With tonight’s NFL Draft start I wanted to take a look at a possible scenario that I think could really be in play this weekend. The Redskins have been heavily tied to the EDGE rushing position of late and it makes sense. No other position on defense impacts the team more than a true EDGE rusher, and the Redskins are lacking some pass rush between the loss of Chris Baker and the suspension of Trent Murphy. For me I decided to trade back since I don’t believe there is a big gap between the EDGE players who will be there at 17 and those I can get later in the first round.
Follow along with the mock draft here!
31: R1P31 EDGE JORDAN WILLIS KANSAS STATE
-Willis is one of the fastest risers in this class after a strong Senior Bowl week (including a big game) and a big Combine performance that highlighted his speed and athleticism. Willis gives the Redskins a right side EDGE rusher who can threaten left tackles with his impressive speed and quickness. That is something the Redskins have lacked since Brian Orakpo, who was able to threaten the EDGE and would force teams to respect his pass rush ability. From a production stand point the Redskins have been okay from the right side these past two years, but they haven’t had anyone who opposing teams really fear. Willis has that kind of potential, and it’s something that can be tough to find in later round players making it a premium for the 1st or 2nd round guys. While there are still some refinement issues that Willis’ needs to clean up, he wouldn’t need to be a full time starter as a rookie.
59: R2P27 S JOSH JONES NC STATE
-I traded back in the 2nd as well as there was just so much depth in this area and it allowed me to grab an extra 4th round pick. Even after trading back I was able to land a good safety prospect in Josh Jones who has the size/speed combo everyone is looking for. He can handle any role at safety and he can help make the Redskins more versatile on defense and allow them to match-up with a variety of looks and situations. Jones is a big time hitting safety, but he also shows good ball and cover skills. The Redskins could utilize more 3 safety looks this year, and allow either Jones or Swearinger to enter the box more and play up.
63: R2P31 G DORIAN JOHNSON PITTSBURGH
-Johnson is a plug-and-play starter for me and one of my favorite interior offensive linemen in this draft. He’s versatile enough to probably handle any interior position or even RT if you needed him, but he steps in day 1 at LG for the Redskins. He’s known as a smart, physical guard, who is very proficient as both a run and pass blocker. He was a 3 year starter at Pittsburgh and doesn’t have a lot of negatives to be concerned with. He would not only be an upgrade over Lauvao at LG, but he’d allow the Redskins the chance to release the veteran saving some significant cap room.
72: R3P8 DL CHRIS WORMLEY MICHIGAN
-I traded up here to ensure I’d land Wormley and find a young DL to help the weakest unit on the team. Wormley is a guy who fits the 5 tech role perfectly and he has the skill set to make him a solid-to-good starter at the next level. He’s not dynamic and he’s not going to be a guy you center your defense around. What he does bring to the table is strong run defense with enough pass rush ability to be useful on passing downs. He likely won’t be a high sack guy, but he can push the pocket and clean up some plays when edge pressure forces a QB to step up. He’d likely push for an immediate starting role on the Redskins, making him a nice pick-up here in the 3rd.
114: R4P7 LB KENDELL BECKWITH LSU
-This is where the benefit of extra draft picks comes into play as it makes it easier for the Redskins to select a player who might not be able to contribute as a rookie due to injury. Beckwith tore his ACL in December and is unlikely to be able to play as a rookie. For the Redskins though that’s not a bad thing as their top three inside linebackers are capable starters and all three are free agents after the year. Beckwith can redshirt this year for the Redskins and he could be an option as a starter next year if his recovery goes well. He’s a really good run defender and should at least be a solid early down linebacker at the NFL level.
123: R4P16 DL LARRY OGUNJOBI CHARLOTTE
-Productive 4 year starter at Charlotte, who plays both the run and pass pretty well. He’s a bit of a raw player overall, but he showed well at the Senior Bowl and he’s got starting potential down the road. He can fill in any role along the defensive line, and he has enough pass rush potential to help fill in for the loss of Chris Baker. As a rookie he can be a strong rotational guy and he gives the Redskins another young defensive piece to build around.
132: R4P25 RB JAMES CONNER PITTSBURGH
-Conner is one of my favorite backs in the class and if the Redskins don’t land one of the top talents they should look to grab him in the 4th round. Conner has really good power and balance and he combines it with good vision and solid speed. He’s capable as a receiver out of the back-field and he has the potential to develop into a starting running back. At the very least as a rookie he would push for a significant role in a running back-by-committee situation.
154: R5P10 CB JALEN MYRICK MINNESOTA
-Myrick is lightning fast with good athleticism and cover skills, and the potential to develop into a quality slot corner. He could be a back-up option outside as well, though he’s not as tall as you’d like. Still in the 5th round he has the potential to be a valuable contributor in the future on defense if Fuller doesn’t work out (or he moves outside), and he has a strong special teams back-ground as well.
174: R5P30 OT WILL HOLDEN VANDERBILT
-Even with Morgan Moses re-signing long term, the Redskins can use offensive line depth. Holden has some versatility along the offensive line and he’s a really good depth option. He gives the Redskins an offensive tackle prospect with starting potential in case they ever suffer an injury to one of their tackles and he could get some looks inside as well.
220: R7P2 S DAVID JONES RICHMOND
-One of my favorite late round safety options, Jones has the size, speed, and ball hawking ability you want in a safety. He can play both in the box or deep, and he gives you a versatile back-up safety. At the same time he’s got a strong special teams reputation so he can help there as well early in his career.
235: R7P17 WR MACK HOLLINS NORTH CAROLINA
-Hollins is an intriguing size speed receiver who the Redskins can sit and develop for a year. He’s had some injury issues in the past, but if he gets healthy there is some big time upside. He’s the type of guy the Redskins can probably even stash on the practice squad if the roster decisions get tight.
For me I see this type of scenario as a good outcome for the Redskins. While I’d love for a top defender to fall (and in this simulation Reddick fell but I was going on my original parameters), it’s becoming less and less likely. Also, good defenses typically are built around impact pass rushers and as good as Ryan Kerrigan is, that hasn’t been enough for the Redskins. I don’t see a big gap between some of the mid-1st round EDGE players and the late 1st-2nd rd guys, so I feel like trading back here would be smart instead of forcing a player at 17.
The extra picks allow the Redskins to still address the offense with some key players like Dorian Johnson and James Conner, but also focus their resources on the defensive side of the ball. The extra picks also made it easier to trade up for Chris Wormley in the 3rd and take a guy who needs a red-shirt like Kendall Beckwith in the 4th.
This is the type of balanced draft that would be a home run for the Redskins as they would get starters in Willis, Johnson, and Wormley year one. With significant role player contributions coming from Josh Jones (who might end up being considered a starter as well), Ogunjobi, and Conner. On top of that Beckwith could very well start as a SAM ILB year two if his recovery stays on track. Myrick, Holden, David Jones and Hollins all have potential to contribute as well or at least offer quality depth.
What do you think? And don’t forget to share your final full 7 round Fanspeak mocks below in the comments!