13 NFL Draft Offensive Prospects Washington Redskins Must Have on Their Radar

Shae Cronin@@BetBigDCCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2014

Jan 06, 2013; Mobile, AL USA; Kent State Golden Flashes running back Dri Archer (1) carries the ball past Arkansas State Red Wolves defensive end Timothy Starson (91) and linebacker Nathan Herrold (40)during the first half at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn't take much convincing to realize the Washington Redskins are in dire need of help on defense. But in no way does that imply the Washington offense deserves a free pass. 

While the Redskins could certainly afford to replenish their linebacking corps or upgrade their pass rush come draft time this spring, they could also greatly benefit by improving Robert Griffin III's supporting cast on offense.

Here we take a look at some of the offensive prospects who could find their way onto the Redskins' draft radar. 


The Blockers

A large factor in Robert Griffin III's development is providing the young quarterback with good protection up front. Sure, his pocket presence and awareness aren't where they need to be, but the interior offensive line and right tackle positions were noticeably poor and demanding of an upgrade. 


Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State

Attacking Billy Turner for his level of competition during his 56 starts in 57 games at North Dakota State wouldn't be fair. At 6'6", 315 pounds, Turner has great size in looking the part, he's a natural athlete, and he understands his position as a bookend. 

Tyler Polumbus has left more to be desired on the side opposite Trent Williams for years now, and Turner could still be available at the start of the third round. However, don't be surprised if his draft stock quickly rises with his performances at pre-combine games like the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl.


Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes offensive linesman Seantrel Henderson (77) as they face the Louisville Cardinals in the Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports


Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami

This isn't the first time I've mentioned Seantrel Henderson and the Redskins in the same sentence, and perhaps it's just me falling in love with the senior's combination of immense size (6'7", 345 lbs) and athleticism. But for now, I'm sticking with it. 

Clearly Henderson's collegiate campaign didn't live up to the hype he received coming out as one of the most highly touted offensive linemen in years, but if his draft stock slips (which isn't crazy to think), and the Redskins can nab a project of sorts like Henderson in the fifth round, Washington's current hole at right tackle is bleeding enough to take a shot. 


Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA

There's a ton to like about Xavier Su'a-Filo, but his combination of athleticism and power likely means he's a top-50 guy, which would require the Redskins to take him with their first pick (2.02) if they elected to make upgrading the offensive line their No. 1 priority. 

While I could see Chris Chester sticking around at right guard despite a dismal 2013 campaign, the need at left guard is gaping. Kory Lichtensteiger remains better-suited at center, and the Redskins need a stronger anchor alongside Trent Williams. 


Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State

I've mentioned Gabe Jackson before, as he's a massive man at 6'4", 340 pounds yet still athletic with deceiving agility. Like every other guard prospect, the Redskins would likely look to upgrade and increase the size on their left side. 


Dec 29, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal left guard David Yankey (54) at the 2013 Rose Bowl media day at the L.A. Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports


David Yankey, OG, Stanford

This mention is more of wishful thinking, as I don't believe David Yankey makes it out of the first round. However, reports on Yankey come with a pretty wide spectrum. I've spoken with a few guys who like him as the top guard in the class, while others have said he could fall to the late second round. In the case of the latter, the Redskins would almost be required to take a long look at the Stanford junior with their first selection. 

What I also like about Yankey is that with his size (6'5", 311 lbs), athleticism and power, there's some potential for him at right tackle as well. 


The Big Pass-Catchers

Whether it was directly by way of Jay Gruden or not, take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals' wide receiving corps from this past season and notice the trend—five of the seven wideouts on the roster were 6'1" or taller. Not only are the Redskins lacking talent at the position, but they're also in search of a sizable, threatening target of their own. 

Additionally, Gruden appears to be a big fan of tight ends, as he ran many two-TE sets in Cincinnati. While the Redskins have a star in the making with Jordan Reed, it'll be interesting to see how the position takes shape under the new offense. 


Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Retaining my position as a broken record when it comes to Kelvin Benjamin and the Redskins' need for more threatening wide receivers, it's no surprise he makes the list. 

For being 6'5", 235 pounds, Benjamin's quickness and speed can be deceiving, while his immense wingspan and imposing size make him a nightmare for defensive backs. 

If the Redskins want to upgrade the corps for Robert Griffin III and do so with size, Benjamin would be a valuable get in the second round—if he makes it that far. 


Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Allen Robinson (8) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Illinois 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports


Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State 

The draft conversation on Twitter regarding Allen Robinson is fun to take part in due to its wide range of opinions. While some believe the 6'3", 211-pound receiver has No. 1 potential, others aren't nearly as impressed.  

According to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, Robinson reminds him of Anquan Boldin due to his size, deceiving acceleration and strength at the catch point. I wouldn't disagree. And Robinson could/should still be available when the Redskins take the clock in the second round. 


Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt 

I've been a fan of Jordan Matthews for a while, spending time watching him throughout the season. His 6'3", 205-pound frame is desirable, and he's a very smart football player. Often times I saw a little bit of Pierre Garcon in his game based on grittiness, concentration and ability to web tough catches. 

Matthews may not constantly wow you on tape, but he's a hard worker with NFL bloodlines (cousin of the legendary Jerry Rice), and he has the makings of a reliable target at the next level. 


Nov 21, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver Brandon Coleman (17) cannot reach a pass against the UCF Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports


Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers

I was very high on Brandon Coleman heading into the season, but an underwhelming 2013 campaign was a disappointing return on investment for me, and the 6'5", 220-pound receiver has dropped on many others' draft boards as well. 

By drafting Coleman—who I believe could still be floating around in the fourth or early fifth round—you're banking that he can cash in on his huge upside and take advantage of incredible potential. He obviously has the size of a No. 1 receiver at the next level, he's a fluid route-runner, and he has strong hands when he's honed in. But can the Redskins coaching staff bring him full circle? Can it demonstrate patience with him? Is Coleman worth it?


C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa

As mentioned above, Jay Gruden was a fan of using two tight ends in his sets with the Bengals. And while the Redskins seem to have a current group of tight ends with a decent shot at sticking, I wouldn't completely rule out a tight end addition this offseason. 

In terms of Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz, his versatility and strong blocking likely make him a third-round pick or higher, so he may be priced out of the Redskins' range given the team's other dire areas of need. But his skill set would seem to complement that of pure pass-catchers like Jordan Reed and Fred Davis (who is a FA this spring but may have seen his chances of a contract in Washington improve with Jay Gruden in town). 


The Added Speed

Whether it's Jay, Jon, Moe or Larry, whoever coaches this Redskins team will demand more speed on offense. The team needs more playmaking speed other than just Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed. Helping fill that void through the draft can be both effective and cost efficient. 



Dri Archer, WR, Kent State

Return man, running back, wide receiver—Dri Archer has the potential to be a Swiss Army knife at the next level, and his blazing speed makes him nearly impossible to catch. 

I was high enough on Archer to believe he should have come out early last season, and wouldn't you know it, I was hoping he would show up on the Redskins' radar back then too. For a team that lacks speed and raw playmaking ability, Archer would be a valuable chess piece who should be available in the middle rounds.


Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor 

Aldrick Robinson's inconsistency has become rather frustrating as of late, so adding a vertical-threat wideout to the list makes sense. 

Tevin Reese is a thinly-built 5'10", 170-pound athlete with great speed, acceleration and elusiveness. He also just so happened to be on the receiving end of more than 20 percent of RG3's passing yards during his 2011 Heisman campaign at Baylor. 


TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 23:  Running back De'Anthony Thomas #6 of the Oregon Ducks rushes the football during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona.  The Wildcats defeated the Ducks
Christian Petersen/Getty Images


De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

A lot of talk, exciting to watch, but where does De'Anthony Thomas line up in the NFL?

In the case of the Redskins, that'd be up to Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay to get creative. Show him at running back, show him in the slot, send him wide, make the defense respect Anthony's speed and playmaking ability. Not to mention, he has added potential as a kick/punt returner.



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