Draft Prospects Who Would Fit Perfectly with the Washington Redskins
The fact that the Washington Redskins don't have a first-round pick in this year's draft is irrelevant. The overall lack of elite offensive talent means teams will be reaching for any and all talent they can get, which cuts into the 'Skins need for defensive help.
Not that Washington wouldn't love to have the 22nd overall pick, but it isn't as imperative as it would have been if the class was stronger.
In the vein of picks not being important, the Redskins can look at what players best fit their system and their needs rather than biting on all the hype surrounding big names from big schools.
Here are some of the prospects that would fit perfectly with the Redskins.
Blidi-Wreh Wilson, CB, Connecticut
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High-character players always fit perfectly on Mike Shanahan-coached teams, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson is a disciplined prospect with a great work ethic and solid skill set.
He may not be a flashy pick, but Wreh-Wilson has good range, sound fundamentals and doesn't give up big plays, which DeAngelo Hall and Co. did regularly over the last three seasons.
Wreh-Wilson doesn't have the ball skills that make scouts drool, but eight interceptions, one fumble recovery, three touchdown returns and 35 pass deflections are impressive nonetheless. The Redskins need a solid presence like Wreh-Wilson to set the tone for a secondary in utter disarray.
A.J. Klein, ILB, Iowa State
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What would the Redskins defense be without the instinctive tackling machine of a leader in London Fletcher? Though his time in the NFL may be coming to an end sometime in the next year, it raises the question of who will succeed him in the middle of Washington's defense.
A.J. Klein is an instinctive tackling machine of a playmaker with all of the tools to be a leader as his career progresses.
One of the more underrated skills Fletcher and Klein both possess is their ball skills. Fletcher has intercepted 23 passes, which is impressive for an undersized linebacker as he is often seen as in this day and age. Klein has better size, and arguably better ball skills, having intercepted five passes at Iowa State, returning four for touchdowns.
Klein is a bit of a sleeper, the same way Fletcher slipped through the cracks of the draft en route to being signed as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams. He could be the next Susan Lucci of the NFL.
Phillip Thomas, FS, Fresno State
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You can't blame Madieu Williams for being a disappointment at free safety since he wasn't supposed to be the starter to begin with. Tanard Jackson's latest suspension forced the Redskins to insert Williams into a role he didn't have the speed or instincts to succeed in.
Phillip Thomas has the tools to lock down the free safety spot for the foreseeable future, and his versatility plays right into Raheem Morris' philosophy for his secondary.
Right off the bat, Thomas brings better coverage skills than anyone the Redskins trotted out at either safety position. He had interceptions 13 passes, including eight during his junior season, taking four to the house in his career.
Six forced fumbles, 17 tackles for loss and four sacks speak to Thomas' versatility, and he is a high-character player who already grasps the value of film study as a learning tool at the NFL level.
Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
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Versatility is the name of the game for Mike Shanahan's offensive linemen, and Barrett Jones is as versatile as they come. Jones lined up at tackle, guard and center for the Crimson Tide, and he would fit nicely at right tackle, where the Redskins are still searching for a long-term solution.
A Lisfrac fracture may raise some flags so close to the draft, but the Redskins should overlook the injury and focus on Jones earning All-American honors at center, guard and tackle at Alabama.
Perhaps Jones could slide inside and play center, where he won the Rimington Trophy in 2012, replacing Will Montgomery, who has been average at best in a starting role.
Ace Sanders, WR/PR, South Carolina
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Brandon Banks has been future endeavored due to ineffectiveness, leaving the Redskins with a need for a return man. Santana Moss can still fill the spot in a pinch, but he's best saved for his role on offense.
Ace Sanders could be the answer at punt returner for the Redskins, who have not had a single punt return for a touchdown since 2008
Sanders is an immediate upgrade over Banks, being an inch taller and a solid 20 pounds heavier, meaning he'll be able to stand up to the contact that comes with the game, particularly at the next level. He scored 13 receiving touchdowns, three punt returns for touchdowns and even tossed two touchdowns for the Gamecocks.
It may be a luxury pick for the Redskins, but they could use a boost on special teams, especially with Danny Smith out of the picture and Keith Burns taking over.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
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DeAngelo Hall was released, Josh Wilson has been a disappointment and none of the other corners the Redskins have on their roster are locks to start or have any impact on the team at all this season.
Desmond Trufant, the second-rated cornerback in this year's draft would be a starter from day one and be an instant boost to a needy 'Skins secondary.
It would be unrealistic to think that a rookie would make the transition from college to the pros without a bump in the road, but Trufant has all of the tools necessary to be an instant success.
The knock against him is his lack of ball skills, since he doesn't intercept a lot of passes, but he has great cover skills, makes receivers work every step of the way and excels against tough competition. Trufant would lock down one side of the field, mitigating the need for a credible and capable safety over the top.
Ray Ray Armstrong, S, Miami
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Troubled though he may be, Ray Ray Armstrong is the closest thing to Sean Taylor the Redskins can expect without turning back the clock to the 2004 draft.
Even after a year away from football following his dismissal from Miami, and denial to play for Faulkner, Armstrong's talent is undeniable.
Perhaps spending a pick on Armstrong would be a reach because he is projected to be a late-round pick, if not an undrafted free agent, but the Redskins need help in their secondary. Armstrong has perfect size for a safety and would be a steal if he could show he's capable of recapturing his promising potential.
He hits like a ton of bricks, has great instincts and can cover ground despite running two disappointing 40 times of 4.69 and 4.72 at Miami's pro day.