How Bashaud Breeland Fits with Washington Redskins

James DudkoFeatured Columnist IVApril 9, 2017

RALEIGH, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Bashaud Breeland #17 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates after a missed field goal by the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 19, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Entering the 2014 NFL draft, the Washington Redskins needed a big body at cornerback. They waited until the fourth round to take Bashaud Breeland to answer that need.

At 5'11" and 197 pounds, Breeland has the length and frame to play outside or in the slot. Most important, he brings a more aggressive temperament and physical demeanour, as draft pundit Nolan Nawrocki highlights:

Fluid athlete. Quick-footed and loose-hipped. Can shadow, mirror and stay in phase. Plays with a sense of urgency and is aggressive supporting the run. Gives effort to pursue from the back side.

Lean, rangy cover corner who sticks his nose in run support and competes against bigger receivers. Is relatively raw, but has an appealing temperament and moldable tools.

There were times last season when Washington's defensive backfield looked good playing press techniques. However, it was too rare that coordinator Jim Haslett let players like 2013 second-rounder David Amerson play to his size.

Adding a mean-spirited cover ace like Breeland indicates Haslett might be ready to let his cornerbacks hit first and ask questions later in 2014.

That is not to say fans should expect to see Breeland starting as a rookie. As ESPN Redskins beat writer John Keim notes, this pick has been made with depth in mind:

Taking care of depth is certainly the least glamorous pastime during draft weekend. But it is something general manager Bruce Allen had to make a focus this year.

The roster was painfully thin on both numbers and quality at key positions in 2013. The secondary was one particularly threadbare group.

Breeland will reinforce the bunch with his own skills and also help out on special teams. The one major drawback to his game is a lack of elite speed.

That was evidenced at the NFL Scouting Combine when Breeland ran a mediocre 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Of course, a true press corner can always compensate for meager quickness with a physical approach, but there's no doubt that Breeland's plodding time hurt his stock.

Washington hasn't landed a starter but rather a cocky and competitive fourth corner who will work well with Amerson and veterans DeAngelo Hall and Tracy Porter.

Breeland may begin at the bottom of that quartet, but he has the talent and swagger to soon move up and see the field as a rookie.