How did a productive haul in free agency for the Redskins change our predictions from our Mock Draft 1.0? Below is our latest and rebooted installment.
2nd Round (34th Overall)
Jimmie Ward, S Northern Illinois
Mock 1.0 Pick: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Call me skeptical, but the Redskins current safety depth chart isn't exactly inspiring. Ryan Clark & Brandon Meriweather are the early favorites to start, but both are in their 30s and out of their primes. Phillip Thomas is coming off a Lisfranc injury. Bacarri Rambo has a long ways to go before he can be a trusted contributor. Tanard Jackson hasn't played a meaningful NFL snap in three years. Needless to say, the defensive back end needs an upgrade. Insert NIU's Jimmie Ward
Big-hitting strong safeties are going the way of the dodo bird (especially with the NFL’s ever-tightening contact penalties). Versatile joker safeties like Ward that can play free, strong and nickel corner are in high demand. Although Ward’s size (5-11, 191 lbs.) isn’t ideal for a safety that occasionally needs to play inside an eight-man box, he makes up for it with great instincts and sidelie-to-sideline ball hawking capability.
3rd Round (66th)
Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State
Mock 1.0 Pick: Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois
Like safety, the linebacker position is one where the Redskins need more stability. Inside linebacker Perry Riley is back in the fold long term & the team recently exercised the fifth-year contract option on outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Outside of that, no one that contributed last year is locked up beyond 2014.
Brian Orakpo is coming off a strong 2013 campaign, but is playing on a one-year franchise tag as the team has opted (thus far) not to extend him. Keenan Robinson (been hurt since Thanksgiving 2012), Akeem Jordan & Darryl Sharpton (both on one-year deals) will all try and replace London Fletcher in the middle but none can exactly be counted on.
Carl Bradford would be a very intriguing prospect at 66 because of his versatility. The powerful and uber athletic former defensive end has the skillset to play all four linebacker positions in the 3-4, making him very desirable in the second round to many teams. If somehow he slips to the beginning of the third round, the Redskins would be wise to pick him up. Bradford can spend a year giving spot duty as a nickel linebacker and becoming acclimated to the NFL. In the meantime, the Redskins can decide whether he is better suited as Orakpo's replacement at OLB, or Fletcher's replacement ILB.
4th Round (102nd)
Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Mock 1.0: Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina
I think I speak for everyone when I say I'm tired of seeing Tyler Polumbus getting driven back into RGIII's lap each Sunday. Needless to say, the Redskins are in desperate need of a right tackle. This team has been in need of a right tackle since they let Jon Jansen walk back in 2009 to be more specific. Despite several attempts at a quick fix, the position remains the offense's most glaring area of weakness.
This particular draft is rich with top-shelf talent at the tackle position. And selecting Tennessee's Antonio Richardson has the talent and playing experience to be a great value at 102 and would be a day 1 starter for the Redskins.
A mountain of a man standing at 6-6 336 lbs, Richardson is surprisingly quick and agile which will serve him well in pass protection, especially when the Redskins try and move the pocket. However, Richardson has a reputation as a mauler in the run game using his oversized frame to consumer defensive ends. Most importantly, drafting Richardson as the right tackle of the future would complete a much needed bookend dynamic with Pro Bowler Trent Williams holding down the left.
5th Round (142h)
Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford
Mock 1.0 Pick: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
Shayne Skov is one of my favorite players in this draft and whoever selects him might be getting one of the steals of the draft.
Then why is he falling this far in the draft? 1. He suffered a devastating knee injury a couple years back and has yet to show the same burst. 2. He ran a 5.07 40-yard dash at Stanford's pro day. But 40 yard-dashes be damned. TURN ON HIS GAMEFILM.
If you watched Skov's tape without knowing of his injury history or measurable, he would easily be a top 50 selection. He is that good when his game is clicking.
The Stanford graduate (so you know he is smart) has ideal size for a middle backer in the 3-4 (6-2 245 lbs) and uses his frame to aggressively shed blockers and light up ball carriers in their tracks. Skov could be one of the most instinctive linebackers in this draft class. He is excellent at timing blitzes and shooting the gap to make tough plays in the offensive backfield. His best attribution is just his nasty disposition and intensity. What he lacks in graceful agility he makes up for in fearlessness and reckless abandonment, making him an ideal candidate for special teams.
6th Round (178th)
Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty
Mock 1.0 Pick: Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky
In a day in age where big, physical cornerbacks with bravado are all the rage, Liberty's Walt Aikens certainly looks the part.
The former Illinois transfer is 6-1, 203 lbs and has 32.5 inch arms, giving him length at that position that the Redskins don't currently have. He likes to get in receivers faces at the line of scrimmage, refusing to relent in jam man-to-man coverage. He also is considered good in run support, using his long arms to separate from, then dispose of blockers to cut down ball carriers on the edges. He impressed at the Senior Bowl in January, displaying awesome footwork and loose hips.
Some consider Aikens a down-the-line starter, which is fine if the Redskins were to pick him up. Washington has established their trio of cornerbacks in David Amerson, DeAngelo Hall & Tracy Porter, but would be wise to think of those will replace the latter two in a couple years. Giving Aikens a season to learn the ropes, then pairing him with Amerson (& hopefully a healthy Richard Crawford) will set the Redskins cornerback situation up nicely in the coming years.
7th Round (217th)
Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Mock 1.0 Pick: Zach Kerr, NT, Delaware
Could be a risky draft selection, but damnit, what a value at pick 217th if he is still available.
Colt Lyerla has a laundry list of off the field issues since enrolling at Oregon. Drugs, suspensions, emotional-childlike outbursts & academics led to him quitting the Oregon program last October due to "personal reasons". To be perfectly honest, teams without strong locker rooms should not try to take on a player like Lyerla, but I believe the Redskins have the leadership & strong personalities to keep him on the straight & narrow.
Talent-wise, Lyerla is flat out elite. He could be to Jay Gruden what Mike Shanahan thought he could make Niles Paul into. While he would need work as a in-line blocker, he is a problem in the passing game. Oregon used him in the slot, split out wide, as an H-Baack and even as a running back (Lyerla had 16 career carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns at Oregon). Fast, fleet-footed, great hands and truck-stick ability after the catch makes him almost impossible to guard with your average linebacker. He can be an excellent complement to Jordan Reed (and an insurance policy if Reed's concussion issue continues to linger). Another weapon for Griffin III that has this kind of talent and is this versatile, regardless of past issues, may be too enticing to pass up in the seventh round, in my opinion.