Washington Redskins 2013 Mock Draft: Building the Perfect 7-Round Draft
After being forced to sit on the sidelines during what is typically their most active offseason period, the Washington Redskins must now make the most of this year's draft. Though they lack a first-round pick in this and next year's drafts, they have a lot of holes to fill.
Having been unable to sign even one big free agent, the Redskins have to be smart with each of their seven picks.
The circumstances are less than ideal, but there is plenty of talent to be had in this year's draft, particularly at positions the Redskins need.
Here are the perfect picks Washington can make in the 2013 NFL draft.
First Round: No Selection
In a perfect world, the Redskins would have a first-round pick. However, since the pick in question was sent to the St. Louis Rams in order to draft Robert Griffin III, I doubt anyone would fight to get it back.
If they did have that pick, they'd likely jump on the best prospect for their secondary, since it was among the worst in the NFL last season.
Desmond Trufant, a cornerback from the University of Washington, has a lot of buzz around him and figures to be the best of the class at his position. The 'Skins would have had the 22nd pick in the first round, and would have had their pick between Trufant at corner or Matt Elam at strong safety.
Trufant would give the Redskins a young and talented corner with surprising strength, despite him not being known for his physical style of play. Elam doesn't have as high a ceiling, but could step in right away and be productive.
Second Round: David Amerson, CB, NC State
In 2011, David Amerson was considered one of the best defenders in all of college football. He intercepted 12 passes, returning two for touchdowns, en route to earning the Jack Tatum Trophy for best defensive back in college as voted on by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.
In 2012, however, Amerson failed to improve or live up to his previous season and lost a lot of attention as a result.
Five interceptions in a season is still nothing to turn your nose up at, but he turned in a poor performance in the season opener against Tennessee, and spent the rest of the year playing catch-up with his 2011 self.
For the Redskins, Amerson would be an instant upgrade to their secondary, having parted ways with DeAngelo Hall, and having very little faith in Josh Wilson as their top corner.
The team signed E.J. Biggers, but it should be open competition for the second starting job, and Amerson's size, ball skills and speed could earn him the nod as a rookie.
Third Round: Phillip Thomas, FS, Fresno State
Instincts, fluidity and range are just a few of the things the Redskins lacked in their free safeties last season. Madieu Williams wasn't supposed to be the starter, but Tanard Jackson's suspension forced him to the top of the depth chart.
Williams is gone and Jackson's status is up in the air despite having his contract rolled to this season. Washington needs to upgrade the position this year.
Phillip Thomas is a prospect with all the attributes the Redskins need from their free safety. He has good size and range, plays very instinctively and can dish out big hits when necessary. His draft stock may be on the rise, and he could be snatched somewhere in the second round, but this is the perfect situation for the Redskins.
His 13 career interceptions, six forced fumbles and four sacks are just an added bonus for the Redskins.
With Thomas and Amerson drafted back to back, Washington's secondary goes from among the worst to a promising work in progress on the potential of those prospects alone.
Fourth Round: Xavier Nixon, RT, Florida
The Redskins re-signed Tyler Polumbus and added Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle, none of whom figure to be the long-term solution to the need.
Xavier Nixon is a mountain of a right tackle with great potential and a mean streak that could lock down the right side of the line for the next decade.
Coming out of the SEC has a few advantages, and having seen some of the best pass-rushers in the country should give scouts a pretty good idea as to how Nixon figures into the pros. He has the talent of a left tackle, but consistency pushes him to the right side.
Nixon is a great run-blocker, which is a must for a Mike Shanahan-coached team, and the Redskins need a capable bookend to help Alfred Morris build on his 1,613-yard rookie campaign.
Fifth Round: Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA
Fred Davis remains unsigned, Chris Cooley isn't like to bounce back from a one-catch partial season with the Redskins, Niles Paul is a second option at best and Logan Paulsen is a better blocker than a receiver, particularly in the red zone.
From one UCLA Bruin (Paulsen) to another, the Redskins could do a lot worse than Joseph Fauria at tight end.
Granted, this pick hinges greatly on the status of Fred Davis, but Fauria is a big body, with good blocking skills and soft hands. His 11 touchdowns speak to his ability to get open in the red zone, and while he has a similar skill set to Paulsen as a blocker, he's a more credible scoring threat.
Fauria had more touchdowns as a sophomore (six) than Paulsen has in his college and professional career combined (three).
Fifth Round: A.J. Klein, ILB, Iowa State
With London Fletcher mulling retirement this offseason, it isn't likely that he'll be around after the 2013-14 season. Fletcher is irreplaceable as a leader on and off the field, and a sure-fire Hall of Famer when it comes to making plays.
A.J. Klein is a playmaker at inside linebacker, tallying 361 tackles and five interceptions, returning four of them for touchdowns.
Klein is the kind of instinctive player who would be perfect to succeed Fletcher in the middle of Washington's defense. He has some deficiencies in coverage, particularly when it comes to straight-line speed, but those instincts often have him in the right place at the right time where he doesn't have to work extra to recover.
Sixth Round: Corey Broomfield, CB, Mississippi State
If it isn't clear by now, the Redskins had a terrible secondary, evidenced by their 30th-ranked pass defense in 2012. Chalk it up to an ineffective pass rush all you like, but Josh Wilson, DeAngelo Hall, Madieu Williams and Reed Doughty did not fare well last season.
Corey Broomfield is a versatile defensive back, having played three years at corner and one year at free safety for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Broomfield's junior and senior seasons don't catch the eye from a statistical standpoint, but after notching nine interceptions and three touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore, you expect teams to shy away from attacking a DB.
As a free safety, Broomfield saw an uptick in his roles on defense, proving himself capable of performing in coverage, and attacking the line of scrimmage.
Raheem Morris demands a lot of his defensive backs, and versatility is invaluable on Washington's attacking 3-4 defense. Broomfield would fit right in as a rotation player.
Seventh Round: Ray-Ray Armstrong, SS, Miami
In terms of raw talent, Ray Ray Armstrong was at one time considered one of the best safeties in the country. After being dismissed from the University of Miami for allegedly staying at a hotel in Miami Beach on PR companies' dime, Armstrong has fallen off most draft boards.
Armstrong has great talent, and has shown the potential to be a great player, but his dismissal and year away from football have hurt his stock.
Enter Raheem Morris and his history with troubled defenders, such as Aqib Talib and Tanard Jackson. Talib was indicted, and later cleared, for firing a gun at his sister's boyfriend in 2011. Jackson has incurred multiple suspensions for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Whether Armstrong's case is a matter of misunderstanding or a legitimate violation of NCAA rules is irrelevant. He still possesses the skills necessary to succeed and excel in the NFL, particularly in coverage, if he can get back in shape following his year away from the game.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and Armstrong's so-called character concerns pale in comparison to those of Tyrann Mathieu.