Who are the Washington Redskins Top 15 draft prospects for the 2011 NFL draft?
This is a question many fans, including myself have pondered over for the past couple of months.
After countless minutes, hours, days, weeks and months of hibernation inside film rooms, coaches are hoping their hard work hasn't gone to waste.
The Redskins have a vast amount of needs, and inside we will discuss who their Top 15 targets should be in this year's draft.
With London Fletcher getting older, the Redskins should target an up-and-coming inside line backer in Casey Matthews.
The younger brother of the Green Bay Packers' outside linebacker, Clay Matthews Jr, Casey shows good upside, thanks to family of legacies in the NFL.
His senior year, he had a total of 73 tackles, 34 of them being solo.
He managed to get to the quarterback three times, forcing a fumble and grabbed three interceptions.
Matthews improved on his play every season while in Oregon, and, if he can be half of the player his brother has become, the Redskins and fans won't be complaining.
Dwayne Harris reminds me a lot of the Pittsburgh Steelers own Hines Ward. If the Redskins were able to pick up this physical receiver, there would be nothing to complain about.
He has great ability as a special teams guy (three kickoff returns last season) and is a great blocker in the running game, an area the Skins wouldn't mind getting better at.
The Redskins free safety position has needed an upgrade since the tragic death of Sean Taylor.
Deunta Williams is known to be a workhorse on and off the field while at Chapel Hill—an attribute the Redskins have lacked in previous years.
With the coverage skills to play at the next level, he will need to become better in the run game in order to be a starting safety.
However, Williams is a football player with a high IQ and has the skills to eventual become a solid starter.
Leonard Hankerson is an interesting prospect at 6'3" who has good, but not great, speed for his size.
With his long legs, he builds speed up with his long strides but needs to work on becoming more explosive at the next level.
Hankerson does a fantastic job shielding defenders with his large frame and, in turn, uses his hands rather than his body when making the catch.
The Redskins have the possibility to snag a tall and athletic receiver, which is nothing to complain about.
Marvin Austin would give the Redskins a freak of an athlete at the defensive tackle position. With a very quick first step, he penetrates the line at will.
To become elite at the next level, Austin will need to utilize his strength and quickness together.
Fans should be excited to have an athletic nose tackle if Austin's name is called on draft day.
Marvin Austin (left) and Bruce Carter (right)
Outside linebacker is another area the Redskins need to make an upgrade at.
Selecting Bruce Carter would add solid depth to their linebacking core, thanks to his amazing speed. Adding to his ability, the former Tar Heel is a very effective special team player—with six blocked kicks in his collegiate career.
Fans will be dancing around their living rooms if the Redskins draft Carter, just check out some his youtube highlights.
If the Redskins were to get Jake Locker, they would get an extremely mobile quarterback that some even compare to the likes of Jon Elway.
Landing a quarterback compared to Elway would be huge step in the right direction for the Skins.
With a strong arm and improvement in his decision making, Locker will be gone within the first round.
In addition to his football skills, the quarterback is a great baseball player who has been drafted two times in the amateur MLB draft. He is currently signed to a six-year rights agreement deal with the Angels, meaning if he isn't happy with his football career he can always fall back on baseball.
So, would you be happy if head coach Mike Shanahan decides to pull trigger on the young gunslinger?
Jonathan Baldwin would give the Washington Redskins an extremely lanky wide receiver who has an amazing ability to rise up and haul in any pass.
However, he's a project at best right now due to his inability to get good separation at the line of scrimmage and is a shaky route runner.
If the Redskins get a chance to snag Baldwin, head coach Mike Shanahan won't mind trying to mold him into the elite receiver he can be.
Ryan Kerrigan has good height for the end position and utilizes his strength with great speed off of the edge.
He shows great burst of the ball using a tremendous amount of power that allows him to turn the corner effectively and fast.
In order to succeed at the next level, he must get better at containing mobile quarterbacks.
On the plus side, he is a hard hitter who closes on the backside very quickly and always looks to knock the ball lose when reaching the quarterback.
The bottom line is, the Redskins could get a relentless pass rusher who's a monster when closing on the ball.
His ability to get to the quarterback is uncanny and would be a great fit in the Redskins 3-4 scheme.
The Redskins current center, Casey Rabach, turns 34 this September. If he were to hang up the cleats after another season, Mike Pouncey would be a fantastic improvement.
Rabach used to be a solid plug at the center spot, however he has gotten slower, resulting in questionable play, at best.
Mike Pouncey is the twin brother of the Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl center, Maurkice Pouncey.
The former Gator plays with a huge football IQ, has quick feet and plays physical with his hands, very similar to his brother.
Unless the Redskins trade down to the high-teens, the odds of landing Pouncey are slim to none since he is projected to go early.
Washington has lacked a consistent premiere shut down corner since the days of Darrell Green and Champ Bailey.
I'm aware that DeAngelo Hall had a Pro Bowl year in 2010, however, he still has a tendency to try and make the big play, which at times gets him into trouble.
Prince Amukamara has hands like a receiver, which allows him to contribute immediately on defense. With great size, speed and an IQ, he has the chance to become one of the league's elite corners.
With excellent height, a great frame and amazing top-end speed, Julio Jones has the ability to score on any play.
Jones is exactly what the Redskins have lacked on the offensive side for over a decade.
This past season, he hauled in 78 receptions for 1,133 yards, but only seven touchdowns.
His lack of touchdowns are a credit to opposing defenses constantly double-teaming him.
Although he is a legit vertical threat with his acceleration and long strides, he needs to get better at separating at the line of scrimmage.
However, he does a great job of quickly gathering his feet on short routes and is excellent in the open area working against zone coverage.
He needs to work on using his hands more when receiving the ball, due to his habitual use of his body, resulting in dropped balls.
If Jones can hone his skills, he has the ability to become an elite receiver for years to come.
Washington has lacked great quarterback play for over a decade since the days of Brad Johnson.
Cam Newton is a very interesting prospect who took college football by storm in 2010.
He threw for 2,854 yards with a 66.1 completion percentage, a ridiculous 30:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio while managing to rush for 1,473 yards with 20 touchdowns.
The fact that he did all this while playing in the SEC shows he is a tremendous athlete who has the potential to be very special for many years.
However, he is a what I call a "one-hit-wonder," as we only watched him play on the national level for one season.
On the flip side, Tim Tebow, performed very similarly year-after-year in the same conference.
Newton has tremendous talent, which results in big-time plays more often than not. His release is smooth thanks to good foot work.
Now it's only a question of: Will Newton fall to the Skins, since some are now speculating that the Carolina Panthers may select the young gun?
With the whole Albert Haynesworth debacle, the Redskins have an issue at nose tackle that needs to be addressed fast.
Phil Taylor began his career at Penn State, however, he later transferred to Baylor due to an off-field incident.
With a massive frame and a very strong lower body, the big fella is great at staying low and uses a powerful bull rush when firing off the ball.
Adding to his abilities, Taylor utilizes a big and strong initial punch with quick hands, however, he lacks a quick first step to blow past opposing lineman.
Another issue for Taylor will be his conditioning—which we know Shanahan won't tolerate—as he tends to wear down over the course of a game.
In the end, drafting Taylor would certainly fill a hole that needs to covered up right away for Washington.
With the Redskins bringing in a new defensive scheme in 2010, there certainly are some positions to add some depth at, starting with the defensive tackle.
Marcell Dareus has solid height and weight for a defensive tackle but a better frame to play defensive end in certain 3-4 schemes. He has tremendous speed for his size and plays low, giving him a huge advantage.
With a knack for hard work, when confronted by multiple blockers, he doesn't slow down due to his great lower body strength.
In addition to his arsenal, he has quick hands and feet that help him get out of trouble.
A huge plus for Dareus is his warehouse amount of twists and stunts, which force opposing lineman to stay on their toes.
The Redskins will not be disappointed if they have the opportunity to draft this fine football player. However, a lot of mock drafts now have Dareus moving up to the Panthers at No. 1.