5 Best-Case Scenarios for Washington Redskins in 2014 NFL Draft
After a fairly tame free-agency period, at least by their own standards, the Washington Redskins have managed to work themselves into a solid position for the upcoming NFL draft. With needs on both sides of the ball and no first-round pick, it will be difficult to fix all of their problems.
Even so, the 'Skins are in better shape than they were when the offseason began, and for that, they have some very reasonable best-case scenarios to take into account.
Here are a few of the best-case scenarios for the Redskins in this year's draft.
5. Jay Gruden Finds His Second Tight End
Tight end Jordan Reed was a pleasant surprise as a rookie, catching 45 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns. He was second on the team in catches in spite of missing seven games, and he rendered Fred Davis expendable.
Even so, Jay Gruden's offense thrived with two tight ends last season, with Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert combining for 85 catches, over 900 yards and six touchdowns.
Reed is one half of that equation, but for Gruden's purposes, Logan Paulsen isn't going to cut it.
Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is the kind of big body Gruden prefers in a tight end. Though not a freak athlete or exceptional receiver, Fiedorowicz has natural hands and is a capable blocker.
He's projected as a third- or fourth-round pick, putting him in Washington's reach, and while he lacks the explosive speed or elusiveness of a joker tight end, he brings a more balanced, dependable package.
4. Right Tackle Position Upgraded
With the addition of guard Shawn Lauvao, the interior offensive line may be shuffled around. Whatever improvements are made on the inside will only serve to expose the issue at right tackle.
Tyler Polumbus isn't horrid by any means, but he is not the long-term solution at the position.
There is an array of offensive line talent in this year's draft, and the Redskins could easily find any number of late-round picks to vie for the right tackle spot. However, best-case scenario, they find themselves in a position where a third-round right tackle is the correct pick.
Stanford's David Yankey, who played just about every position on the line for the Cardinal, is an option, but the Tennessee's mountainous Ja'Wuan James is a more viable choice.
James played against tough competition in the SEC and would be a massive upgrade in pass protection over Polumbus, who lacks the athleticism to keep even slightly above-average pass-rushers at bay.
3. Void Left by London Fletcher Filled
The impact of London Fletcher's retirement won't be felt until we see how the defense looks without him. That being said, there is absolutely no reason to leave the position unfilled with plenty of options in the draft.
The two names that come to mind for the Redskins are Wisconsin's Chris Borland and Stanford's Shayne Skov.
Borland may not be the physical specimen that Skov is, but neither was Fletcher. And much like Fletcher, Borland relies on superior intelligence to make plays his size would otherwise prevent him from making.
Size matters to an extent, but better to be at the right place at the right time than simply built to fit the position, right?
Skov has better size, 6'2" compared to Borland at 5'11", and uses it to his advantage. He lacks ideal speed but plays a physical and aggressive style the lends itself to the inside linebacker position.
Best-case scenario, one of them is available outside of the second round, which would be a steep price to pay for a linebacker in any draft.
2. Kelvin Benjamin Slips into the Second Round
The Redskins added receiver Andre Roberts in free agency and are in hot pursuit of former Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. If a deal with Jackson can't be reached, that leaves the Redskins with Pierre Garcon and Roberts as their top receivers, and the need for a bigger target.
Standing 6'5" and weighing 243 pounds is Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin, who has the look and skills of a top target and would give the Redskins a serious red-zone threat in the passing game.
Benjamin's size alone make him an appealing prospect, but in spite of the 54 catches, 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns, he doesn't seem to garner the same attention as Texas A&M's Mike Evans, Clemson's Sammy Watkins or even Odell Beckham.
It just doesn't seem like there's any buzz around him, which works in Washington's favor. Without any buzz or hype, Benjamin becomes just another prospect teams will be willing to pass up for a better, sexier pick.
1. Redskins Trade Kirk Cousins and Second-Round Pick to Tennessee
There is going to be a scramble for quarterbacks at the top of the first round in this draft, and one or more teams will come away empty-handed. Sitting just outside of the top 10 are the Tennessee Titans, who should have come to the realization that Jake Locker is not their franchise quarterback.
Necessity breeds strange bedfellows, and Tennessee's need for a quarterback may drive them to deal with the Redskins for Kirk Cousins.
Washington needs a top-tier talent, which it isn't likely to get early in the second round. Jumping into the first round nets it a game-changer. Better yet, it could jump into the first round, then trade to the middle of the round and make away with more picks.
A mid-first-rounder could net them anyone from free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to receiver Odell Beckham, who was among the players the Redskins met with during the combine.