IS THE LOCKER ROOM STRONG ENOUGH TO RISK DRAFTING TYRANN MATHIEU?

Just recently I was quick to dismiss the idea that the Redskins would use a high pick drafting a player like LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu. The team has stuck closely to the strategy of drafting high-character, senior classmen prospects and Mathieu fits neither criteria. What I did not take into account was who will be joining the redskins in the war room this April however. Current defensive backs coach Raheem Morris’s affinity for troubled players is no secret; he is, in fact, the man who drafted the likes of Aqib Talib and Tanard Jackson during his stint as head coach of Tampa Bay. That being said, it has recently surfaced that the newest apple of Raheem’s eye is none other than, you guessed it, Tyrann Mathieu. Morris apparently views Mathieu as the most talented nickel back in this years draft, and will be banging on the table for his selection when next weekend rolls around.

 

Tyrann Mathieu’s playmaking ability and nose for the ball are undeniable traits, but apparently so is his nose for marijuana. Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have worked hard to slowly change the culture in the locker room, avoiding bringing players such as Mathieu into the fold and still the team has had to deal with headaches of their very own, most notably the suspension of Trent Williams and Fred Davis. Nonetheless, Raheem Morris has influenced many of the teams acquisitions since his arrival in Washington (Just ask EJ Biggers,Kai Forbath, Devin Holland, Tanard Jackson, Dez Briscoe and Jeremy Trueblood) and that doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.

The question remains: have the Redskins built a roster with leaders strong enough to mitigate the risk of drafting a player like Tyrann Mathieu or will he find himself hanging out with Tanard Jackson on the reserved list?

Lets hope the team is sure of their answer.

UNVEILING THE HOGS HAVEN/HTTR24-7.COM REDSKINS DRAFT BOARD

Last year, the guys over at Hogs Haven made up their own Redskins draft board, ranking almost every player not just based on their talent and ability, but also on their fit in the Redskins scheme. This year, those guys let me, Kevin and Justin in on the fold to collaborate on this draft board together with Mark (a.k.a UK Redskin) and Steve.

 

The ranking system is the same as last year. We split each round into three sections: A, B and C. A represents a player graded to go in the top third of the round, B represents a player graded to go in the middle third of the round and C represents a player graded to go in the last third of the round. This year we have 245 players, as opposed to the 229 players we had on the board last year. Just as last year, I’m going to keep the board updated as the picks come in. If a square is yellow, the player has been drafted. If the square is red, he’s been drafted by the Redskins.

 

The takeaway we all had from this experience is that, while the top have of the draft is lacking elite players, there should be a whole lot of depth to be had in the later rounds. That actually works out well in the Redskins favor; they may not have a first round draft pick, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be missing out on players that can’t help us in the future.

A LIGHTER LOOK AT SHANNY’S DRAFT PHILOSOPHY

So KC already took us through the main factors Mike Shanahan has looked for when drafting players during his Redskins regime-senior, team leader, individual accolades.

And now you’ve probably gone through thousands of mock drafts filtering out all the juniors and sophomores from your list. But you’ve still got several dozen names floating in your head.

The draft is just over two weeks away and you’re going crazy trying to come up with the perfect mock draft for the Redskins. Fear not, I’ve unearthed five little-know Shanahan tactics guaranteed to make your mock draft the envy of all your friends.

1. Go West Young DB
He only drafts DBs from colleges west of the Mississippi River (Boise State, Nebraska, Iowa, SMU)…so all you Cyprien, Rambo, Swearinger, Ryan, Banks, Slay, McGee, Webb, Shamarko Thomas, Wreh-Wilson and Amerson fans, I’m sorry it’s not happening.
So place your bets on guys like Phillip Thomas, Duke Williams, Jordan Poyer, Will Davis, and Marc Anthony.
2. Do You Bowl?
If you didn’t play in a Bowl game your Senior season, he’s not drafting you.
So cross Marc Anthony off your list
3. It’s Pronounced Du-ké
Tell me the last time Mike Shanahan drafted a DB for the B & G who had a monosyllabic first name? That’s right, you can’t.
So say goodbye to Duke Williams and Will Davis.
4. Nah man, John’s my Last Name. First name Sean
2010-Terrence Austin, 2011-Niles Paul, 2012-Alfred Morris. If you’re an offensive player with a last name that could be a first name chances are Mr. Shanahan’s got his eye on you.
Christine Michael, Stepfan Taylor, Zac Stacy, Jonathan Franklin, Jordan Reed all fit this bill
5. Maybe John Feinstein Was Onto Something
You ever notice how Mike Shanahan only drafts RBs who wore predominantly white helmets in college? Evan Royster-Penn State, Roy Helu-Nebraska, Alfred Morris-Florida Atlantic (I’ll wait while you google image Florida Atlantic Football). I’m not sayin’…I’m just sayin’
So cross Christine Michael, Zac Stacy, and Jonathan Franklin off your list.
Go Write Up Your Mock Draft
Armed with this time-tested knowledge I “guarantee” the Redskins will draft Phillip Thomas, Jordan Poyer, Stepfan Taylor, and Jordan Reed.
Congratulations! Go place some bets with friends and win some money
*disclaimer: the above was for entertainment purposes only and this site does not endorse nor is accountable for you fools parting with your money

FREE AGENCY WASHINGTON REDSKINS 7 ROUND MOCK DRAFT

This offseason has probably been one of the most boring on record for any Redskins fans…and it seems like a majority of fans don’t to mind very much. We understand the cap situation, understand our needs, and are still waiting for the market to settle. That being said, without being very active in free agency, it puts a premium on every draft choice we make. This draft has some familiar faces from the previous two mock drafts I’ve done and some new ones, but I think this is a slightly more balanced approached than the other two have been.

2ND ROUND.) JAMAR TAYLOR, CB, BOISE STATE

I think this pick is a good combo of the best available player on the board and addressing a need. I previously mocked Jamar Taylor in the fifth round, but that was probably too low, as most positional rankings have him grade him with a 2nd to 3rd round grade. So I split the difference and had him going in the bottom half of the second.

Taylor is an athletic, physical cornerback who excels in man coverage. He displays really good instincts and ball skills; he just needs a little work on his technique in zone coverage, and with looking back and tracking the ball; some of the plays he made in college will be called pass interference in the NFL if he doesn’t learn to do so with more consistency. But, with some work on these points, and a little bit of finesse on his technique in the run game, Taylor can be a very solid outside corner for the Redskins going forward.

3RD ROUND.) BACCARI RAMBO, FS, GEORGIA
Baccari Rambo reappears in my mock draft. Rambo, in my mind, is the best pure free safety in this draft. The Redskins live mostly in Cover 1 and Cover 3 on defense, which means you need a free safety who is instinctive, has great range and closing speed, and who can tackle. Rambo, in my personal opinion, can do all of those things. He’s good at diagnosing what the play us and being in the right spot to make a play and rarely gets looked off. Rambo’s main issue is consistency; he (like a certain recently released corner) will occasionally go for the big play instead of the smart play, which can lead to an offense getting more yards than necessary. However, he is rarely toasted in coverage, and when he’s on, he’s very, very on.

4TH ROUND.) ANDRE ELLINGTON, RB, CLEMSON

The Redskins need a guy change of pace back for Alfred Morris who can also carry the load in a pinch. Alfred Morris is an awesome runner, but lacks that extra gear to break the big one; FroMo is awesome, but he also left some potential TDs on the board. Ideally, what the Redskins want is a punisher like Morris to working the inside and turning the opponent’s d-line into mush, and then speed back that can work the outside and take advantage of a tired defense.

Andre Ellington has the kind of speed we’re looking for, is great at making jump cuts, and has good vision, though it’s inconsistent. He catches the ball out of the backfield well and even though he’s not a big back, he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder and he runs though contact. He’s not a great pass protector, but he is a willing pass protector, which means that his skills in that area can be improved with time. Adding Ellington gives us a solid one-two punch in the backfield while Cousins is in he game and an even more explosive attack when Robert comes back.

5TH ROUND.) A.J KLEIN, ILB, IOWA STATE

The loss of Lorenzo Alexander creates a hole in our linebacker depth. Not only do we need to continue to improve that depth, we also need a guy who will hustle on special teams and who can continue to learn under London Fletcher. A.J Klein gives you all out effort on every play; he’s not the fastest linebacker, he’s not the most athletic, but, like Ryan Kerrigan, his effort is what makes him a great football player. He needs to work on his coverage a little bit, and he needs to bring down his pad level so he can become a more consistent tackler in addition to being a little bit to get bigger, but in time Klein could be a big time player for us.

5TH ROUND.) CONNER VERNON, WR, DUKE

The Redskins are pretty deep at wide receiver, but this is a case of me going for the best available player on my board. Connor Vernon is a route running monster; he’s smooth in and out of his cuts, and he’s got football speed that can’t be matched in a 40-yard dash. He catches every ball thrown his way, and he racks of a lot of YAC. He’s also a receiver that’s not afraid to dive for that deep ball or go across the middle and take a big hit. He’s not an explosive athlete and he might not wow people with pure athleticism, but he knows how to get open, he can run the whole route tree, he’s shifty enough to play in the slot, and, since Brandon Banks is gone, he can also return punts. This is the kind of guy you get in the late round who can contribute on special teams and with some development and time, will surprise you on offense.

6TH ROUND.) D.J HAYDEN, CB, HOUSTON

To steal something my friend Justin has said, this is the kind of pick you make and the laugh your way all the way to the bank. Hayden is a great draft prospect that was unfortunately hampered by a nearly fatal heart injury. Hayden suffered a freak injury to his inferior vera cara during practice; had he not gotten to the hospital, it’s possible he could’ve died. Before Hayden’s injury, he was enjoying a great season playing for Houston and there was a huge buzz about his potential.

Hayden has fantastic technique and instincts in man coverage, knowing when to break on routes and when t just cover. He’s not a big corner or overly strong, but I think he wins with his technique, his fluid hips and his instincts; he picked off 4 passes this season, and it could’ve been more with better hands. He disengages off guys in the run game and isn’t afraid to come up in run support, and though he didn’t do much of it, he could probably return kicks and punts on special teams, especially considering the 4.33 time he posted on his pro day.

His road back to being ready to play might not be easy, but this guy has every bit of potential to be another one of those “where did he come from” gems Mike Shanahan seems to unearth, only this one will be on defense.

7TH ROUND.) MATT FURSTENBERG, TE, MARYLAND

Yup; I’m not changing this pick. He didn’t have a whole lot of production at Maryland, but the guy’s physical attributes are just impossible for me to pass up. Fred will likely be back on a year deal, and we do have Logan, but we need depth at the position. Furstenberg provides us some depth, and some clay for Sean McVay to mold into a potential star, if he can put the physical attributes and the solid Combine performance together on a football field.

PRIORITY UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS

1.) Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt — This isn’t about the fact that Jordan Rodgers happens to be the little brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. On his own, Rodgers impresses me with his physical attributes and his leadership qualities. Rodgers led the Commodores to their first Bowl win since 2008, and he finished with a solid completion percentage, 15 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He even ran some elements of the read-option and operated out of the pistol.

The Redskins appear poised to bring back Rex Grossman on another one year deal to be a third quarterback option, but we need to groom another quarterback for the eventuality that Kirk Cousins moves on so we’re not left without a back-up.

2.) T.J Moe, WR, Missouri — Primarily a slot receiver, he had a 1,000 yard season with Blaine Gabbert throwing the football. He hasn’t had much in the way of quarterbacks sense. Good hands and a potential punt returner.

3.) Onterio McCalebb, RB, Auburn — A potential scat back option in the pistol and another person who can compete for the job of returning punts.

WHAT LATE ROUND PLAYERS CAN MAKE AN IMPACT YEAR ONE?

Every year fans look for the next star QB, the next Reggie White at DE, but what makes teams are the picks between rounds 4 to round 7. With the Redskins facing the 18 million dollar cap penalty, the draft will be one of the biggest ways for the Redskins to continue building while still facing this penalty. Here’s a look at 5 guys who could make an impact for the Redskins that can be had in those rounds 4 to 7.

Quanterus Smith DE/OLB Western Kentucky

While not as highly regarded as others, Smith is one of the best pass rushers in this class. But there has to be a down side to Smith, right? Well He tore his ACL last year and is right now recovering from this injury. When healthy though Smith is a top 3 round pick who can be one of the top pass rushers in his class. Smith uses his athleticism and hands to beat his opponents, but also at the same time can hold the point of attack in the running game. If the Redskins lose Jackson in FA, Smith would be a good fit to take his position.

Will Davis CB Utah State

Davis has one of the best stories in football, and I do highly suggest reading this article on what he has done in the past 3 years.

Okay now after that what makes Will Davis a guy who can be an impact guy? Well simply put Davis has the athleticism that many CB’s wish they had, but also when you watch film, he is an extremely raw player. Now a lot of this stems from his story, but also Davis just has things that need to be worked on and coached up. If Davis can reach his full potential, then you have a possible #1 CB in the NFL, and I think many front offices would take that from a 4th round pick. Look for Davis to make an early impact on ST’s but as the season wears on become a more reliable CB.

Jordan Mills OT Louisiana Tech

Here’s one of those OT’s who if he gets put into the right spot can thrive and be a very good OT in the NFL. While not as highly regarded as other OT’s in this class, Mills showed that he could play with the big boys with his strong showing at the senior bowl. The question for me with Mills is whether he can be an OT or an OG but look for him in either spot to be very successful. What Mills does well is use his body to wall of defenders. He may not be a picture perfect technician, but Mills does a solid job with his technique. If Mills can refine his technique, then he could become a very good OT in the NFL. He may never be seen as an elite guy, but Mills could be seen as one of the better OT’s in the league.

Kevin Reddick ILB UNC

Reddick now for two years I’ve always wondered if he could be a starting caliber LB in the NFL. While I look at Reddick and see a good ILB, there also are issues as well with his game. The good thing with Reddick is that he is a pure thumper and someone who can thrive in the 3-4 D with his ability to attack the hole and get tackles. With Reddick,  I wonder if he can be a guy who can cover the TE’s, but in terms of ability to play in the running game he is one of the top guys. Reddick to me is a solid 5th round guy, but also at the same time I’d feel effective subbing him early on his rookie year with his ability to play so effectively in the running game. He will need work in coverage, but you cannot teach what he has, and that is pretty solid instincts.

Earl Watford OG JMU

I almost feel like I had to do this and I’m sure KC will get on my case about it, but Earl is one of those OG’s who will not go early, but when he gets his shot he could become a starting OG in the NFL. Earl came into JMU around 275 to 280 pounds as an OL/DL guy and now sits at 300 pounds and ran an unofficial 40 of under 5.0(which is fast for an OL). Earl is a nasty OL who loves nothing more than putting his defender on the ground and finishing every play. He has had issues with bigger players, and he is not perfect, but with his athleticism and technique he could be a starting caliber guy in the ZBS scheme. Look for Earl to come off the board in round 5-6 and have a chance to make his impact.

POST COMBINE 7 ROUND MOCK DRAFT

With the combine and all-star circuit done, its time for me to update my mock draft from before. Again like KC I’m under the assumption that we do sign Corey Lynchand and Greg Toler in FA.

Round 2: Gavin Escobar TE SDSU

Like KC, I’ve made my feelings well-known on Escobar. If Davis walks in FA then TE becomes a legitimate need for the Redskins and Escobar fits the bill as one of the best fits for this team. An underrated blocker and someone who makes plays catching the ball, Escobar would add a new dimension to the offense.

Round 3: J.J. Wilcox S Georgia Southern

I know I mentioned him as an option at 51, but on my personal big board I have Wilcox as a solid 3rd round pick. A natural athlete and someone who is raw at the S position, Wilcox needs coaching and technique refinement, but what he has is something that many players wish for and that’s his athletic ability. Look for Wilcox to make an impact for the Redskins long-term.

Round 4: B.W. Webb CB William and Mary

Rated as one of the top small school CB’s, Webb had a great post-season circuit and has shown teams he can be a very good slot CB early on. Webb has shown ability to make the big play as well as shut down his opponent. With the added dimension on punt return’s as well, Webb is a very solid pick here in round 4.

Round 5: Theo Riddick RB/WR Notre Dame

I know LL will be happy with this pick, but I do also see Riddick in the role thatBrandon Banks attempted to occupy this year for the Redskins. With a good natural pass catching ability, Riddick would be able to step in right away as a 3rd down RB as well as a back in the triple option looks that Washington shows. Also the coach isMike Shanahan you should always expect one RB every year

Round 5(From NE): Reid Fragel OT Ohio State

I don’t expect Mike Shanahan and company to take an OT early at all this year with the reports out that they are high on Tom Compton. I do expect them though to take one later in the draft to develop as a swing tackle in case of injury. Fragel made the move from TE to OT and every week showed improvement. While not anywhere close to a finished product, Chris Foerster is a very good OL coach and has improved the OL every year he’s been here.

Round 6: AJ Klein ILB Iowa State

As much as I love London Fletcher, the writing is starting to show on the wall that his time is coming up in DC. With that being said, I expect Keenan Robinson to take London’s spot on D and step in and play very well. Adding Klein is more so for depth in the LB spot and in the 6th round he was my top rated player available there. Look for Klein to provide solid depth even in his rookie year

Round 7: Bradley McDougald FS Kansas

While a 7th round pick, don’t be surprised if McDougald pushes for a roster spot early on and becomes one of the surprise picks of the 2013 draft class. While he doesn’t have the elite measurables, McDougald is a football player I trust to make plays. Being able to sit under and learn from Corey Lynch would be very important to his development as well. At this point too it would be a very solid pick and allow Washington to add to the Secondary

POST-COMBINE 7 ROUND WASHINGTON REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT

Note: This mock draft assumes that in free agency, the Washington Redskins, as Kevin has suggested, look to add players like Corey Lynch or Greg Toler, giving the Redskins a little more latitude to take a best player available approach in the draft. So here we go.

2ND ROUND.) GAVIN ESCOBAR, TIGHT END, SAN DIEGO STATE

The closer we move to free agency, the more likely it seems that Fred Davis will be leaving in free agency, especially if we can’t get our cap number in check. Logan Paulsen is a great try hard player, but the likelihood of him developing into a productive tight end in our offense isn’t very high. When looking back at how Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan used the tight end in Denver and Houston, they tend to like to have one more traditional in-line tight end (a Daniel Graham or a Joel Dreessen, if you will), and a “move” guy that you can move anywhere on the formation (a Tony Scheffler or Owen Daniels).

If Logan plays the more traditional in-line role, then San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar would be the perfect guy to complement him. Escobar has a huge wing span and solid hands. He’s a little underrated as a blocker (though he does still need a little work on his technique), and while he’s not the fastest tight end in the draft, he’s got more than enough speed to give linebackers trouble and be a handful to cover in the slot.

3RD ROUND.) RYAN SWOPE, WIDE RECEIVER, TEXAS A&M

 

The Redskins have a solid collection of outside receivers when you look at the make up of their roster. They have Pierre Garçon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, Dezmon Briscoe, and even the speedster Aldrick Robinson is better suited for playing inside. The only “true” slot receiver they have is Santana Moss, and his cap hit in 2013 is over $5 million, not to mention that he’ll be a free agent come the end of the season. That means that we need to start thinking, in earnest, about a replacement.

Swope reminds me of a more athletic…Brandon Stokley or Danny Amendola. (HA! I know what you thought I was going to say, but I am not going to mention him.) He’s a shifty receiver in the slot, making it hard for larger corners to get their hands on him, and too fast for safeties and linebackers to cover him. His route running is an underrated part of his game, and he’s not afraid to take a shot across the middle. He needs to work on not body catching the ball as often as he does, but he makes the catch most of the time despite that, so it’s more of a minor coaching issue that can be fixed as he gains more time in the offense.

4TH ROUND.) DAVID QUESSENBERRY, OFFENSIVE TACKLE, SAN JOSE STATE

One of the little ways I tend to judge a prospect, is if the first time I watch him, I go “whoa”. It happened with Robert Griffin III. Sometimes you just watch a guy work and say “that guy is going to be a good one.)

San Jose State’s David Quessenberry is one of those guys. The first time I really watched him was during Senior Bowl practices, and the guy leapt out immediately. Even as a relatively small school guy, he played and competed with the best of them. He’s projected as a guard, but I think he’s got the length and the strength to play outside at right tackle and be a book-end to Trent. if not, he’s a good enough athlete that he can play inside as well, if we’re to assume Tom Compton is eventually going to be the right tackle. He’s got a little bit of a mean streak too, which is always a plus in linemen.

5TH ROUND.) JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN, RUNNING BACK, UCLA

Mike Shanahan always takes a running back. It’s like clockwork. Alfred Morris had an incredible rookie season; any other year, he would’ve been a shoe-in for rookie of the year. But, he’s already getting a high odometer, and if we want him to have a long, productive career, we need to give him a back to spell. In addition, Morris only had 11 catches on the season; the “3rd down back” Evan Royster didn’t do much better with only 10 catches, and Darrel Young totaled eight. This offense is hard to defend, but it’d be harder to defend if we had a back who could catch the ball out of the backfield, and run the ball outside to bring the outside zone-runs full into our offense.

Franklin can catch the ball out of the backfield, he’s willing to pass protect and does a pretty good job of it, and he’s got the kind of breakaway speed that Morris, while totally awesome, doesn’t have. His measurables are similiar to Roy Helu, Jr, only he has a cleaner bill of health and doesn’t run quite as upright as Helu. In the event of a Morris injury, he’d be more than capable of handling the load for an extended period and our offense wouldn’t lose it’s explosiveness.

Imagine a pistol formation with Morris and Franklin in the backfield. That headache you just got? That’s how defensive coordinators would feel, having to defend the inside dive, the outside zone and the read option quarterback run.

5TH ROUND.) JAMAR TAYLOR, CORNERBACK, BOISE STATE*

*Originally I picked Darius Slay here, but thought better of it. No way Slay is around in round 5.

Kevin wrote an article about Jamar Taylor a couple months ago, and I’ve come around on him recently. Taylor excels in man coverage, and for a guy his side, he’s very physical and a good tackler, including a very good tackler in the run game. Boise State also sent him on blitzes; he’s a corner capable of laying the wood and imposing his will. If he can work on his zone coverage and looking back for the football (then again pretty much no corner looks for the ball anymore; it’s one of my biggest scouting pet peeves), he’s a guy who can start for the Redskins down the line, likely after Josh Wilson’s contract expires at the end of 2013.

6TH ROUND.) RASHARD HALL, FREE SAFETY, CLEMSON

This is one of the deeper safety classes in recent memory, but one of the things that sort of gets left out that analysis is that, while that’s true, it’s much deeper in strong safeties, or guys who thrive near the line of scrimmage, then in the center field, Cover 1 type of safeties that would be a much better fit in Jim Haslett’s defense. That’s one of the many problems we have without our safety play; we have a lot of guys who thrive near the line, but suffer out in coverage.

Madieu Williams is a true centerfielder…but he also sucks.

Hall is one of the few guys I saw really playing the center field safety role. I think he showed some really good range and football instincts playing for the Crimson Tigers. He’s a good tackler and the kind of late round guy you can develop into a starter later down the line, and a guy who can play special teams while he develops.

7TH ROUND.) MATT FURSTENBERG, TE, MARYLAND
That’s right; I’m taking a second tight end in this draft. Remember what I said about Quessenberry—about saying “whoa?”. Furstenberg, a completely unknown tight end from Maryland, ran a 4.62 40, caught the ball well in the gauntlet, and performed well in all the other drills. The University of Maryland has been plagued by bad quarterback play for years, so Furstenberg’s production isn’t particularly great.

However, his physical measurables make him the kind of guy I want to have in my camp to see if he can reach his full potential. Taking him in the draft, rather than waiting for undrafted free agency, insures he’s in my camp.

UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS
Matt Scott, Quarterback, Arizona: Matt Scott played pretty well in his senior season, replacing Nick Foles. Scott’s got some quirks in his motion and needs help with his accuracy, but he’s got a pretty good arm, he’s athletic, and his comeback drives in Arizona’s bowl game victory suggests he’s got a little fire in him as well.

K.C’S DAY 1 AND DAY 2 IMPRESSIONS FROM THE 2013 UNDERWEAR OLYMPICS (NFL SCOUTING COMBINE)

Offensive Linemen

I made the comment to LL yesterday that most of the linemen we saw yesterday were built less like the typical offensive linemen and more like tight ends. There wasn’t a bad body out of the bunch, aside from maybe Chance Warmack, who looked like the most “prototypical” offensive linemen on the field. It’s a good year to be in the market for an offensive linemen; there’s some legitimate talent to be had and molded.
Cal center Brian Schwenke stood out amongst the interior linemen. Schwenke ran a ridiculous 4.99 with a 1.68 10-yard split. Schwenke is the perfect Zone Blocking Scheme center, and followed up a great week of work at the Senior Bowl with another check mark at the Scouting Combine. He’s more athletic than he looks, with great lateral movement skills and the kind of nasty streak you look for in an offensive linemen. Will Montgomery was one of the better centers in the league last year, but we don’t have any “true centers” behind him, and Schwenke can be had for much cheaper than Monty’s $4 million a year. Schwenke can also play all three interior line positions, which is even better
David Quessenbary is another intriguing prospect that I’m looking at when it comes to right tackle prospects. Quessenbary showed up and kicked butt at the Senior Bowl, and then followed it up with another solid combine performance. In drills he showed good footwork and quick feet. He’s not the most athletic linemen, but his measurables are close to that of last year’s draft pick Tom Compton. If he, like Compton, could sit for a season and add some strength, he’d be a solid option as well.
Oday Aboushi disappointed me, big time. I liked his tape at Virginia, but he had a bad week at the Senior Bowl, then followed it up with a bad showing at the Combine. He’s intriguing prospect from a physical standpoint, but his stock is significantly lowered after the last couple events.
As far as raw prospects go, Virginia Tech offensive tackle Nick Becton piqued my interest. Going through the drills, you can tell that technique wise, the guy has a long way to go. But as a development prospect in the later rounds, he definitely has the athletic traits and abilities we seem to look for in a right tackle.
If you didn’t know, Arkansas Pine-Bluff’s Terron Armstead went off the charts athletically. But, just because he went off athletically doesn’t make him the best offensive linemen out there. He is a scheme fit for the Washington Redskins at tackle, but I’m not sure I would take him with the Redskins second round pick, and that’s if he’s even there, as some other team might rocket him up their board. Armstead is still a third-or-fourth round pick in my eyes based off his tape.
I feel like I have to mention James Madison prospect Earl Watford, but I’ll just leave it to Justin to explain why he’s good. Not that I’m calling him a homer or anything.

Tight Ends

San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar stuck out to me amongst the “three E’s” (Escobar, Ertz and Eifert). He didn’t dazzle in the 40-yard dash, but he’s got a huge wing span and catch radius. He’s a natural hands catcher, meaning he catches the ball with his hands out in front of him and doesn’t let the ball get into his body. Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert are likely to go in the late first or early second, but I can envision Escobar being there at 51, and given the uncertainty with Fred Davis right now, I think that’d be a good value pick.
Who the heck is Matt Furstenberg, and what’s he doing running 4.62 (he ran a 4.5 flat unofficial according to NFL Network)? Maryland had some issues with inconsistent quarterback play, which meant Furstenberg suffered. But man, athletically this kid jumped out at me. He looked smooth catching the football in the gauntlet, and ran some really good routes. I don’t know if the value is there to spend a draft pick on him, but if it were me, I’d spend a 6th or 7th just to ensure I had him in my camp to see if I could take the athletic ability he showcased and bring more out of him.
He didn’t participate, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce, despite the medical and behavioral red flags. His tape suggested he was just okay. An okay blocker. An okay receiver. He had good production but nothing jumped out at me that made me think we had to draft him. And now, with red flags, I’m even less sure about that.
I still like Tennessee Vol Mychal Rivera. He doesn’t do any one thing great, but I feel like he does everything really well. He’s the kind of player you can take in the middle rounds and develop into a solid starter.
There seems to be more “joker” or “move” tight ends than in-line guys in this draft. If the past is any indication, when utilizing 2-tight end sets, both Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan like having a guy who is more of an in-line blocker (Daniel Graham and Joel Dreesen come to mind) and one guy who they can move freely around the formation (Tony Scheffler and Owen Daniels). We’ve already got a more traditional in-line tight end in Logan Paulsen, so that “joker” tight end seems to be a more likely get.

Quarterbacks

Thank God we don’t need a quarterback this year. This class is all over the place. NFL Network’s draft analyst Mike Mayock audibly sighed much of the day talking about the quarterbacks, not because none of them were good, but because most of them are just frustrating to watch. Every quarterback that is looking to be taking in the top 3 rounds has at least one glaring weakness that needs to be worked out. This is a bad, bad year to need a QB. This year’s draft class alone silences many of the critics of the RG3 trade. You can’t wait for your guy to come along. You have to go get him. Otherwise…well, you end up with this.
Geno Smith still looks like the best quarterback of the bunch to me. Will he go first overall? Probably not. Should he? Ehh…I kind of think so. He’s the best quarterback in the draft by a country mile, and again, you can’t count on finding your guy in the second round.
Florida State E.J Manual also stuck out to me today. Mechanically, he still has some things to work out, but I think he’s worthy of a high to middle of the second round picks based on his athletic ability, his accuracy, and his winning pedigree. If you’re going to wait around until the second round to take a quarterback, I think E.J should be in the mix for the first guy off the board in the second round. With a little work I think he develops into a very capable NFL starter, particularly if he goes to the right team with the right scheme.
Tyler Bray reminds me of Jay Cutler, for all the right and all the wrong reasons. If I had to pick three quarterbacks out that improved their stock, it’d be Smith, Manual, and Bray. You can see the arm talent is there with Bray. His accuracy is wonky at times, but when he’s on, he’s on. But he’s also got this sort of aloof, “Hey bro” attitude that’s going to irk some teams. Still if I had to choose Bray and someone like Matt Barkley, I might be tempted to go Bray.
Matt Barkley didn’t participate in on the field drills. I really have no idea what round he’s going to go in anymore. But I wouldn’t take him in the first round. No sir, no I wouldn’t.

Wide Receivers

The question for the Redskins has to be this; are they looking for a complementary receiver opposite Garçon, a guy who can get deep and catch the jump ball, or are they trying to find a guy who can play the slot and take over for Santana Moss? I really don’t think you can say yes or no either way. Our receiving core is pretty deep, but I don’t think Mike Shanahan is going to skip out on adding a guy who can do either role. Hopefully one can do both.
Baylor product Terrence Williams timed with a 40-yard dash in 4.52. That’s about the only thing I can think of that might have Williams lasting until the 51st pick, at which point we should shove the card into Roger Goddell’s hands as fast as we can. Chances are Williams will be long gone by our pick, but I think his Senior Bowl week and his Combine can be best described as “okay”. Not incredible, not terrible, but certainly good. Maybe that lack of “wow” will keep him in our sights. Maybe. Stop looking at me like that. Shut up. I can dream, can’t I?
Bye-bye, Tavon Austin. It was fun to think you could be a Redskins while it lasted.
Kansas State’s Chris Harper is a hands catcher with a big body. He’s more of a build-up speed guy than a straight line speed athlete, but I think he has the ability to be press and bump coverage (with time), and he’s got soft hands and that jump ball ability that, maybe, Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan lack. No slight against them—-and typically I’m not a “we need a tall receiver” guy–but I think there’s some talent that can be coached out of Harper that’s worth checking out.
Same goes for Clemson receiver De’Andre Hopkins. When I look at this class I see some talented, fast, tall X receivers that can win outside and add a dimension to our offense we don’t have currently have outside of Pierre Garcon. In the gauntlet, Hopkins let the ball get into his body a little more than I’d like, but I still think he’s got solid hands, and he can run great routes. His game versus LSU was crazy good. And yes, he’s a junior, but he’s also got incredible physical talent and many accolades to boot.
And here comes my second mention of a junior; Stedman Bailey. (Though he is a red-shirt, so he’s started for three years). He really impressed me catching the ball. Tavon Austin stole the show, but Bailey was no slouch himself. If we’re looking for a slot receiver, Bailey is a guy I think that can not only win in the slot, but win outside as well. He may only be 5’10″, but he plays taller than he is, and his ability to get yards-after-catch would be a big time weapon for us. I think he’s the kind of player you can line up in lots of places on the field. He’s not quite Tavon with the versatility, but he’s a more than capable guy.
USC’s Robert Woods had a really good day, which he needed. Southern Cal struggled something awful in 2012, and Woods was often overshadowed by Marquise Lee. I think he showed that’s he’s more than worth a second-or-third round pick. Another natural hands catcher who didn’t let the ball get into his body, he ran good routes, and his measurables were beyond solid. It’s enough that I’m going to go back and watch more tape on him, even though, yes, he too is a junior. (I’m breaking my own rules, I know.)
40-times are great and all, but they’re pretty much useless if receivers don’t block in the run game. If you don’t block, your chances of getting drafted are pretty much halved, if not done in worse.

Running Backs

My guy at running back is UCLA product Johnathan Franklin. His measurables are similar to Roy Helu’s coming out of Nebraska, only without some of the nagging health concerns. The Redskins are looking for that third down, change of pace guy. I don’t really like scat backs, but Franklin is a guy who can fill that role in my mind; he ran a 4.49, which is a solid time for a running back. He can run the ball outside and break the big one, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he can pass protect on third down. I think a guy like Franklin can be paired with Alfred Morris for one hell of a “thunder and lightning” style running package that would keep defenses guessing.
My other guy, Boise State’s D.J Harper, looked solid in drills. He’s a little less of the third down, change-of-pace guy and more of an every down back, which is why I’m not sure we would draft him. Still, I love his vision, and his 4.52 in solid. I don’t know if we’re really going to look at Harper, but he’s a prospect I’ll be rooting for going forward.
Andre Ellington pulled his hamstring while doing his 40-yard dash and couldn’t participate in drills. It blows, because if I were to look at one scat-back that I did like, it’d be Ellington. He 4.59 40-time was not indicative of the kind of speed he actually has. I guess we’ll have to wait on his Pro Day, but it would’ve been nice.

Other Prospects I’ll Be Watching More Of

Kyle Long, OL, Oregon

Jordan Mills, OL, Louisiana Tech

Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse

Matt Stankiewitch, C, Penn State

Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas

Justice Cunningham, TE, South Carolina

Levine Toilolo, TE, Standard

Vance McDonald, TE, Rice

Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State

Brandon Kaufman, WR, Eastern Washington

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas

Michael Ford, RB, LSU

Miguel Maysonet, RB, Stony Brook

Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M

Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame

Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State

A COMBINE REFRESHER COURSE; WHAT ARE THE REDSKINS LOOKING FOR IN DRAFT PROSPECTS?

Day 1 of the NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, and we can officially begin the season of buzzing about 40-yard dash times and who will go where. The offensive linemen and the tight ends had their day in the sun today; tomorrow, quarterback, wide receivers and running backs will have their day; on Monday, the defensive linemen and linebackers have their time, and on Tuesday, we’ll see the defensive backs.

This also is the unofficial start of mock draft season, where the draftniks (professional and otherwise) begin trying to nail down who goes where in the 2013 NFL Draft. There are a lot of opinions on who the Redskins can and will take, but it would certainly help if they we nailed down exactly what kind of players we were trying to draft, as some of the more out there mock drafts seem to miss the point. So let’s take a look at what the last three drafts have told us what the Washington Redskins will be looking at going forward.

1.) Senior Classmen

Question: How many true juniors have the Washington Redskins drafted since Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen came aboard?

Go ahead, think on it. I’ll wait. Here, watch this JMU edition of the Harlem Shake while you do.

Answer? ZERO.

Beware of any junior laden mock drafts out there; they are almost assured to be wrong in some way shape of form. The Redskins have not taken a single under classmen in the past three drafts.

Robert Griffin III was technically a junior, but that was only because he medically red-shirted in his sophomore year. He still started all four years. Trent Williams was only a starter for two years, but he was still a senior.

Furthermore, Mike Shanahan has drafted only one underclassmen for either the Broncos or the Redskins since 2005. Shanahan began drafting seniors in 2006, drafting junior Jarvis Moss in the first round in 2007, and hasn’t drafted an underclassmen since.

This isn’t to say that, if presented the opportunity, we’d never draft a junior. But they’d have to a very talented player to do so.

2.) Award and Honors

2010

Trent Williams

2009 Consensus All-American

2011

Ryan Kerrigan

2010 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
2010 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year
2010 First Team All-Big Ten
2010 Bill Willis Trophy
2010 Consensus All-American

Leonard Hankerson

2010 First-Team All ACC

Roy Helu, Jr.

2009 Second-Team All Big-12
2010 Second-Team All Big 12
2010 Second-Team All-Academic Big 12

Niles Paul

2010 Second-Team All Big 12 Kick/Punter Returner
2010 Second Team All-Big 12 Wide Receiver
2009 Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP

Evan Royster

All-Time Leading Rusher at Penn State University

Aldrick Robinson

2008 Honorable Mention All-Conference USA

2012

Robert Griffin III

Heisman Trophy Winner
2011 Consensus All-American
2011 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year
2011 Davey O’Brien Award
2011 Manning Award
2011 First Team All Big 12

Kirk Cousins

2011 Second-Team All Big Ten

Tom Compton

2011 FCS All-American Team
2011 GWC Offensive Lineman of the Year
2010 and 2011 All-GWC First Team

Every player the Redskins have drafted may not have one major awards, but adding awards and honors to your resume certainly doesn’t hurt.

3.) Team Captains

Kirk Cousins, Ryan Kerrigan, Jarvis Jenkins, Tom Compton, Keenan Robinson, Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu, Markus White, Maurice Hurt, and, naturally, Robert Griffin III were all team captains as seniors. Again, every player you draft is not a team captain, but it’s still another check mark that improves a prospects chances. Having natural leaders in your locker room also ensures you have a calming presence during tough times.

4.) All-Star Games

16 of the 27 players the Washington Redskins have drafted since 2010 have appeared in either the East-West Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl; both considered the premiere college All-Star games in the country. A big part of what led the Redskins to drafting Alfred Morris was a solid week of work at the East-West Shrine game, and his performance in practice and in the game earned him a Senior Bowl invite where Redskins coaches got to see and talk to him up close.

These aren’t hard and fast rules, but they are solid guidelines as we move down to the real meat of the Draft season. The more checkmarks a prospect can tick off on the list above, the more likely he is to get drafted. If he’s missing one or two, it don’t guarantee he won’t get drafted, but if he’s missing all four, the chances seem slim.

Happy scouting, folks.

Impact Players At Positions Of Need For Washington – Jamar Taylor & Chad Bumphis

Jamar Taylor, CB Boise State (5’11 198)

NFL COMPARISON Chris Culliver, San Francisco 49ers

Strengths

Smooth corner with ultra quick feet. Gets out of his backpedal and flips his hips in the blink of an eye, which makes him very difficult to beat on fade and go routes. Flashes the ability to shadow and stay in a receiver’s hip pocket on inside routes. Plays the ball well when he gets his eyes on the ball as is evident by his 17 career pass breakups and 7 interceptions. More than willing to come up and deliver a hit in the running game, was used frequently on run blitzes.

Weaknesses

May struggle in zone coverage initially in the NFL. Doesn’t do a good job reading the QB and reacts slowly allowing completions in front of him. Hesitates and doesn’t always close on the ball with a pop even though he can deliver big hits. Doesn’t always get his head around to the ball and may be susceptible to pass interference calls. Is more disruptive against the run when blitzing but struggles to get off blocks and gets taken out of the play too often when engaged. Has the attributes to redirect receivers at the line but he has to refine his technique.

Quick, aggressive man to man corner that shows the ability to stick to receivers as well as the physicality to be disruptive in the rungame but must refine some technical and mental aspects of his game if he is to become a complete corner in the NFL.

Chad Bumphis, WR Mississippi State (5-11 200 Lbs)

NFL COMPARISON Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Strengths

Extremely quick in and out of his breaks with little to no wasted motion. Can plant his foot and change directions in an instant, which could make him a tough cover in the slot and his ability to accelerate and hit full speed after coming to a stop will make him effective on hitch and go routes working out of the slot. Aggressively attacks the ball when it’s in the air and has the soft hands to pluck it. Huge threat after the catch and not just a shifty runner as he possesses a strong lower body giving him the ability to break tackles. Very dangerous kick and punt returner.

Weaknesses

While his lower body resembles that of a running back, he needs to develop his upper body if he isn’t to be easily neutralized by stronger corners at the line of scrimmage and allow himself to line up on the outside as well as the slot. Plays faster than he times but may not be much of a threat on vertical routes in the pros as he is much quicker than he is fast. Wasn’t asked to run too manycomplex routes in college so he will have to learn how to sell his routes better with stutter steps and head fakes but certainly has the quickness to master this craft. Needs to learn how to read coverage better and find soft spots in a zone defense, especially if he is to make contributions in the redzone.

Bumphis has the quickness and hands to be a very dangerous slot receiver in the NFL once he learns the nuances of the position in the pros and is also a major weapon in the return game. Flying under the radar at themoment but I have a feeling he will make the teams that pass him over regret it.

* The players profiled are only ones relevant to our needs, fit what we run and realistically attainable in accordance to our draft position.