7 Bold Predictions for Washington's 2014 NFL Draft Class
The picks are in, the draft is done and the Washington Redskins made away with an interesting crop of prospects. They addressed needs along the offensive line, but they spent their top pick on a pass-rusher, though they already have two studs on the roster.
Bold draft predictions, right or wrong, create a sense of excitement that makes you want to make even bolder predictions about what each prospect's rookie season will look like.
Not everyone drafted will end up a starter, and there is always the chance that some of the draftees won't make the roster. Will Trent Murphy have any impact in his rookie season? Will Lache Seastrunk supplant Alfred Morris as Washington's top back?
Here are some bold predictions for this year's draft class for the Redskins.
Lache Seastrunk Never Sees the Field During the Regular Season
There is very little anyone can do about Alfred Morris being Washington's top running back for the foreseeable future. In two seasons, he has churned out 2,800 yards while remaining humble in his famous 1991 Mazda 626.
Lache Seastrunk is an intriguing speed back with the potential to be an excellent change-of-pace runner for Washington.
Nothing in Seastrunk's skills or history will dictate his playing time, but sometimes freak accidents happen that land young, promising players on injured reserve. It happened in 2011 when Jarvis Jenkins tore his ACL during the preseason and again in 2013 when Phillip Thomas suffered a Lisfranc tear during the preseason.
It isn't a pattern by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems like some of the more intriguing players have awful luck starting out for the Redskins.
Zach Hocker Will Win the Kicking Competition over Kai Forbath
When it comes to the draft, selecting a receiver, linebacker or just about any other position in the middle and later rounds doesn't mean the guy currently on the roster will lose his job. However, when you draft a kicker, whether it be in the first round or the last round, chances are the incumbent is going to be challenged.
Zach Hocker was drafted as a possible, perhaps likely, replacement for "Kobra" Kai Forbath.
While he doesn't have amazing leg strength, Hocker is an upgrade over Forbath. Forbath was consistent on field goals but lacked on kickoff length.
Where other teams were routinely getting touchbacks out of their kickers, the Redskins were forced to cover more kicks because Forbath's leg simply couldn't put the ball in the back of the end zone consistently.
Hocker will compete this offseason and through the preseason, but it is likely that Forbath's days in Washington are numbered.
Bashaud Breeland Will Beat out E.J. Biggers as Fourth Cornerback
Somehow, most likely due to his versatility and familiarity with defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, cornerback E.J. Biggers was re-signed by the Redskins. Biggers, though lacking consistency in both coverage and tackling ability, is useful for depth and his ability to step in at safety in a pinch.
With Ryan Clark as the starting safety and Tracy Porter set as the third corner, Biggers' role will diminish, and rookie Bashaud Breeland will take it away entirely.
Like Biggers, and even David Amerson, Breeland is a rangy corner. He stands up well to bigger receivers and isn't afraid to stick his nose in on run support, though his tackling leaves a bit to be desired.
Breeland, unlike Biggers, is raw and can be molded by the coaches. He doesn't have too many bad habits to break, and his skill set makes him instantly suited for dime situations that call for an extra corner. He may be frustrating at first, but he can be coached and brought along slowly until he carves out a larger role.
Ryan Grant Will Be the Fourth Receiver on the Depth Chart
There was a time, very recently in fact, when the Redskins were not in the best of situations at receiver. With the signings of Andre Roberts and DeSean Jackson, they have a trio of dangerous pass-catchers along with Pierre Garcon.
Santana Moss has tenure and is the most experienced slot receiver, but Ryan Grant brings youth and all-around experience as both an outside and slot receiver.
Working in Grant's favor is Leonard Hankerson's injury recovery and Aldrick Robinson's one-dimensional play. Grant isn't impressive in any one skill, but he does a little bit of everything and does it all well. He has great hands, but he doesn't have the size or the speed to be considered a major threat.
Moss may still find a role with the Redskins, but he's at a point in his career where he can mentor the younger guys, which may end up being the best thing for him and Grant in 2014.
Spencer Long Will Start in the NFL Before Morgan Moses
Morgan Moses may have more physical gifts and the potential to be a rock at right tackle for a decade to come, but Chris Chester was absolutely horrible last season and will lose his job to Spencer Long.
As frustrating as Tyler Polumbus can be at right tackle, he did show improvement from 2012 to 2013, which will require a strong push from Moses for him to lose the starting job.
Not that Polumbus will be the starter for the entire season, but Chester is that much worse that he'll give ground to Long sooner than Polumbus will to Moses. Chester is undersized and lacks the physicality to hold up against the better defensive linemen in the league.
Not that Long is a highly touted prospect, but he'll bring a bit of the nastiness that Chester lacks. If Will Montgomery lost his job for being pushed around, Chester isn't likely to be too far behind.
Ted Bolser Will Supplant Niles Paul on Special Teams
When I said the Redskins might target a tight end in the draft, I had guys like Eric Ebron, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jace Amaro in mind. Big bodies or good athletes with pass catching ability and solid blocking skills.
Instead, Washington drafted Indiana's Ted Bolser, who excelled with the Hoosiers to the tune of school records in catches (117), yards (1,337) and touchdowns (15).
His success at Indiana did not feature much work down the field, and predraft workouts only showed he lacks elite speed, ideal strength and isn't a very refined blocker.
What Bolser does bring to the table is special teams experience, which the Redskins sorely need.
While not glamorous work, Bolser knows and does what it takes to make plays on special teams, which is invaluable for late-round picks to get a foothold on an NFL roster.
Niles Paul has been a non-factor on offense since transitioning from receiver to tight end, and despite being a presence on special teams, he has left fans longing for the One Man Gang, Lorenzo Alexander.
Bolser also offers a much bigger target at 6'6", compared to Paul, who stands just 6'1", which could translate to work in the red zone.
Trent Murphy Will Start at Some Point During the Season
All-Pro linebacker Brian Orakpo claims he has nothing to prove in order to deserve the lucrative, long-term deal he desires. Three Pro Bowl appearances and 39.5 career sacks work in his favor, but his lack of elite production and injury history beg to differ.
Enter rookie Trent Murphy, who is much like Ryan Kerrigan in that he isn't the most athletically gifted player on the field, but he is tough and relentless.
Orakpo missed 14 games in 2012 after tearing his left pectoral muscle, an injury that dated back to 2011 when he injured the muscle and his shoulder in the final game of the season.
Though he may have the determination to play through any and all pain he experiences during the season, Orakpo is likely to miss some time from an injury suffered trying to do too much.
He may not have anything to prove to anyone, but that doesn't mean he isn't going to do his damnedest to prove it anyway. Rob Jackson may have tenure, and he may have proven he can produce in place of Orakpo, but pairing Murphy with the equally relentless Kerrigan to wear down defenses could be all too appealing to turn down, even if just once or twice during the season.