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Which prospects have the Redskins met with, and what does it tell us? Offense Edition

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The website NFLtraderumors.co has done a really nice job compiling a list of prospect visits for each of the NFL teams, keeping a running tally as the all-star games took place and eventually teams met with players at the Combine. Team visit information was also supplemented with reporting from The Athletic and NBC Sports. The location(s) of the team meetings are indicated in parentheses.

We’ll do a deeper dive into these lists to see in anything deeper, in terms of the team’s draft intentions, can be derived from whom they’ve met with so far.

Offense

QB:

  • James Morgan (East-West Shrine Game) - Morgan, who began his college career with Bowling Green, ended up finishing with Florida International. He set the school records for TDs there (26), and is being talked about as potential late round back-up depth, whose stock bumped up a bit at the Combine.
  • Kelly Bryant (Shrine Bowl) - Bumped off of Clemson’s team as a result of Trevor Lawrence’s meteoric ascendance, Bryant went to Missouri and had a rather unexceptional season in 2019. He has accuracy issues and is described as “not a playmaker on the ground.” I’m baffled by why the team would waste time on meeting with him, frankly. If he’s joins the team at all, expect it as an UDFA. If the team is interested in picking up a dual threat guy as a back-up, I’m much higher on a QB like Khalil Tate.
  • Tua Tagovailoa (Combine/Pre-draft visit scheduled) - At this point, I think most Redskins fans are deeply skeptical of the notion that the team will take Tua at #2. Suspicion is that these meetings are: 1) To plant the seed that the team COULD take Tua, creating interest in hopes of someone else trading up to the slot; and, 2) Due diligence to better understand what Tua’s value is, should some offer to trade up.
  • Joe Burrow (Combine/Pre-draft visit scheduled) - Burrow to the Bengals is as close to a “sure thing” as this draft has. I suspect this visit is just part of responsible vetting, on the very slim chance that the Bengals decide to take someone else #1 overall.

RB

  • Rico Dowdle (Shrine Bowl) - A leading rusher for the Gamecocks despite repeated injuries (sports hernia, broken leg, knee injury), he’s got the size to play in the NFL, but needs to work on his pass catching and pocket protection.
  • James Robinson (Shrine Bowl) - An absolute beast at Illinois State (he ran for 1,917 yards and 18 TDs), Robinson was a first team FCS All American in 2019 and helped lead his school to the national title game. There is some concern about his lack of athleticism affecting his production at the next level.
  • Adrian Killins (Shrine Bowl) - A somewhat surprising Combine snub, Killins is diminutive (~5’8’, 168 lbs) but very fast (he was the 200 meter champion in Florida). In the Shrine Bowl, Killins caught 7 passes for 92 yards. At the NFL level, he projects as a special teamer and potential third-down back.

WR

  • Keith Gavin (Shrine Bowl) - Gavin is an interesting guy. His college stats are utterly unimpressive, but he seems to have gotten caught up amidst some incompetent coaching at FSU during his tenure. He was recruited by Jimbo Fisher, but ended up playing under Willie Taggart after Fisher left. His summation of the Taggart Era? “All I know is work, and practice hard, and we didn’t really get rewarded that much for even our hard work. It was like the standards and everything were gone.” At 6’3”, 212 lbs, he is a big bodied target who has actually had some success as a special teams returner (see video below).
  • KJ Hill (Senior Bowl/Combine) - Hill is OSU’s all time reception leader with great hands and strong route running skills. His former QB, Dwayne Haskins, loves him. When they were together in 2018, Hill caught 70 balls for 885 yards (200 more than Terry McLaurin brought in). His production dropped significantly in 2019, but that could end up advantaging the Redskins substantially in the draft. I expect he will be a target for the team.
  • Denzel Mims (Combine) - Mims is a tall, fast receiver (4.38) who apparently met with every team in the NFL during the Combine. I don’t expect that he’ll be available when the Redskins have their second pick in the draft.
  • Stephen Guidry (Combine) - Another big target (6’3”, 201 lbs) who appears to be something of a developmental prospect. He needs to work on his route running and better deploying his speed.
  • Antonio Gandy-Golden (Combine) - Not among the fastest WRs at the Combine (4.6), AGG is a towering behemoth (6’4”, 223 lbs, 22 reps). (Notice a trend?) He’s got very good hands, an arachnidian catch radius, and an impressive ability to rack up yards after the catch.
  • Michael Pittman, Jr (Combine) - With identical size stats to AGG, and better speed (4.52) (but less strength; only 13 reps), Pittman seems to fit the prototype WR the Redskins will be targeting in the draft. With his skillset though, predictions are that he could be a Day 2 pick.
  • Bryan Edwards (Combine) - Another large WR (6’3”, 212 lbs), Edwards broke his foot and ended up missing out on the activities at the Combine. At least one writer has called Edwards “the most underrated WR in the nation.” Quiet demeanor, Combine washout, Edwards could be the kind of diamond in the rough that slips to one of the team’s mid or late round picks, ala Kelvin Harmon.

TE

  • Adam Trautman (Senior Bowl/Combine) - The Redskins need a TE badly, and Trautman projects to potentially be available around the time of the Redskins third round draft pick. One of the best blocking TEs at the Combine, with some development, he could potentially become a long term answer for the team.
  • Cole Kmet (Combine) - Considered by many to be the best TE available in the 2020 draft, the likelihood that Kmet is available in the third round is low, but if the Redskins do decide to trade back, or pick up a second rounder as part of a pre-draft trade, Kmet is a potential early target to fill arguably one of the team’s most pressing needs.

OL

  • Frederick Mauigoa (Shrine Bowl) - Mauigoa is a center who has had success against the run as a result of good hand work and cerebral play. He needs to put on more muscle to be effective at the next level. He projects as a Day 3 pick.
  • Cameron Clark (Shrine Bowl) - Clark was named first team All Conference USA for his play at left tackle for Charlotte in 2019. He was a two-year captain and three-year starter who was a beast in the run game. He projects as a guard in the NFL as a result of his lateral quickness limitations.
  • Terence Steele (Senior Bowl) - A four-year starter and former team captain (notice a trend?), Steele played right tackle (and some left tackle) for Texas Tech. As with Clark, lateral movement issues may lead to a transition inside at the NFL level.
  • Lloyd Cushenberry III (Senior Bowl) - In 2019, Cushenberry became the first offensive lineman to earn LSU’s coveted #18 jersey - set aside, in honor of former QB Matt Mauck, to acknowledge the player on the team that “displays selfless attitude and plays like a Tiger.” Cushenberry projects as a long-time starter at center in the NFL, and will likely be at least a Day 2 pick, if not earlier.

Themes and Takeaways

The Redskins have met with a broad variety of offensive players in the period since the college season came to a close. Their skillsets range from players virtually certain to be taken at the very top of the draft to those very likely to go undrafted. If any common themes can be documented among them, I would propose the following:

  1. The Redskins have moderate to low-level interest in drafting a back-up QB to groom under Haskins. Expect them to contemplate at late round pick, or UDFA slot or two, on a developmental QB. Vetting Burrow and Tua is part of doing due diligence and nothing more.
  2. Despite potentially having three (when healthy) RB1 caliber backs, the Redskins know that keeping the RB pipeline full is critical (and that their existing backfield is a potential MASH unit). They also know that high quality backs can be readily found in the later rounds. Expect a Round 6 (I know, they don’t currently have any 6th rounders) or Round 7 selection of the best available RB remaining on the board, with a particular eye to someone with a 3rd down back skillset.
  3. The Redskins are dead serious about drafting more WRs. With a draft this deep in WRs, it would be silly not to, but it’s clear to me - based on whom they are meeting with, and what Ron Rivera has said publicly - they have a “type.” I think they target KJ Hill, who they, and Haskins, seem to love, but I also think they grab at least one big-bodied bruiser in the middle of the draft to bring an additional look to this young receiving corps.
  4. The Redskins are prepared to use Day 2 draft capital on the tight end position. It has been far too long neglected, and I expect them to draft a top prospect, in addition to likely grabbing a veteran in free agency. Don’t be surprised if they consider double dipping at TE, if talent happens to slip later in the draft as well.
  5. Rivera has already said he really likes flexibility on the offensive lines - as well as high character guys. The team’s OL interviews reflect both those priorities. If Trent leaves, expect tackle to be a high draft priority. Regardless of Trent’s future, expect interior OL depth to be a focus. With Chase Roullier on the last year of his rookie contract, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the team is looking for a center they could groom to potentially replace him with in 2021. It’s the responsible thing to consider.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the offensive players the Redskins have interviewed so far, and I expect the defensive companion to this piece to be ready later in the week.