Washington Redskins 2013 Mock Draft: Best-Case Scenario for All 7 Rounds
Using a best-case scenario approach may not be the most unbiased method when coming up with a seven-round mock draft for the Washington Redskins, but who can get enough of all this pre-draft coverage?
The Redskins enter this month's draft with a handful of needs, most notably in the secondary.
Luckily for them—and fortunately for us—this year's class runs deep in talent at both the safety and cornerback positions.
Here is a look at a potential Redskins approach, taking advantage of the value that may fall into their lap.
Round 2: D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
As much as I'd like to say that Florida Internaional's Jonathan Cyprien is the Redskins' best-case scenario with the No. 51 overall pick, it is very unlikely that he will drop that far.
South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger, however, is projected to go in the second round, and the Redskins should cash-in if he falls toward the back end.
Among many positive attributes, Swearinger's most attractive is his versatility. He's physical and tenacious in the box, yet he plays an effective centerfield and can match up with guys at the cornerback spot.
The Redskins secondary is in need of improving, and this year's deep class at both corner and safety make April the perfect time to improve this unit. Swearinger could step in alongside Brandon Meriweather and take over the free safety position, and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett would then have the ability to get creative with the rookie's alignment.
At 5'11", 208 pounds, Swearinger has a great combination of size, speed, length and athleticism. Add that to his natural instincts and football IQ, and we're looking at a safety with lots of potential.
Round 3: Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati Bearcats
Since the Redskins have retained tight end Fred Davis by signing him to a one-year deal, I can understand a little backlash here.
But if the Redskins are sitting there in the third round and Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce is still on the board, the option of adding him to the budding offense in Washington would be too good to pass up.
The chances that Kelce slips this far are pretty slim. However, illness forced him to miss the Combine and a sports hernia has served as a huge speed bump in his workouts and pro days.
That is not to say that scouts or coaches are forgetting about Kelce, but his draft stock isn't as high as it used to be.
Unfortunately, there's no crystal ball forcasting Fred Davis' future following an Achilles tear that forced him to miss the majority of last season. The Redskins' one-year deal and limited interest from other teams is proof of that.
Kelce is a huge target at 6'5", 255 pounds, with long arms and good hands. He's very athletic for a man with his bulk, and he has deceiving agility and speed.
Round 4: Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
Bringing back DeAngelo Hall and signing free agent E.J. Biggers were both positives for the Redskins in terms of addressing their secondary this offseason—but the job is not done yet.
While the team is still holding out hope that free agent veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield signs with the team, the Redskins have to enter the draft looking to take advantage of a deep class of corners.
Although most of the attention went to Johnthan Banks, it was the other Mississippi State cornerback, Darius Slay, that grabbed my attention.
Slay is a solid athlete, possessing great speed and length to go along with a nice frame for the position. He's a reliable tackler that is willing to contribute in the run game, and he's feisty in coverage.
If Slay is still available in the fourth round, the Redskins will land huge value by selecting him.
Because of his speed, length and ball skills, Slay is the type of corner that teams covet. Truthfully, I wouldn't be surprised to see him go within top-75, and I wouldn't mind the Redskins taking a look at him in the third round.
Like Travis Kelce, Slay is another one of my draft crushes this year. Check out all my love for him here.
Round 5: Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois
Again, the cornerback class is deep this year, and the Redskins need to take advantage of it. With two picks in the fifth round, they could have a chance at landing a quality prospect that's generating a lot of buzz in Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne.
Hawthorne is a rangy corner with a good frame and excellent speed. He has the athleticism to be anywhere on the field, and he can make plays on the ball with good instincts, a quick jump and solid hands.
When you watch Hawthorne on tape, it's hard to imagine him falling to the fifth round, but since when is the draft predictable?
More than a few scouts and draftniks have Hawthorne projected to go anywhere from the fourth to the sixth round, and I've even heard some call him a top-50 prospect.
With good coaching and the ability to play on a defense with reliable parts around him, Hawthorne has the potential to be a starter in the NFL. If the Redskins can land that kind of potential with No. 154 overall pick, you won't hear anyone squawking.
Round 5: Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State
The Leonard Hankerson project isn't a done deal in Washington, but it's hard to preach promise regarding the third-year wide receiver. Plus, after Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan, the Redskins wide receiving corps isn't threatening.
Santana Moss is a fan favorite, and he is definitely a benefit to have on the team next season, but it's no secret that he's aging and is not a part of the team's future on-field plans.
Kansas State wideout Chris Harper reminds me a lot of Anquan Boldin, and after watching Boldin perform as an essential piece of the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl run last season, what team wouldn't benefit from having a guy like that?
Despite not having superb top-end speed, Harper operates with good football speed and has a good feel for the game. He's a reliable and efficient receiver by way of good routes, great body control and strong hands. He understands his spot on the field, he's intelligent enough to break man-coverage and he does a great job of staying focused with the ball in the air.
Harper didn't have overly-impressive numbers at Kansas State, simply because the Wildcats didn't have a decent passer at quarterback. In truth, Colin Klein was an option guy.
But at the next level, Harper projects as a reliable chain-moving receiver with more athleticism than people give him credit for.
Check out my scouting report on Harper here.
Round 6: Ace Sanders, WR, South Carolina
Even before last season, I've preached, yelled, blogged and hollered for the Redskins to add more speed on offense.
Not that they missed open opportunities to do so, but the team can't forget about it. And if chips fall the right way come draft time, they could land a steal in the sixth round.
I expect to hear some flack about the team drafting two wide receivers, especially in back-to-back rounds, but South Carolina's Ace Sanders isn't just a receiver.
At 5'7", 175 pounds, it might be easy for some to write Sanders off in the NFL, but he's a much better receiver and pass-catcher than most give him credit for.
In addition to that, Sanders is a terror with the ball in his hands. How the ball gets into his hands, though, will be up to a creative offensive coordinator in a high-powered offense.
Sanders has incredible acceleration and agility. He can go from zero to 60, then to 25, and back to 60 again, all in the blink of an eye. He's the kind lightning-in-a-bottle that you like to see out of a specialist.
For me, Sanders is a steal in the sixth round. He has the acceleration, quickness, hands, toughness and lateral movement you look for in a guy when you're trying to increase your offense's speed.
Believe it or not, I have lots of love for Sanders, too.
Round 7: Ray Ray Armstrong, S, Miami Hurricanes
There are a few routes that the Redskins could take with their last pick in the seventh round.
Will they even have a seventh-round pick, for instance? Perhaps they will trade up at some point.
Will an inside linebacker like North Carolina's Kevin Reddick fall to the last round? Doubtful.
Although Brandon Meriweather is set to return next season following an ACL tear and contract restructure, the Redskins can still very much afford to leave this draft with two selected safeties.
While a guy like Ray Ray Armstrong carries a lot of risk, it's not nearly as bad if you take a shot on him this late.
Armstrong is an awesome athlete with great range, intimidating size and a knack for the game. His off-the-field troubles, however, have led to suspensions, dismissals and, ultimately, a lack of experience.
If the Redskins believe in Armstrong's preparation and believe that they can trust him off the field, he's well worth the pick. He has shown glimpses of special, top-tier talent. The Redskins would just be responsible for helping the young man put it all together.