10 Hidden Gems the Washington Redskins Should Have Noticed at NFL Combine

Shae CroninCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2014

10 Hidden Gems the Washington Redskins Should Have Noticed at NFL Combine

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    With over 300 participants in attendance, the NFL combine provides plenty of intrigue surrounding players you haven't seen enough of, or perhaps don't know anything about.

    For the Redskins—who are without a first-round selection in May's upcoming drafttheir work at the combine is critical in targeting valuable prospects who could be available in the middle-to-late rounds. 

    Here's a look at ten combine participants who aren't necessarily household names, but who may have drawn some interest from the Redskins' front office.  

    All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.

Marcus Martin

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    With holes all along the Redskins offensive line, the center position is no exception. 

    USC's Marcus Martin is an athletic lineman with interior versatility, but whose natural fit appears to be at center.

    Despite not participating in most of the combine tests, Martin put up 23 reps on the bench press and measured in at 6'3", 320 pounds with 34" arms and 10" hands. 

    A late-season knee injury against UCLA leaves a little concern regarding Martin's durability moving forward, but he should be nestled in at No. 1 for center prospects. 

Anthony Denham

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Utah's Anthony Denham is one of those guys who catches your eye, but who you know nothing about. 

    From a physical standpoint, Denham pops off the screen. At 6'4", 235 pounds, he totes a chiseled frame with long arms (33.3") and big hands (10.5").

    Aside from that though, Denham doesn't offer much after playing just 23 games at Utah as a wide receiver and catching less than 40 passes. 

    There's no doubt Denham is a raw prospect who requires developmental time. Switching positions to tight end, however, does seem like the right move in order to help his process. He's a sizable project who can run, jump and hopefully catch—and a guy worth taking a chance on in the later rounds. 

A.C. Leonard

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    A.C. Leonard was a highly touted high school prospect who began his college career at Florida, before encountering multiple off-the-field issues and entering the combine as a tight end from Tennessee State. 

    At 6'2", 252 pounds, Leonard ran a 4.5 40-yard dash, recorded a 34" vertical and a 128" broad jump. He looked comfortable and smooth in his drills, caught the ball with ease and demonstrated explosiveness after the catch. 

    Sure, the red flags are a concern, and Leonard's draft stock will suffer as a result. But if you're confident enough in your locker room and coaching staff, Leonard provides a firm foundation to build upon. 

Brandon Thomas

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    Clemson's Brandon Thomas was a recognizable name before the combine, but his weekend workout helped his stock.

    Checking in at 6'3", 317 pounds, Thomas ran an impressive 5.09 40-yard dash, and measured in with long arms (34.75") and heavy hands (10.5")—all dominant physical traits that helped him become a dependable blindside blocker in college. 

    Thomas best projects as a guard in the NFL. He possesses a good combination of athleticism and strength (35 reps) to reassure he's ready to compete in camp this summer. 

John Brown

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    A small guy with a big-time workout, Pittsburg State's John Brown is an undersized receiver at 5'10", 179 pounds, but possessing of good hands and elite quickness. 

    Brown initially drew attention with his 4.34 40-yard dash time, before proceeding to back it up with a solid rest of the combine, showing good quickness in his drills, catching everything that was thrown his way and coming off as a guy who could make things happen with the ball in his hands. 

    The Redskins are not only in need of speed on offense, but also a slot receiver. Division II athlete John Brown provides assistance and potential as both. 

     

Jarvis Landry

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    LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry makes this list not because you don't know his name, but because his combine performance was beyond disappointing and he may be a guy who suffers a relatively large decrease in draft stock as a result. 

    To me, this makes Landry all the more gem-worthy. 

    Immediately after running an underwhelming 4.77 40-yard dash, Landry left the combine with an injury and didn't participate in drills, likely leaving a sour taste in the mouths of scouts.

    If his stock drops him to the third round, the Redskins need to pay close attention.

    Although Landry isn't the sizable receiving target the Redskins so desperately need on offense, he is a gritty, hard-nosed receiver who's underrated as an athlete and who demonstrates the ability to do everything of a top-notch receiver despite not having the physical gifts. 

    To learn more about my (alleged) man-crush on Jarvis Landry, check out this scouting report

Christian Jones

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    This won't come as much of a surprise. If you've read my stuff before, you'll know all about my love for Christian Jones. 

    The Florida State linebacker helped his stock this weekend, checking in with good measurables and running a 4.74 40-yard dash. 

    While the common label for Jones seems to be as a weak side linebacker in a 4-3, or as an edge-rusher in a 3-4 scheme, Jones' combination of athleticism, size, instinct and underrated tackling makes him a fit at any linebacker spot. He just needs time to work in one position, learn in one position and eventually master one position.

    If the Redskins could land Jones in, say, the third round and feel comfortable making him a versatile inside linebacker, they'd receive no complaints from a certain someone. 

    Check out my scouting report on Jones, here. 

Jalen Saunders

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    I came away from last weekend feeling pretty good about Oklahoma receiver Jalen Saunders, who performed well to help increase his draft buzz. 

    Clearly undersized at 5'9", 169 pounds, Saunders plays bigger than his vitals indicate. He's a quick and explosive playmaker with 4.4 speed and a crazy 34" vertical. He's the type of receiver you can depend on not only as a pass-catcher, but as a home-run threat with the ball in his hands.

    Saunders also adds kick/punt return ability, making him a versatile weapon who will fight to earn his spot. 

     

Willie Snead

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Although I don't know as much about him as I should, I keep coming back to my notes on Ball State receiver Willie Snead. 

    Snead measured in at 5'11", 195 pounds, with 33" arms and 10.25" hands. And while his 4.62 40-yard dash doesn't sound impressive, I thought he ran really well both in the dash and throughout his drills. 

    Snead doesn't look like a guy who's going to pop out at you, or wow you on Sundays. But he has potential as a sure-handed slot guy who understands the game and his position. 

Keith McGill

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    After Tuesday's workout, it's unlikely the name Keith McGill remains relatively unknown for long. 

    McGill stands out initially by way of a 6'3", 211-pound frame, stilted by a pair of long legs. The Utah corner showed well with a 4.51 40-yard dash, as well as a 39" vertical jump and a 129" broad jump. 

    During drills, McGill glided through with light feet and fluid hips, looking comfortable as one of the largest cornerbacks invited to Indianapolis.

    Expect grades on McGill to be here, there and everywhere. While some will fall in love with his uncoachable physical traits, others will shy away due to the idea he can only succeed in a specific system.