2012 NFL Draft: The Washington Redskins Mock Draft
One of my favorite days of the year is only a week away. Unlike any other professional draft, the NFL draft is critiqued, emphasized, and obsessed over even when there are 364 days left before the next one.
Marquee athletes have been found at all rounds throughout the draft, thus explaining the value of this process for each team.
This is the year that the NFL will be blessed with two high potential quarterbacks. Andrew Luck out of Stanford and Robert Griffin III out of Baylor, who presumably will be taken first and second overall respectively. (Indianapolis and Washington)
As a Redskins fan, I can’t remember a more anticipatory draft as a fan except for the 2000 selections of LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels consecutively. By all accounts, it appears that Robert Griffin III will be selected second overall and become the next quarterback of the Burgundy and Gold.
That’s certainly subject to a debate, and it’s way too early to make that decision, that all being dependent on the production of their second overall pick (once again, assumingly will be RG3).
What goes unnoticed is that the Redskins have six other selections next week and possibly more with the expected departure of wide receiver Jabar Gaffney.
So I want to dismiss this year’s first-round pick and want to review the other selections. For those who don’t remember, Mike Shanahan had an incredible 2011 draft, where he had players produce all throughout the draft.
Naturally I’m delving into my inner-General Manager again, and here’s what I would do with our additional six picks.
3rd Round (69th Overall): Cornerback Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Is cornerback the biggest need in Washington? No, but do they need someone like Brandon Boykin? Absolutely, oh and he can return kickoffs and punts if needed.
Defenses need three cornerback sets (also called nickel formation) to combat the potent passing attacks that they will face almost weekly, especially in their division. DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson most likely have set their roles as the starting corners, but Boykin provides depth, ability to cover the slot and versatility.
Boykin suffered a leg injury prior to the combine, which is why I see him slipping to the third round.
Unfortunately, Kevin Barnes did not pan out as the Redskins nickel corner as he was eventually replaced by special teams veteran Byron Westbrook.
Former Minnesota Viking Cedric Griffin was recently signed, but he’s obviously not the long term answer. The Redskins could get great value here in Brandon Boykin.
4th Round (102nd Overall): Center Philip Blake, Baylor
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
This is all dependent if Robert Griffin III gets selected by the Redskins. Hypothetically, let’s say he does. Why not bring along his center with him.
Blake is currently grading out at a third to fourth round prospect, according to cbssports.com (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664874/philip-blake), which makes this pick feasible.
I’m still not sold on Will Montgomery as the starting center. He’s not terrible, but this position could definitely use some competition, which is exactly what will happen.
Philip Blake may not start right away, but he and his former quarterback could help one another to the transition to the NFL.
4th Round (109th Overall): Offensive Tackle Zebrie Sanders, Florida State
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Well it looks like Jammal Brown is getting another mulligan. To tell you the truth, I’m a bit surprised the Skins didn’t pursue a starting right tackle to replace Brown.
Jammal was obviously a great talent at one point, but he hasn’t been healthy in three years. Due to his injuries, the Redskins have been forced to start inferior players like Shaun Locklear, Stephon Heyer (don’t get me started with him) and Willie Smith (who I like a lot by the way, just not yet).
I doubt Sanders will still be available at this point, but he is also getting a fourth round grade, according to cbssports.com (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1630286/zebrie-sanders)
Sanders gives the Redskins much needed youthful depth at the offensive tackle position in which he played both on the left and right side while at Florida State. He’s spot on intangibly and is a four-year starter down in Tallahassee.
The selection of Sanders gives the Redskins some answers at the offensive tackle position. Trent Williams and Jammal Brown as the starters and two high potential youngsters in Zebrie and Willie Smith.
5th Round (141st Overall): Wide Receiver T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
I was going back and forth on this selection until the rumors started swirling about the expected trade or release of Jabar Gaffney.
First of all, I’m done with Brandon Banks as the return specialist. He’s a great story and everything, but he hasn’t produced. T.Y. Hilton may be the best returner in the draft as well as his future in the slot.
Right now, Santana Moss is the only proven slot receiver on the roster, and that’s where I would expect Hilton to be his under study.
Hilton is a playmaker, which the Redskins were in desperation of last year. With the addition of Boykin and T.Y., Washington can finally provide even more excitement.
6th Round (173rd Overall): Inside Linebacker Vontaze Burflict, Arizona State
Norm Hall/Getty Images
Just a few months ago, you could have found multiple mock drafts with Vontaze Burfict being selected in the first round or at least the second.
Since then, character issues have been a major concern for the talented linebacker from Arizona State as well as poor combine and workout performances.
Is Burfict a risk? Of course he is, but Mike Shanahan is not afraid to pull the trigger on a controversial player. (He drafted Maurice Clarett for those that don’t remember.)
Despite the negative attention Burfict has received, he’s still a talent and certainly a project and there is nothing wrong with taking a project in the late rounds.
Vontaze's potential impact won’t be immediate, but he could learn a lot from a consummate professional like London Fletcher.
7th Round (213th Overall): Tight End/Fullback Brad Smelley, Alabama
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Smelley looks like someone who can take on the role of former Redskin Mike Sellers. Now let me clarify that there will never be another Redskin like Mike Sellers, but Brad Smelley has the ability to play fullback, tight end and h-back.
I’m not sold on Logan Paulsen as the third string tight end behind Fred Davis and Chris Cooley, and fullback Darrel Young will need a backup too. Smelley could fill both of those roles and contribute on special teams.
Mike Shanahan loves taking those great locker room guys, former captains and the overused, but true “intangible” guy. Smelley is a proven winner and almost all of Nick Saban’s former players seem to transition well to the NFL. This would be another great value.