The need for help at safety has been ongoing for the last four seasons. Fortunately, there is plenty of value at the position in this draft, and Craig Loston is as good as pick as Washington can make in Round 4.
He was a steady, consistent safety at LSU, a school with a tremendous recent record of sending skilled defensive backs to the pros. Cornerback Morris Claiborne and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid have all become NFL starters since leaving the Tigers in the last two years.
Loston fits in D.C. not because he is a ball hawk, but because he is a tough box defender and natural strong safety. Brandon Meriweather is liked at the free safety position, although quite why is anybody's guess.
In fairness, the veteran did become a little more dependable as the torturous 2013 campaign wore on. The real problem is a lack of athletic range at strong safety.
Reed Doughty is a willing gamer, but his less than solid physical qualities are exposed too often. Thankfully, Washington will be buoyed by the return of last season's fourth-rounder Phillip Thomas.
Yet he will likely find it tough to supplant Doughty immediately, after missing his entire rookie season due to Lisfranc surgery. But Thomas does have real potential, and that could convince Gruden and Allen into not making safety a priority with an earlier pick.
The pair will also know they have options in free agency. A player like Buffalo Bills ball hawk Jairus Byrd may be out of their price range, but even if he is, there are still names like T.J. Ward, Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Clemons to consider.
All of these factors make Loston excellent value at this stage. His 4.65 speed running the 40-yard dash at the combine was not particularly impressive. But Loston is a player who works best closer to the line and uses his savvy to be in the right positions.
His major drawback is a worrying similarity to Meriweather, pointed out by Rob Rang: "Loston's aggression gets the better of him, at times, as he'll duck his head into tackles (which could draw flags or lead to injury) and sometimes fails to break down adequately, relying on hitting rather than tackling to knock ball carriers to the ground."
Secondary coach Raheem Morris will have to earn his keep by curbing those bad habits. It is work worth doing to refine a smart and fearless safety who can provide immediate help.