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Mel Kiper gives the Redskins some big help on the defensive line in his latest mock draft


NCAA Football: Washington Spring Game Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Mel Kiper is back with his second mock draft of the 2018 draft season on this morning for E$PN IN$IDER. The Hair gave Washington a shiny new Heisman-winning QB(Baker Mayfield) in his first mock draft, but then the Alex Smith trade happened. This ends the Kirk Cousins era, and answers a lot of the questions at QB for the Redskins. Kiper mentioned ILB as an obvious need for the Redskins if they had their QB situation straightened out before the draft. The Redskins re-signed Mason Foster a week later, and will look to re-sign Zach Brown if the price is right.

Kiper stays on the defensive side of the ball for Washington in his latest projection for this year’s draft, giving a lot of Redskins fans the player they want to see in Burgundy and Gold this year. Jonathan Allen fell into Bruce Allen’s lap last year in the 1st round, and Kiper is giving the Redskins another talented DL in Washington’s Vita Vea. There have been rumors that the Redskins prefer Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne over Vea, and he is mentioned in the explanation for the pick, but Vea is the guy in Mock 2.0.

Vita Vea, DT, Washington

We could probably scratch off quarterback here after Washington traded for Alex Smith and signed him to a new deal. The next position I have on my Redskins needs list is nose tackle, and Vea and Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne are the best in the class. Washington ranked last in the league in 2017 in run defense, allowing 134.1 yards per game. The 6-4, 346-pound Vea is a freakish talent who is more than a run-stopper. He has rare quickness for a player of his size and can play all three downs.

The Redskins made the defensive line a big focus in both the draft(Allen), and free agency(Stacy McGee, Terrell McClain) last year. Phil Taylor was set to be a part of the DL before another injury derailed his season. They also got a huge boost from 2nd-year DE Matt Ioannidis. There is always a need for more fat boys on the line, and Vea could make a big impact right away. The Redskins have been using Ziggy Hood in the middle of the line, and he is obviously a candidate for an upgrade.

Vea can be a big force on the line, but definitely needs some development at the next level. He was much better against the run, and will need to improve his strength, conditioning, and technique at the next level. The talent is there and he will be a 1st round pick for a team this year.

There is a lot of talent left on the board after the Redskins pick at #13, including Payne, and another favorite for Redskins fans, S Derwin James. Vea would obviously be a commintment to improving the defense, but is he the right pick this year? The best and worst teams in the NFC East last season went offense with the Giants taking the best RB in the draft(Saquon Barkley) and the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles taking the 3rd WR(Christian Kirk). That’s probably not happening at #13 this year.

Next 6 picks:

14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE, UT San Antonio

15. Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

16. Baltimore Ravens: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

18. Seattle Seahawks: Derwin James, S, Florida State

19. Dallas Cowboys: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama


Is Vita Vea the right pick for the Redskins?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Yes, best player on the DL
    (875 votes)
  • 27%
    No, need a different player on defense
    (363 votes)
  • 7%
    No, Alex Smith needs more weapons!
    (102 votes)
1340 votes total Vote Now