For my second Redskins Mock Draft Simulation using the Fanspeak On the Clock simulator I decided to take a different approach and focus more on fixing the offensive holes early and adding depth and upside on defense with this draft. In addition I decided to use the the premium version so I could make trades. Though I could have made multiple trades I decided just to do one simple one moving from 13th to 24th, picking up an extra 3rd and 6th round picks.
As always you can follow along with the draft here!
24: R1P24 G WILL HERNANDEZ U.T.E.P.
-Probably the biggest hole on the Redskins right now is LG (or C if Roullier plays G), as the Redskins don’t have anyone on their roster that has shown any ability to handle the role. At other need positions like RB or NT there are at least options who have some potential or a couple guys who could combine to fill the role. That simply isn’t the case at LG. The best current options are Arie Kouandjio and Orlando Franklin. Kouandjio has been really bad every chance he’s gotten in DC and Franklin struggled the last few years and now has been cut by multiple teams. Counting on either of them for a full time role is extremely risky.
That is where Hernandez steps in, he is a plug and play LG option as he was a 4 year starter at UTEP and dominated the competition the last few years. He followed that up with an exceptional Senior Bowl performance and a strong Combine in terms of positional drills. He’s a big physical guard who plays with a mean streak and finishes blocks with the best of them. He is strong as both a run and pass blocker, but is at an elite level in the running game. Hernandez has a high floor as he should quickly establish himself as a solid starter and he has the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl caliber guard to pair with Brandon Scherff.
44: R2P12 RB SONY MICHEL GEORGIA
-Now that the OL is set, adding a back to run behind this unit makes a lot of sense. Michel is one of the top backs in this class and a guy who could take over as the featured back role day one. Michel has good size, speed and an ability to make guys miss in the open field. When he gets to the 2nd level he can turn on a 2nd gear and get yards in big chunk plays. Nine of his 16 touchdowns this past season came outside of the Red zone. In addition 11% of his runs outside the Red Zone went for 20 or more yards. Michel is an explosive runner who would give the Redskins a big play back that the Redskins haven’t had in the backfield since Clinton Portis. There are some minor concerns with Michel, as his passing game involvement was limited at Georgia and his vision when finding a secondary hole isn’t the greatest, but overall he’s a really good running back prospect who can become the lead running on this team and give the offense some balance.
85: R3P21 DL ANDREW BROWN VIRGINIA
-Brown is a player I personally like as more of a top 50 pick, but others will see him as a 5th rounder. A lot of it comes to how you evaluate him, if you just watch his tape at UVA and his mediocre workout numbers you likely won’t be impressed, but if you watch how he dominated Senior Bowl week it shows that the flashes from his tape could quickly become the norm. Brown was able to play more of a one gap attacking role at the Senior Bowl and throughout the week he was arguably the most disruptive defensive front seven player on either squad. In 1-on-1’s he was nearly unblockable, and in scrimmage work he lived in the backfield either disrupting plays or being blatantly held. Brown has an exceptional first step and uses his long arms to disengage with offensive linemen. He plays both the run and pass well, especially when he is allowed to attack as he did at the Senior Bowl, and he can help the Redskins by adding to their rotation of defensive linemen. He won’t help in the traditional NT role, but he can fill any other role along the defensive line.
109: R4P9 LB SHAQUEM GRIFFIN CENTRAL FLORIDA
-Griffin is not just one of the best stories of this draft class, but he’s clearly one of the best players in college football these past two seasons. Griffin has overcome missing his left hand, to become an exceptional linebacker at UCF and has followed up his college career with a really good Senior Bowl week and strong workout numbers at the Combine and his Pro Day.
While Griffin’s missing of his hand will impact his game some, he has overcome it given his elite athleticism and high level instincts and reaction time. At the very least at the next level he should be an exceptional special teams player who can back-up a couple different roles on the team. He can rush from the EDGE situationally, be an inside backer in both pass coverage and run support and even get some consideration at SS (or more likely a hybrid LB/SS role). The question becomes can he develop into closer to a full time defensive player. That is the big unknown, but his versatility and ability to contribute vs the run, as a pass rusher and in coverage gives him the opportunity to help a defense.
142: R5P5 DL KENDRICK NORTON MIAMI
-Norton the son of former star LB Ken Norton, has developed into a strong run defending defensive tackle at Miami. He’s an ideal fit for the Redskins as a nose tackle who can contribute on early downs. He’s really good versus the run, playing with a lot of power and does a nice job holding his ground at the LOS vs double teams. He fights off blocks pretty well and can find the football and make tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. He’s never going to offer much as a pass rusher, but he can hold his own if he’s on the field vs the pass. His primary role (and why he may be there in the 5th rd) is as an early down/situational run defender who might max out around a 40-45% snap rate. For what the Redskins need though that is fine as he can contribute as a rookie helping in one of their weaker areas.
163: R5P26 OT ALEX CAPPA HUMBOLDT ST.
-Cappa dominated the Division II level at LT and earned a spot at the Senior Bowl. It was quickly apparent that Cappa could hold his own versus the competition at the Senior Bowl, though he had areas of his game that still needed work. Cappa could be viewed by some as a tackle, but he probably profiles best inside at guard. He’s a tough physical player who when he gets his hands on a defender he does a really nice job controlling them and shutting them down. He probably won’t offer much as a rookie, but he offers quality depth potential for the Redskins and could replace Ty Nseke as the swing tackle after the season.
188: R6P14 S SIRAN NEAL JACKSONVILLE ST.
-Neal’s top trait may be his versatility as he’s shown the ability to line up as both an outside and slot corner, free safety and strong safety. He’s probably best as a safety who can cover some in the slot, but that kind of versatility is a good calling card as teams look to build their roster. Neal has good size and athleticism and shows some good instincts and coverage ability at times, but he’s inconsistent in that area. Neal is an intriguing mid-to-late round guy, who is pretty safe to help as a back-up/special teamer, but has the upside to develop into a starter.
197: R6P23 CB AVONTE MADDOX PITTSBURGH
-Maddox was an up-and-down player at Pitt, who made some big plays, but would also give up way too many receptions in coverage. He’s a small corner with exceptional athleticism and toughness. He is better in zone coverage and despite his size he’s a pretty good tackler. He does have return ability both in kick-off and punt, and could be used on other special teams roles as well. Maddox was also a team captain and a leader at Pittsburgh, and will probably quickly be a coaching favorite on defense and special teams.
231: R7P13 S TROY APKE PENN ST.
-Apke was a bit of a draft afterthought as he really only played on defense one season at Penn State, but he still earned a Combine invite and made the most of it posting incredible athletic testing numbers. Apke has good size as well and while his tape is limited to one season you can find some real positive plays from him. While he’s probably made himself draftable with his strong Combine, he is likely a late rounder who will need to develop on special teams.
241: R7P23 WR DYLAN CANTRELL TEXAS TECH
-Cantrell is another player who really helped himself with a really strong Combine. Cantrell has good size and has been a solid receiver for Texas Tech the last couple of years. He has shown a lot of tools to be a good receiver, but hasn’t totally put them together yet. Given his size, athletic ability and route runner, there is some developmental potential here.
Given the additional picks via the Cravens trade and the deal I made moving back in Rd 1, I was able to add pieces to help the Redskins core needs of LG, RB, NT, DL, LB, S. I believe Hernandez would be a clear day 1 starter and Michel would be the early down back to pair with Chris Thompson for the Redskins on offense. Defensively Brown and Norton would both see plenty of reps and would really help solidify the Redskins new young defensive line. Griffin should find some sort of situational role, and could replace Zach Brown on some passing downs at time. Neal also could push for some snaps on defense if the Redskins in three safety packages as well. One thing that really sticks out with this group is their leadership and special teams ability. Hernandez, Brown, Griffin, Norton, Cappa, Neal, and Maddox were all team captains and have reputations for being team leaders. Everyone in this group has a good reputation for their strong work ethic and willingness to learn. Additionally, Griffin, Neal, Maddox, Apke and Cantrell can all help contribute on a variety of special teams as rookies, which could really help improve the Redskins ST units. What do you think? Is this the type of draft you’d like or would you like to see the Redskins go in a different direction? Feel free to post your mocks below!