Sunday, April 5, 2015

Redskins Draft Needs

(This'll be the only football thing of interest for the next 3-4 months. Gah!!!)
So, I'm a bit behind when it comes to writing about the 'Skins: free agency, Scot McCloughan, new coaches and everything else. That's fine, by the end of May I'll have almost 2-3 months of time to catch up about all of the moves and how it will help the 2015 team (I mean it has to help right? They only won four games last season and seven games in the past two seasons).


Anyway.......

I do want to start my annual Meaningless Mock Draft, which I hope to have a seven round version 1.0 up sometime this week. But, before I do that, I need to explain what needs the Redskins have and why I think they'll address them in each round when they do make a pick. Yes, McCloughan has stressed "Best Player Available" and I do believe that he'll do that, but he's not going to draft five WRs in a row if that's the best player on the Redskins board at that time.

Needs do play a role in draft selections. It's just that the Redskins will rather take a player in the 2nd round with a second round grade over reaching for a safety they need but has a 4th round grade (perfect examples of them reaching recently is with Chad Rinehart and Josh LeRebius - OL taken in the 3rd round of each of their drafts when most draft experts had them as 6th round prospects).

That's why you may be surprised to see them take a WR, RB or QB in this draft despite many people are thinking that the team has talent and depth in those areas and that those positions are set. Trust me, they are not.

Here's a list of positions that I broke down into major, depth and minor needs. Minor needs are pretty trivial, but I'll throw it in there anyway.

Major Needs (In no particular order)

QB - The Redskins have three quarterbacks on the roster and yet there is no confirmed starter on the team beyond 2015. Even the 2015 title is up for grabs for the most part. Colt McCoy had a few moments in '14 but injury and concerns about being just a backup lead his problems. Kirk Cousins looks the part as a starter in this scheme, but turnovers and not getting over said turnovers lead to a permanent benching. RGIII has been inconsistent and pedestrian since he tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs.

Sadly, this is a horrible draft class for QBs. I don't buy the 'Skins drafting Mariota but It wouldn't surprise me if they took a QB late in the draft (day 3 rounds 4-6) to develop as a potential starter in 2016.

WR- You look at the roster and think the WR position is set. It's not at all, especially beyond 2015. Pierre Garcon is probably in his final year with the 'Skins. He already has a cap number for this season that's over nine million (9.7 million to be exact). In 2016 it'll jump to 10.2 million. DeSean Jackson had a great 2014, but he also has a high cap number (9.25 million) in 2015 and that number will remain the same in 2016 and 2017. Andre Roberts cap number for 2015 isn't bad (3.75 million) but he hasn't done much in DC so far. The number jumps to five million in 2016.

So, I'd expect the 'Skins to possibly release Garcon and probably Roberts before the 2016 season. That means the Redskins will need some young talent to fill holes. This is a very good draft class to make such moves and I'd expect them to draft at least one WR in this draft. The 1st round pick is not out of the question for a WR.

OL - If Jay Gruden could bring in a entirely new O-line, I think the fans wouldn't have a problem with it. The coaches and front office on the other hand think that overall the line isn't that bad. I see both sides of the story here and would say that the RG and RT positions at least need to be upgraded.

"But what about Morgan Moses and Spencer Long?" What about them? Moses struggled at RT last year at times and is coming off Lisfranc surgery. He may not be ready for OTAs and could possibly start training camp on the PUP list. We didn't see much of Long in 2014 and hopefully that will change. Either way, the Redskins need talent on the roster because Chris Chester really needs to go and I have no faith that Josh LeRebius will ever live up to his potential.

S - Goldson is a nice stop gap who the Redskins only have to pay for one year. His major problems are that he'll be 31 this season and is coming off two horrible years in Tampa. If he can live up to his 49er days then we'll have a decent FS in 2015. If not it's Ryan Clark 2.0 all over again. Johnson is untested and there is no guarantee that he, Phillip Thomas or anybody else on the roster is a long term starter.

Bad news for the Redskins is that this is a very weak/limited draft class for safeties. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins drafted a safety or a corner who will convert to safety in this draft.

OLB - While I really wouldn't call this  a critical, major need, I'm putting it here because most likely the Redskins will take a OLB at #5 because that's where the best talent seems to be at that spot. Yes, the Redskins would be fine with Murphy and Kerrigan, but they'd like to find that that elite pass rusher (15 sacks/season) they hoped Brian Orakpo would be but never became.

This is why the 'Skins could trade back...... they can still get a pretty good pass rusher later in the draft because this class is deep with 3-4 OLB talent.

Depth

RB - Alfred Morris is just a running back. He's not a pass catcher and while he can pass block decently, teams don't worry about him going out for passes because he's a poor route runner and has bad hands. Chris Thompson has injury concerns and struggles with pass blocking. Silas Redd runs like Morris but is better with passes although he's rather untested.

This is a good draft to target a RB. With Morris' contract coming up and a very deep class, don't be surprised to see the Redskins look for a future starter in this class.

TE - The 'Skins re-signed Niles Paul but there are some major concerns at the TE position. The 'Skins could use a really good blocking TE that can occasionally catch and stay healthy. Jordan Reed can't stay healthy or block. Paul is a Jack of all Trades who can catch, run, block and play special teams pretty well or at least at an average level. Logan Paulsen is inconsistent in his blocking and is probably being overpaid as the #3 TE.

DL/NT - Most of this position was set during free agency with the signings of Knighton, Paea, and Jean-Francois. However, Jason Hatcher may be a cap casualty in 2016 and Knighton is no guarantee to be back either. Drafting 1-2 players for depth  or to be future starters may not be a bad idea.

CB - The team has three young players in Culliver, Breeland and Amerson but have question marks beyond that. Tracy Porter may not even make it to training camp. DeAngelo Hall is coming off of injury and is in the final years of his career (probably, may become a S).

ILB - Will Compton should be pushing Perry Riley for the starting ILB position next to Keenan Robinson but the team could use more depth at the position and find another good special teams player in the process.

Minor

K - Kai Forbath has been good at FGs under 50 yards. The problem comes back to his kickoffs which he seems to be unable to get to the back of the end zone. While I don't think the 'Skins should waste a draft pick on a kicker, it would be prudent to either bring back someone like Zac Hocker (2014 'Skins draft pick that was cut) or a UDFA to push Forbath for the starting role.

Forbath will also be a unrestricted free agent in 2016, so it would be a good idea to lock down this position.

Hopefully, I will have MMD 1.0 up either for Monday night or Tuesday.
Feel free to leave a comment if you agree or disagree with the article.
Special thanks to OTC.com for cap numbers on the Redskins players.

1 comment:

Wesley Van Anden said...

Very thoughtful, thorough & intelligent article.

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