With the 2017 NFL Draft just eight days away, it's time for Hogs Haven's writers to once again join forces and discuss the biggest questions surrounding the Redskins' potential draft strategy and outcomes.
For today's edition of the draft roundtable, I'll be joined by three of Hogs Haven's top draft experts: Mark Tyler, Aaron Lesher and Steve Shoup.
Q: If it looks like all of your favorite first-round players aren't going to make it to the Redskins at 17 then should the team trade up or down?
Aaron: The Redskins should consider trading up a few spots if a defensive difference-maker like Reuben Foster or Jon Allen is on the board. My cut-off to trade up is four spots to the Cardinals' selection at 13th overall. To get that, the Redskins would likely have to give up their 3rd-round pick, but receive a 5th-round pick in return. Otherwise, there will be a good player left at 17 - stay there and take BPA.
James: In my mind, there are eight elite defensive players in this draft (Garrett, Thomas, Foster, Allen, Hooker, Lattimore, Adams and Reddick), and I desperately want the Redskins to land one of them. I think that either Washington's 3rd rounder or both of their 4ths would be worth moving if it resulted in Washington getting any one of them, with the exceptions of possibly Lattimore and Reddick.
I am torn here though, because this team has a lot of holes, and they may have even more come next year with seemingly half of the team hitting free agency. Also, my favorite Fanspeak mocks tend to be the ones in which I trade down.
Ultimately I'd have to pull a trigger on a trade-up if doing so was the difference between adding one of the top defenders and not being able to do so. I also just don't think a lot of these great values that we see in our mocks will actually be there come round 3. The Redskins do not have any truly transcendent players on the defensive side of the ball, and if they can get one then they need to make that happen.
Kevin Ricca of the Audible is certainly on board with such a move. Last night on the show, I dangled the prospect of spending a third rounder to move up a few spots to take Reuben Foster, and without solicitation Kevin quickly proclaimed that he'd even be willing to give up this year's 2nd rounder to make it happen. Kevin loves Foster so much that I think he might be willing to sign over the deed to his house to anyone that could make that deal happen. Check out the show below.
Steve: If the top targets (for me that is McCaffrey and Reddick) aren't on the board and no one surprising has slipped (Adams, Hooker, Allen, Foster), then I think the Redskins need to trade back and stock-pile some additional 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks in the process.
The issue for me is that the Redskins have put themselves in a position where they have a ton of needs in 2018, and they could use the extra draft picks to help fill those future needs while adding quality depth/role players for this year. Trading up is likely too prohibitive, as even moving up a few spots could cost them a 4th or a 3rd-round pick.
Mark: I would absolutely look to trade down into the later part of the 1st round or even into the 2nd if the price was right. I think the depth in this draft at our greatest positions of need is tremendous. ILB, FS, DT, G, WR and RB all have some very exciting options in rounds 2-4, and I believe we can pluck a few starters later on in this draft if we choose wisely.
The only way I'd consider a trade-up, is if a prospect like Allen, Adams, Hooker or Foster fell outside the top 10, and it wouldn't cost us a king's ransom to move up a few spots (I'd say ideally no more than 5) to secure their services.
Aaron: While usually I'm all in favor of trading down and accumulating more picks, the Redskins already have 10 picks in this draft and dropping down to get more is silly, so I definitely disagree there.
Q: Yesterday, we asked who the most ideal "realistic" pick for the Redskins at 17 was. How would you answer that same question for the team's second-round pick (49th overall)?
Steve: 49 is so tough to predict because there are a number of solid players at a variety of positions that the Redskins need who could be available. A lot also depends on what they do in the first round. If they were to say go offense with a RB, I think that not only takes RB off the table for round two, but likely any other offensive pick like say a top guard like Dorian Johnson or Dan Feeney.
For the most realistic pick, assuming they didn't go safety in round one, I will say they take one at 49 from the group of Marcus Williams, Budda Baker and Obi Melifonwu.
Aaron: Most 'realistic' pick at 49 for the Redskins? I'd have to say Budda Baker, Safety - Washington. I'm actually not very high on him, but he makes too much sense if he's there in the second round. The Redskins also met with him at the Combine so there's some level of interest.
James: It doesn't sound like Baker would actually be your ideal pick there. The feeling is mutual. I used to love him, but after seeing his production and athleticism numbers, he just doesn't do it for me anymore. I like him, and I wouldn't be upset with the pick, but I'm hoping that the Redskins can do a bit better.
Mark: I'd like to think Chris Wormley would be most ideal, as he is a guy I view as an immediate contributor to this defense as a 5-technique defensive tackle. However, I have some doubts that he will be there when we pick. Realistically, I think the guy who is most logical is Marcus Williams, the free safety from Utah. He's the second best center fielder in this draft, and could work his way into the lineup behind a veteran like DeAngelo Hall at FS. My second option would be Raekwon McMillan at inside linebacker.
Aaron: I think both Chris Wormley and Raekwon McMillan would be bad picks in the 2nd round. I'm on the record as saying Wormley is one of the most overrated players in this draft and McMillan is a very average player. The Redskins need difference-makers and I see neither as being that.
Mark: I think I need to respond to Aaron on Wormley and McMillan.
Wormley was a complete man-child against the Big 10's best offense (Penn State) as Michigan put a complete ass-whooping on them. This kid was all over the field, showing hustle, disruption and raw athleticism. He was so versatile last year that Michigan used him as a 3-tech, 5-tech and 7-tech. He showed more flashes off the edge than I saw from Taco Charlton (who is projected to go higher as a pure edge guy). Finally, Wormley has great length at 6'5" 300 pounds with 34" arms. Still, even with those long arms he did 23 reps at 225, and showed in games that he can keep OT's from getting into his body.
His stats speak for themselves. As a junior on a great Michigan defense, he had 43 tackles, 14.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He garnered much more attention as a senior seeing a lot more double teams, but still had 36 tackles, 7.5 for a loss and 5.5 sacks.
Wormley was a four-year player at Michigan, starting most of three years.
The knock on McMillan is he lacks athleticism, and I could never understand this. I saw the kid blanket one of the fastest running backs in college football (Saquon Barkley) on a wheel-route last year and save a would-be touchdown right before the half of the 2016 PSU-OSU game. I don't know another inside linebacker that would have made that play. I saw him do the same against Wisconsin's Cory Clement, an excellent receiving back in his own right.
McMillan is a rock-solid 6'2" 240 pounds, and ran a 4.61 40 at the combine. He also looked amazing in on-field drills, showing loose hips and quick feet. In three seasons at Ohio St (one of the best teams in college football) he had 275 tackles, 18 for a loss, 6 sacks, 1 INT (which he scored a TD on) 10 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles. He had 119 tackles as a sophomore!
This kid is a major player. In my opinion, he's better than Jarrad Davis.
James: Mark, you had me at Wormley and Williams, but you lost me at McMillan. Better than Jarrad Davis? Come on, man. If I were to trade down in the first round, Davis would be one of my top targets there. I really do like Wormley though, and I love Williams. They are two of the top athletes at their respective positions in the draft, and they both have put up some very impressive numbers. I agree that taking one of them there is the ideal scenario for the Skins.
I also don't think it's totally outside of the realm of possibility for one of the top edge guys like Tyus Bowser or Derek River to fall to 49, and selecting either player could go a long way in the team's quest to improve on third down. I've seen Malik McDowell fall to or past 49 in some mocks as well, and taking him there wouldn't be nearly as untenable as it would at 17. It'd be a lot harder to pass up on that kind of talent at that point. The same thing goes for Joe Mixon.
Q: Where will Joe Mixon go in the draft and where would you be willing to take him if you were the Redskins?
James: I guess I should kick this one off because of my answer to the last question. I believe that Joe Mixon will be taken somewhere between 35th and 46th overall. I count seven teams in that range that could use help at running back and I think his talent would be too difficult to pass on at that point.
If he fell to the Redskins at 49, they found that his incident at Oklahoma was, in fact, an isolated incident and the other guys I discussed in the last question are gone then Washington should absolutely draft Mixon there. Keep in mind that there are a lot of "ifs" in that statement. What it comes down to for me is that I just don't believe Robert Kelley is the long-term answer at RB1, and I think that Joe Mixon is the most complete back in this draft.
Mark: I think Mixon goes early in the 2nd round. I don't think the Redskins will have a shot to get him by the time pick 49 comes around. I would take him at 49 if he were there.
Steve: Since all the rumors have him going somewhere on Day 2, I guess that is where Mixon will slot in, but that honestly surprises me. Mixon is a talent, but there is going to be a massive public backlash with his selection, and I just feel that teams would be wise to not select him in prime time or with a more premium pick.
From the Redskins stand point I don't think he should really be on their board. The controversy just isn't worth it to this team and there are just too many other issues the Redskins need to figure out.
Aaron: Mixon will go in the 2nd round. I have a first round grade on him and would consider taking him depending on who else is on the board (there are more than 32 first-round graded players, in my opinion). If I had to guess, he will be available at 49 and the Redskins will pass.
Q: Give me three of your favorite mid to late-round guys for the Redskins?
Mark: My favorite mid round prospect for the Redskins is DT Eddie Vanderdoes from UCLA. I think he can play nose tackle and 5-technique in our base, and even kick to 3-technique in an even front. A later round prospect we could target is Penn State linebacker Brandon Bell. He's a 4.65 guy with plus tackling skills, and special teams abilities right out of the gate. My hidden gem as either a 7th round pick or priority free agent is Lehigh safety LaQuan Lambert. He's a 6'2" 220 pound kid who ran a 4.6 40-yard dash, and has tremendous ball skills.
Aaron: I love Mark's choice of PSU linebacker Brandon Bell as a hidden gem - this kid can play! I would love to see him as a 6th or 7th-round selection.
Steve: Obviously this can be more subjective, but I don't think guys like Eddie Vanderdoes, Josh Reynolds and James Conner find themselves in many top-100 lists (though I do believe both Reynolds and Vanderdoes make a strong case that they should be).
Vanderdoes, to me, showed the health and explosion he needed to show at the Senior Bowl, and I think he can develop into a decent starter. Reynolds has great size, speed and leaping ability, and is in many ways a Josh Doctson-lite version. As for Conner, he can be a very effective between the tackles runner with some ability in the passing game. Ideally, he's not a 275-300 carry back and part of a platoon, but he can be an effective short yardage hammer for some team and take on a bigger role if you need him too.
A later round guy that I like is David Jones from Richmond. He led the FCS in interceptions his junior year and has good size and athleticism for a safety that is capable of playing either in the box or deep. He was a little banged up this year, but is healthy now; and he's likely going to be there late in the draft or as a UDFA.
Aaron: Here are a few players outside the consensus top 100 that I like for the Redskins:
Jarron Jones, DT - Notre Dame: top-15 talent, elite size, at a position of desperate need? Yes, please. And he'll be there in the 4th round. Why isn't he going higher? Injury history and motivation concerns are the answer. Watch his game against Miami this year and you'll be blown away - he was utterly dominant. The point of a good position coach is getting him to unlock the natural potential of his players, and we have one of the best in Jim Tomsula. Jones can play the 0, 1, and 3-techniques along the defensive line.
Ryan Switzer, WR - North Carolina: a 2x First-Team All-American and 1x First-Team All-ACC player that had 96 receptions for 1,117 yards and 6 TDs last year? He should be going in the first 2 rounds, right? Actually, no, it's because he's 5'8" and white. But the dude is a player. He's an excellent route runner with great hands and dangerous return skills. He reminds me a lot of Jamison Crowder, and I don't think we should over-analyze having two of those.
Ejuan Price, EDGE - Pittsburgh: Another guy with loads of talent but struggled with injuries until this year (pec and back issues) with less than optimal size for the edge (5'11", 241 lbs.). But he's a bulldog against both the run and - especially - the pass, with a whopping 24.5 sacks and 42.5 TFLs in the past two seasons. He's a 2x First-Team All-ACC pick and Second-Team All-American this year. What he lacks in length he makes up with in first-step quickness, which is very good if not elite. His shorter stature will give NFL tackles a very hard time, which is why it's realistic to expect him to continue his sack artistry at the next level.
James: I'm definitely with you guys on Vaderdoes. He'd be a great mid-round selection for the Redskins. I'm just starting to worry that the secret is out and that it will take a higher pick than originally anticipated to snag him. Ejuan Price has really been starting to grow on me too. Some other guys that stand out to me are Blair Brown (ILB-Ohio), George Kittle (TE-Georgia Tech) and Aaron Jones (RB-UTEP).
Blair Brown is a bit undersized for an inside linebacker, but he's actually a plus athlete. Brown was all over the field in 2016, when he ranked 8th in the country in total tackles, with 128 of them. His smaller stature, small-school roots and big-time production makes me hope for a reincarnation of London Fletcher's NFL career.
It seems like George Kittle can do a little bit of everything. He's another good athlete and he can score (10 touchdowns between 2015 and 2016), make the most out of his opportunities as a receiver (15.4 yards per reception), break tackles (top 12 in missed-tackle rate last season) and perhaps, most importantly for the Redskins, he can block (second in PFF blocking grade).
Aaron Jones played at a small school, but he absolutely dominated the competition there. Last year Jones ranked in the top eight in the country in the following statistics: rushing yards (5th), rushing yards per attempt (6th), yards from scrimmage (6th) and touchdowns from scrimmage (8th). Per Player Profiler, his 7.7 yard rushing average and 47% dominator rating (average a player's yardage and touchdown market share) both are in the 95th percentile or better.
I'll cheat here and give you a few more players that I like: Tedric Thompson (S-Colorado), Ishmael Zamora (WR-Baylor), Trey Hendrickson (Edge-Florida Atlantic), Dede Westbrook (WR-Oklahoma) and Chad Williams (WR-Grambling).
Q: Let's see the results from your best Fanspeak mock?
Mark: I used the CBS Big Board for my mock. I think I got tremendous value and needs with my top four selections. I was elated to see Foster fall to pick 17, so there was absolutely no hesitation there.
I may have been even happier to see Wormley sitting there at pick 49, so I went from a brisk walk to a slow jog to turn that card in.
In the third, I had Marcus Williams staring me in the face. I took that slow jog up to a full-blown sprint to hand in my card. After those three picks, I really didn't care WHAT happened after that...although Darboh sitting there in the 4th was an easy choice, and Hodges was an absolute slam-dunk!
Aaron: I just did one draft and went pretty much BPA (Fanspeak board and needs/classic difficulty/ no trades). I won't regale you with why I went with the players I did in each round, but if you want to discuss in the comments I'll happily engage.
James: I used the newest Fanspeak board, but unlike Mark and Aaron, I made multiple trades. I traded down five spots in the first and got a late third in return. I gladly took Jarrad Davis there. I wasn't big on him early in the draft process, but he's another guy that I've warmed up to. I think he would be a great compliment to Zach Brown.
After that, I pulled down a ridiculous haul with my next four picks (Caleb Brantley, Jordan Willis, Sidney Jones and Pat Elflein). I think all four players have an excellent shot at having long and productive NFL careers. Unfortunately, I don't really see most of them realistically being available at those slots next weekend.
In the later rounds, I was able to snag almost all of "my guys" that were discussed in the previous question.
Steve: I went with the CBS big board, Fanspeak needs and classic difficulty. My general strategy was to trade back in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds to stockpile picks for the future like I mentioned in my answer to the first question.
James: Here are all of our results:
|1||17||Jabrill Peppers||Christian McCaffrey||Rueben Foster|
|2||49||Caleb Brantley||Joe Mixon||Chris Wormley|
|3||81||Pat Elflein||Carlos Watkins||Marcus Sanders|
|4||114||Pat Elflein||Jaleel Johnson||Ethan Pocic|
|4||123||Blair Brown||Ejuan Price||Eddie Vanderdoes||Amara Darboh|
|5||154||Tedric Thompson||Jarron Jones||Rayshawn Jenkins||Bucky Hodges|
|6||201||Aaron Jones||Jonnu Smith||Storm Norton||Stevie Tu'ikolovatu|
|6||209||D.J. Jones||Ejuan Price||Ejuan Price|
|7||220||Delano Hill||Brandon Bell||Tanner Vallejo||Chad Kelly|
|7||235||Ishmael Zamora||Jonathan Ford||Robert Davis||D. Stringfellow|
Now, let's hear from you? Share your thoughts on our opinions and your own answers to these questions.