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.