This is the first in a series of pieces aimed at looking at some of the best players likely to be available at the 2nd pick in the 3rd round at one of the Redskins’ key positions of need. Thanks, NattyBo, for the inspiration.
With the departure of Trent Williams likely imminent, and the gradual collapse of Morgan Moses’ play happening in slow motion over the course of the past couple of years, the Redskins’ need for eventual starting caliber tackles may be at its most dire in decades. Current tackle depth on the team consists of developmental swing tackle, Geron Christian Sr., and the recently acquired Cornelius Lucas, who may end up being the best tackle not named Trent Williams currently on the roster.
This series will operate under the assumption that the Redskins take a defensive superstar (Young, Simmons, or Okudah) at #2, and will not be trading back from that position (a reality I desperately hope isn’t true). In that case, the Redskins first shot at a difference maker in a position of need will be the early 3rd round.
It’s not scientific, but the method I used to determine likely players available at this point in the draft is by running through a series of mock drafts on Fanspeak’s “On the Clock” draft simulator.
Ben Bartch (St. John’s (Minn)) (in-depth profile here) - Bartch is a Division 3 break-out star who began his college career as a tight end. He was selected for the Senior Bowl and played well there against some of the best, big school, collegiate talents. Nevertheless, he needs to put on additional strength and - like nearly all the players on this list - needs more time to refine his technique.
Ezra Cleveland (Boise State) - Cleveland is a fit for a zone blocking scheme because of his solid lateral mobility and range. The downside is that he currently needs to add significant strength before he’ll be able to hold his own against NFL pass rushers. Were he to start immediately in the NFL, it would likely be at center, though given some time and added mass, he could potentially succeed at tackle. [Film].
Isaiah Wilson (Georgia) (in-depth profile here) - Wilson is at the younger end of this group, coming out as a redshirt sophomore and having only played 2 years at the collegiate level. He has nearly perfect size and length for the position, but may not have the lateral mobility to excel at left tackle at the pro level. Projections are that he could be a high ceiling right tackle or guard ultimately in the NFL. He would be well served by a year of grooming before being thrown right into the fire.
Matt Peart (UConn) - Peart has the dimensions to be an effective NFL tackle, but like most others on this list, is currently lacking the functional strength to be able to handle NFL defenders. He too is well suited to a zone blocking scheme, as a result of having impressive lateral movement skills. He does need to work on his hand placement and balance, and would be well-served by an o-line coach who can spend time with him on technique. Ultimately, he may simply end up as a massive guard. [Film].
Lucas Niang (TCU) - Niang played right tackle for the Horned Frogs, but ended up cutting his senior season short to have surgery on a torn hip labrum. Niang is recognized as both a solid run and pass blocker, who is a good fit for a zoning blocking scheme. Additionally, he’s described as having a great football IQ and impressive competitive toughness (the latter was explicitly absent from accounts of both Cleveland and Peart). He also doesn’t appear to suffer from the strength issues that many on this list do.
Of all the players described here, Niang seems like the most capable of starting (at RT) early in his career. Concerns (or not) about his hip surgery outcomes, will likely drive his draft position. [Film]
The #Redskins are one of a handful of teams who’ve formally interviewed Saahdiq Charles, per @JReidNFL. If they want to add a left tackle in the middle rounds, Charles could be their guy. He comes with questions, though https://t.co/JAiOKqA8cS— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) April 3, 2020
(Potential Wildcard) Saahdiq Charles (LSU) - Should the five lineman above all be selected or passed over at the Redskins’ third round pick slot, Charles is a player who could potentially be available a round or two later. Charles absolutely has the size for the position (6’4”, 321 lbs), but still needs to be able to add strength to his frame. He also needs to refine his hand and footwork, and could end up being a developmental swing tackle, with the eventual possibility of being used at guard.
Charles did miss 6 games for disciplinary reasons his senior season (his second suspension in 2 years), which could be a bit of a red flag for the team, depending on how worried they are about character concerns. [Film]
Let me know what you thought of this piece in the comments, and what position you would like to see profiled next.