Photo by LSU Athletics for The Sports Capitol
NFL Draft: Redskins and the second round mock draft
BY BEN STANDIG | APRIL 27, 2018
The Washington Redskins landed a needed run-stuffing defensive tackle in the first round with the selection of Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne. That’s yesterday’s news. Friday brings Day 2 of the NFL Draft, which means the second and third round. Washington enters the day with only one selection, No. 44 overall. The third-round selection went to Kansas City (Doug Williams already said the Redskins had the best third-round pick in the 2018 Draft so all good).
Reminder: Washington entered the draft with several needs, though only one major hole (left guard). Based on the draft board, the Redskins really couldn’t mess up in terms of positional additions. Though, time will tell whether they selected the proper player. They can address another hole in the second round. The remaining/likely candidates provide a strong pool of options.
Sure there were some interesting/surprising selections in the first round: QB Baker Mayfield and CB Denzel Ward first and fourth overall to the Browns, respectively, the Saints moving up 13 slots for defensive end Marcus Davenport, Florida State safety Derwin James slipping to 17, the Ravens trading into the first round for QB Lamar Jackson. Yet the big board at this point is largely as expected. At least on this end.
My first-round mock draft included 29 of the 32 players. The three that fell out: Boston College pass rusher Harold Landry, Iowa center James Daniels and UTEP guard Will Hernandez. Of the three that I didn’t have in the first round, two of them — RB Rashaad Penny and S Terrell Edmunds — were projected below Washington’s second-round selection.
Again, I think the Redskins could go in numerous directions at 44 and feel good about the positional addition. My sense of the plan based on weeks of pre-draft conversations and homework has Washington thinking running back or guard in the second round.
Doug Williams repeatedly made the case for a running back upgrade. He told The Sports Capitol legitimate help existed in this class all the way to the fourth round, but most agree the true strength lies in the second. That three running backs went in the first is a tad surprising. The run on backs figured to start ahead of Washington anyway. Instead of at 34 it began at 27 with the Seahawks taking Penny and the Patriots snagging Sony Michel.
Nick Chubb (Georgia), Derrius Guice (LSU) and Ronald Jones (USC) are considered the three best remaining options. Washington did ample homework on at least Guice and Jones, The Sports Capitol learned throughout the pre-draft process.
Around the time the Redskins let center Spencer Long walk in free agency The Sports Capitol was told Washington planned on going with inexpensive options at center and left guard. They already spend more money on offensive tackle than any team in the league and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff has a huge pay increase coming his way in 2019.
By selecting an interior lineman early in the draft Washington can hopefully land a starter who would play on a rookie contract for the next four seasons. Based on the big board from NFL.com analyst and former Cowboys front office executive Gil Brandt, four of the top 13 remaining players are interior offensive linemen: Hernandez, Daniels and guards Connor Williams and Terrell Crosby. Two other guards, Austin Corbett and Braden Smith, are generally projected somewhere in the second round.
Brandt also has the three running backs among his top 15 remaining. There are 11 picks before Washington is on the clock. Seems likely that some team takes the best remaining quarterback, Mason Rudolph. Wide receivers Courtland Sutton, Christian Kirk, D.J. Chark and Anthony Miller are popular early Day 2 picks. The Redskins do not need a receiver this high. If, say, two from that group go before 44, then more talent gets pushed to Washington.
Other interesting prospects potentially going off the board early in round two who could fit with the Redskins should they fall include Landry, cornerback Josh Jackson, tight end Dallas Goedert, cornerback Donte Jackson, tight end Mike Gesicki, safety Justin Reid.
Let’s have a mini mock draft to get a better sense of what the Redskins are looking at on Day 2
33) Browns — Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. Browns poised to trade down as teams want to jump the QB-needy Giants. Cleveland could consider Conner Williams if they view him as a left tackle.
34) Giants — James Daniels, C, Iowa. New York landed a stud running back in Saquon Barkley. Now they need a pile mover up the middle after losing starting center Weston Richburg in free agency.
35) Browns — Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. Cleveland upgraded its passing attack with Jarvis Landry, but could use another outside threat.
36) Colts — Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College. Injury concerns knocked Landry out of the first round, but he’s one of the few interesting pass-rushing options in this draft.
37) Colts — Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. One source pre-draft pegged the shifty runner to the Colts with one of these two selections. The Redskins were never considering Guice at 13 despite numerous reports suggesting otherwise, according to a source before the first round.
38) Buccaneers — Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia. No team needed running back help more than Tampa Bay.
39) Bears — Will Hernandez, G, UTEP. Chicago did not land Quenton Nelson in the first round. Guard help arrives in the second.
40) Broncos — Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. Trading Aqib Talib opened up a need at corner. Several mock drafts had Jackson landing in the top 15.
41) Raiders — Justin Reid, S, Stanford. Oakland needs secondary help. Reid’s 4.4 40-yard dash time prompted first-round attention.
42) Dolphins — Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State. The Julius Thomas experience didn’t work.
43) Patriots — Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC. New England could easily take a quarterback here like Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta. For the purposes of imagining the board for the Redskins we’ll take one of the best remaining linebackers off the board.
44) Redskins — The options I think work best listed in order of Brandt’s board:
Connor Williams, G, Texas — The 6-foot-5, 296-pound Williams played tackle with the Longhorns, but is expected to kick inside on the NFL level. A left knee injury limited his on-field work during his junior season.
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M — The Redskins really should look elsewhere before taking a wide receiver especially after signing Paul Richardson in free agency. The 5-foot-11 wideout had 10 touchdowns on 71 receptions last season. Slot starter Jamison Crowder is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Donte Jackson, CB, LSU — His 4.32 40-yard dash at the Combine was the fastest in 2018. Some uncertainty exists at corner after Washington traded Kendall Fuller and is not bringing back Bashaud Breeland.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State — Tight end remains underrated as a concern for the Redskins. There’s the Jordan Reed injury issues, Vernon Davis is 34 years old, and Niles Paul doesn’t work here anymore. Gesicki’s stock improved dramatically after an impressive Combine showing. Would give the offense another pass-catcher.
Ronald Jones, RB, USC — The Redskins met with the speed back at the Combine and Bruce Allen attended his Pro Day. Jones rushed for over 1,500 yards last season with the Trojans. His lack of size (205 pounds) doesn’t quite mesh with idea of Washington adding an early down back, but they need more talent in the backfield.
Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama — We know the Redskins like Crimson Tide prospects. This one offers size (6-foot-2), speed and versatility. Washington has minimal depth behind current starters D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson. Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates is the other notable safety option remaining.
If this is the board, then Williams borders on the no-brainer based on projections and fit. Even if he’s gone, Washington can land guard help with Corbett or Smith. Both of those players could be targets if the Redskins can trade down and perhaps recoup that third-round pick. The Colts, Ravens and Buccaneers are among the teams with extra Day 2 selections. Jackson and Harrison could be Week 1 starters. Jones — or Guice if available — would join Chris Thompson as a dynamic threat out of the backfield. Adding a tight end like Gesicki would keep that section of the playbook Jay Gruden shutters whenever Reed sits.
The Redskins are positioned for adding legitimate positional help on Day 2. That’s the only thing we know for sure with the always unpredictable NFL Draft.
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.