Its safe to say that Jay Gruden, Bruce Allen, Morocco Brown & company certainly have a very interesting first offseason ahead of them.
The Redskins are getting $36 million back from the 2012 league mandated cap penalty. While the Redskins vow to be active in free agency, they must also fill voids left by 22 unrestricted free agents to be this coming spring, so money must be used judiciously. This also puts an increased emphasis on the draft, where the Redskins will look to supplement players on the roster. Here are a list of players I believe the Redskins should look into.
This is the first of three mocks. I will release another mock draft following the NFL combine and another following free agency.
2nd Round (34th Overall)
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Senior, 6-6, 325 lbs.
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 team’s most glaring area of weakness.
Luckily for the Redskins, this particular draft is rich with top-shelf talent at the tackle position. And selecting Virginia's Morgan Moses, who has experience playing both tackle spots, would be a great pick to help begin the rejuvenation of the Redskins offensive line.
Called a 'dancing bear' by CBS draft analyst Dane Brugler due to his massive size and outstanding footwork, Moses has all the physical tools to become a week 1 starter. Most importantly, drafting Moses to be the right tackle would complete a much needed bookend dynamic with Pro Bowler Trent Williams holding down the left.
NFL Comparable: Michael Oher, Baltimore Ravens
Plan B: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
3rd Round (66th)
Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois
Senior, 5-11, 191 lbs.
Like the right tackle position, it’s been a revolving door of stop-gap players that could never quite get the jobs done. Vernon Fox, Laron Landry, Chris Horton and Brandon Meriweather are just a few names that couldn't manage to become the long term answer that this team has needed. NIU’s Jimmie Ward not only fits a need for the Redskins, but he represents the NFL’s new breed of strong safety.
Big-hitting strong safeties are heading towards extinction (especially with the NFL’s ever-tightening contact penalties). Versatile joker safeties 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 play that occasionally needs to play inside an eight-man box, he makes up for it with high energy, great instincts and more than adequate tackling.
NFL Comparable: Ryan Clark, Pittsburgh Steelers
Plan B: Ahmad Dixon, SS, Baylor
4th Round (98th)
Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina
Redshirt Junior, 5-10, 202 lbs.
Outside of 2013 second round draft pick David Amerson, no one knows what the Redskins' cornerback situation will look like next season. DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and EJ Biggers are all unrestricted free agents while Richard Crawford and Chase Minnifield are both coming off injuries. Even if the Redskins are able to land Patriots corner Aqib Talib in free agency, as Mike Jones of the Washington Post anticipates, the position still needs to be restocked.
South Carolina's Victor Hampton has all the tools you want in a corner. He is fast, physical and is smart enough to diagnose wide receiver's body language to jump in front of routes. He is proficient in press coverage, making it nearly impossible to throw in direction in man-to-man schemes. The fact that he also returns kicks and punts (something else the Redskins desperately need) only increases his value.
NFL Comparable: Brandon Carr, Dallas Cowboys
Plan B: Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon
5th Round (130th)
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
Redshirt Senior, 6-1, 189 lbs.
Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis doesn't quite pass the eye test when being stacked up next to other NFL wide receiver prospects. His stature, speed or overall athleticism won't blow you away. But where the former walk-on appeals to NFL teams isn't his natural, God-given ability
Abbrederis may not be the master of any one skill, but is a balanced and productive receiver overall. His attention to detail, especially in route running, is what made him a record-setting wide receiver in college (finished career tied for UW record for receptions (202) and ranked No. 2 all-time at Wisconsin in receiving yards (3,140) and touchdown receptions (23)). He is sneaky quick and finds ways to get open in the seams of a defense. He also has some of the best hands in the draft. Although I believe the Redskins will target several receivers in free agency, Abbrederis will be a quality third or fourth option, especially while Leonard Hankerson rebounds from a late--season knee injury.
NFL Comparable: Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
Plan B: Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi
6th Round (162nd)
Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky
Senior, 6-1, 259 lbs.
In my estimation, whoever lands WKU's Andrew Jackson is going to end up with the sleeper prospect of the draft.
His stock fell after a mid-season suspension in which Jackson violated team rules and missed a portion of last season. But the three-time All Sun Belt performer has the making of being a quality NFL linebacker.
Like Abbrederis, Jackson's measurables don't tell he entire story of his worth. He is one of those "turn on the gamefilm" type of guys. He is a ball player no matter what the stopwatch says.
The preseason Sun Belt POY specialize against the run, slithering through offensive linemen to reach the ball carrier in the backfield. And considering the Redskins general weakness against the run, Jackson can find a place on this defense. Perry Riley will likely be resigned to team with a now healthy Keenan Robinson as the starting middle linebackes. However, Jackson can provide quality depth. I wouldn't be surprised to see crack the starting lineup once he grasps Jim Haslett's scheme.
NFL Comparable: Phillip Wheeler, Miami Dolphins
Plan B: Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State
7th Round (194th)
Zach Kerr, NT, Delaware
Redshirt Senior, 6-2, 334 lbs.
The local kid from Gaithersburg, MD has a chance to come home whee it all started.
The Delaware product started his career at Maryland but transferred when former Terps coach Ralph Friedgen left the program. Kerr went on to become a dominate force and the best interior defensive lineman in the FBS each of the past two seasons en route to earning All-American honors.
Kerr has the squatty, powerful frame you want from the guy that anchors your front seven. The massive 334 pounder does a great job engaging lineman, extending his arms to get off blocks and stuffing the ball carrier in his tracks. He also deploys a pretty effective rip move, a testament to his polished technique and quick hands. Drafting Kerr can provide depth on the interior of a shaky Redskins defensive line and give Barry Cofield some much needed plays off.
NFL Comparable: Jay Ratliff, Chicago Bears
Plan B: It's the seventh round. Just go best player available