It's almost that time. Draft weekend is upon us which means this a perfectly suitable time for one more final say before it is all goes down in the books. A lot of time, thinking, and consideration has gone into creating this final mock draft, and some of the picks listed here may become reality when the Redskins make their selections on May 9th and May 10th. Keep in mind that the NFL Draft actually starts on May 8th, which is when the first round will begin. The Redskins do not have a first round pick, which is why they must wait until Friday, May 9th to start making their picks.
Before getting this started, let's evaluate the most glaring problems on the Redskins roster:
- Offensive Line still has question marks
- There is no legitimate starting Safety on the roster
- Starting Linebacker London Fletcher retired
- Tight End Jordan Reed has trouble staying healthy
- Defensive Line still needs an injection of talent
It's not probable that all of these problems are addressed this year, so some prioritizing needs to be done. Prioritizing is simply a matter of opinion, and just because "this person said that" doesn't mean it will actually happen, unless that person happens to be Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen. Enough rambling, though; here are the picks:
2nd Round - Ra'Shede Hageman - Defensive End - Minnesota
This pick is justifiable going by the simple fact that the Redskins Defensive Line was horrendous in sack numbers and couldn't muster any form of a pass rush in 2013. The line is aging and has been neglected for a number of years. To make matters worse, even the younger players on the unit have been underperforming. Defensive End Jarvis Jenkins (second round pick in 2011) has not turned into the player the Redskins hoped for him to become. Barry Cofield, the only solid player on the Defensive Line in 2013, is also seeing a slight dip in his numbers. The only player worth getting excited for is 2014 Free Agent acquisition Jason Hatcher, who should be a dominant force on the Redskins line despite being 32 years of age. Drafting Ra'Shede Hageman is following the "Best Player Available" draft strategy, and they would be getting monstrous defensive talent in return. Imagine a world where Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Jason Hatcher, and Ra'Shede Hageman all come crushing down on the opposing team's Offensive Line. Any team would have trouble controlling a beast like that, and it would strike fear in the opposing Quarterback, as well. This may not be the pick that all Redskins fans were expecting, but in due time, those fans may be brought to realize that this could be one of the key pieces to the puzzle.
Important 2013 College Statistics: 38 tackles - 13 tackles for a loss - 2 sacks - 1 interception - 8 pass deflections
3rd Round - Weston Richburg - Center - Colorado State
The Washington Redskins need a Center. 2013 starting Center Will Montgomery was cut from the team early in the offseason, and Kory Lichtensteiger has been left to carry the load. Lichtensteiger serves decently as a Guard in the NFL, but playing Center is a totally different situation. There has been talk about Lichtensteiger's problems with handling snaps in shotgun formations. This doesn't seem like a huge problem because it may be fixable, but it is still a problem nonetheless and the Redskins could use an upgrade. Drafting Weston Richburg at the top of the third round would give Washington an immediate upgrade at Center. Sure, it may not be a sexy pick, but it does further strengthen the interior of the Offensive Line, and it will allow Lichtensteiger to move back to his natural position at Guard. Richburg is a strong blocker and proved himself effective against top competition in the MWC and also against Alabama. Adding Richburg to the team would allow Redskins fans to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their franchise Quarterback will be better protected in 2014.
See Weston Richburg work against Alabama Here
4th Round - Dion Bailey - Free Safety - USC
Free Safety is the biggest problem with this team, but that could change if Washington is able to get their hands on Dion Bailey. He declared early for the Draft, and the Redskins should pounce at the opportunity to draft him in the mid-rounds. Bailey is somewhat of a hybrid defender. During his years at USC, he played Linebacker as well as Safety. He shows good physicality and aggression on the field and shows good form when tackling. He also has very good hands for making plays on the ball. Throw Dion Bailey into the mix with Phillip Thomas, and these two young defensive backs could evolve into a great Safety tandem in Washington.
Important 2013 College Statistics: 62 tackles - 6.5 tackles for a loss - 0.5 sacks - 5 interceptions - 6 pass deflections - 1 forced fumble
5th Round - De'Anthony Thomas - Running Back - Oregon
If you witnessed the Redskins Special Teams "play" last season, then you will understand why this pick is being made. This team needs a punt return playmaker like De'Anthony Thomas. Josh Morgan and Santana Moss weren't getting it done last season. A youngster with speed and elusiveness belongs to this role, and luckily for the Redskins, they will be able to get their hands on one in this year's Draft. Cornerback Richard Crawford showed us that he could be an effective return man in 2012, but he tore his ACL in the 2013 preseason, so who knows if he will be ready to resume those duties? Drafting Thomas will not only give the Redskins an electrifying Special Teams player, but he is also someone who can be an active contributor in Jay Gruden's offense. If given the opportunity, the Redskins would be smart to pull the trigger on a prospect such as De'Anthony Thomas at this point in the Draft.
Important 2013 College Statistics:
- Rushing: 96 attempts/594 yards - 8 touchdowns
- Receiving: 22 receptions/246 yards - 1 touchdown
- Kick Returns: 21 returns/513 yards - 1 touchdown
6th Round - James Hurst - Tackle - North Carolina
We all know about Tyler Polumbus and most Redskins fans probably want him gone like nothing else. Hurst has played every snap of his collegiate career at Left Tackle, but he may be worth a look at Right Tackle. He has slipped on Draft boards due to a broken leg which he suffered in North Carolina's Bowl game. However, his durability shouldn't be of huge concern right now, because he currently holds the record at North Carolina for most career starts (49). Hurst will add to the competition at Right Tackle, and will push Tyler Polumbus and Tom Compton for roster spots. Drafting James Hurst here would be a steal for Washington.
See James Hurst work against South Carolina Here
7th Round - Marion Grice - Running Back - Arizona State
Redskins fans may be scratching their heads and saying, "another running back?", but can you really ever have enough Running Backs? Maybe so, but the Redskins seemed to be very interested in Marion Grice earlier in the Offseason, and it shouldn't surprise anyone to see another "shifty" back being added to that unit. Roy Helu Jr. is in his contract year, Evan Royster is somewhat of an afterthought, and Chris Thompson has health issues. After having considered that, adding Grice doesn't seem all that crazy anymore. Of course, Alfred Morris has already solidified his starting position in Washington, and nobody is going to take that from him unless they are the second coming of Jim Brown. Grice has the potential to be the lightning to Morris' thunder, and that could make for a very dangerous duo in 2014.
See Marion Grice's Highlights Here
Important 2013 College Statistics:
- Rushing: 191 attempts/996 yards - 14 touchdowns
- Receiving: 50 receptions/438 yards - 6 touchdowns
In this year's Draft, there should be a focus of improving in the trenches, meaning that the Offensive and Defensive Line need to be improved in order for this team to have a shot at success in 2014. Sure, there is an overwhelming amount of talented players at every position this year, but the Redskins will find the most bang for their buck by drafting some of the big boys to play up front. Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen has stated that the team will select the best player available on the board when it is their turn to make a pick in the second round. If his words hold true, then fans can rest assured that no matter who the team picks, it will be someone who can come in and make an immediate impact for Washington.