I know it seems like this is said annually, but the Washington Redskins need just about everything entering this year’s NFL Draft.
For the second straight year, the Redskins are coming off a season in which their depth was tested by an ungodly rash of injuries, especially at quarterback and along the offensive line. Given the ‘Skins were literally
signing players off the street to play those positions during the 2018 season, it would be stunning if those needs aren’t addressed in the draft.
Speaking of which: This exercise assumes the Redskins aren’t trading for Josh Rosen (which
currently appears to be a safe bet) so QB remains high on the list of needs, perhaps even the priority in the first round. This gallery also assumes the ‘Skins stay pat with their present picks, though I don’t necessarily believe that will be the case when Day 1 rolls around Thursday.
So, here are the five players (in order) the Redskins should look to select when they’re on the clock with the 15th overall pick in Round 1, and whom they should target in the ensuing rounds.
Round 1a. (15th overall) Daniel Jones — QB, Duke
Taking Jones at 15 may have initially been considered a bit of a reach, but his fit within the Redskins’ scheme makes this selection a distinct possibility, although some mock drafts have Jones pegged to go off the board sooner to a more QB-needy team that trades up in front of Washington. He’s worked with David Cutcliffe, whom you may recall helped develop the Manning brothers into first overall picks, so Jones may be a tad overrated despite a lackluster NFL combine. If Jones is the ‘Skins’ guy, they may have to mortgage future picks to get him — even if his talent level is on par with someone still available when the Redskins pick 46th overall.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Grant Halverson
Round 1b. T.J. Hockenson — TE, Iowa
Hockenson was college football’s best tight end in 2018 and favorably compares to All-Pro Travis Kelce, so there’s a strong chance he’s off the board when the Redskins pick. But if he’s still available at 15, Hockenson would be a great complement — and eventual replacement — for Jordan Reed, who simply can’t stay healthy. Regardless of who takes snaps at QB, the presence of a talent like Hockenson alongside Reed should help alleviate the concerns surrounding the Redskins’ lackluster options at WR.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Andy Lyons
Round 1c. Dwayne Haskins — QB, Ohio State
Haskins lacks experience (just 14 starts at Ohio State) but the draw of bringing a big-name, big-armed QB talent back home (he was Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland) may be too much to resist for a team desperate to be relevant again — both under center, and in the NFC East. Even if talk of his draft day slide is true, it’s hard seeing him fall beyond the Redskins at 15.
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Round 1d. D.K. Metcalf — WR, Ole Miss
His rare size, tangibles and pedigree (his grandfather Terry and uncle Eric had productive NFL careers) have NFL GMs salivating, but this pick would be a huge gamble for a team still trying to salvage the Josh Doctson pick. Metcalf comes with a list of injury concerns, most notably a neck problem that cost him most of last season. I know a lot of mock drafts have the Redskins picking Metcalf here, but considering their not-so-successful recent history picking WRs early — you have to go all the way back to 1980 when Art Monk was taken 18th overall to find the last time the Skins selected a receiver worth a damn in the first round — I have a hard time seeing them go through with it this year.
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Wesley Hitt
Round 1e. Brian Burns — Edge, Florida State
With the top edge rushers (Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat and Rashan Gary) expected to go early, Burns could be the Redskins’ pick if Metcalf and their top QB targets are also gone. He’s a little slight of frame, which makes him a huge question mark as a run defender — but Burns has the speed and playmaking ability the ‘Skins’ defense has lacked for years, and could justify being taken this high in the draft.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Round 2 (46th overall) Darnell Savage — S, Maryland
This could be considered a mildly surprising pick if the Redskins haven’t found a way to draft a QB and/or WR by now. The ‘Skins already addressed the safety position with a lucrative deal for Pro-Bowler Landon Collins and need an edge rusher way more than another safety. But the aptly named Savage is considered a speedy, high IQ player with the ball skills to make a difference in the secondary, and Collins’ presence could amplify that. Though Savage most likely fits the “best available” label here, don’t rule out Michigan edge rusher Chase Winovich, WRs N’Keal Harry from Arizona State and Deebo Samuel from South Carolina, or West Virginia QB Will Grier if the ‘Skins don’t pick players at those positions in Round 1.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Round 3 (76th overall) Dru Samia — G, Oklahoma
By all accounts, this dude is nasty. Samia has been hailed as one of this year’s most aggressive and accomplished O-line prospects, winning Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year and blocking for Heisman Trophy-winner Kyler Murray in 2018. The Redskins were literally pulling guys off the street to play guard for them in 2018, so their dire need for depth on the interior offensive line makes them a worthy candidate to spend multiple picks on that position. Samia would be a solid start.
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Round 3 (96th overall) Christian Miller — OLB, Alabama
Because this is the compensatory pick the Redskins got for letting Kirk Cousins leave in free agency, I’m tempted to predict the symmetrical irony of the ‘Skins taking Will Grier here to be his long-term replacement. Though that scenario remains a strong possibility if Grier is on the board, I believe the Redskins will take a QB long before now and instead use this pick to further demonstrate their love for the Crimson Tide.
Miller’s injury history makes him a risky pick here — he missed the national championship game and the vast majority of his junior season — but his speed and long arms might be enticing enough for the Redskins to draft an Alabama player for the third straight year and fourth time in the last five drafts.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Gregory Shamus
Round 5 (153rd overall) Jordan Brown — CB, South Dakota State
Brown is a converted wide receiver with the kind of size and speed any team would desire in a CB, so there’s a chance he doesn’t last this long. But if he does, he could be a steal on par with Josh Norman, who was selected in this same round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Ironically, Brown could be Norman’s replacement if he does, in fact, make his way to Washington.
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Round 5 (173rd overall) Ross Pierschbacher — G/C, Alabama
Two reasons I see the Redskins making this pick: First, their aforementioned (and well-documented) love for Alabama guys. Second, I simply must see the logistics of how they get that name on the back of a jersey.
Seriously though — given the how badly injuries ravaged the interior of the ‘Skins’ offensive line the last two seasons, they desperately need an infusion of young talent there — and Pierschbacher gives them a versatile and pro-ready option.
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Round 6 (206th overall) Ulysees Gilbert III — LB, Akron
Gilbert played every game in college and demonstrated the ability to get to the ball carrier with regularity, but good luck recalling the last time the Redskins successfully integrated a 230-pound linebacker into the middle of its defense. Even if Gilbert is just a solid special-teamer who gets a few snaps on passing downs, that’s a good return on a late-round investment.
(AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Round 7 (227th overall) Ty Roemer — T, San Diego State
Roemer is only available this year because of a suspension that ended his sophomore season with two regular season games remaining. But when he played, Roemer was a productive LT so the Redskins — who proved with the Reuben Foster signing they won’t shy away from a low-risk gamble on talent with character questions — could try to develop this talented-but-raw player into competition with Geron Christian for their next swing tackle.
(AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Round 7 (253rd overall) Andrew Wingard — S, Wyoming
Remember Reed Doughty? Former sixth-round pick, “meh” safety who stuck around Ashburn for eight years? This would be the Redskins’ present-day equivalent. Wingard projects to a solid special-teamer but not the guy you want starting any games or covering receivers. For the second-to-last pick in the draft, that’s a pretty good get.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Sean M. Haffey
This content was republished with permission from CNN.