After watching the offensive skill players run through their Combine drills this past weekend, I wanted to take a second look at the Mock Draft I put together a couple of weeks ago.
I would like to avoid having a knee-jerk reaction, but I think it's very important to take all factors into account and re-think strategies when possible.
While I agree with most NFL experts that the Scouting Combine should be considered simply a tool for grading prospects—not a major determining factor—however, sometimes it's hard to ignore a player who jumps out of the television screen.
In my first mock draft for the Redskins, I had them trading down with the Miami Dolphins, swapping their 10th overall selection for the 15th. The thought was that Miami would want to move up to fill its need at quarterback and take Blaine Gabbert.
Now it's likely that Gabbert will go earlier than No. 10 to a team like Buffalo, Arizona, or San Francisco.
As I said in my first draft, the Redskins have plenty of needs. For me, it's hard to put them in a structured order of importance because each hole contributes in its own way to the team's mediocrity.
Needs: (in no particular order)
- Quarterback: Donovan McNabb already has his bags packed. Rex Grossman knows Kyle Shanahan's offense and can be a temporary game manager, but he's definitely not the long-term solution. Neither is Jon Beck. Why would you give a third-string quarterback a two-year extension is beyond me.
- Running Back: Bye, bye Clinton Portis. It's been great, but it's time to move on. Reports are he'll be cut this week. Ryan Torain proved in 2010 that he's got a lot of potential—there's a reason why Mike Shanahan drafted him in 2008. However, he missed some time last year to injury and Keiland Williams didn't do anything to prove he was anything more than a solid backup. They could really use a game-breaker here, someone who's capable of tearing off an 85-yard touchdown.
- Wide Receiver: Santana Moss had a career year in 2010, but we don't even know at this point if he'll be back in 2011. Even if he is, he's definitely on the decline. Anthony Armstrong had an impressive rookie campaign, but didn't show a ton of consistency. Questions remain about Malcolm Kelly who missed all of 2010 on Injured Reserve. There's no question that the Redskins need a stud wide receiver who can stretch the field and go up and get the ball.
- Offensive Line: Trent Williams struggled at times last year, but he's got a bright future at left tackle. Everyone else, well, who knows? Jammal Brown needs to prove he's healthy, and everyone in the interior (namely, Casey Rabach) got pushed around in 2010. Adding depth should also be a priority.
- Defensive Line: Unfortunately, the only playmaker on the Redskins defensive line last year was Albert Haynesworth, but what's even more unfortunate (or fortunate) is the fact that he's undoubtedly on his way out of town. Adam Carriker is solid against the run, but doesn't add much as far as a pass rush. Everyone else along the DL is average at best. They need a beast up front, preferably at nose tackle.
- Linebacker: After switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme, another area of the defense that struggled was the linebacking corps. London Fletcher is a stud and can stay around as long as he wants. Orakpo had a few growing pains with the transition but is still a beast. Lorenzo Alexander and Rocky McIntosh simply didn't fit. They need someone who can play opposite of Orakpo, put pressure on the quarterback as well as drop back into coverage without being a liability (Alexander).
- Defensive Secondary: Although I don't think the Redskins are perfect at cornerback, I do think DeAngelo Hall is a playmaker. He may give up a lot of yards, but he also creates turnovers and scores touchdowns. Carlos Rogers drops a lot of picks, but I think he's a very good cover corner and solid against the run. If the Redskins can re-sign him without overspending, they should. Phillip Buchanon (if they re-sign him—they should) and Kevin Barnes are very solid nickel guys. The bigger need is at free safety. Kareem Moore struggled, injured or not. They need a ball-hawk back there a la Sean Taylor. Strong safety is set with Laron Landry roaming behind the linebackers.
- Kicker: Graham Gano was the worst kicker in the NFL last season. He's a nice kid with a strong leg, but I don't think he's mentally strong enough. It's time for Mike Shanahan to cut ties.
Mock Draft 2.0:
Now, with only seven picks in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft, it's going to be impossible to address all of the needs above. There are a couple of moves I would like to seem them make before the draft if possible. I would love it if they could trade Donovan McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings for a fourth-rounder and Albert Haynesworth to the Tennessee Titans or Detroit Lions for a fifth. If they can do that, they'll have two extra picks to add much needed talent and depth to multiple positions.
Round 1: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama (previous pick: Robert Quinn, LB, UNC)
- I had the Redskins trading down to Miami's 15th then grabbing Robert Quinn in my first mock, but with Quinn likely going in the top five, this scenario no longer seems plausible. Not to mention that Miami won't want to trade up for Gabbert since he'll already be gone. Although they would love to trade down to acquire more picks, Shanahan and the Redskins will be unable to pass up Jones' size, speed and athleticism. His performance at the combine on Sunday was nothing short of spectacular. Nick Saban may be a jerk, but his players are disciplined and hard-working. Jones looks to be the next Larry Fitzgerald.
Round 2: Jake Locker, QB, Washington (previous pick: Stefan Wisniewski, OC, Penn State)
- The Redskins will address the quarterback position right here in round two rather than take a chance on a guy like Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton. There are questions about Jake Locker's accuracy, but many scouts think it's a mechanical issue that can be fixed. His size, athleticism, and arm will attract Shanahan, and he'll scoop him up here and the grooming will begin.
Round 4: Kris O'Dowd, C, USC (previous pick: None—acquired from Vikings for Donovan McNabb)
- O'Dowd is a big, mobile center, perfect for Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme. Some scouts are projecting him to go late in the third round, but if he slips at all, they would be wise to steal him away from the rest of the field.
Round 5: Sione Fua, DT/NT, Standford (previous pick: Jordan Toddman, RB, UCONN)
- Fua is exactly what the Redskins need, a big body, high motor guy who can plug up the middle and open holes for his fellow pass rushers.
Round 5: Markus White, DE/OLB, Florida State (previous pick: Robert Sands, FS, West Virginia)
- White is big (6'3,'' 260 lbs) but has very good speed. He played defensive end in college but could easily transition to OLB in the 3-4.
Round 5: Alex Henery, K, Nebraska (previous pick: None—acquired from Titans or Lions for Albert Haynesworth)
- If you want to know why Henery is the guy here, read my article on this awesome kicker.
Round 6: Da'Rel Scott, RB, Maryland (previous pick: Terrell McLain, DT, South Florida)
- Scott proved at the combine that he's got the speed, but at 5'11," 215 lbs, he's also got good size. He's a one-cut back who could flourish in Shanahan's running scheme—a coach who has been known to find late-round stud running backs.
Round 7: Danial Kilgore, OG, Appalachian State (previous pick: no change)
- Still like Kilgore here, see why in my first Mock.
Round 7: Ugo Chinasa, DE/OLB, Oklahoma State (previous pick: Christian Anthony, DE, Grambling State)
- Hard not to like a guy who's 6'5,'' 265 lbs and runs a sub-4.75 40. Chinasa would provide good depth to the defensive line.
The Redskins will obviously still have glaring needs to address. They will need to utilize free agency (whenever it takes place) to add depth at all positions with both among veteran free agents and undrafted rookies.
One major need that wasn't addressed in this mock draft is at free safety. I believe Shanahan and Jim Haslett can fill this need by signing free agent safety OJ Atogwe. Assuming they don't have to break the bank, he'd be a great addition—he's played under Haslett in St. Louis and only missed four games in six seasons.