The Washington Redskins are entering another off-season with uncertainty. It’s looking like all the Kirk Cousins drama that we have all fallen in love with will likely end with his potential departure. If that’s the case, you should probably think about picking up one of his awesome “You Like That” shirts before he’s gone for good.
With Cousins likely gone, all eyes will be on the 2018 NFL Draft to not only find their future signal caller but to also find pieces to put around him to make this team competitive again. So here’s a look at a what I would do pre-combine mock draft for the Redskins:
Round 1 Pick 13: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
I’m typically not the biggest advocate for a running back in the first round, especially with all the needs the Redskins have, but its time to truly address the position. Since 2013, the Redskins haven’t ranked higher than 19th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. Also in that span, the Redskins have only averaged 4.0 yards per carry, which would rank them around 20th in the NFL. Combine those horrible stat lines with a bunch of plodding, bruiser running backs with little upside (Morris, Jones, Kelley, Perine) and it is truly time to spend high draft capital on the position. Guice would be the perfect fit in the Redskins offense. The 5’11” 218 pound LSU product has an insane combination of power and speed and is the best pure runner in the class. The only real flaw in his game? Some question if he is purely a two down back in the NFL with his lack of reps in the pass game. Luckily the Redskins have the perfect compliment in Chris Thompson. Anyway you look at it, Guice would be a home run pick in the first round.
Showing all his strengths on one play. Pocket collapses, buys time, squares shoulders, throws his receiver open. Sound football player man pic.twitter.com/pvU71DaKVs
— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) January 21, 2018
Round 2 Pick 44: Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
For the first time since 2012, the Redskins are in the market for a Quarterback. With the likely departure of Kirk Cousins in free agency along with the uncertainty of Colt McCoy as a starter, they will likely have to look to the draft to address their QB need. Kyle Lauletta would not only be perfect for this fanbase but he’d be perfect for Jay Gruden’s system. The 6’2 217 Senior QB put up very impressive numbers at Richmond amassing over 10,000 yards and 73 touchdowns in three years as a starter. His traits also transition very well to Gruden’s scheme as he offers near perfect mechanics, excellent accuracy, and excels in play action. He may not be the day 1 starter if drafted in the second round, but he has the traits and the skills to be a successful starter in the NFL.
Round 3 Pick 78: Justin Jones, DT, NC State
The Redskins are in desperate need of defensive lineman again this year. Last season, the team saw all three starters suffer injuries as Matt Ioannidis fractured his hand, Phil Taylor missed the season with a quad injury, and Jonathan Allen was put on IR in week 5. The Redskins could really use more depth up front and the massive 6’2” 311 pound NC State product fits the bill. Jones was one of four elite defensive lineman for NC State this past season and he really made a mark for himself at the Senior Bowl. He dominated the 1-on-1 drills, consistently beating some of the top guard prospects in this draft. In the game this past Saturday, Jones was virtually unblockable with his insane combination of power along with some great pass rushing moves featuring an absolutely nasty spin move. Jones is a big time riser and the Skins would be lucky to get him in the third.
Round 4 Pick 115: D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
The receiver position was a major problem last year. With injuries to guys like Terrelle Pryor and Brian Quick, an already weak receiving core was much much weaker. The one major aspect lacking from last year that the Skins had with DeSean Jackson was a legit speed receiver to stretch the field. DJ Chark is the perfect role player for that spot. The 6’2” 196 speedster was an everything type of player in LSU’s run heavy offense last season. He really got his chance to shine this past week at the Senior Bowl where he hauled in 4 of his 6 targets for 147 yards and a touchdown. I don’t think Chark is a sure fire stud in the NFL but if he’s asked to be a wide receiver two who can spread the field, he’ll find success. My pro comp for him is Ted Ginn and I fully expect him to have a similar type of career.
Round 5 Pick 151: Trayvon Henderson, S, Hawaii
Safety was perhaps the Redskins strongest position group on defense last season, something we haven’t been able to say in years. The additions of DJ Swearinger through free agency and Montae Nicholson through the draft really helped turn the defense around in the first half of the season. The only major problem is that the group lacked key depth and was left helpless when Nicholson was limited to just 6 games played on the season. Insert a guy like Trayvon Henderson and the group looks much better. Henderson is an extremely good athlete with rangy cover skills and likes to mix it up in the run game as well. I don’t think he’s ready to start right away but he would be an instant upgrade as a 3rd safety or as a guy who can switch to FS in three safety looks. Henderson made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl and would be an excellent depth piece in the Redskins secondary.
Round 6 Pick 191: Deadrin Senat, DL, South Florida
Like I said earlier, the Redskins defensive line is in desperate need of more depth. Guys like Ziggy Hood and Terrell McClain just didn’t get the job done last season and both could potential be cut this offseason. The group already has a solid core of Matt Ioannidis, Jonathan Allen, and Anthony Lanier and adding another rotational big in the later rounds would be ideal. Senat is a 6’1 311 pound mauler who would be an excellent depth piece to add. Throughout the week at Shrine game practices, scouts were raving about Senat, calling him virtually unblockable. The Skins defensive line really showed it needed an infusion of youth and depth and the team would really benefit from adding guys like Senat and Jones in this draft.
Round 7 Pick 231: Tyler Conklin, TE, Central Michigan
The Redskins had serious problems at tight end last season. With Jordan Reed missing almost the entire season (again) due to injury, other players were forced to step up. Vernon Davis was excellent as a receiving tight end but struggled when asked to block, Niles Paul proved again to be a great special teamer yet an average player, and Jeremy Sprinkle showed promise in limited playing time. With questions about Reed’s health, Niles Paul being a free agent, and Vernon Davis in his mid 30’s, the Redskins almost have to draft another tight end. Conklin isn’t the fastest or the greatest receiver but he’s a solid blocker who understands how to get open. With his addition, the offense won’t have to keep Sprinkle in line as often and it will open up more opportunities for him in the pass game. Conklin isn’t that high upside type pick but he will be a TE2 in the NFL for many years.
Round 7 Pick 241: Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana
Another one of the main issues with the Redskins in 2017 was again absolutely horrendous special teams play. They need to add a speedy, solid tackling linebacker who can make plays in punt and kick coverage. Insert a guy like Tegray Scales. Scales isn’t the biggest linebacker (6’0” 229 pounds) but he is a solid tackler with excellent speed. I think he has many flaws in his game that prevent him from ever being a starter in the league but there is certainly a role for him on special teams. It’s the Patriots model to not draft everyone to be starters, just to fill a role that needs to be filled. Scales will likely never start for the Skins but thats okay. As long as he provides valuable playing time as a special teamer then he is certainly worth a 7th round pick.