Washington Redskins Draft Countdown: Making the Case for Jason Verrett

Marcel Davis@@Mar_CelDavis24Correspondent IApril 7, 2014

Verrett's ball skills would bolster a weak Washington secondary.
Verrett's ball skills would bolster a weak Washington secondary.Sue Ogrocki

With an offense headlined by Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, scoring won't be an issue for the Washington Redskins in 2014.

But the same goes for any offense scheduled to face Washington's defense next season. All the reason for the 'Skins to make defense a priority in the NFL draft.

The 30th-ranked scoring defense a season ago, Washington's secondary has to be the chief area of concern.

While the ouster of cornerback Josh Wilson and safety Reed Doughty is a step in the right direction, it's questionable if the signings of safety Ryan Clark and cornerback Tracy Porter will foster much improvement.

Clark will turn 35 next season, and Porter is on his fourth team in four years.

Enter Jason Verrett:

Projected to be a bubble first-round prospect by CBSSports.com, Verrett would bolster a defense that struggled in its nickel and dime packages.

After providing league-average defense against teams' starting wideouts in 2013, according to Football Outsiders, Washington had the 25th-ranked pass defense against teams' "other receivers"—not including tight ends and running backs.

A physical corner who lacks the ideal size to play on the outside—he's generously listed at 5'9"—Verrett could be the elixir to this problem.

As Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com notes, Verrett has "excellent short-area burst and flexibility to seamlessly redirect his footwork to mirror receivers in space." 

Then there's what Verrett had to say about his own game, in an interview on NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk:

I mean I shut down a lot of elite receivers. You know Odell Beckham, Kenny Stills, Terrance Williams, Eric Ward. I shut down a lot of receivers and I led the nation in the last two years with 38 passes defended, 30 pass breakups, and 8 interceptions.  So I feel like the film speaks more for itself than actually me telling you that I’m a ball hawker or that I tackle well because I feel like I’m showcasing all of that on the football field.

Compared to Cortland Finnegan by Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com, Verrett isn't destined to remain a No. 3 corner either. With DeAngelo Hall entering the twilight years of his career, this is a factor that shouldn't be ignored by Washington.

Verrett is one of the best athletes in the draft—he registered a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and a 39-inch vertical leap at the combine.

Reminiscent of Asante Samuel in the way he jumps routes, with Verrett in hand, Washington should surpass its interception total of 19 from last season. 

Considering that takeaways played a crucial role in the team's playoff run in 2012, this development could make the Redskins a dark-horse contender in the NFC East next season.