Anyone who paid any attention to the Washington Redskins last season could tell you that there is something very wrong with their pass defense. Josh Wilson has been underwhelming, DeAngelo Hall has been up and down while providing a persistent headache and no safety currently on their roster is capable of locking down either the strong or free safety positions.
This year's draft will not only focus on the defensive side of the ball, but the early picks will be used to fill the voids in the secondary.
The 'Skins don't have a first-round pick, so they've been working to evaluate talent for their first pick in the second round.
Here are the odds the Redskins pick their top targets with the 51st overall pick in this year's draft.
If there is one glaring need in the collection of glaring needs known as Washington's secondary, it is free safety. DeAngelo Hall, and Josh Wilson even more, suffered through a lack of safety help over the top, and that needs to change if the defense is to improve.
Eric Reid is one of the top-rated safety prospects in this year's draft, but he doesn't project to fall as far as the Redskins in the second round, nor does he have the right skills to fill their need.
Reid is a physical presence in the secondary, and though he plays at free safety, his skill set lends itself to more of a strong safety. The Redskins need someone who can hold up in coverage, and he is a liability in that department. Those concerns could keep teams at bay, but if he happens to fall to the 'Skins, they should pass.
Even though the Redskins signed E.J. Biggers, re-signed Hall and have a collection of young corners looking to prove themselves, they need to take advantage of the strength of this draft class. There are a number of corners with first-round value that will slip into the second round, and Washington will benefit from it.
Darius Slay may not be the most talked about corner from Mississippi State—that honor goes to Jonathan Banks—but his strong combine and understated senior season make him a great sleeper pick.
Slay has all the skills to be a starting corner, but he hasn't been mentioned in any draft rumors for the Redskins, which speaks to his sleeper status. He recorded five interceptions as a senior and improved in every statistical category from tackles to pass deflections.
It is the lack of production over an entire career that makes Slay a risky pick. He has one season of production, and outperforming Banks at the combine isn't enough to prove his value.
Jordan Poyer is another player who has been on Washington's draft radar for a while. He is seen as a solid pick, not too flashy and not a player with a ton of upside. Poyer has a ceiling, but as it stands, he could be a nice addition to a needy Redskins secondary.
Though he has solid size and good coverage skills, he lacks the ability in run support to be considered a full-time starter at this point in his development.
Poyer tallied 13 interceptions in his career, including three against Washington State in his senior season. His lack of physicality is a concern, and he projects as more of a nickel corner than a first or second corner, until proven otherwise.
Versatility is becoming a staple for defensive backs playing under secondary coach Raheem Morris. He demands his players know how to perform wherever he puts them and in whatever role he needs them to fill.
David Amerson has good size, athleticism and ball skills for a corner, and he could slide over to free safety in a pinch, which may be in his future.
The knock on Amerson is that he was burned for long touchdowns last season after an excellent sophomore season where he intercepted 12 passes. He doesn't project as a top-flight corner at the next level because of his mechanics, hip flexibility, getting out of his backpedal and change of direction skills.
Amerson has huge upside if he can refine his technique or show an aptitude for playing free safety. It may be a reach for the Redskins to pick him in the second round, but he is an excellent prospect who could develop into an excellent pro.
With Tanard Jackson's contract rolled to the 2013-14 season following his suspension last season, it is possible that the Redskins will be relying on him to assume full ownership of the free safety position. If that is the case, and he shows himself capable of filling the hole, Washington can look to the other safety position with its first pick.
Brandon Meriweather can't seem to stay healthy, and Reed Doughty is excellent as part of a rotation. Enter Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien.
Cyprien plays strong in the box, and has improved in pass coverage, showing himself capable of running with receivers and tight ends. Washington saw far too many receivers and tight ends get free runs over the middle and down the field, and it needs a player who can prevent that.
He has been on the Redskins' draft radar for a while, but following his strong combine performance, Cyprien may have drifted a little out of reach.
Substance over flash is the name of the game for Jim Haslett's defense, and that has been lacking over the last couple of seasons. The corner tandem of Wilson and Hall just doesn't cut it anymore, and the addition of Biggers doesn't really change anything.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson is an intriguing prospect who could, at the very least, push his teammates to step their games up.
Wreh-Wilson isn't the best tackler, nor does he have the eye-popping ball skills defenses want. However, he has sound cover skills and plays receivers physical. Though not the sexy pick, Wreh-Wilson is a sound pick in the second round, a value pick if there ever was one.
Washington's most pressing need in its secondary may be at free safety, where it has struggled mightily since the loss of Sean Taylor. Tanard Jackson cannot be relied on to fill the hole, which means the Redskins need to draft someone now or risk finishing in the NFL's basement in pass defense once again.
Phillip Thomas is a playmaking safety with a nose for the ball and a high ceiling who can play either safety position if necessary.
Thomas took a medical redshirt his junior year but rebounded well with a nation-leading eight interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. Beyond ball skills, Thomas displayed range and versatility, deflective 13 passes and notching four sacks as a senior.
He has all of the skills necessary to fill what has become a void at free safety in the last handful of years. If he's there are 51, the Redskins will pick him.