The 2014 NFL Draft may seem like a long way off, but if your team is like the Redskins and absent from the playoffs, it's never too early to start forming your big board.
Although a typical 3-13 season at least gives your football team a small form of excitement by way of a high draft pick, the Redskins are all but typical. The blockbuster trade made between them and the St. Louis Rams in 2012 to land quarterback Robert Griffin III will keep the Redskins from selecting in the first round come early May, but last season's results still give them second-overall picks in the remaining six rounds of the draft.
Let's take a look at the early, best-case scenarios for the Redskins come spring time at Radio City Music Hall.
A few notes regarding this version:
- A new coaching staff is obviously coming to Washington, but we have no idea who it's going to be. Scheme and player fit is a bit in limbo.
- As noted in the title, these are best-case scenarios. Expect a tad of loftiness through six rounds.
- Any underclassmen included who haven't officially declared are expected to.
The Pick: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
When the Redskins traded up in order to draft Robert Griffin III two years ago, they pushed their stack to the middle of the table and declared their position—they were all in on RG3.
But if the Redskins want optimum return on their (very) large investment, upgrading the young quarterback's arsenal has to be a top priority.
At 6'5" and 225 pounds, Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin deserves all the attention he's getting. He has the build of a No. 1, the size of a No. 1 and the versatile skill set of a No. 1 wide receiver at the next level, and he would undoubtedly be a go-to target for Griffin.
Adding Benjamin would give the Redskins a large receiving target, an improved look in the red zone and, most importantly, it would allow for Pierre Garcon to move to his more natural position.
If you catch some mocks around the Web with Benjamin going in the first round, believe it. His size is uncoachable, he has natural ability and he comes with crazy upside. But the Redskins have a shot at him with a top pick in the second round.
The Pick: Gabe Jackson, OG, Miss. State
Speaking of all in for RG3, that move also requires protecting the face of your franchise.
Enter Gabe Jackson. At 6'4" and 340 pounds, the Mississippi State offensive guard is large in size and large in compensation for the Redskins, who likely won't be able to get their hands on another guard like UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo or Stanford's David Yankey at this point in the draft.
Despite his massive size, Jackson is very athletic, demonstrating a nice combination of strength, balance and agility. He's also a versatile lineman in that he can pave lanes in the ground game, yet mirror his man in pass protection.
The Redskins offensive line was not good last year, and Jackson would provide a solid foundation in the middle of a unit that is in need of an overhaul.
The Pick: Yawin Smallwood, LB, UConn
With so many holes on the roster, the Redskins can't afford to ignore the defense. And regardless of his diminished play over the last two seasons, replacing London Fletcher is a task within itself.
UConn's Yawin Smallwood is coming off an impressive junior season in 2013, one that could very well place him as high as the latter part of the second round. But if the Redskins are lucky enough, they'll have a shot to land a 6'2", 230-pound athletic inside linebacker in Smallwood who has good potential in either defensive scheme.
Smallwood added nine pass breakups to his 9.5 tackles for a loss last season, helping to stuff his stat sheet alongside a team-leading 118 tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles.
The Pick: Seantrel Henderson, RT, Miami
I recently saw a joke on Twitter asking people to place their over/under bets on the amount of offensive linemen the Redskins bring back next season. The line was set at 1.5.
To no one's surprise, a majority of respondents went with the under, which ultimately doesn't make the joke all that comical. Instead, it's indicative of just how inconsistent and unreliable the offensive line was in Washington last season.
Seantrel Henderson came to Miami four years ago as one of the most highly touted offensive lineman prospects we've seen in a long time. Yet over the course of his college career, Henderson has been a disappointment by way of inconsistent performance, injury and off-field behavior.
Henderson remains one of the more freakish athletes in this draft, as well as one of the largest question marks moving forward.
At 6'7" and 345 pounds, and with the ability to move, Henderson certainly looks the part. But a team has to be willing to take on the challenge of grooming Henderson into a professional, well-rounded football player.
Other than Trent Williams at left tackle, the entire Redskins offensive line is expendable. And until we know something about Mike Shanahan's guys like Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis or Tom Compton, we're going to keep the offensive line high on the list of priorities.
Anyone who drafts Henderson could be blamed for ignoring the red flags and falling in love with his size and athleticism. But if the Redskins are staring at him in the fifth round, his potential would be far too valuable to pass up.
The Pick: Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor
The Redskins may see Baylor wideout Tevin Reese in the sixth round due to his size at just 5'10" and 170 pounds. But seeing as how Reese was on the receiving end of more than 20 percent of RG3's passing yards during his 2011 Heisman campaign, the quarterback may vouch for the speedy and shifty vertical threat.
Aldrick Robinson was supposed to be the Redskins' vertical threat who can take the top off a defense, but his hands have proved inconsistent after three seasons. Reese is more of a natural pass catcher and his experience with Griffin is appealing.
The Pick: Jay Bromley, DL, Syracuse
After the type of season he had, it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Jay Bromley long gone by the seventh round. But even after logging 10 sacks this season, it still doesn't appear the 6'4", 295-pound defensive lineman is getting the attention he deserves.
Hopefully, for the Redskins, that remains the case.
The Redskins' lack of pass rush was an embarrassment last season, so adding an athletic body like Bromley—who can put a hand down anywhere on the line and provide a pass rush—at the end of the draft can make for an extremely valuable selection.