Being tasked with predicting what the Redskins (or any team) will do in the draft is a challenge, but it’s particularly difficult to guess at what will happen in the later rounds only—without making several assumptions.
Here are the background points I’m taking into account:
1. The Redskins had a real defensive back problem prior to the 2014 off-season. While defensive back is still a concern, that need was mitigated somewhat by signing Ryan Clark and re-signing DeAngelo Hall.
2. Similarly, wide receiver looked like a “need” position at the end of last season. The DeSean Jackson windfall filled that need, and then some.
3. With Kirk Cousins’ so-so end to the 2013 campaign, shopping him has proved a challenge. Therefore, I’m proceeding under the belief that Washington won’t make a blockbuster trade of any kind. It’s still very possible a trade will happen, but, for my purposes here, I’m going to assume Washington will still have picks in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds.
4. With all of the above in mind, I think Washington will draft a tackle and a defensive back among their first three picks, which come in the second, third, and fourth rounds. The other pick will either be a value pick if someone falls in their lap (like inside linebacker Shayne Skov), or, failing that, a defensive lineman—quite possibly an OLB/DE type.
Whew. The preamble out of the way, here are some possibilities for Washington in the last three rounds:
Fifth Round (pick #142): Inside Linebacker
This is obviously assuming the Redskins don’t grab Skov early. Washington is still a little thin here, and there should be a good value pick floating around in the fifth. The best-case scenario would be Montana’s Brock Coyle being available, but Lamin Barrow from LSU is more likely as the best ILB on the board for pick #142. Drafting any inside linebacker below Barrow in the fifth would be a reach.
Sixth Round (pick #178): Cornerback
Off-season progress or not, defensive back is still the Redskins’ biggest weakness. I think they’ll double up by taking a second DB at this spot after grabbing one in the second or third round. Local kid Antone Exum (Deep Run HS / Virginia Tech) may still be around, but someone like Kendall James from Maine or Dontae Johnson from N. C. State are more likely to be on the board in the sixth.
Seventh Round (pick #217): Tight End
Here’s the thing . . . on paper, Washington doesn’t need a tight end. Logan Paulsen is a solid all-around player, and Jordan Reed showed flashes of brilliance last year. The problem is that Reed’s concussion issues could leave a major hole in Washington’s offensive production. While it might be a little unorthodox, I would be very tempted to grab a tight end with that last pick, unless someone slides down the board that the Redskins just can’t pass up. I discussed this problem in depth back in February. The Redskins may just decide to grab an undrafted guy in free agency, but, if they don’t, picking up someone like A. C. Leonard from Tennessee State or Richard Rogers out of California in the final round might be a good call.
There you have it. As I said at the top, forecasting half a draft in a vacuum is difficult, especially if it’s the last half of the draft. I’m confident that the Redskins’ six picks will include at least one defensive back, one offensive lineman, one inside linebacker, and one defensive lineman, the latter of whom could be a DE/OLB type. Any of those positions could see a second selection, and at least one of them probably will. Washington still may decide to grab a wideout or tight end to add depth.
Overall, I like the steps the Redskins have taken over the winter and early spring, and I feel like good things are on tap for this franchise over the next eight months.