor, instincts, passion. He lacks top-end burst or agility which will put a definite ceiling on his draft stock - think 4th round. However he’s serviceable enough in coverage and his instincts make up some for lack of real speed. -Aaron

Alabama Crimson Tide

Ryan Anderson, OLB
6’2’’ / 253 lbs. | Sr

There are a lot of good players on Alabama’s defense but Ryan Anderson is one of the most impressive. He has defined himself by his effort, passion, and level of “dog”.

Anderson is one of the best edge rushers in the country and has been causing trouble all year for opposing QBs and RBs. He has an impressive 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks this year. Watch him against Washington’s offensive line he should cause a great deal of trouble for Washington and Jake Browning. -Cadillactica

Eddie Jackson, FS
6’0” / 194 lbs. | Sr

Eddie Jackson is one of my favorite 2017 Draft prospects and was arguably one of the best players on Alabama’s defense that has been discussed in the realm of ‘Best College Defense Ever’. He’s a versatile, passionate player that can play at cornerback or free safety. Unfortunately Jackson suffered a broken leg 8 games into the 2016 season, ending his college career; however he is expected to make a full recovery.

One of the first things that immediately jumped out to me watching Jackson’s tape is his range from the centerfield safety spot. On top of that he has fluid hips and strong instincts to quicky recognize and diagnose passing concepts. These skills combine to make an impressive ballhawk, evidenced by the fact he’s recorded 7 interceptions in the past 2 seasons. He’s a first-round prospect that the Redskins should seriously consider if they want to improve their safety talent. -Aaron

Ohio State Buckeyes

Pat Elflein, C/G
6’3” / 300 lbs. | RS Sr

This dude is going to be a really, really good lineman at the next level and is probably the best offensive line prospect in the 2017 Draft. Has all the tools to succeed: strength, movement ability, instincts, toughness, and leadership. Won the 2016 Rimington Trophy, awarded to college football’s best center, but has experience at all 3 interior line spots.

Elflein excels in the run game, both sealing off rushers to create beautiful running lanes and effortlessly getting to the next level to take down linebackers and defensive backs. He also anchors well on pass plays, rarely getting pushed into the backfield. The only negative mark I noticed is that he doesn’t always finish plays; he’s more of a technician than a bully. Elflein deserves a first-round grade but he might slip to the second because of the devaluation of his position. -Aaron

Honorable Mentions

There are some obvious big-name players omitted from this list, either because they’ll be unavailable when the Redskins pick in the first round or because we wanted to focus on a variety of position groups. Among those left out are Carlos Watkins, Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, Reuben Foster, Tyquan Lewis, Raekwon McMillan, Malik Hooker, and Gareon Conley.