Washington Redskins Draft Countdown: Making the Case for Tackle Cyrus Kouandjio

Matthew BrownCorrespondent IApril 13, 2014

Alabama offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh

The Washington Redskins have managed to address a number of needs on their roster this offseason, which plays into their lack of a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. One position of need that remains is at right tackle, where the unimpressive Tyler Polumbus stands as the incumbent.

Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio may have slipped down some draft boards due to a lackluster combine performance and speculation of failed physicals, but he could bring stability to the Redskins offensive line at right tackle.

The last time the Redskins drafted a Crimson Tide offensive lineman, they grabbed Chris Samuels and ended up with one of the NFL's premier left tackles, polished as both a run- and pass-blocker.

Aside from their Alabama connection, the parallel between Samuels and Kouandjio is nonexistent.

Kouandjio is a raw physical specimen, a mauler in the run game but lacking polish as a pass-blocker. He is not an explosive athlete in the way you might consider Washington's own Trent Williams to be, evidenced by the 5.59 40-yard dash he turned in as well as the poor showings in the short shuttle, broad jump and three-cone drill.

So what Kouandjio lacks in polish and pure athleticism he makes up for in having 26 SEC starts at left tackle under his belt, a malleable skill set and a 6'7" frame that allows him to compensate for his lack of quickness.

The Redskins have survived with Polumbus at right tackle, but he is nothing more than a solid run-blocker and no worse than a turnstile as a pass-blocker.

Butch Dill

While Kouandjio isn't a tremendous speed upgrade over Polumbus, his arm length allows him to get his hands on defenders, which can lead to them being buried in the ground game or slapped aside in the passing game.

By no means is Kouandjio a long-term project pick who would be a reach with the 34th pick in the draft.

In response to the rumors of Kouandjio's knee being less than perfectly healthy, Dr. James Andrews, Washington's team doctor, wrote letters to each NFL team to clear up the subject, via Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.

While Andrews making a statement to quell the concerns regarding a prospect's viability doesn't mean the Redskins are absolutely interested in Kouandjio, it doesn't hurt to know the team doctor has already given his physical stamp of approval.

The Redskins did attend Alabama's pro day, which only indicates they have interest in some member of the Crimson Tide, not necessarily Kouandjio.

Still, the prospect of a physically imposing young right tackle, able to be molded to the system rather than simply fit into it, is tantalizing. For the Redskins, the idea of having Kouandjio as a bookend with Williams for the next decade should be more than enough reason to draft him.