The Redskins had a disastrous year, winning just three games. Robert Griffin III never looked right and was shut down towards the end of the season. The defense was one of the worst in the league. The end result was head coach Mike Shanahan getting fired and former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden being named head coach. The Redskins need upgrades everywhere, especially on the defensive side of the ball. To make matters worse, the Redskins don’t have a first round pick, as the St. Louis Rams own that pick thanks to the Robert Griffin trade from two drafts ago.
1. Cornerback: DeAngelo Hall makes the occasional play, but isn’t an elite corner, no matter what he says. Josh Wilson is solid, but is best as a nickel corner, not a starter. Both Hall and Wilson are free agents. David Amerson showed he has potential, but was inconsistent during the season. Another year will help him. E.J. Biggers isn’t much more than a backup, at both cornerback and safety, and is also a free agent. The best corners won’t be available at the start of the second round, but there will be quality prospects.
2. Inside Linebacker: London Fletcher will likely retire, leaving Perry Riley as the only Redskins inside linebacker to record more than 10 tackles this season. Keenan Robinson was a fourth round pick two years ago, but has battled injuries. The Redskins need another starter since they run a 3-4 and should re-sign Riley. Riley and Fletcher were the two worst Redskin defenders last season, according to Pro Football Focus (Subscription required). Using a third or fourth round pick on an ILB makes sense.
3. Safety: The Redskins safeties were not very good last season. Brandon Meriweather struggled in coverage and can’t stay healthy. Reed Doughty isn’t much more than a backup and is a free agent. Baccari Rambo was a sixth round pick out of Georgia, and struggled for much of the season. Phillip Thomas was a fourth round pick out of Fresno State, but missed the whole season because of the dreaded Lisfranc injury. It got so bad that Jose Gumbs started a game for the Redskins. The Redskins could spend a high pick on the safety position.
4. Defensive End: The Redskins could use a dynamic defensive lineman. Stephen Bowen, Kedric Golston and Jarvis Jenkins are serviceable at best. J.J. Watt’s don’t grow on trees, especially in the 3-4 defense, but there might be a few worthwhile prospects that can improve the defense in the second or third rounds.
5. Wide Receiver: Pierre Garcon had an incredible year for the Redskins, but is the only reliable option at wide out. He’s a great No. 1 wide out, but RGIII needs a No. 2. Santana Moss is on his last legs, and Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson haven’t shown enough to warrant the No. 2 role. The Redskins also desperately need to find a player that can return punts and kicks. There will be plenty of prospects in the draft that can fill both roles.
6. Right Guard: Chris Chester needs to be replaced. The offensive line as whole wasn’t great, but with more pressing needs, right guard might be the only place the Redskins will be able to upgrade. There should be some quality prospects at the start of round two, and someone might fall to round three or four.
Bradley Roby, CB, OSU: Roby would be a similar pick to when the Redskins took David Amerson in the second round last year. Much like Amerson, Roby is talented but struggled last season. He could be on the board in the second round.
Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Florida: Purifoy has first round talent, but didn’t live up to expectations at Florida. He was overmatched against Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, who will likely be a first or early second round pick. If Purifoy manages to last until the third round, the Redskins might take a chance on him.
Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford: Skov would fit well in Washington. He needs work on pass coverage, but is great in run support and plays downhill. He also has an interesting backstory. He might not slip to the Redskins third round pick, but it would make sense for the Redskins to take him if he does.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Shayne Skov goes up and over"][/caption]
Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State: Bullough hasn’t done himself any favors in the past few months. He showed up overweight to the East-West Shrine game, weighing in at 265 pounds. He was suspended for the Rose Bowl for “a violation of team rules” and his silence regarding that suspension is worrisome. Bullough will likely be a Day 3 pick at best, but the Redskins met with him at the Shrine Game.
Dion Bailey, S, USC: Bailey was linebacker for USC before transitioning to the safety position. He is still raw at the position, but could be a good in-the-box type safety. If the Redskins want him, they might have to take him in round two.
Jimmie Ward, S, NIU: Ward is one of several good, but not great, safety prospects in this year’s draft. His draft stock will likely be heavily influenced by his performance in the Senior Bowl. He hasn’t played against the best competition at Northern Illinois, but he will in the Senior Bowl. For now, Ward strikes me as an early Day 3 pick who could rise.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: Tuitt is the best 3-4 defensive end in this year’s draft class. He has great upside and probably will not make it to the Redskins’ second round pick. However, Tuitt received a second round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board so there is a chance.
Josh Mauro, DE, Stanford: Mauro doesn’t get the recognition that his Stanford teammates Skov and Trent Murphy do. However, Mauro is a solid player and a good fit as a 3-4 defensive end. If the Redskins wait to pick a DE, getting a player like Mauro in the fourth round would be logical.
Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor: Richardson has a good chance to be the first guard drafted. He will likely be taken in the late first or early second round. If the Redskins decide protecting RGIII is more important than upgrading the defense, they might take Richardson in round two.
Brandon Thomas, OG, Clemson: Thomas played tackle for Clemson, but his future is at guard. He is a notch below players like Richardson, David Yankey, Gabe Jackson and Xavier Su’a-Filo but Thomas could develop into a serviceable starter. The Redskins could be able to get him on Day 3.
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: Robinson is one of several receivers that could be a late first or second round pick. If the Redskins want to spend a high pick on a receiver to compliment Pierre Garcon and give RGIII another weapon, Robinson is a good option.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Allen Robinson wins jump ball against Michigan "][/caption]
Dri Archer, WR, Kent State: Archer probably won’t be drafted until late Day 3 after a sub-par season this year. He is undersized and might not be anything more than a return man in the NFL. However, that is exactly what the Redskins need: a potentially dynamic return man.
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