Washington Redskins Round 2 Big Board Ahead of the Combine

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2014

Oct 12, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Allen Robinson (8) during the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan 43-40 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Owning the 34th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft gives the Washington Redskins a great chance to nab an instant starter with their primary selection.

There are rumors, courtesy of Walterfootball.com's Charlie Campbell, that the team could move up into Round 1. Campbell believes this could be achieved for as little as a fifth-round pick.

But moving to the end of the opening round is hardly worth it. There is not a significant enough upgrade in talent to justify surrendering a later pick.

Washington can still find a quality new addition for either the secondary, along the offensive or defensive lines or at wide receiver.

With that in mind, here are the 25 players general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Jay Gruden should focus on with the second pick in Round 2.

Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State

Gabe Jackson answers one of the most pressing team needs this offseason, namely the need to get bigger along the O-line.

The interior of Washington's offensive front was pushed around throughout 2013. Guards Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester were tossed aside too often.

But no defensive tackle is likely to do that to the 6'4", 339-pound Jackson. He fits the mold of hulking linemen Gruden favored as offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jackson's combination of mammoth size and underrated movement skills would enable the use of more expansive, power-based blocking schemes.

David Yankey, G, Stanford

David Yankey does not boast the imposing frame Jackson does, but he is still a dominant force in the running game. Yankey transitions to different levels of the defense well and delivers his blocks with sledgehammer-like ferocity.

In his pre-combine mock draft, Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey has the Redskins landing Yankey at No. 34 overall. That would represent tremendous value for an offense that won't progress until its line gets a makeover.

Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA

While they could use more bulk, the Redskins shouldn't abandon the mobility along the front that has helped make their zone-based schemes so successful.

That should put ex-UCLA ace Xavier Su'a-Filo firmly on the radar. As CBS Sports' Rob Rang notes, the 6'3", 305-pounder combines power-blocking expertise with the natural skills for a zone system:

Powerfully built. Very good initial quickness, hand placement and impressive upper-body strength to gain the initial advantage on defenders. Due to his core strength and flexibility, Su'a-Filo anchors very well against bull rushes and shows lateral agility and balance in pass pro. Perfect match in UCLA's drive-blocking scheme but has the athleticism to fit in a zone-blocking scheme as well.

Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor

If size is the order of the day, Cyril Richardson fits the bill. Allen and Gruden could reunite the massive guard with quarterback Robert Griffin III; The two were teammates at Baylor.

But more than just familiarity with the man under center, Richardson plays with brute-force power the Washington front five currently don't possess.

He is also versatile enough to slide out to right tackle, another problem position up front. Despite those qualities, Richardson's weight issues could put many off.

In Richardson's NFL.com draft profile, Nolan Nawrocki pinpoints this problem, along with some concerns about temperament:

Average arm length. Bad bodyhas a fleshy midsection and could stand to shed some bad weight. Lateral agility and recovery quickness are just adequate. Gets in trouble when his feet stall or he bends at the waist (slips off blocks). Intermittent intensitydoes not play violently or impose his will physically as often as he should. Could stand to become more of a nasty finisher. Has underachiever traits. Questionable motivation and passion for the game.

But if Richardson impresses in strength and conditioning drills at the combine, coupled with a glowing reference from Griffin, the Redskins could be tempted to add some serious beef to their line.

Morgan Moses, T, Virginia

Morgan Moses dropping to the Redskins may be one of those best-case scenarios. The ex-Virginia standout would definitely appeal as someone Gruden could switch to the right side to replace Tyler Polumbus.

Moses is bigger, but he still possesses the mobility to suit the demands of a zone scheme. He would be too good to pass on if he is there at 34.

Jack Mewhort, T, Ohio State

Jack Mewhort may be considered a slight reach at the top of Round 2. But Allen and Gruden may overlook that considering Mewhort is a perfect fit at right tackle.

He plays bigger than his 306-pound frame and works as a nasty power blocker. Mewhort was part of the Buckeyes line that led the way for bruising running back Carlos Hyde.

Because of his experience as a right tackle, Mewhort must be on the board for Washington as a potential day one successor to Polumbus.


Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

If Stephon Tuitt slides past the latter stages of the first round, Allen and Gruden would surely be very tempted. Tuitt is the best natural 3-4 defensive end in this draft class.

He is a thick-bodied 5-technique who's able to absorb double-teams on the edge. But Tuitt also showcases a flair for causing havoc when shifted inside.

The Washington defensive line is lacking a truly dominant force on the edge. Tuitt, a player NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks says draws "comparisons with a young Richard Seymour," would be a steal.

Ra'Shede Hageman, DT Minnesota

Seeing Ra'Shede Hageman slip to 34 qualifies as another dream scenario. Like Tuitt, Hageman is a versatile and disruptive playmaker along the front.

Despite thriving on the inside at the collegiate level, Hageman has the size to play two-gap end in Washington's base 3-4. The 6'6", 318-pounder could also slide into a 3-technique role to help the defense generate more pressure from its three-man front.

With Hageman or Tuitt at end, life would certainly become easier for Barry Cofield. The veteran nose tackle would see less double-teams along the interior.

DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State

DaQuan Jones is another excellent fit in a two-gap scheme. He has the power to control multiple blockers and create the room for second-level defenders to attack the ball in a linebacker-led defense.

Jones would fit at end or nose tackle in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's 3-4 system. The latter scenario would allow Haslett to shift Cofield to end, something that could free him up to put more pressure on the pocket.

The run defense, largely feeble in 2013, would certainly improve no matter where Jones lined up.

Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina

Kelcy Quarles is a highly intriguing prospect. He was dominant for the Gamecocks defense in 2013, while star end Jadeveon Clowney took the season off.

Quarles posted 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, according to cfbstats.com.

The quick-twitch defensive tackle stands out as a lineman who can play multiple techniques. CBS Sports' Rob Rang highlights Quarles' flexibility:

Quarles plays low, showing good power and technique to absorb double-teams, making him a potential fit as a nose guard, as well as a traditional three-technique defensive tackle. May just be scratching the surface of his potential.

Quick, strong and tenacious, Quarles projects equally well inside as a 4-3 defensive tackle or outside as a five-technique defensive end.

Quarles could help the Washington defensive front be more of a force in the backfield in 2014. If he produces a good showing at the combine, Quarles will push his stock to the top of Round 2.

Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU

Anthony Johnson sets himself apart thanks to a blink-of an-eye quick first step. That speedy takeoff, combined with a 6'2", 295-pound frame, makes Johnson an impact player the Redskins have to consider.

He would operate well at defensive end on base downs. Johnson would also be a major threat inside in nickel fronts, as he would be allowed to use his initial burst to attack single gaps.

While he is the least physically imposing D-lineman on this big board, Johnson plays with the kind of explosive speed Washington has certainly missed up front.

Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Allen Robinson landing in Washington may be another one of those best-case scenarios. But in his latest mock draft for Walterfootball.com, Walter Cherepinsky believes Robinson will fall to the Redskins at pick 34.

If Gruden could snap up the prolific Penn State flanker, he would get the ideal partner for Pierre Garcon.

Robinson is a big-bodied, resourceful pass-catcher who can be moved all over the field to make plays. That is exactly the way Garcon tallied a franchise-best 113 catches in 2013.

Add Robinson, who had 97 catches for the Nittany Lions last season, per cfbstats.com, and Griffin would have a pair of hugely productive receivers to aim for.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

Jordan Matthews is another powerfully built wideout who can be used as a roving weapon. He runs precise, intelligent routes, and his hands never let him down.

Like Robinson, Matthews has the size Gruden seemed to insist upon when he ran the offense for the Bengals. The 6'3", 209-pound pass-catcher is a can't-miss target.

Matthews is the type of dependable receiver Griffin hasn't always been surrounded by in Washington. He would be very hard to ignore at the top of the second round.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

The one quality both Matthews and Robinson wouldn't bring to the Redskins is legitimate vertical speed. It is something the team's incumbents also lack, aside from Aldrick Robinson, who rarely gets the chance to show it.

The Washington offense also lacks a truly dynamic slot receiver. Enter pint-sized speedster Brandin Cooks. He answers both needs as a highly productive slot specialist who can stretch the field.

CSNWashington's Rich Tandler highlights Cooks as a player Gruden and company should look at.

If Leonard Hankerson makes a strong recovery from his knee injury and subsequent surgery, Gruden will have his big receivers on the outside. Cooks would give his offense a crucial extra element.

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State

Davante Adams is more than just the man who caught passes from Derek Carr at Fresno State. He is a physical wideout with exceptional hands, along with the speed and power to be a menace after the catch.

Those qualities mean a player who is quietly creeping up draft boards should appeal to Gruden's demands at the position.

Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

Former LSU ace Jarvis Landry is not a dominant, big-play target. But that's okay considering what the Washington passing game needs most is steady, solid options at receiver.

Too many times during the last two seasons, quarterbacks have been let down by unfinished routes and careless drops. By contrast, Landry is a player who does all the little but essential things well.

NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki perfectly sums up Landry's potential value:

Polished, quarterback-friendly, sure-handed possession receiver with a flare for the highlight-reel catch. Could be an effective No. 3 option, capable of lining up as a "Z" or slot, working short-to-intermediate and beating zone coverage.

The "quarterback-friendly" part of that description is why Landry makes sense as another weapon to help ease Griffin's development.

Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State

The Redskins simply cannot afford to come out of this draft without having bolstered their options at safety. The current members of the rotation are a patchwork group of reckless veterans like Brandon Meriweather and raw youngsters like Bacarri Rambo.

One player who belongs on the big board for Round 2 is Washington State's Deone Bucannon. A true thumper at his position, Bucannon hits for keeps.

Aside from being an asset as a supplementary run defender, the ex-Cougars star makes his share of plays in coverage. He intercepted six passes in 2013, according to cfbstats.com.

Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois

As opportunistic as Bucannon was in 2013, he still wasn't the ball hawk Jimmie Ward managed to be for Northern Illinois. Ward snared seven interceptions for the Huskies last season, as well as breaking up 10 more passes, according to cfbstats.com.

That is precisely the level of production the Washington defense needs from its safeties. Ward impressed the team during the Senior Bowl, per a report from Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com.

Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville

It is tough to imagine Calvin Pryor still being on the board for Round 2. But if he is, it is even tougher to imagine the Redskins passing on him at 34.

Pryor has established a reputation as a thunderous hitter and competent zone defender. He is at his best when he is given the time to break on the ball.

The only drawback to Pryor is that he doesn't always make the plays his obvious talent demands. He only got his hands on three interceptions in 2013, per cfbstats.com.

Washington already has players who can hit and do little else at the safety position.

But secondary coach Raheem Morris may feel he can coax more from Pryor's natural zone instincts. Haslett would like the fact that he could move him from deep rotations to down in the box to confuse offenses.

Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford

Ed Reynolds is a natural free safety with the smarts and tenacity to solidify what has long been a shaky position. He boasts good movement skills, particularly once he plucks a pass away from a receiver and morphs into a return man.

Reynolds is also a forceful and consistent hitter in run support. Like Ward, his stock has risen, and Reynolds is likely to be right in the Redskins' range at 34.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida

Contract negotiations are said to be progressing well with DeAngelo Hall, according to Mike Florio of ProFooballTalk. But that still leaves the team with three other cornerbacks ready to hit the market in Josh Wilson, E.J. Biggers and Jerome Murphy.

The defenses needs a change on the edges in coverage. Specifically, new cornerbacks should have the size to play press. Florida's Loucheiz Purifoy meets that requirement.

He stands 6'1" and knows how to use his height and 190-pound frame to disrupt receivers at the line. Purifoy's stock has been affected by a poor final season with the Gators. He didn't display shutdown qualities, according to Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel.

But the potential and raw skills are certainly there.

Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida

Purifoy's teammate with the Gators, Marcus Roberson, is another corner possessing the size and temperament the Washington secondary needs on the outside.

Roberson is extremely physical, almost to the point of negligence, according to CBS Sports' Dane Brugler. But the Redskins can stand a few penalties if it means they start to beat up receivers on the edge more often.

The real concern with Roberson should be about his lack of production in 2013. He didn't register a single interception last season.

Often times, people take that as a good sign with cornerbacks, evidence quarterbacks are wary to test them. Personally, minimal numbers are always a worry. The Washington defense needs playmakers more than solid performers.

Roberson would have the chances to get his hands on the ball more often in the pros, where quarterbacks will actively test him. If concerns about his aggressive streak and lack of numbers push him to Round 2, Roberson will tempt the Redskins.

Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

It may be asking too much for Jason Verrett to still be there at 34. Although he doesn't possess prototype press size, Verrett is a demon in the slot.

He is feisty battler who operates best on the inside. That's where his stellar reaction speed and instincts really show up.

Haslett needs a true nickel corner. Landing Verrett at 34 would let him put the team's top draft pick of last year, David Amerson, on the outside.

Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Durability is the primary concern with Kyle Fuller. He withdrew from the Senior Bowl to nurse a sports hernia injury that blighted his final season with the Hokies.

Encouragingly, Fuller remained productive despite appearing in just 10 games. He intercepted a pair of passes and broke up 10 more, per cfbstats.com.

Fuller is a naturally dynamic corner who plays his best football in loose zone coverage.

Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford

Finally, there should be a place on the big board for a potential replacement for retiring inside linebacker London Fletcher. Stanford's Shayne Skov remains the best draft fit for that role.

He is a do-all linebacker, effective on the blitz, punishing in run support and capable of covering in shallow zones. Most important, Skov has excellent 3-4 knowledge, having been at the heart of a hybrid version of the scheme for The Cardinal.

He could plug in alongside Perry Riley Jr. and start immediately.

This big board reflects the kind of starting-calibre talent the Redskins can find with the 34th overall pick to help solve any of their biggest needs.


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