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Blue-Chip, Mid-round, Sleeper: 3 prospects at each position of need that would improve the Redskins

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HogsHaven takes a look at key prospects at positions of need for the Redskins

Citrus Bowl presented by Overton's - LSU v Notre Dame Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cadillactica’s Picks

RB

Blue-Chip

Derrius Guice
School: LSU | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 20
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 218

How would he make the Redskins better?

There is no doubt this year’s running back class is yet again loaded with talent likely through all 7 rounds. The Redskins need a true difference maker to turn their running game around. Considering where the Redskins are picking in the draft (likely the early or mid teens) I think all hope for top RB Saquon Barkley is likely off the table. The good news for the Redskins though is that they can immediately and dramatically improve their running game with the selection of Guice if they chose to address the position this highly. I believe Guice shares many of the elite characteristics Barkley demonstrates but I would mark him down slightly in breakaway speed and as a receiver out of the backfield. Guice has great size, balance, and can cut on a dime, demonstrates patience behind his blockers, has an array of elusive and shifty moves and has breakaway speed. His speed and elite level rushing traits are whats missing from the Redskins backfield.

Mid-Round

Kerryon Johnson
School: Auburn | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 20
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 212

How would he make the Redskins better?

Johnson without a doubt is one of my favorite targets for the Redskins at the position in the 2nd or 3rd round. For the past three years, the Redskins have tried to mold the run game into a power attack and have tried to find a power back with versatile and dynamic traits. Johnson fits that mold - A faster, more dynamic Perine - A Matt Jones that actually works. Johnson shows great burst at the LOS and can pinball off tacklers and is a very well balanced back. He has great speed as well but won’t be the home run threat that the Barkleys, Guices, and Loves of the draft are. If the Redskins are still deadset on adding power backs to their running attack but are looking for a player that can truly create the first place I would look is in Johnson’s direction.

Sleeper

Kallen Ballage
School: Arizona State | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 230 lbs

How would he make the Redskins better?

Ballage more so fits the mold of the current backs on the Redskins roster but he has better long speed. He’s a bruiser and one-cut back that typically runs north to south without many bells and whistles. He is a challenge to bring down at the LOS because he can build steam very fast. If he gets into open space in the second level he is capable of taking it to the house. If the Skins feel comfortable rolling with Thompson/Perine - Ballage could make for a nice additional piece to the rotation.

Interior LB

Blue Chip

Roquan Smith
School: Georgia | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 20
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 225 lbs

How would he make the Redskins better?

Roquan Smith has been getting some love on the board for the past couple weeks and it’s warranted. There isn’t another ILB prospect in the draft that has the combination of qualities and skills like Smith. He’s fast, instinctive, capable of winning leverage battles inside, takes the right angles, wraps up, and plays with an excellent motor among other things. No doubt the Skins would be in a good place if the could add Smith to the inside linebacker group especially / hopefully with Zach Brown. If Smith last outside of the top 10 how do you all view the importance of that position? More important than another top DL or OL? More important than a top QB or S?

Mid-Round

Josey Jewell
School: Iowa | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: rSr | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 236 lbs

How would he make the Redskins better?

It was tough to pick Jewell out of the half handful of favorite inside linebackers I have at the position in the mid rounds which include Micah Kiser, Rashaan Evans, and T.J. Edwards. In the end, it made sense to feature him yet again because of the impact he’s had on the field and the diversity of his skill set. Jewell’s production is high but he is far from a mindless thumper. When you watch him play you see a player who is intelligent and well education not only on his responsibilities but of those around him. Jewell is a high volume player with playmaking ability. Not only does he get dirty in the trenches but he can drop back into coverage and make plays on the ball as well. If the team is looking to address the position in the third round or so they might not be able to do better than a player like Jewell.

Sleeper

Frank Ginda
School: San Jose State | Conference: Mountain West
College Experience: Junior | Age: 20?
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 245 lbs

How would he make the Redskins better?

Ginda is the definition of a productive lunch pail player. On a team that has been bad his whole career Ginda was one of the few bright spots on San Jose State’s defense. He’s good for about 10 tackles a game if not more and gets dirty at the LOS and has no problem doing clean up work. Ginda is a true Junior who amassed 173 tackles this season (13 for loss) 2 sacks 3 passes defended and 3 FF. He’s a thumper and though he may not physically test well (shorter and stockier for the position and a bit stiff in his movements) for a late round guy who can contribute right away on special teams and who is especially attracted to finding the football he’s the type of player you want.

Aaron Lesher’s Picks

Interior DL

Blue Chip

Vita Vea
School: Washington | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: rJr | Age: 21?
Height/Weight: 6-5, 340 lbs.

How would he make the Redskins better?

Well first of all this guy's a friggin' animal. At 6-5, 340 lbs he has freakish size we have nowhere else on the defensive roster. Vea isn't just a run-stuffer up the middle though. He can rush the passer as well, which is extremely rare for the position -- 3.5 sacks in 2017, but affects the quarterback with many more hurries and pressures on tape. Vea could play at either nose guard or 3-4 defensive end for the Redskins and would be a great piece for Greg Manusky's pressure-heavy defensive scheme. An NFL player comparison might be Dontari Poe or Danny Shelton. In my opinion, Vita Vea is pretty underrated right now, even though he's a projected 1st-round pick, and is one of the best defensive players in the upcoming draft.

Mid-Round

Harrison Phillips
School: Stanford | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21?
Height/Weight: 6-4, 295 lbs.

How would he make the Redskins better?

Phillips is a bit of a stretch here for "mid-round" consideration since his draft stock currently has him as high as the late first round. However, the Redskins could potentially nab him in the 2nd or 3rd, since he's the exact type of player that tends to get overlooked for flashier Combine stars later in the draft process. Phillips is a high-motor, uber tough lunch pail type of guy that's a fantastic run stopper, leading all FBS interior lineman in tackles. He also has 7 sacks on the year. By all accounts he's the prototypical "football player" you look for in the trenches, which the Redskins definitely need more of. Tomsula would love this guy. Phillips could get playing time as a 3-4 DE in base packages right away, and be a solid lineman for years to come.

Sleeper

Henry Mondeaux
School: Oregon | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21?
Height/Weight: 6-5, 288 lbs.

How would he make the Redskins better?

It wasn't my intention to list all Pac-12 interior defensive lineman, it just turned out that way :). Mondeaux is a long athlete with pass-rushing ability -- 5 sacks in 2017 -- that I think will go overlooked on a bad Oregon defense. We could probably get him in the 5th round or later and would be a nice d-line depth piece for Tomsula and Manusky to mold. His positional fit would be at 3-4 DE, since he's too light to play right up in the middle. There's a pretty solid pedigree of NFL defensive lineman from Oregon, most notably DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead in recent years.

QB

Blue Chip

Baker Mayfield
School: Oklahoma | Conference: BIG 12
College Experience: rSr | Age: 22?
Height/Weight: 6-1, 220 lbs

How would he make the Redskins better?

My last year's 'don't overthink it, this guy's a stud' pick was Deshaun Watson, and that seemed to turn out pretty well. A very similar prospect in my mind is Mayfield, in the sense that people question his measurables and skill set translating to the NFL even in the face of massive success at the college level. He's won pretty much every award possible and broken every record in his college career, but Mayfield has the intangibles -- leadership, work ethic, "clutch" gene, chip on his shoulder -- to succeed in the NFL. Scot McCloughan called him a "shorter Brett Favre", although the player he reminds me most of is Russell Wilson.

If the Redskins need a quarterback next year, there's a slim possibility he's available at our pick in the first round -- but Washington should definitely consider trading up into the top 10 to get him. He will do just fine in Jay Gruden's west coast scheme, or pretty much any offensive scheme you put him in.

Mid-Round

Kurt Benkert
School: Virginia | Conference: ACC
College Experience: rSr | Age: 22?
Height/Weight: 6-4, 230 lbs

How would he make the Redskins better?

Benkert got a lot of attention after putting up a career day against then No. 3 Miami (384 yards, 75.7% completion rate, 4 TDs), but he was also listed as "college football's most underrated quarterback" by 3 out of 5 NFL GMs. He's big, has good arm talent with enough juice to put it everywhere on the field, mobile in the pocket, and a mature leader. He distributes the ball really well to his backs and receivers, seeing the field well and making quick reads which is an important trait in the Redskins' offensive system. Benkert's stock is rising but right now is around a 3rd-4th round pick. He'll be playing in the Senior Bowl along with Baker Mayfield.

Sleeper

Logan Woodside
School: Toledo | Conference: Mid American
College Experience: rSr | Age: 22?
Height/Weight: 6-2, 210 lbs.

How would he make the Redskins better?

Woodside is one of the most prolific passers in college football history, but doesn't get any attention from the national media because he plays in the MAC and is a bit undersized. As such, he has a self-proclaimed massive chip on his shoulder. I think this is a great trait for any quarterback to have and reminds me a bit of the career arc of Kirk Cousins. Woodside, like Benkert, has good field vision, makes quick reads and distributes the ball to all his receivers. He doesn't make many mistakes and avoids turnovers. Woodside strikes me as a smart player that knows his physical limitations, so strives to gain the edge by mastering his offense and studying defenses. Regardless of what happens to Cousins after this season, I think he'd be a good addition as a late-round QB.

Steve Shoup’s Picks

WR

Blue Chip

Courtland Sutton
School: SMU | Conference: AAC
College Experience: RS Junior | Age: 22?
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 215

How would he make the Redskins better?

Wide receiver might not be the Redskins most pressing position to address in the first round, but if they retain Kirk Cousins (or acquire another veteran QB), adding help here will be key. While Josh Doctson showed some flashes, and Jamison Crowder had a decent year after a slow start, the receiving corps as a whole was extremely disappointing. The lack of receiver talent became even more noticeable as injuries piled up at other positions, and it became clear this was an area where the Redskins are lacking. Sutton offers a reasonable mid-1st round solution to fill the talent void, as he has a very good size, speed, and physicality combo. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he can still threaten deep if need to be. Where he will make his mark is in the intermediate area and especially in the Redzone. Eleven of his 22 touchdowns from the past two years have come inside the Redzone, and his skill set there should translate fairly quickly to the NFL. Overall he may need some more polish given his lack of competition in college, but the upside is there and he could give the Redskins a big consistent target for years to come.

Mid-Round

Dante Pettis
School: Washington | Conference: Pac-12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23?
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190

How would he make the Redskins better?

If the Redskins don’t address the WR position in the first or 2nd round, Pettis is a guy they could look at in the 3rd or 4th rounds. He’s not the biggest, or the fastest, but he’s a very well rounded receiver who comes in with plenty of polish and can push for a role early on. He’s versatile enough to play both inside and outside giving the Redskins a future option in case the let Crowder walk after next season. Pettis had four productive years at Washington University, and was a full time starter the past two seasons. Where he made his mark the most and where he could offer a major boost to the Redskins is as a punt returner. Pettis set the all-time NCAA punt return record with nine career TD returns and he averaged over 20 yards per return this season. While his contributions as a receiver as a rookie might be limited, he can give the Redskins a major upgrade to their return unit and let Crowder focus on just playing receiver.

Sleeper

Jake Wieneke
School: South Dakota State | Conference: Missouri Valley (FCS)
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 23?
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 215

How would he make the Redskins better?

Playing at South Dakota State Wieneke has been overlooked by many, but there is a lot to like for a later round sleeper pick when you start to watch him play. Wieneke was a four year starter for South Dakota State and he absolutely shredded the competition with 288 catches, 5,157 yards and 59 TDs in 53 career games. While it is a lower level of football, it is worth noting that plenty of talented players still come out of the FCS level. For his part Wieneke also posted 100 yard games vs FBS opponents Missouri, Kansas and TCU in his career. Wieneke has great size, good speed and shows good route running and leaping ability. While expectations should be tempered somewhat there is upside here and he would be a nice later round pick for the Redskins looking to boost their receiver corps. Jake Wieneke isn’t a household name, but he could create some buzz this offseason as he could shine at the East/West Shrine Game and have a big combine (I also wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a Senior Bowl invite).

Safety

Derwin James
School: Florida State | Conference: ACC
College Experience: RS Sophomore | Age: 21?
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215

How would he make the Redskins better?

While the Redskins made some strides at the safety spot last season with a solid year from D.J. Swearinger and some flashes from rookie Montae Nicholson, it is still a concern area for the Redskins. Nicholson showed some nice potential, but he was in and out of the line-up with injuries playing in just half of the games this season. From a snap count perspective it was even worse as Nicholson only made it onto the field for 29% of the defensive snaps. The Redskins could continue to use reinforcements at the safety spot and while not a top 1st round priority that could change quickly if James is still on the board. Derwin James was one of the top overall recruits in the country 3 years ago and he hit the ground running as a Freshman with the Seminoles in 2015 finishing the year with over 90 tackles and 4.5 sacks. His second season was wiped out with a knee injury, but he returned last year and lived up to the promise once again, with a first team All-ACC placement. James is still more of projectable prospect than a finished product, but the upside is extremely high. He played SS, slot corner and LB at FSU and has shown to be excellent in run support and as a blitzer. His coverage ability has improved and he has the skill set to be very good in that area. With a little more development he could become a tight end eraser who can lock down even the best TEs in the game (something that is needed in a division with Ertz and Engram). While it’s quite possible he’s a top 10 pick, the knee injury and the fact that he’s not a finished product could get him to slide some this April. If he’s sitting there he would be an ideal pick for the Redskins as they look at add an elite talent.

Mid-Round

Quin Blanding
School: Virginia | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21?
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 210

How would he make the Redskins better?

If the Redskins don’t grab a safety in the first two rounds a great mid-round target could be from right in their backyard as UVA’s Quin Blanding would be a nice addition to the Redskins secondary. Blanding was a highly recruited 4 year starter who amassed 495 tackles and 10 interceptions in his career, to go along with a host of conference and national awards or recognitions. Blanding doesn’t get the hype as others, but he consistently shows up everytime you watch UVA play as a good two way safety, who is strong in coverage and run support. He’s not the flashiest player and might not wow at the Combine (though he should test fairly well), but he’s a smart instinctual player who would be a good mid-round pick for this team. He can play either safety role, but fits better in coverage in more of a FS role.

Sleeper

Jeremy Reaves
School: South Alabama | Conference: Sun Belt
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 190

How would he make the Redskins better?

Reaves was a two year starter at corner before moving to FS as a Senior for South Alabama. He had three strong years of production at both positions and showcases good speed and anticipation in coverage. He’s very aggressive and has some natural ball hawking abilities. He’s on the smaller side for a safety, but he fits as FS who can play deep or come up and cover the slot. While he didn’t face the toughest competition in college he will have the chance to make his case at the Senior Bowl later this month. Right now he looks to be a 5th-7th round prospect, and a guy the Redskins could look at for depth on the third day of the draft.

Poll

What is the greatest position of need for the Redskins?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    QB
    (187 votes)
  • 19%
    RB
    (209 votes)
  • 6%
    WR
    (65 votes)
  • 19%
    LB
    (201 votes)
  • 31%
    DL
    (331 votes)
  • 4%
    S
    (46 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (please say in the comments)
    (7 votes)
1046 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which of the blue chip prospects can have the biggest first year impact on the team?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Derrius Guice
    (163 votes)
  • 26%
    Roquan Smith
    (264 votes)
  • 36%
    Vita Vea
    (358 votes)
  • 11%
    Baker Mayfield
    (115 votes)
  • 0%
    Courtland Sutton
    (9 votes)
  • 7%
    Derwin James
    (78 votes)
987 votes total Vote Now