When pick 17 rolls around this Thursday evening, many Redskins fans are sure to be surprised by who is chosen; this happens every year. Fans want X and the staff sees value in Z...that's just how things work.
If you look at the current Redskins roster, the front 7 is made up of three former 4-3 college defensive ends who have been converted to outside linebacker by the geniuses who run this team. One of them, Ryan Kerrigan, although he's better as a pure 7-technique in an even front, has lived up to his draft position in the first round. Trent Murphy showed great promise the last two seasons, but a suspension for PED's, and his inability to effectively play in space will hinder his production. He is set to become a free agent next year. Preston Smith showed up during the second half of his rookie season, then disappeared for the majority of 2016. A search party is still out looking for him as of this writing. Junior Galette, who has yet to play a down for the Redskins since signing two years ago, remains the Wild Card.
The need for pass rushers in the NFL is great. The need for 3-4 teams to select OLB's who can rush the passer and play in space when needed is paramount. Given the need for men who can rush the passer, and the uncertainty surrounding the Redskins current 3-4 outside linebackers, it would not be surprising to see the Redskins look at an edge rusher with their first round pick. There are also a few players who could be available at pick 17 who could fill two rolls - ILB and edge.
Below are the top 3-4 edge defenders in this draft:
Derek Barnett Tenn. 6-3 259
Takkarist McKinley UCLA 6-2 250
Tyus Bowser Houston 6-3 247
There is also the possibility the Redskins could look at a hybrid type player, who can play inside linebacker on run downs, and rush the passer in sub packages. Below are two players who could fit into this mold in the first round.
Haason Reddick Temple 6-1 238
T. J. Watt Wisc. 6-4 252
With the need for pass rushers being high amongst all NFL teams, will the Redskins look to shore up their defense by adding the best available edge defender who fits into their 3-4 scheme in the first round? Could a hybrid OLB/ILB be the way to go?