Washington Redskins: Five Defensive Draft Targets For 2009
Don't let the 2008 Redskins defensive statistics fool you. Yeah they were fourth in the league allowing just 288.8 yards per game, also fifth in both time of possession and penalties, so they played smart, big deal.
Where the Redskins have continued to fail the past few seasons is their inability to create pressure, turnovers, and defensive scores. They were tied with San Francisco and Atlanta for third worst in total turnovers with just 18.
Their 13 interceptions were good for just T-17th best in the league. Their five other turnovers came in the form of fumble recoveries which was only bested for worst in the league by the Jacksonville Jaguars (4). The reasons for the lack of play making starts with defensive line.
The Jason Taylor hype ended Week one with his calf injury which caused him to arguably have his worse statistical season of his 12 year career, he only earned his $8-million dollar contract in Week 16 with two sacks against the Eagles.
On the other side Andre Carter, although he led the team with four sacks, he wasn't the same player he was in 2007 when he had 10.5 sacks.
In the inside Cornelius Griffin has never been the brute we thought he'd be. Alongside him is either Anthony Montgomery or Kedric Golston, both are heading into their fourth season and free agency, they also share comparable numbers.
The linebacker corp is a consistent presence but an aging one as well. London Fletcher will be 34 and although he hasn't missed a game his whole career, he really had to push through this past season with multiple nagging injuries.
Marcus Washington is slowly loosing steam as well, the past three seasons he's gone from playing 14 games, to 12, to 10, and on the other side Rocky McIntosh knees will always be an issue. He bounced back great from reconstructive surgery on his ACL and MCL, but he's flirting with injuries every season.
In the backfield, DeAngelo Hall was a big acquisition who made an immediate impact with two interceptions in seven games with the team, he seems to play well with Carlos Rogers who improved greatly, and Fred Smoot.
Shawn Springs continues to play sparingly with injuries and may make the move to part time safety to work with LaRon Landry and seventh round rookie standout Chris Horton.
As with the offense, the line needs working and possibly a solid rush outside linebacker.
Robert Ayers, DE, Redshirt Senior, Tennessee
48 Games Played, 33 Assists (5 For Loss), 80 Solo (29 For Loss), 9 Sacks for 51 Yards, 1 Interception 8 Yards
Why He'd Fit:
Ayers is a fast rising defensive end prospect, one of the smallest top ends in the draft at 6'3" 275 lbs, but is more powerful then quick, something Andre Carter and Jason Taylor aren't.
Ayers could use a bit more explosiveness off the snap and his recent success has scouts wondering if he's a one hit wonder. After an impressive Senior Bowl, a solid combine performance could continue to add stock to him.
Right now slated for a late first round to early second round pick, but would be a smart pick up at the 13th pick, granted B.J. Raji and Peria Jerry are gone.
Peria Jerry, DT, Senior, Ole Miss
37 Games Played, 53 Assists (16 For Loss) 77 Solo Tackles (24 For Loss), 10.5 Sacks for 65 Yards, 1 Passes Defended, 2 Forced Fumbles 2 Fumble Recoveries 1 Touchdown, 1 Interception 6 Yards
Why He'd Fit:
At 6'1" 290 Ibs he is one of the smallest tackles available, but he has more than adequate power and quickness to make up for it.
Not an ideal run stopper yet as he can loose the play in the backfield. However, he can shed the blockers even double teams to get in the backfield to pressure the quarterback.
With Cornelius Griffin loosing power and both Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston going into free agency, Peria could give the Redskins options at the position.
Right now Jerry is steadily improving his stock behind number one DT prospect B.J. Raji. Jerry should be available at the 13th pick, but could fall to the mid second round, however not likely.
Cody Brown, OLB, Senior, Connecticut
41 Games Played (DE), 60 Assists (14 For Loss) 83 Solo (36 For Loss), 22 Sacks for 134 Yards, 13 Passes Defended, 5 Forced Fumbles, 1 Blocked Kick
Why He'd Fit:
Even though Brown played defensive end his whole career at University of Conneticut, he is athletic enough to play outside linebacker in the NFL.
Would be a better fit for a 3-4 defense, but I feel Brown could play a Marcus Washington role and be the blitzer of the three linebackers. He is very good at picking up plays and has speed, but he needs to hustle throughout the play and stay aware.
Since he's not a true linebacker and won't make it as a defensive end, his potential is unknown until the combine. Right now he looks to be a mid 3rd rounder to mid 4th.
Worrell Williams, ILB, Redshirt Senior, California
48 Games Played, 131 Assists (11 For Loss) 112 Solo (14 For Loss), 2.5 Sacks For 17 Yards,11 Passes Defended, 4 Forced Fumbles 1 Recovery For 44 Yards 1 Touchdown, 2 Interceptions for 47 Yards
Why He'd Fit:
Williams is very versatile, has played both middle and weak-side linebacker in the 4-3, also has many of the same traits as his brother D.J. Williams, linebacker for the Denver Broncos, which catches scouts eyes.
No doubt he can play at the next level, but needs to work on instincts for the middle linebacker position to be a consistent player.
With London Fletcher on his last legs and H.B. Blades with questionable ones himself, Williams could be a helpful part in the linebacker rotation.
Worrell's stock is helped by his bloodline and brother D.J., which could push him into the 4th round, but his inconsistency could even push as far back as the 7th round.
Bruce Johnson, CB, Senior, Miami
42 Games Played, 21 Assists (2 For Loss) 57 Solo (3 For Loss), 13 Passes Defended 2 Interceptions, 23 Punt Returns 186 Yards, 16 Kick Off Returns 341 Yards
Why He'd Fit:
Johnson would look a lot better had we not of blown a fourth round pick on Justin Tryon last season. Johnson has drawn comparisons to 2003 4th round steal Asante Samuel, which is good enough for me.
Really though he is a great cover corner with solid speed and recovery. His downside isn't as big as Tryon's though.
Johnson needs to improve overall physicality, could use more bulk and aggressiveness. Johnson is also a very good special teams athlete, he can return or play coverage.
With an impressive combine Johnson could go in the first day, most likely in the early third round. As of right now though he is slated for the 4th-5th rounds.