Despite back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since ’96-’97, the Washington Redskins enter the off-season at a bit of crossroads. Despite a solid first draft class, GM Scot McCloughan has taken some (unwarranted in my opinion) heat for not having the Redskins competing for Super Bowls after just two seasons in the nations capital.
Now, Has Scot McCloughan been perfect? Absolutely not. He’s had some misses in free agency, caught some tough breaks (Kyshoen Jarrett), but the bottom line is, the Redskins are a better team today than they were when McCloughan inherited them.
Oh, and by the way, in case you didn’t previously know: a rebuild takes time.
With that being said, on to my first mock draft of the 2017 season:
Round 1: Pick 17: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
White is next up in a long line of solid LSU defensive backs, Tre’Davious White is one of the best pure cover corners in this class (among a very talented and deep corner class). White is well built, checking in at 5’11 191 pounds with long arms to really disrupt the catch point.
White is an extremely well-rounded corner with good feet to match shifty slot receivers, and the length to play outside. White excels in man and zone coverage, and possesses good ball skills. White is a player I think will be very high on McCloughan’s draft board; White returned for his senior season and had a tremendous season racking up 35 tackles, including 4 for loss, and 2 interceptions (one for a touchdown).
White is also a competitor on special teams. A big, well built, senior SEC corner? That checks a lot of boxes for McCloughan. White would be a nice addition to a Redskins secondary that needs more playmakers outside of Josh Norman. White can compete for the starting slot role from day one.
Round 2: Pick 49: Zay Jones, WR, ECU
Zay Jones opened eyes at the senior bowl (including mine), showing great hands and a huge catch radius. Jones comes from NFL bloodlines, his father won 3 Super Bowls with the division rival Dallas Cowboys. Jones owns the all time FBS receptions record (399), but that’s not to say he hasn’t proven himself against better competition. The ECU product hauled in 22 (!!!) receptions against South Carolina. To put that into perspective, that’s 10 more receptions than recent Super Bowl champion Chris Hogan had in his entire college career.
Jones also showed he can handle the increased competition all week at Mobile in the senior bowl. Jones is a bit raw as a route runner, but once he’s coached up I think he can win outside and in the slot. The East Carolina product showed some special teams ability in Mobile as well.
Should the Redskins let both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon walk, Jones would help fill the void (help, not replace). If 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson comes back healthy, the Redskins would possess a young, and cheap receiving core with Jamison Crowder, Doctson, and Jones.
Round 3: Pick 81: Jarron Jones, DT, Notre Dame
I’ll be the first to admit, Jones is probably not a “Scot McCloughan” player. Jones has all the natural talent you could ask for, but injuries derailed his career with the Fighting Irish, and some question his football character and love for the game.
HOWEVER, with that being said, when Jones puts it all together he flashes round 1 talent. Flip on the tape against Miami, and Jones single-handedly dominated the Hurricanes. Jones has good burst and movement skills for a man who stands at 6’5 315 pounds.
The big defensive tackle packs a punch, showing good hand technique and heavy hands to throw guards and centers out of his way. When he’s motivated, and put’s it all together, there’s no stopping the Notre Dame product. A bit of a boom-or-bust prospect, I’m willing to gamble a third round pick on a guy with Jones’ natural talent, especially considering the current need along the Redskins defensive line.
Say what you want about Jim Tomsula’s one season in San Francisco as the head guy, but he’s a very good defensive line coach, and I think he can get a lot out of Jones, and could make his third round selection look like a steal in no time.
Round 4: Pick 112: Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech
This is a fantastic safety class, which is why Woods may last until this point in the draft. Woods is a versatile safety, who played all over the Bulldogs defense; and unlike Jones, there’s no questioning Woods work ethic, or love for football.
Woods played free and strong safety, slot corner, and even played some dime linebacker in the box for the bulldogs. With the current status of the Redskins defense, there will be a role for Woods early.
Woods is a solid tackler, and is discipline with his eyes in coverage, leading him to the football. Woods flies around with bad intentions, punishing ball carriers and receivers as the ball arrives. Another guy who can help on special teams, Woods can develop into a starting caliber safety.
Round 4: Pick 122: Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
Gallman has impressive size, at 6’0 210 pounds. The Redskins have a bruising runner in Rob Kelley, and a finesse back in Chris Thompson (who does a lot of things really well, but can’t be asked to carry the rock more than 10 times a game). Gallman would give Jay Gruden a complete back to complete a well rounded trio of backs.
Gallman runs mean, he can bang between the tackles and he doesn’t shy away from contact. However, the Clemson product is also a natural catcher, who can be a major threat in the screen game. Gallman is a tough back, who won a lot in College and could really add another element to the Redskins backfield. Gallman isn’t a “sexy” back, but he’ll get the job done when it counts, and I bet Scot McCloughan loves that.
Round 5: Pick 156: Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado
“Two Safeties in one draft?! Why do we need someone better suited for strong safety?! We have Cravens!!!”
Well, that’s valid, I think Cravens can definitely develop into a solid strong safety, but that doesn’t mask the extreme depth issues the Redskins have, not to mention the fact that Craven’s hasn’t played any Safety in the NFL, and there needs to be some sort of backup plan in place.
Further, the NFL is a copy-cat league, and you see more and more teams implementing 3 safety looks. Thompson is a physical tackler, who wants you to feel it when you jog back to the huddle after he hits you. That’s not to say Thompson is simply a box safety, the former wide receiver has good ball skills and sneaky range and instincts to hold up in coverage.
I think Thompson can be a force on special teams (Are you seeing a pattern here?) while he develops his skill-set and role on defense. Having Cravens, Everett, and adding Woods and Thompson, all of the sudden Washington can hand over new defensive backs coach Torrian Grey four young, versatile, safeties with talent worth developing.
Will Woods or Thompson have an immediate Jamal Adams, or Malik Hooker type impact? Absolutely not. But to steal McCloughan’s favorite phrase: Woods and Thompson are football players, and I truly believe they can both develop roles with the team.
The Bottom Line:
The Redskins still have plenty of holes to fill, and you aren’t going to fix everything with six selections (ILB is a weak spot I didn’t address in this scenario, for example). However, I really like the mix of players who can have immediate impacts, and players who can have reserve roles who I believe can develop nicely down the road.
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