With the Saints’ inspiring win in the Super Bowl behind us, and the NFL combine looming, draft time is in full swing. For the Washington Redskins, the main question on everybody’s mind is whether they will take an offensive tackle or a quarterback with their first round selection. There is always the possibility that they will take neither, as there will be talented players at other positions, and the Redskins aren’t really set anywhere other than Tight End. However, in all likelihood they will be looking to aid one of the worst offensive lines of all time with an elite left tackle, or groom a young quarterback to be Mike Shanahan’s guy. Both of those positions currently include two players that could interest the Redskins, who own the fourth pick overall in the draft. Read the rest of this entry »
- A lot has been made about the skins wanting to possibly trade up and acquire Mark Sanchez. Is it smart for a team to burn draft picks and pay a hefty sum for a guy with limited collegiate experience? Probably not. Will the Skins do it? I wouldn’t put it past them.
-The way the draft will shake out, the Skins should be looking at one of four players at pick 13, should they stay there. Penn State DE Aaron Maybin, Ole Miss OT Michael Oher, Tennessee DE Robert Ayers, and USC OLB Brian Cushing should go around that time and address Redskin need areas. Maybin has an explosive first step, but has bad timed speed and may be undersized to play DE in the NFL. Oher is very athletic for an OT, but lacks consistency. Ayers is a versatile defensive-end who lacks elite athleticism. Cushing is an instinctive and powerful OLB, but has questionable straight-line speed.
- Who do I want the Redskins to draft? Oher or Cushing. I don’t view Maybin or Ayers as complete DE’s. Oher has the legs to set in pass protection and drive in the run game. He also uses his arms well, although he has mediocre upper body strength for the position. That can always be worked on. Cushing will be an ideal 4-3 OLB. He will fill with good quickness and power in the run game, and may provide a spark off the edge rushing the passer. He shouldn’t have that many issues in coverage with the agility he showed at USC and at the combine.
- Look for the Redskins to address positions of need in the middle rounds that they didn’t address in the first. In the later rounds, it would not kill them to consider a kicker, as that has been a fly in the ointment here for a long time. Yes, they have two players competing for the job, but neither are any good. After striking out with Durant Brooks last year, I don’t think they’ll go after a punter.
The Washington Redskins have once again found themselves in a position where they have many needs and few draft picks. A popular trend in previous drafts has been to trade back early in the draft to accrue more selections in later rounds. The Redskins’ first pick in the draft is #13 in the first round, and they don’t pick again until #80 in the third round.
Many would say the Redskins biggest need is at Offensive Tackle, but the highest rated Tackles could all be gone by their first pick. Jason Smith of Baylor, Eugene Monroe of Virginia, and Andre Smith of Alabama could very possibly be selected before pick #13.
The Redskins also have glaring holes at Defensive End and Outside Linebacker. H.B. Blades, who is really a MLB, has been playing SAM OLB and is the best option there at the moment. The release of DE Jason Taylor leaves the ‘Skins with only unproven players and aging veterans at DE, aside from Andre Carter. Unfortunately, this draft offers few elite options at DE or OLB as far as 4-3 defenses are concerned. Brian Orakpo of Texas, possibly the best DE in the draft, will be gone. As will talented Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry. These facts suggest it may be a good idea for the Redskins to trade back.
With the exception of LSU DE Tyson Jackson, USC OLB’s Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, and Ole Miss OT Michael Oher, there are not many players within the Skins’ need areas worth drafting at pick #13. It is quite debatable whether those players are even worth that pick, and many scouts would argue that they are not. Jackson is very stout against the run, but lacks the pass rush ability many look for in a DE. Cushing is very strong and agile at LB, but he does not have elite straight-line speed and has injury concerns. Matthews, who played DE at USC, did well at the combine, but was a project in college and was not extremely dominant at that level. Oher is a great Offensive Tackle at times, but is inconsistent and lacks elite athleticism.
In addition, there are many suitable players for the Redskins farther back in the first round, if they were able to swing a trade. At Offensive Tackle, there are tough players like Eben Britton of Arizona, or possibly Oher, if he falls. It is also likely that one of the Cushing-Matthews combo will be there in the later half of the first round. At DE, Tennessee’s Robert Ayers is a possibility. He had a strong season, and impressed scouts in the Senior Bowl. Other options include explosive USC MLB Rey Maualuga, who could feasibly play outside, or the ‘Skins could take a WR. Injuries have plagued WR Malcolm Kelly, who was taken in the second round last year. WR Devin Thomas, also a 2nd rounder from last year, has not shown he will be a viable option at receiver either. If the skins don’t see anything they like at bigger need areas, don’t be surprised if they select former Terp speedster Darrius Heyward-Bey, versatile Florida WR Percy Harvin, or the very tough Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina. Of course, all of this is based upon a trade actually happening.
It is quite possible USC QB Mark Sanchez will be available, which could spark a trade from someone, as draft history has shown. If a trade does not occur, look for the Redskins to take one of the aforementioned players that they feel is most deserving of a pick that high.
Jason Smith- The Baylor OT may have solidified himself as the top tackle prospect. He did 33 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench, ten more than Eugene Monroe. Smith also measured similarly to Monroe, coming in at 6′ 5″, 309 lbs. Monroe has longer arms, but the difference is very small.
Mark Sanchez- Any time he gets to throw he is going to help himself. The USC QB showed above-average accuracy, great touch, and decent arm strength in his throwing session. It is clear he can make all the throws, and he has good measurables at the position (6’2″, 227 lbs.). The only questions about him still revolve around his lack of starting experience in college. It also didn’t hurt that Stafford chose not to throw at the combine.
Aaron Curry- Curry was already an elite prospect, so the OLB out of Wake Forest had to have a really special showing to improve his draft stock. He did. He beat all linebackers in 40-yard dash time (4.56 seconds) and the broad jump (10 feet, 4 inches). He also tied for first in the vertical jump (37 inches). He showed amazing agility in the position-specific drills, and showed up at a ripped 254 lbs.
Clay Matthews- He performed the best out of the talented USC LB’s at the combine. He ran a better 40 than Cushing, the other highly-touted Trojan OLB , and showed fluid hips in drills. Clay was on the first-round bubble before the combine, like the next person on the list, but they have both tentatively solidified a round one selection.
Darrius Heyward-Bey- The Terp WR ran a blazing 4.3 40, leaving fellow speedsters Percy Harvin and Jeremy Maclin in the dust. Heyward-Bey also has a more prototypical build at the position than those players. He still has questionable fundamentals and college production, but his speed certainly warrants a mid or late first round selection.
Injuries- Players affected by injuries include Rey Maualuga, Brian Orakpo, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin and Hakeem Nicks, just to name a few. Injuries prevented players from doing some or all of the drills, and in some cases may affect draft stock. Crabtree needs to prove he is ok at his individual workout.
Runningbacks- Knowshon Moreno ran a 4.61 forty, Beanie Wells ran a 4.59, and LeSean McCoy had to skip out after battling the flu. These are not good times at all, especially considering what an amazing RB crop there was last year. Don’t expect any RB’s to go in the top 15, maybe even the top 20.
Cornerbacks- Malcolm Jenkins from OSU was the highest ranked, but he ran a 40 in the mid 4.5′s, meaning he will probably have to be moved to safety. He also didn’t impress anyone with his agility. Vontae Davis from Illiinois was probably the most impressive, and he ran a 4.49 forty. Let’s keep in mind that last years CB class averaged 4.45.
Andre Smith- He went to the combine with intent to work out, than left early because he realized he was out of shape. Oh yeah, and he didn’t tell anyone he was leaving. All this coming after a bowl-game suspension. He better really impress at his individual workout, especially with the rising stock of the other first-round OT’s.
Brad was the winner of the THN draft guru contest, and this mock draft will kick off the draft season for us.
- Detroit (0-16) Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia- As much as I’d like to put a defender here to help aid the pathetic Lions defense, the offense is pretty bad too. So when a rare arm like Stafford’s is available to help turn the franchise around, you take it. He has tremendous arm strength, good accuracy, and a clean over-the-top release.