The NFL schedule makers gave the Washington Redskins the maximum amount of prime time football games and are banking on the Redskins to be top contenders of the NFC East. Although the Redskins are coming off back to back winning seasons for the first time in two decades. In order for them to take the next step they’ll need to use their ten draft picks wisely.
I’m going to try my best to forecast the ten Washington Redskins picks but also add a blend of “what I would do.” During the free agency period the Redskins added two “starting” defensive lineman in Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee but that shouldn’t keep them from digging deep into this upcoming defensive line class. The Redskins also added up and coming stars Zach Brown and DJ Swearinger to the linebacker and safety positions. Although you feel comfortable with these two additions, Brown was brought in on a one year deal and doesn’t sure up the position long term. I have a feeling the Redskins are going to take a defensive heavy approach in the 2017 NFL draft and rightfully so, after finishing in the bottom five of the NFL in almost every major category.
Round One (17): Haason Reddick, EDGE/LB, Temple:
Forecast: The Washington Redskins have met with Reddick on multiple occasions, including a private visit to the facilities in Ashburn, Virginia. As of last week, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report stated that he had spoken to multiple Redskins sources who claim the front office is “smitten” by the idea of landing Reddick and would even consider trading up in the draft if that is what it takes to land him.
My Take: Christian McCaffrey is probably off the board and going top 10 and I love the idea of drafting Haason Reddick who is currently number 17 on my NFL draft board. Although I understand the inside linebacker projection, I think the Redskins should consider leaving him as a 3-4 SAM EDGE rusher. 3-4 SAM is on the opposite side of Ryan Kerrigan and is responsible for rushing the passer, dropping in the flat and even covering tight ends on occasion. Regardless, you can use Haason Reddick in a variety of ways and is an A+ pick at 17.
Round Two (49): Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan:
Forecast: There is definitely a possibility that Chris Wormley is off the board at this point because 3 down defensive lineman aren’t easy to find. The Washington Redskins have yet to meet with Chris Wormley but when a player checks out clean off the field, NFL teams will keep their cards close to their chest. There are guys like Obi Melifonwu (Uconn DB), Budda Baker (Washington) and Tanoh Kpassagnon (Villanova DL) who have met with the Redskins and could all be in consideration at pick 49.
My Take: Chris Wormley has a firm first round grade for me for a number of reasons. Wormley is a base 3-4 five-technique who can kick in side to three-technique in sub packages. Wormley can also play strong side defensive end during obvious run situations. The best part about the former Wolverine? He has an extremely high IQ on and off the field and improved each year at Michigan. Stacy McGee was a nice rotational signing who earned starter money. However, I don’t feel comfortable with McGee starting on the Redskins defensive line and drafting Wormley can make that pill easier to swallow.
Round Three (81): Desmond King, NCB/S, Iowa
Forecast: Desmond King is another prospect who has had an extremely quiet draft process. I haven’t come across many private visitations for King but that could be because he’s extremely clean off the field and that’s the type of player I would want on my football team. Ultimately I think this is about where Desmond King lands in the NFL Draft and he’s a perfect fit at pick number 81 for the Washington Redskins.
My Take: Nickel CB is an extremely underrated need for the Redskins because they currently don’t have one on their roster. They spent the entire 2016 season running out rookie Kendall Fuller and journeyman Dashaun Phillips. Many Redskins fans will argue that Bashaud Breeland seems to be much more comfortable playing nickel corner, I respectfully disagree. I think Breeland is a corner who thrives in press-man and doesn’t necessarily have the foot speed to stick with shifty slot wide receivers. Nickel corner is essentially a starting position in today’s NFL and King can fill that role at a high level from day one.
Round Four (114): Eddie Vanderdoes, NT/DT, UCLA
Forecast: Coach Jim Tomsula told the Redskins front office that it’s his personal mission to find a nose tackle and if he doesn’t find one, “he will make one.” I’m not claiming to know what type of defensive line prospects Tomsula looks for, but Vanderdoes strikes me as someone who Tomsula would “pound the table” for.
My Take: Vanderdoes is versatile enough to play five-technique, three-technique, and one-technique in any defensive scheme. However, I think Vanderdoes would be an absolute force as a two-gapping one-technique in a base 3-4 scheme. Vanderdoes possesses the physicality at the point of attack and the base to anchor down and swallow up double teams. Vanderdoes can also shoot the gap and rush the passer, allowing him to stick on passing downs.
Round Four (123): Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado
Forecast: The Redskins haven’t had a ball hawking cover-one safety since the day Sean Taylor passed away. Tedric Thompson recently flew to Ashburn, Virginia for a private visit with the Redskins and their defensive staff. The Redskins used a lot of sub packages in 2016 that required three safeties on the field. Thompson has the range, ball skills, and coverage ability to make an immediate impact as a sub package safety.
My Take: Tedric Thompson is a risk taker and he’s also not the best athlete but you can’t teach his instincts. The Redskins have upgraded at Safety with Su’a Cravens and DJ Swearinger but they still desperately lack elite ball skills and range on their back end. I can see why the Redskins would be interested in the Thompson and I’m all in on Thompson as a prospect at this stage in the draft.
Round Five (154): James Connor, RB, Pittsburgh
Forecast: James Connor is perhaps the best story of the 2017 NFL Draft. Connor is a cancer survivor (Hodgkins Lymphoma) but he’s far more than that. Connor is a really solid running back prospect who possesses the size and power that opposing defenses feel late in the fourth quarter. Connor would look nice behind the Redskins man-power scheme and has the potential to be a lead back in the NFL.
My Take: I think that NFL teams should draft a running back every year in the NFL draft. Running backs have the shortest career span of any NFL position and sometimes are tough to come by. I really value the floor of James Connor this late in the draft. You’re getting a hard working leader, who at the very least can be a goal line back. The Redskins struggled to score in the end zone last year and Connor can definitely help with that problem.
Round Six (201): Chad Williams, WR, Grambling State
Forecast: Doug Williams is in consideration for assuming the Redskins general manager role. Doug Williams is a Grambling State alumni and Chad Williams played his football at Grambling State. Chad Williams came to Ashburn, Virginia for a private visit with the Washington Redskins. Jay Gruden likes big, tall and fast wide receivers. Chad Williams is 6’1, 210 pounds and runs a 4.40 forty yard dash. When you put all this together, Williams seems like a Redskins lock on day three of the draft.
My Take: Chad Williams is physical, big, tall and fast, I can’t hate on that. The Redskins signed Terrelle Pryor on a one-year deal but that doesn’t sure up the boundary receiver position long term. The Redskins are also banking on Josh Doctson returning to full health which is far from a sure thing after last years debacle. Williams is a nice depth piece on day three with significant upside due to his size and athletic profile.
Round Six (209): Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee
Forecast: Before you ask, yes I do think Reeves-Maybin will be available on day three. Reeves-Maybin is barely a six foot tall athlete with medical (shoulder) concerns. Reeves-Maybin also tested like an average athlete at best. You combine all of this with questions about how to use him, Reeves-Maybin may fall deep into day three of 2017 NFL Draft.
My Take: The Redskins tried Su’a Cravens at the dime linebacker role last year and it didn’t workout the way they thought it would. Reeves-Maybin has the toughness and athleticism to assume that same exact role. Reeves-Maybin is one of my favorite prospects who I think is going to take a slip in the NFL Draft and teams will end up regretting it.
Round Seven (220): William Likely, NCB/Return Specialist, Maryland
Forecast: William Likely played his college football right down the road at the University of Maryland. I’m sure the Washington Redskins know enough about Likely to draft him without exactly meeting with him. Like I said above, the Redskins desperately need a nickel corner back and Likely can provide depth at that role. Likely is more than just a defensive prospect, he’s an elite return man who should be able to return kicks and punts at the next level.
My Take: Likely is tiny at 5’7 but if he was three inches taller he’d be a day two pick. Likely has elite coverage skills and is extremely sticky in man coverage, profiling nicely as a future NFL nickel corner despite his size. If everything checks out medically, Likely would be an awesome round 7 pick who will stick on the roster thanks to his kick returning ability.
Round Seven (235): Kofi Amichia, OG, USF
Forecast: The Redskins seem really content with the offensive line but Spencer Long is due for a pay day in the next year or so. I would expect the Redskins to dig deep for offensive line depth and I know they’ve recently worked out Kofi Amichia from the University of South Florida. Amichia seems like a solid pick on day three due to his athletic upside and has the ability to stick on the Redskins practice squad.
My Take: According to SPARQ, Amichia is the most athletic offensive line prospect in this draft class. You have to like Amichia’s athletic upside as a seventh round prospect and it’s hard to hate on this pick.