5 Late-Round Prospects Washington Redskins Should Target in 2014 NFL Draft
Slighted for not having prototypical size, or their extracurricular activities, impact players emerge from the latter stages of the draft on an annual basis.
Some excel out of the gate, while others reach the pinnacle of success years after they're drafted—Alfred Morris and Richard Sherman come to mind.
As contenders for the NFC East crown but not the Super Bowl, finding either would be a coup for Washington.
With that said, here are five late-round sleepers the Redskins should target in the draft.
Seantrel Henderson, OT
Despite the vast hype that surrounded him coming out of high school, Seantrel Henderson's tantalizing potential rarely surfaced at the collegiate level.
A self-admitted party fiend, Henderson did little but rely on his innate gifts in his tenure at Miami.
Marred by injury and off-the-field issues as well, it says a lot about Henderson's physical gifts that he's still projected to go in the fifth round.
Then there's what former teammate Stephen Morris had to say, via Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald.
"He’s one of those amazing athletes that when he gets his hands on you, the play’s over for you," Morris said.
A draft position that has mostly netted backups and special-teams players in Bruce Allen's tenure as general manager, Henderson is worth the risk for Washington.
Whether it be in 2014 or 2015, a tandem of Henderson and Trent Williams could alleviate concerns surrounding Robert Griffin III's health.
Colt Lyerla, TE
Compared to Rob Gronkowski, ability isn't the reason Colt Lyerla is projected to go in the seventh round.
Rob Rang of CBS Sports did nothing but sing Lyerla's praises when describing his innate gifts.
"Lyerla is a physical marvel with excellent athleticism, good hand-eye coordination and toughness after the catch. He possesses impressive straight-line speed, as well as the agility and balance to operate in space," Rang said.
The issues with Lyerla stem from his off-the-field transgressions at Oregon. Lyerla was cited for cocaine possession in 2013.
Even with that said, in the event that Lyerla cleans up his act, he has the tools to be a productive NFL player.
An excellent run-blocker, Lyerla could replace Logan Paulsen and form quite a tandem with Jordan Reed.
Aaron Lynch, DE
Prior to the 2013 season, Aaron Lynch was viewed by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. as a first-round pick (subscription required).
As it stands now, Lynch is slotted to go in the sixth round.
So, what happened?
Well, after a one-year hiatus, due to his transfer from Notre Dame to South Florida, Lynch hardly resembled the player who enamored scouts his freshman season.
While his production was nearly the same—he tallied 5.5 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss in 2011, and 5.0 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 2013—Lynch's motor ran hot and cold at South Florida.
In a scouting report by Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com, Lynch was called a "classic underachiever" who gave questionable effort.
A boom-or-bust prospect based on this assessment, Lynch would fit well on Washington's veteran-laden defense.
With Jason Hatcher in tow, there wouldn't be any pressure on Lynch to contribute immediately. By the same token, by not being guaranteed playing time, Lynch would have to improve his work ethic—a tool that could help unlock his vast potential.
Called "a freakish athlete with a rare combination of size, speed and length," by Derek Stephens of CBS Sports, Lynch could potentially be a steal for the Redskins.
Antone Exum, DB
A cornerback prospect with a possible long-term future at safety, Antone Exum could seemingly solve two problems for the 'Skins.
And all for the cost of a sixth-round pick.
In immediate need of a corner and lacking a viable long-term safety, Exum's skill set would be a welcome addition in Washington.
Solid in man-to-man coverage and a physical tackler, Exum should be able to garner time, at the very least, on special teams and as the team's No. 4 cornerback as a rookie.
While the current logjam at safety could block Exum from seeing much time there as a rookie, his previous experience at Virginia Tech, along with the mentorship he could receive from Ryan Clark, could help groom him for the job down the road.
Yawin Smallwood, LB
A productive starter in his collegiate career at Connecticut, Yawin Smallwood would be yet another linebacker the Redskins could throw into the battle royale to replace London Fletcher.
Compared by CBS Sports' Rob Rang to Jerod Mayo, the durable Smallwood is an adequate athlete who utilizes his diagnostic skills to make plays in the backfield.
Capable of covering running backs and tight ends, Smallwood would be an asset for a Washington team that has to deal with the likes of LeSean McCoy, Jason Witten and Brent Celek on a biannual basis.
Joined on the depth chart by Akeem Jordan and Darryl Sharpton, whether it's because of injury or play, Smallwood would see some playing time as a rookie, starter or not.
Draft projections are from CBSSports.com.