Photo by Joe Glorioso for The Sports Capitol
NFL DRAFT: Three Paths over seven rounds for redskins
BY BEN STANDIG | MARCH 29, 2018
Projecting a one-round NFL mock draft with accuracy in mind is lunacy. Doing so for seven rounds should mean a visit from the men in white coats. Offering up three versions of a seven-round draft with undrafted free agents in tow for the Washington Redskins probably means I need more of a social life and require long talks from friends and colleagues at the least.
Presented here is simply a look at three different scenarios for the Redskins, pick by pick. These choices are based on a combination of conversations with league sources, homework and intuition plus remaining needs.
Much can change with the draft one month out and free agency still in play even though the marketplace is all kind of quiet. Sign defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and the need for a big man at 13 decreases. Add no veteran offensive linemen and looking at guards and centers early becomes crucial, etc, etc.
Hopefully, some of you nod along. Those who see red as you read, critique away. Just maybe avoid heavy machines for a few minutes. I promise to get out of the house more often.
First Round, Pick No. 13: Derwin James, SS, Florida State
The 6-foot-3 James checks box after box. Freak athlete. Great size. Highly productive. Team leader. Can play the hybrid linebacker/safety role Washington envisioned for Su’a Cravens. Safety isn’t the biggest team need. James’ potential trumps that. That he crushed the Combine could mean a return to the top 10 by draft day. If not…
Second Round, Pick No. 44: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Doug Williams keeps saying the Redskins will upgrade their backfield. That has not happened in free agency. If they wait for the draft and want a real impact back, they can trade up for Saquon Barkley (too costly), reach at 13 for Derrius Guice (poor value) or tap into the deep pool of running backs on Day 2. For now Washington only has a second-round pick. The 5-foot-11, 214-pound Michel offers three-down potential. That stellar Rose Bowl performance showed he can infuse the Redskins offense with playmaking ability. USC’s Ronald Jones offers a true home run threat and the local team has kicked those tires.
Fourth Round, Pick No. 109: Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford
Versatile option who receives praise for receiving and blocking. The Redskins would be wise taking advantage of this TE class — solid options early — considering Jordan Reed’s injury history, Vernon Davis’ age and Niles Paul playing for Jacksonville.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 142: Sean Welsh, G/C, Iowa
The 306-pounder took the most snaps at guard, but played all three offensive line positions with the Hawkeyes. The Redskins have some in-house options at left guard. They need more choices.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 163: Poona Ford, DL, Texas
The Combine snub wowed at his Pro Day, showing off impressive athletic ability that rivaled most of his peers who were in Indianapolis. That Ford is 5-foot-11 limits his draft stock. The Big 12 defensive lineman of the year made plays throughout the season and at the Senior Bowl. Redskins reps attended the Texas Pro Day and showed interest, per source.
Sixth Round, Pick No. 188: Dorian O’Daniel, ILB, Clemson
The experienced linebacker with ability to play inside and out had 88 tackles for the Tigers – 11.5 for loss – during his season. Shined on special teams earlier in his career. There are roster spots available at linebacker in Washington.
Seventh Round, Pick No. 231: Riley Ferguson, QB, Memphis
Don’t think future starter with the late-round quarterback picks. Colt McCoy’s contract ends after this season. Both of Washington’s quarterbacks are over 30. The Redskins met twice with the 6-foot-4 Ferguson, who finished with 70 touchdowns and 19 interceptions during his two seasons with the Tigers.
Seventh Round, Pick No. 241: Teo Redding, WR, Bowling Green
This sleeper only caught 94 passes during his four seasons. NFL teams are starting to wake up after getting a closer look at the 6-foot-1 target. One league source said he would bet good money Redding makes an NFL roster in 2018.
UDFA: Rico Gafford, CB, Wyoming
LSU’s Donte Jackson ran the official fastest 40-time (4.32) among defensive backs at the 2018 Combine. Gafford clocked between 4.19-4.27 at his Pro Day. Staggering. Had a four interceptions in 13 games last season. Take a look, right?
Summary – I’m all about being strong on both lines. This isn’t that path. The Redskins have other needs and attack them with their first three picks. This is the most-offensive leaning of the three scenarios.
First Round, Pick No. 13: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Adding more push and power inside tops Washington’s needs list. Some prefer the 347-pound Vita Vea, who offers the most upside of the two interior lineman. Where Vea’s productivity and effort fluctuated in college, Payne simply provided the national champions with consistent force. Good chance both are available at 13. Blatantly obvious Redskins need more help up front.
Second Round, Pick No. 44: Austin Corbett, G, Nevada
Three guards may go in the first round along with Ohio State C/G Billy Price. NFL Draft analyst Rob Rang ranks the 6-foot-4, 306-pound Corbett next among the interior OL candidates. Will shift from tackle to guard on the NFL level. For your consideration: The Redskins could look to trade down, snag an OL or another need later and perhaps recoup the third they traded for Alex Smith.
Fourth Round, Pick No. 109: Jaylen Samuels, RB, NC State
WalterFootball.com describes the 223-pounder as a “unique prospect.” That description works for a projected H-Back on the next level. Generated good buzz at the Combine. Samuels hauled in 76 receptions last season while scoring 12 rushing touchdowns. The need for more help in the backfield plus the loss of Niles Paul makes this potential pairing one worth considering.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 142: Quin Blanding, FS, Virginia
Jay Gruden raves about Montae Nicholson and with good reason. We must note the rangy free safety missed over half of his rookie season with injuries and depth is limited. Blanding, a four-year starter with the Cavaliers, recorded at least 115 tackles each season.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 163: Troy Apke, SS, Penn State
Wait, another safety? Look at the Redskins depth chart and going for a pair in the draft isn’t crazy. Apke’s 4.34 40-time topped all safeties at the Combine. He had 55 tackles in his lone season as a starter.
Sixth Round, Pick No. 188: Leon Jacobs, LB, Wisconsin
Washington needs more options off the edge. The 246-pound Jacobs runs sub 4.5, can get after quarterbacks and drop into coverage. Probably a year away from helping defensively, but he’s gained momentum in the draft process.
Seventh Round, Pick No. 231: Chase Litton, QB, Marshall
Mel Kiper constantly mentions Litton as a late-round sleeper. Completed over 60 percent of his passers and finished with QB-rating of 130 or higher in each of his three seasons with the Thundering Herd.
Seventh Round, Pick No. 241: Tyrone Crowder, G, Clemson
At one point some projections put Crowder into early round consideration. Throw a dart at a position of need.
UDFA: Jacob Martin, DE, Temple
Developmental pass rusher. Older brother Josh plays for the Jets. Some teams will look to mold the raw, but exceptional athlete.
Summary – The Redskins get beefy here. This won’t have fans overjoyed, but winning the trenches is kind of important.
First Round, Pick No. 13: Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
The Redskins kept their starting inside linebacker pairing together. The Zach Brown-Mason Foster reunion might only last one season. Either way, the middle of the defense lacks a true playmaker like Smith. Whether he gets past the Raiders at 10 is the question.
Second Round, Pick No. 44: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
Highly productive with the Cardinal. Actually led the team in tackles (98) from the line and finished with 7.5 sacks. North Carolina State’s B.J. Hill or Virginia Tech’s Tim Settle are probably better choices if the Redskins want a real nose tackle. Both would be available later in round two. For a potentially explosive edge pass rusher, keep an eye on Florida State’s Josh Sweat. Only knee concerns would keep the Virginia native outside of the top 50 picks.
Fourth Round, Pick No. 109: Wyatt Teller, G, Virginia Tech
The Redskins can stick to their plan along the offensive line if they want – spend light at left guard and center considering expenses elsewhere along the line – but they still need options. Teller received first-team All-ACC honors in 2017. Draft projections are spread out over Day 3.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 142: Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa
How the Redskins upgrade their backfield remains unclear. One consideration is simply adding more committee-level talent to the core of Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. The shifty Wadley rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons and caught a combined 64 passes. Averaged 30.1 yards on nine kick returns last season.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 163: Troy Fumagali, TE, Wisconsin
One of those players who just gets the job done despite various questions. In this case, the 6-foot-6 Fumagali is missing a finger. That didn’t hamper is pass catching or blocking with the Badgers. Competitive spirit and strong route-running instincts help round out his draft profile.
Sixth Round, Pick No. 188: Daurice Fountain, WR, Northern Iowa
Washington solidified its top three receivers by signing Paul Richardson. The bottom three slots are in flux. Fountain blew up during his senior season, finishing 66-943-12. The 6-foot-2 target reportedly held a private meeting with the Redskins.
Seventh Round, Pick No. 231: Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham
The 5-foot-9 spark-plug rushed for 5,285 yards during his first three seasons, but injuries limited him to seven games and fewer than 600 yards in 2017. One league source raves about his momentum-changing dynamic.
Seventh Round, Pick No. 241: Greg Stroman, CB, Virginia Tech
One of the top returners in the draft. Stroman averaged 11.3 yards on 35 returns last season while snagging four interceptions.
UDFA: Rick Leonard, OT, Florida State
The Redskins met with the Western Maryland native at the Combine. Adding tackle depth simply for off-season workouts is key with Trent Williams and Morgan Moses recovering from injuries.
Summary – One key to remember: At least four quarterbacks are off the board before 13 plus running back Saquon Barkley, guard Quenton Nelson and pass rusher Bradley Chubb. That means Washington is guaranteed to get Delvin James or fellow defensive back; Minkah Fitzpatrick, linebackers Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds; defensive tackles Da’Ron Payne or Vita Vea. All would potentially boost the defense right away.
Ben Standig is a host, writer and co-founder of The Sports Capitol. This D.C. area native grew up rooting for all the local squads and dabbled in the professional media world after college before making a full shift to sports writing in 2005. Since, Ben has covered every team and big event in town for several outlets including the Associated Press, NBCWashington.com and Scout.com.