Without a first round pick, the Washington Redskins are not going to have a “sexy” draft this April; however, the success on their future selections remains just as vital to the franchise moving forward.
Since Mike Shanahan took over the reins at Redskins Park, he has selected players from all rounds that have been contributors to the NFC East champion.
Alfred Morris (sixth round), Niles Paul (fifth round), Evan Royster (sixth round) Jarvis Jenkins (second round), Perry Riley (fourth round) and Richard Crawford (seventh round) just to name a few.
Right now the Redskins are on the right track. They’ve drafted well, their free agent acquisitions have panned out for the most part and they’ve gotten rid of some hefty contracts along the way.
What the front office needs to do now is make the smart decisions. They’ve already gambled with Robert Griffin III and overpaid for Pierre Garcon. With a limited salary cap and without a first round pick, the Redskins need to focus on finishing the puzzle.
Below is an updated seven selection mock draft.
In 2011, David Amerson appeared to be a hot commodity, as he became one of the most talented cornerbacks in the country at N.C. State.
What was considered to be a lock of a first round pick, Amerson regressed during his junior season in Raleigh, North Carolina.
With that being said, if the Washington Redskins can draft Amerson late in the second round, they will get a first round talent.
At 6’3" and 194 pounds, Amerson looks the part. He’s a playmaker, which is an emphasis in Jim Haslett’s defense.
The secondary is the weakest part of the Redskins current roster. With DeAngelo Hall due a large bonus this offseason, his status with the team remains in question. Josh Wilson is a solid complimentary cornerback, but adjustments clearly have to be made.
If Madieu Williams is the starting free safety next year, I’m going to lose my mind. An upgrade clearly needs to be made at that position and the Washington Redskins could potentially get a steal in D.J. Swearinger in the third round.
The problem for this year’s safety combinations on the Redskins is that they were limited athletically. Madieu Williams was beaten often due to his lack of speed or poor angles.
Swearinger is an athletic ballhawk that plays with a tenacity that we love to see in Washington. While it’s slightly unrealistic to believe that a third round pick can immediately be penciled in as the starter, if the former Gamecock falls in our laps, we’ll be seeing him on the field sooner than later.
With the selections of Amerson and Swearinger in consecutive rounds, the Redskins secondary could look much better in 2013. DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson will be at cornerback with Amerson playing in nickel sets (they will probably move Hall to the slot in that formation) and D.J. Swearinger and a rejuvenated Brandon Meriweather at the safety positions.
Outside linebacker Rob Jackson is due to be a free agent this offseason and after the year he had replacing the injured Brian Orakpo, it is safe to assume that Jackson will be testing the free agent waters looking for a starting gig.
With the expected departure of Jackson, the Washington Redskins will need to add depth to their outside linebackers and that’s where Lerentee McCray fits in.
At 6’2" and 249 pounds, McCray would fit well in the 3-4 scheme and provide relief for Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.
Aside from Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss, no other Washington Redskins receiver stuck out. Josh Morgan was decent, but at times appeared non-existent, Leonard Hankerson has consistently struggled catching the ball and Aldrick Robinson was hit or miss.
If the Redskins select Connor Vernon, they are acquiring one of the most productive college football players in the country.
Vernon caught 85 passes this season and can be used on the outside and in the slot.
Do the Redskins absolutely need another wide receiver? Probably not, but in the late rounds going with the best available can pay huge dividends.
Over the past two drafts, Mike Shanahan has coveted “locker room guys” and Joe Vellano would fit in that mold.
The obstacles Vellano overcame while at the University of Maryland were very impressive as he became one of the most productive defensive linemen in the country. (Injury woes, transitioning to a different defensive scheme and over a dozen teammates transferred)
Vellano’s skill set would be conducive in the Washington Redskins’ 3-4 defensive scheme and provide depth at the defensive line.
Drafting Joe Vellano in the fifth round is the smart pick because you know what you are going to get out of him; he’ll be a high-character and energy guy who will put the work in during practice to earn a role.
Another common aspect of a Mike Shanahan lead team is an emphasis on internal competition. That’s where Xavier Nixon fits.
If I had it my way, here’s how I envision the 2013 Washington Redskins offensive line: keep the starting line intact except for Tyler Polumbus while signing a starting quality right tackle via free agency.
That leaves Tom Compton, Maurice Hurt and potentially Xavier Nixon to compete for the two reserve roles, which allows room for either Compton or Nixon to be eligible for the practice squad.
Ray-Ray Armstrong is a combination selection. He fits the best available slot, he provides competition for the reserve safeties against Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes and Jordan Pugh and he’s a low risk/high reward type of prospect.
Prior to his dismissal from the University of Miami, Ray-Ray Armstrong was all over draft boards and often drawing comparisons to the late Sean Taylor.