Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld’s NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld’s college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they’re breaking down every team’s biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Offensive line
LT Trent Williams and C Kory Lichtensteiger should be Washington’s only established O-Line pieces. 32-year-old RG Chris Chester is an overpaid replacement-level starter, while 2014 third-round pick Morgan Moses showed no signs of fixing the Redskins’ annual right tackle woes before suffering a Lisfranc fracture last December. Spencer Long may be a promising in-house competitor for Chester, but right tackle must be addressed. The Redskins hinted at their concern in free agency, flirting with Bryan Bulaga, Jermey Parnell and Derek Newton. In the post-Shanahan era, coach Jay Gruden has been in the process of adding size up front.
No. 2 Team Need: Safety
New GM Scot McCloughan may have uncovered a gem in new SS Jeron Johnson, but free safety is a black hole with Trent Robinson and Phillip Thomas wobbling atop the depth chart. Formerly of Seattle and San Francisco’s front offices, McCloughan won’t take safety lightly, as clueless predecessor Bruce Allen did. A Rod Marinelli disciple, new Redskins DC Joe Barry has a Cover 2 background.
No. 3 Team Need: Outside linebacker
Ryan Kerrigan is an established stud, but is better suited to a No. 2 pass-rusher role, and is entering the last season of his rookie deal. While 2014 second-round pick Trent Murphy excels as an edge-setting run defender, he would ideally come off the field in most passing situations. McCloughan did a nice job of squaring away Washington’s defensive line in free agency. He now needs an outside rusher to build around. Other areas worth addressing in the draft include third-down back and cornerback depth.
Norris’ Mock Draft
Round 1 (5): DL Leonard Williams, USC – Go ahead. Say it. “No way,” right? We love draft weekend for the surprises. Think about it: If the two QBs are the top two picks, Vic Beasley goes to Jacksonville and the Raiders take a receiver, Williams is still on the board at No. 5. Yes the team added Stephen Paea, but I bet he plays the end spot closer to the G/C. Jason Hatcher has been great, but I think Williams is an obviously replacement beyond this year. Some believe Washington will trade down to select a guard, but is Williams worth passing up?
Round 2 (38): G Laken Tomlinson, Duke – Tomlinson earned money at the Senior Bowl. He displayed an improved anchor to stop his opponent’s momentum as a pass rusher and sealed lanes in the running game.
Round 2 (69): S Derron Smith, Fresno State – Has experience shadowing receivers or working in either safety spot. Obviously teams will have to narrow down what he does best, but in a cloudy safety draft, Smith’s name could emerge earlier than expected.
Round 4 (105): EDGE Nate Orchard, Utah – I know some love Nate Orchard. I do not, but appreciate his motor to win. He plays like Jarvis Jones with a tad more athleticism. But in a rotational role, Orchard is worth the investment.
Round 5 (141): T Austin Shepherd, Alabama – Many teams prefer productive players from brand-name schools. I’m not sure if Washington will be one of those with new decision makers in place, but Shepherd can compete at the right tackle spot.
Round 6 (182): RB Matt Jones, Florida – A bigger back with agility. Jones’ best skill early on will be in a third down, pass catching role. He is comfortable in space for someone of his size and has a decent pass pro foundation. That is difficult to find. Below average testing could stand out and keep him on the board.
Round 7 (222): TE Nick Boyle, Delaware – Grasping for straws. The Redskins have two “move” pieces in Jordan Reed and Niles Paul. Boyle could be the inline piece and fill a specific role. That is all you can ask for in seventh-round picks.
Redskins Current First-Team Offense
QB: Robert Griffin III
RB: Alfred Morris
WR: DeSean Jackson
WR: Pierre Garcon
TE: Jordan Reed
TE: Niles Paul
LT: Trent Williams
LG: Shawn Lauvao
RG: Chris Chester
RT: Tom Compton
Redskins Current First-Team Defense
RE: Jason Hatcher
LE: Stephen Paea
OLB: Ryan Kerrigan
OLB: Trent Murphy
ILB: Perry Riley
ILB: Keenan Robinson
CB: Chris Culliver
CB: Bashaud Breeland
FS: Phillip Thomas
SS: Jeron Johnson
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