Washington Redskins

6 Late-Round Sleepers Who Would Be Perfect for Washington Redskins

Marcel DavisCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2014

6 Late-Round Sleepers Who Would Be Perfect for Washington Redskins

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    To make up for the absence of Washington's first round pick, Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen will have to hit on their late-round picks in the draft.
    To make up for the absence of Washington's first round pick, Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen will have to hit on their late-round picks in the draft.Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Minus a first-round pick for a second consecutive year, the Washington Redskins will have to scour the later rounds of the NFL draft to find the impact player they'll miss out on.

    Alfred Morris, a sixth-round pick, was that impact player for Washington in 2012. In 2013, though, the Skins struck out as the likes of Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas failed to leave an imprint.

    As we approach the 2014 draft, what gems are there to mine in the later rounds for Washington?

    Considering that an NFL-record 91 underclassmen declared for the draft, there certainly isn't a dearth of talent. So unlike in past years, Rounds 5 through 7 could possess a litany of starting-caliber prospects.

    With that said, here are six late-round sleepers who are perfect for the Redskins.

     

    All draft projections are courtesy of CBSSports.com.

Dontae Johnson, Cornerback

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

    Let there be no qualms about it: The NFL is a copycat league.

    Considering the success the Seattle Seahawks have had with bigger, albeit slower, cornerbacks, it's not hard to fathom other teams emulating Seattle's draft strategy of selecting such players later in the draft.

    Enter Dontae Johnson.

    Cast in the shadow of David Amerson for most of his career at North Carolina State, Johnson proved to be an NFL prospect in his own right during his senior season.

    Johnson had a team-high three interceptions and tallied 84 tackles in 2013.

    Possessing receiver-like size, Johnson has the requisite skills to be a late-round success story in Washington.

    Johnson has logged time at safety, cornerback and linebacker—which speaks to his tackling ability.

    In showcasing such versatility, Johnson can impact a defense in a multitude of ways.

    For a team that has DeAngelo Hall as its lone legitimate starter in its secondary—who's not even under contract at the moment—Johnson and Washington could be the perfect marriage of need and fit.

Deion Belue, Cornerback

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

    Lost in the shuffle of more high-profile names in his time at Alabama, Deion Belue is still an NFL prospect worth keeping an eye on.

    As ESPN.com's Alex Scarborough duly noted, Belue didn't develop into the shutdown cornerback many projected in 2013.

    Nonetheless, this outcome merely suggests that Belue is best suited in a supporting role.

    When tasked with covering the opposing team's No. 2 or slot receiver, like he did in 2012 with Dee Milliner as the top cornerback, Belue had his best collegiate season.

    Belue tallied two interceptions and broke up seven passes that year.

    Assuming Hall returns to Washington, Belue could fit in nicely with the Skins as the team's nickel corner in place of Josh Wilson.

Seantrel Henderson, Offensive Tackle

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    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

    A highly touted recruit coming out of high school, Seantrel Henderson didn't come close to matching the hype that surrounded him.

    While Henderson did garner Freshman All-American honors in 2010 and an All-ACC honorable mention in 2012, injuries and off-the-field issues hampered him from reaching his massive potential.

    These were issues Henderson openly acknowledged in an interview at the Senior Bowl with Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald.

    In owning up to the numerous suspensions he endured at Miami, Henderson stated the following: "I was partying a little bit too much at times. I had got into trouble a couple of times for marijuana. I just put all that behind me."

    While his history would certainly qualify as a red flag, comments like the one Stephen Morris made about Henderson make him worth the risk.

    "He’s one of those amazing athletes that when he gets his hands on you, the play’s over for you," Morris said to the Miami Herald.

    CBSSports.com's Rob Rang compares him to recent first-round pick D.J. Fluker, further suggesting that Henderson can be a potential starter at the next level.

    With Washington in need of an upgrade over incumbent right tackle Tyler Polumbus, Henderson is a player the Redskins should certainly consider taking.

Brandon Coleman, Receiver

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    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

    Brandon Coleman had a decorated career at Rutgers and leaves with his 19 career touchdown receptions as the second most in school history.

    Lacking top-end speed but possessing exceptional size, it's Coleman's potential impact on a team's red-zone offense that makes him a quality NFL prospect.

    Only scoring on 52 percent of its red-zone trips in 2013, Washington would seem to be the perfect fit for Coleman.

    The main concern for Coleman has to be his propensity for drops.

    Nonetheless, it's his prowess at winning 50-50 balls and beating press coverage that makes him an ideal player to align with the Redskins' lone starting-caliber receiver, Pierre Garcon.

Josh Stewart, Receiver

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

    After three consecutive seasons with under 600 receiving yards, it's clear that the Redskins need an upgrade over Santana Moss.

    Furthermore, with Niles Paul—a tight end!—returning kicks, Washington is certainly in need of a boost to its return game as well.

    With Josh Stewart, Washington could address both areas.

    While he lacks size, Stewart has the quickness to be a quality slot receiver in the NFL. But it's really his return skills that should draw the Skins' attention.

    Stewart averaged over 16 yards per punt return in 2013 and scored two touchdowns, with the long score being 95 yards.

    So, although it'd be tough for Stewart to make headway on Washington's receiver depth chart as a rookie initially, he could make an immediate impact as a return man. 

Aaron Murray, Quarterback

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    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

    With Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, the Skins are pretty set at quarterback.

    But with Cousins proving to be a starting-caliber quarterback, in a league in short supply of them, his tenure in Washington could be short-lived. And considering Griffin's injury history, that would mean the Redskins need another quarterback.

    Projected at one time as a second-round pick, Aaron Murray is seeing his NFL draft stock slide because of the torn ACL he suffered in 2013.

    Leaving Georgia with a litany of school and conference passing records under his belt, Murray has been graded out with an average to above-average rating on quarterback-specific traits like arm strength and accuracy by ESPN.com.

    In a league that has de-emphasized the importance of backup quarterbacks, Washington could potentially strike gold again and acquire yet another high-quality backup quarterback with Murray.

    And who knows, provided he returns to form, the Skins could parlay Murray down the road into viable draft assets via a trade.

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