Washington Redskins Mock Draft Post-Combine Edition: Is Jake Locker D.C. Bound?
What a week.
The latest batch of NFL prospects have dashed, jumped, thrown, caught, rushed and worn funny t-shirts with giant Iron Man-esque chest pieces all week, and have been dissected by media analyst, who all have wildly varying opinions on who is and who isn't a top flight prospect in the NFL.
Of course, I have my own opinions. And things have changed a lot since the last mock draft; running back Clinton Portis, offensive guard Derrick Dockery and defensive end/outside linebacker Andre Carter have been released from the team. The Redskins added veteran free safety O.J Atogwe to the football team and have set the stage to take the team into a more youthful, character driven direction.
Though CBA talks have been extended, there will be no transactions allowed to be made until a new one is in place, which makes trading players unlikely. On that note, the Redskins don't have a whole lot in the way of trade value anymore, and seem more likely to release the few players they have left that will command decent trade value (Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth) or keep them (Fred Davis, as head coach Mike Shanahan has gone on record as saying that the tight end position is the only position where the Redskins have real depth).
So this mock draft will take a look mainly at trading picks up and down to find what is the most feasible way on draft day for the Washington Redskins to improve their football team.
For the sake of argument; however, I do say the Redskins move disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth and fifth-round pick. Andy Reid seems just insane enough to think he can get Haynesworth to work hard in Philly.
With the 15th Pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
Jake Locker, quarterback from the University of Washington.
I know, I know, I know. I've avoided taking a quarterback in the first round in my first three mock drafts, but after a solid combine showing (to me, anyway), I feel like Locker is too good a value and to good a prospect to pass up. While there are a lot of quarterbacks that have potential in this draft, few of them have the same potential that Jake Locker does. He's worth a first-round pick.
While he could slip into the second round, there are too many teams that need a quarterback and not enough quarterbacks to go around. Waiting until the second or third round to draft a quarterback will become less feasible, if as many teams go defense first as it seems like they will.
Still, the Redskins will try their best to get the most value possible in this scenario. Trading with the Dolphins will help the 'Skins regain a third-round pick, so the Dolphins can move up and draft Cam Newton (should he still on the board) or Mark Ingram.
Locker was thought to have been heavily looked at by the Redskins last season, before he went back to school. While there are quarterbacks rated higher than Locker, and most see him as a second-round pick, Mike Shanahan has said before that people that may be number one and two on other people's boards (that seems to be Mizzou's Blaine Gabbert and the aforementioned Newton), aren't necessarily number one on his board. Locker possesses all the physical tools to be a productive starter. Maybe not right now, but maybe sooner than people think.
The logic in this move is simple; even though many of the top ten teams may avoid taking a quarterback in the first round to take one of the many defensive players, that means there's going to be a run on quarterbacks in the second and third rounds.
Late round prospects like TCU's Andy Dalton and FSU's Christian Ponder may be gone by time the Redskins get to them. That's why it's in the Redskins best interest to stretch here.
At least, I think so.
With the 41st Pick of the 2011 Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
Phil Taylor, defensive tackle/nose tackle from Baylor University.
After getting their quarterback in the first round, the Redskins luck out and have Phil Taylor from Baylor fall into their laps. The 3-4 defense will never work with a block absorbing nose tackle, and unless the Redskins can address the position in free agency (or even if they do), they need to take a dominant player and specimen.
What'll cause Taylor to fall in the draft are some lingering character issues stemming from his transfer from Penn State to Baylor, and his fluctuating weight. If he can maintain his weight, he has the ability to be a dominant, disruptive tackle in the league, and with Mike Shanahan's emphasis on conditioning, that might be contained.
To build a 3-4 defense, you need to have the nose tackle, and you need to have a set of pass rushing outside linebackers. With this pick, the Redskins get the first pick of what they hope will be a much improved part of the defense.
With the 79th Pick of the 2011 Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
Stefan Wisniewski, offensive guard/center from Penn State University.
See, I didn't totally forget the offensive line!
While Mike Pouncey will likely be off the board at this point, Stefan Wisniewski could linger into the third round (there are always weird draft day drops), and the o-linemen for the Nittany Lions seems to be a solid fit for the Redskins zone blocking scheme. Stefan has experience at both the guard and center positions, but it seems like he'd be better suited at guard for the time being. Still, this is not a bad thing; while conventional wisdom says you can wait until the later rounds to take guards and the like, the Redskins simply can't put any quarterback behind the current offensive line.
Drafting Wisniewski would allow Kory Lichensteiger to move back to his natural position of center, which would be a huge improvement over current starter Casey Rabach. Even if they kick current right guard Will Montgomery into center and have Wisniewski play right guard, it'd still be an improvement. Wisniewski could then be groomed to be the next center if neither of them work out as they try to work on his lower body strength.
Two big offensive pieces in the first round would make a big splash for the Redskins moving forward.
Dontay Moch, defensive end/outside linebacker from the University of Nevada.
Moch worked out with the defensive linemen at the NFL Scouting Combine, but most people seem to agree that he would be best suited to be a 3-4 rush outside linebacker. In drills at the combine, Moch impressed with his speed. Like Brian Orakpo, Moch mainly uses his speed to rush tackles, which would set up a disruptive force on both sides of the defense.
You know. If they both didn't get held, anyway.
Moch didn't look totally fluid in his pass coverage drills, but his impressive speed and strength will help overcome some of those struggles in coverage. Having Moch and Orakpo on either side of the 3-4 defense sets them up with a pair of solid pass rushing linebackers.
Round 5, Pick 1
Greg Salas, wide receiver from the University of Hawaii.
It doesn't seem entirely likely that Salas will fall this far, but stranger things have happened in the draft and Salas is a solid wide receiver prospect with big upside.
It seems likely that, unless someone really falls into their lap, the Redskins will fill their needs at wide receiver in free agency, which will allow them to fill some bigger holes. Still, it wouldn't be wise for them to leave the draft without at least one wide receiver, and if Salas does fall, he'll still be one of the better slot or possession receivers.
Salas is a great route runner with great hands. The knock against him is going to be the offense he comes out of; Hawaii is a pass-heavy offense if there ever was one, and it tends to inflate some of their wide receivers stats. More than a few teams have been burned by taking Hawaii receivers early.
But Salas appears to be different. And if he does fall (again, there are always some weird people that fall in these drafts), Salas is more than worth a pick and could end up being another diamond in the rough for the Redskins.
Round 5, Pick 2
Da'Rel Scott, running back from the University of Maryland.
The Redskins will carry seven backs into training camp, but you'd be crazy to think that Mike Shanahan won't draft at least one running back. The one kind of running back that the Redskins seem to be lacking are speed guys; Ryan Torain is a big, downhill rusher who is able to gain yards after contact, and Keiland Williams is a great spot guy who is solid in pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield, while getting positive yards on screens.
What they don't have is a game-breaking, fast running back that can take it the distance anytime they touch the ball. There's a lot more thunder in the Redskins backfield than lightning.
Scott could bring the lightning.
Scott ran a ridiculous 4.34 at the combine, the fastest amongst running backs. He also operates much the same in game speed; Scott is a great, one cut, hit the hole and go back, who truly is a threat to take it the distance every time, a threat the Redskins haven't had in the backfield in sometime, if ever.
His 40-time will have people going back and checking the film on him, which might help his draft stock. But if he falls, the 'Skins would be wise to take this speedy, local running back.
Round 6, Pick 1
Derek Newton, offensive tackle from Arkansas State University.
When you look at Newton, you say to yourself "well, most of the measurables are there. He's got good size, good feet, is athletic." If Newton had played anywhere but Arkansas State, he'd probably be considered a much higher draft pick.
Instead, he could be a draft steal in the fifth round, especially if the Redskins need to fill a spot left by Jammal Brown, who may look to get out of Washington to go elsewhere and play left tackle. Newton looked impressive during drills at the Combine. He's a bit raw and needs a little more coaching, but one of the few positions in the NFL that really gets coached the way it's supposed to anymore is the offensive line.
Newton would automatically bring even more youth to the Redskins offensive line, provide depth, but more likely, he could become a solid starting right tackle for years to come.
We're trying to rebuild the Hogs here, folks, and Newton could be a big piece of that.
Round 6, Pick 2
Shiloh Keo, safety from the University of Idaho.
The Redskins put their secondary back on the right track when they signed free safety O.J Atogwe to a five-year deal, especially seeing as though this year's class of safeties is a little thin at the top. Still, the Redskins could use more depth at safety, so they don't end up in another situation where they have to play corners at safeties should injuries occur. That, and I still don't want Kareem Moore anywhere near the field if O.J and Reed Doughty get nicked up.
Keo has a great build and is a solid safety who can play in nickel situations as well. He needs some work in zone coverage, and isn't quite fast enough to keep up with some of the speeder slot wide receivers, but he's a solid tackler and a big hitter. That, and Deion Sanders couldn't get enough of the guy at the scouting combine.
Who am I to argue with Prime?
Dan Bailey, kicker from the Oklahoma State.
I like Graham Gano. He seems like a stand up guy, a good guy, and someone who probably has a lot of talent in him. He's also pretty good at kickoffs. But it's really hard to ignore that the Redskins could've ended the season 11-5 and in the playoffs, and it's harder to ignore that in all those games, Gano missed at least one kick.
If Shanahan believes the younger kick isn't worth getting rid of (which is understandable; you don't want to let the guy go and then have him end up in the Pro Bowl or something), that's fine. But he'd be very, very wise to cover all his basis by drafting Dan Bailey and allowing them to compete for the job in training camp and through the first couple games of the season.
If Gano makes it through the trial period and has put some of his ways behind him, then the Redskins finally have their kicker. If not, they'll have a reserve in place that can more than likely take over for him. Bailey was a consistent kicker on the collegiate level and with a strong leg and solid accuracy could be much the same in the pro's.
I'm not completely on the "Gano's gotta go" bandwagon, but it's better for the Redskins to cover their bases.
Round 1: Quarterback Jake Locker
Round 2: Nose Tackle Phil Taylor
Round 3: Offensive Guard/Center Stefan Wisniewski
Round 4: Outside Linebacker Dontay Moch
Round 5: Wide Receiver Greg Salas
Round 5: Running Back Da'Rel Scott
Round 6: Offensive Tackle Derek Newton
Round 6: Safety Shiloh Keo
Round 7: Alex Henery, Kicker