Washington Redskins Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer
For the second year in a row and the fourth time since 2006, the Washington Redskins are without a first-round draft pick. And while on the surface this year's lack of a first-rounder should be particularly painful, seeing that they would have held the second overall pick, the reality is that this is such a deep draft that they can still land a couple impact players with two picks in the top 66.
Plus, they've got themselves Robert Griffin III, who wouldn't be in D.C. if not for their decision to surrender back-to-back first-round selections to St. Louis back in 2012.
Ultimate, though, not having a first-rounder just increases the pressure to draft well later. With that in mind, here's our Redskins draft primer.
List of 2014 Draft Picks
The Redskins hold six picks. All six are their own, and they have no compensatory selections. The only pick they're without is the No. 2 overall selection, which belongs to the St. Louis Rams as a result of the Robert Griffin III trade in 2012.
Round 2, pick 34
Round 3, pick 66
Round 4, pick 102
Round 5, pick 142
Round 6, pick 178
Round 7, pick 217
Position-by-Position Big Board
Here's a look at several players who would make sense as Redskins draft picks at key positions:
The Redskins simply have to focus on getting the best possible protectors for Robert Griffin III, and these four mid-round right tackle candidates are massive pass-protection specialists. At least one should be available when they pick early in Round 5, but it's possible they'll want to jump on one of them earlier. If they decide to go down the right tackle road earlier, Kouandjio, Morgan Moses and JaWuan James become possible picks. All would challenge Tyler Polumbus.
1. Cyril Richardson, Baylor
2. Brandon Thomas, Clemson
3. Zach Fulton, Tennessee
4. Spencer Long, Nebraska
Again we're thinking about big pass protectors here. Obviously guards have different responsibilities but the 'Skins gave up far too much pressure up the middle last season. That has to change with some big bodies and Richardson, Thomas, Fulton and Mississippi State mountain Gabe Jackson would also be intriguing, but he might not be available in Round 3, which, considering all of their other needs, is the earliest the Redskins should consider taking a guard.
1. Travis Swanson, Arkansas
2. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
3. Bryan Stork, Florida State
Swanson has the size edge and is clearly the most NFL-ready prospect of this group, but I still wouldn't waste a third-round pick on him. Ikard is a similar player who could be a fourth-rounder, but Stork is a good backup plan for the sixth or seventh round.
1. Adrian Hubbard, Alabama
2. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
3. Cassius Marsh, UCLA
4. Ron Powell, Florida
The Redskins have given up the third-most passing yards in football since the start of 2012, and they missed more tackles than anyone else in football last season, per Football Outsiders. As a result, our focus on defense will be on strong tacklers, versatile linebackers who can rush the passer and, most importantly, defensive backs who can hold their ground in coverage.
At OLB, Hubbard could offer tremendous value after flopping last season. The 'Skins can groom him anyway. Jeffcoat was more productive in college but isn't as versatile and might not be as natural a fit in Washington's defense. Marsh is coming off a hot second half and a good combine, and Powell reminds you of Brian Orakpo. At least a couple of these guys should be available in Round 5 or even Round 6.
1. Telvin Smith, Florida State
2. Chris Borland, Wisconsin
3. Shayne Skov, Stanford
4. Yawin Smallwood, UConn
5. Preston Brown, Louisville
Perry Riley is coming off a rough season and London Fletcher is gone. The Redskins need to draft at least one inside linebacker who can start ASAP next to Riley and might even have the ability to lead this defense down the line. I don't condone drafting inside linebackers 34th overall, which is why this list is compromised of guys who will probably be available early in Round 3 and Round 4. They're all exceptionally good tacklers, so that Washington can rely on them right from the get-go.
1. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
2. Jason Verrett, TCU
3. Bradley Roby, Ohio State
4. Dontae Johnson, NC State
5. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
6. Keith McGill, Utah
7. Marcus Roberson, Florida
8. Walt Aikens, Liberty
9. Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
10. Andre Hal, Vanderbillt
DeAngelo Hall is a good player and David Amerson has potential, but you'll need a lot more than that to survive on the back end in this division, in this day and age. The corners listed above and the safeties listed next are strong in coverage, usually proven tacklers and are expected to be available between Round 2 and Round 4, where true starting-caliber prospects can still be found. We've also included some sixth- or seventh-round fliers in Colvin and Hal.
In this case, Fuller would be an absolute gift from the football gods before there's a big drop off to Verrett, whom we rank ahead of Roby because we don't fully trust the Ohio State product. Johnson, Jean-Baptiste and McGill are versatile, both in terms of their coverage ability and in terms of where they play (all three have lined up at safety). That's big considering how badly Washington needs players at both corner and safety. Roberson and Aikens are solid cover corners who could be had as consolation in Round 4.
1. Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
2. Dion Bailey, USC
3. Deone Bucannon, Washington State
4. Ed Reynolds, Stanford
5. Marqueston Huff, Wyoming
6. Alden Darby, Arizona State
7. Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State
The 'Skins are a complete mess at the safety position. Veterans like Brandon Meriweather and Ryan Clark shouldn't be counted on to save the day, and the jury's still very much out on the two safeties they drafted last year, Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo.
Ward stands alone atop this list. He's the only guy I'd take in Round 2. Beyond that, Bailey, Bucannon, Reynolds and Huff would be quality mid-round picks. Those four are solid in coverage and decent tacklers, so they could compete for starting spots. Darby and Lewis are seventh-round fliers who could immediately help that weak special teams unit.
Round 2, Pick 34
Team needs: Defensive back
The Redskins have three great pass-rushers in Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Hatcher. Linebackers aren't a major priority and the offensive line was addressed quite aggressively in free agency. That, once again, leaves the secondary to be addressed early and often in the draft.
Maybe that means Jimmie Ward, unless Calvin Pryor or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have fallen. If it doesn't, it probably means they go with a corner in Round 2 for the second straight year. Options in the No. 34 spot will probably include Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett and Bradley Roby, each of whom could immediately compete for playing time.
Frankly, we'd be shocked if one of the six aforementioned defensive backs wasn't chosen. It's possible the Redskins have fallen in love with a less-heralded safety or corner, but those guys make the most sense in that spot.
Round 3, Pick 66
Team needs: Defensive back, offensive line, inside linebacker
It wouldn't surprise us to see the 'Skins go with defensive backs in back-to-back rounds to start this draft. If they went safety in Round 2, guys like Verrett, Roby, Johnson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Keith McGill and Marcus Roberson would become possibilities here.
Bit if they've already added a corner, it's actually ideal because some superb fits at safety, like Dion Bailey, Deone Bucannon, Ed Reynolds and Marqueston Huff, should be up for grabs early in Round 3.
Of course, it is also possible Washington mixes things up and adds a starting-caliber offensive tackle, guard or inside linebacker here. If that's the case, keep an eye on guard Cyril Richardson, tackle Antonio Richardson and linebackers Telvin Smith and Chris Borland.
Round 4, Pick 102
Team needs: Defensive back, offensive line, inside linebacker
If they didn't go with back-to-back defensive backs, it's time to either draft a corner or safety (whichever wasn't chosen earlier). Verrett, Roby, Johnson, Jean-Baptiste, McGill and Roberson would be ideal candidates at corner. Bailey, Bucannon, Reynolds and Huff are ideal safeties.
But if they're done addressing the secondary, it's definitely time to add a bulky lineman or an inside linebacker who can push for playing time immediately.
Unless Cyril Richardson has dropped, they might be better off waiting for a guard at this point. But Travis Swanson or Gabe Ikard would be intriguing center pickups, while Cameron Fleming and Antonio Richardson would be exciting tackle additions.
Finally, if you haven't landed a linebacker by now, this might be your final chance for a guy like Shayne Skov, Yawin Smallwood or Preston Brown.
Round 5, Pick 142
Team needs: Offensive line, pass-rusher
Which offensive linemen from the last page have fallen? Whoever is left is probably your ideal target in Round 5, as there's still so much uncertainty at the position.
Otherwise, it's time to turn your attention to the outside linebacker spot. It's a deep draft, and you could get lucky here with someone who could complement Orakpo and Kerrigan while also making the front office think twice about Orakpo's contract next spring.
Cassius Marsh and Ron Powell would be sweet picks here or in Round 6. Marsh could be flying under the radar after playing opposite Anthony Barr, and he might be versatile enough to play 3-4 end or outside 'backer. Powell's injury history will hurt his stock, but Washington can bring him along slowly and he fits in perfectly with this defense.
Round 6, Pick 178
Team needs: Offensive line, outside linebacker
Offensive linemen who could be lurking down here include big men Seantrel Henderson, Spencer Long and Bryan Stork. The Redskins won't have been able to hit all three offensive line positions until now, so I'd take the best player available at whatever spot has been neglected.
But if you still haven't taken an outside linebacker, this is the place to do it. Marsh and Powell are favorites, but Notre Dame's Prince Shembo and USC's Morgan Breslin would also make sense.
Round 7, Pick 217
Team needs: Defensive back
Now's where we're thinking mainly about depth. Ideally, the 'Skins will have already drafted a pair of legit defensive backs, but I think you cover your tracks here with one more depth guy who can make the team as a special teamer and maybe even surprise Jim Haslett.
At corner, we're thinking Aaron Colvin and Andre Hal, both of whom have plenty of big-game experience and can be relied on to help that horrendous special teams unit. Same rule applies to Alden Darby and Isaiah Lewis at safety.
Latest Draft Buzz
Could the Redskins trade into the first round?
It's not a top-heavy draft, but if you love somebody and the opportunity is there, why not move up? It's been a popular point of discussion among fans. And earlier this year, CSN's Rich Tandler warned not to rule out such a thing.
Bruce Allen sees no "gaping holes"
The general manager insists the 'Skins will take the best player available, according to Mike Jones of The Washington Post.
No calls regarding Kirk Cousins
The backup quarterback hasn't drawn much interest, per comments from Allen (via Jones on Twitter). So don't expect the 'Skins to draft a quarterback to replace Cousins.