After making the playoffs for the first time in three years, the Washington Redskins still have many holes to fill with the draft. By signing only three players in free agency, their general manager Scot Mccloughan made it clear that bringing in more youth is the Redskins’ path back to the playoffs.
Due to the recent signing of Pro-Bowl corner Josh Norman, the first two rounds of the draft are shaken up, with no defensive backs being selected.
*Note: This article presents the best case scenario draft for the Redskins. It is not a prediction of what will happen. Also, Scot Mccloughan will most likely trade down at various points during the draft, and I chose not to include any possible trade scenarios.
Round 1: 21st overall
Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
After losing both Jason Hatcher and Terrance Knighton in free agency, the defensive trenches have become the biggest need for the Redskins. Last season Washington surrendered 4.8 yards per carry, and also were in the bottom ten teams in the league in terms of rushing yards per game. Out of Louisville, Rankins performed extremely well at the Senior Bowl due to his quickness and athleticism. Possessing an especially powerful lower half gives Rankins the ability to take on double teams. The Louisville alum also hustles consistently, which enables him to chase down ball carriers in the backfield. One negative is that Rankins is still developing as a pass rusher. The silver lining is that he still has the potential to blossom into a threat for quarterbacks. Scouts made note of Rankins’ versatility with pass rush moves during the Senior Bowl, which reinforces Rankins extremely high potential.
Round 2: 53rd overall
Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
After singing All-Pro corner Josh Norman on Friday, Washington will be able to address other needs early in the draft. The Redskins select back to back defensive lineman in the first two rounds, as it is a dire need for the team. Out of Florida, James Bullard has elite explosiveness in his first step, and is able to utilize his bull rush to provide pressure in the pocket. Weighing in at 283 pounds and standing 6’3’. He has an NFL ready build. Though he lacks ideal speed and lateral agility, he is able to change direction relatively well. The former senior also has a great motor, and is a consistent tackler. He is a great fit for Washington’s defense as a 3/4 DE, and Scot Mccloughan would be wise to draft him at 53.
Round 3: 84th overall
Deandre Houston-Carson, FS, William and Mary
Per Scot Mccloughan’s philosophy, Washington did not pursue a clear solution at safety during free agency. Though the Redskins’ cap space remains high, the secondary still represents one of the weakest spots on the team. After Safety Jalen Ramsey, the talent level in the draft drops off considerably so waiting until the end of day two is the best solution. Though Houston-Carson played in the FCS, he has demonstrated he can compete at a higher level. With a 4.54 time in the 40 yard dash, the former William and Mary student also possesses an instinctive ability to change direction, while playing well in zone coverage. He has proven to be very durable as a four-year starter, and his teammate voted him team captain. The FCS competition Carson faced could be a reason to worry, but does not deem him undraftable by any standard. The graduating senior’s love of football as well as his ability to contribute on special teams will also help him transition into a future Pro Bowl safety.
Round 4: 120th overall
Charone Peake, WR, Clemson
With both Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson’s contracts expiring after this season, a mid round selection of a wide receiver would be ideal for the Redskins. Out of Clemson, NFL stars such as Deandre Hopkins, and Sammy Watkins have overshadowed Peake. However, Peake’s impressive performance at his pro day including a 4.37 time in 40 yard dash. With his 6’3 height, he also is a threat with his ability to catch jump balls, and his precisely ran routes are also impactful. Despite a torn ACL in 2013 Peake made a full recovery, and is still able to create deep separation. His personality and work ethic are both well regarded, and Peake does not shy away from contact after the catch. When he doesn’t have the ball, he blocks very well during run plays. The Clemson product has struggled with the consistency of his hands, but scouts agree that he has the talent become a primary receiver in the NFL. Charone Peake would give Washington the big physical receiver, which they have lacked in recent years. Peake has the talent to become a dynamic duo with Kirk Cousins.
Round 5: 158th overall
Antonio Morrison, MLB, Florida
Most front offices believe that one draft selection a year can be used on a prospect with possible off the field liabilities. Morrison was initially projected to go in the late second or early third round. However, his incidents off the field have become increasingly more prevalent. Not attending the NFL combine dropped his stock sharply and he has now fallen to a day three prospect. Though his off the field issues might pose problems, the Florida product has a strong, positive presence in the locker room. In fact, his teammates voted him captain for not one, but two years. Touted as one of the hardest workers in college football, he is also an outstanding tackler and hits holes with high aggression. Though he tore his ACL two years ago, Morrison made a quick recovery and was able to lead Florida’s defense as a senior. With quick closing speed, paired with outstanding lateral quickness Morrison can make plays across the entire field. In man to man pass coverage he can be exploited, and he occasionally over commits with his angels, but most scouts believe the positives in his tape outweigh the negatives by a long shot. If Morrison can clean up his off field behavior, he could become one of the best sleepers in this draft, and be a leader of the Redskins defense in the upcoming years.
Round 6: 187th overall
Graham Glasgow, OG/C, Michigan
For the first time in years, Washington’s offensive line performed generally well this season. One area in which they struggled was their interior where Kory Lichtensteiger struggled, and Shawn Lauvao went down injured. Glasgow would provide versatility and potential to Jay Gruden’s O-line. A three year starter out of Michigan, Glasgow has a strong base to fend off a potential bullrush and also has an aggressive first move in run blocking. Though his hand placement was suspect during his senior, Coach Jim Harbaugh still called Glasgow a leader if the locker room and complimented his consistency. Glasgow has played both guard and center, providing versatility for his future NFL suitor. Finding a future starting offensive lineman in the later rounds of the draft is the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack, but Glasgow has the talent to become a difference maker in the NFL.
Round 7: 232th overall
Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia
Keith Marshall ran a 4.31 time in 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, which ranked first for all running backs. As an explosive runner with the ability to weave through blocks, Marshall averaged 5.5 yards per carry at Georgia. Even with his talent, he never gained a bell cow role due to the team’s depth at running back. Due to numerous injuries sustained over his college career, Marshall’s ranks low in the draft, but he could become a breakout player for Washington’s struggling running game.