The Washington Redskins have struggled through the midway point of the 2019 season, so it might be time to look ahead to 2020. With so many looming contracts on older players, the Redskins are in need of a culture change, despite GM Bruce Allen’s comments saying it’s “damn good.” And culture changes start with personnel, both on-field and off.
Washington’s needs for the 2020 NFL Draft go in this order:
- Offensive Line
- Tight End
- Wide Receiver
A Look at Washington’s Previous Draft Haul
In 2019 the Redskins received praise for their draft class. Rather than acquiring needless players at the wrong times — which arguably, they did — Washington selected correctly. On offense, they grabbed a few big-name players, like quarterback Dwayne Haskins and running back Bryce Love. And they made sure to fill in some gaps on defense with defensive end Montez Sweat and linebacker Cole Holecomb.
Well 3 days later and we have 10 more guys to know and love.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) April 27, 2019
Of the bunch, wide receiver Terry McLaurin is likely the biggest steal. Washington took the Ohio State pass-catcher in the third round and he’s made the biggest immediate impact from the group. In addition, the Redskins also drafted wide receiver Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round to add to their unproven receiving core.
Other notable picks include offensive linemen like Wes Martin and Ross Pierschbacher, as well as edge-rusher Jordan Brailford and “The People’s Corner” Jimmy Moreland.
Since the Redskins haven’t performed well on the field thus far in 2019, they’ll likely pick somewhere in the top five. There are plenty of talented players to choose from, but there’s one guy specifically that could have the biggest immediate impact.
T Andrew Thomas – Georgia
With Trent Williams’ holdout still looming, Washington needs to find an answer on the offensive line. Their current LT Donald Penn is 36 years old and playing on a one-year deal. So the Redskins would be a perfect landing spot for Thomas, as he would likely play right away. He’s 6’5 and 320 lbs, but he can move his feet like a runningback. Thomas is known for his work around the edge and has shut down top pass-rushers from the SEC throughout his college career. Paired with current Redskins’ linemen like Ereck Flowers and Brandon Scherff, Thomas might be exactly what the Redskins are looking for.
Backup Pick: DE Chase Young – Ohio State
If Thomas gets snatched up before the Redskins are on the clock, they need to seriously consider Chase Young. Young’s presence on the defensive side of the ball is uncanny in the 2020 draft class. Former Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer said in the past that Young is almost impossible to block. And with current Redskins’ outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan’s big contract coming to a end soon, Young could be the guy to replace him.
In the 2019 draft, the Redskins traded away their 2020 second round pick to secure the 26th overall spot, leading to the selection of Montez Sweat. So barring any offseason moves, they’ll have to wait until the third round.
TE Albert Okwuegbunam – Missouri
With no foreseeable timeline for Jordan Reed, it’s probably best for the Redskins to move on. Albert Okwuegbunam from Missouri is very similar to Reed and has immediate starting potential. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Okwuegbunam is a big-bodied, yet quick receiver that’s also useful in the run game. His 4.7 second 40-yard dash time is pretty good for a tight end, and he can handle the load of being a main target in the passing game. Washington has lacked help in the tight end department, and with Vernon Davis aging, they need to act sooner rather than later.
Backup Pick: LB Dylan Moses – Alabama
A torn ACL cut Dylan Moses’s 2019 season short before it even started, but the Alabama linebacker comes from a long tradition of dominant players. At peak performance, Moses flies around to find the ball and rarely misses his mark. He’s an athletic, play-making talent the Redskins should consider, as their linebacking core has become rather sparse. Also, he’ll fit in nicely with the other Alabama alumni, like Jonathan Alllen, Daron Payne and Landon Collins.
The 2020 draft class is deep in many positions, including wide receiver and cornerback. With selections of McLaurin and Harmon in 2019, Washington should focus on building up more defensive talent at this point in the draft.
CB A.J. Terrell – Clemson
Current Redskins’ cornerback Josh Norman is one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, and he’ll also turn 31 in December of 2019. So — if A.J. Terrell is still on the board — Washington has to think about the future. Terrell has blossomed into a solid corner for the Clemson Tigers, making an abundance of flash plays. What stands out with him is his lack of fear when tackling. At around 190 pounds, Terrell doesn’t shy away from contact and makes ball carriers feel his presence. His talent doesn’t stop there though, as his emphatic ball skills make him a force in the pass game. Terrell is a projected second-to-third-round pick, so the Redskins might even consider trading up for the breakout corner.
Backup Picks: S J.R. Reed – Georgia and S Jordan Fuller – Ohio State
J.R. Reed is unquestionably one of the biggest sleeper picks in the 2020 draft. Like Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, the Georgia Bulldog has incredible ball skills. His awareness often puts him in the right place at the right time, leading to a big play. Reed is one of the leaders of Georgia’s defense, and has earned that right through great performances. If paired with Landon Collins in the secondary, the Redskins’ defense could become scary.
Like Georgia’s Reed, Jordan Fuller is a play-maker. At 6-foot-2 and roughly 210 pounds, Fuller is slightly bigger than Reed, but he’s just as quick — especially with the ball in his hands. The Ohio State safety is great at judging passes, and he’s not afraid to blitz either. Fuller is great at tackling at the line of scrimmage, resulting in plenty of blitz plays designed just for him. He’d make an impact in almost any secondary in the league.
Through eight games in the 2019 season, the Redskins rank near the bottom of the league in passing. So adding to their passing attack might be helpful considering their lack of talented pass-catchers.
WR K.J. Hill – Ohio State
With other receivers like McLaurin and Parris Campbell gone, K.J. Hill has gotten more use in the Buckeyes’ passing game. His 6-foot, 200-pound frame makes him durable, but he still has incredible open-field speed. Hill can be used in any receiving position, whether it be in the slot, out wide or wherever else he might be needed. And like McLaurin, Hill is reliable with the ball in his hands and seems driven to make an impact. He’d also be reunited with former Buckeye Dwayne Haskins.
Backup Picks: WR Van Jefferson – Florida and DT Rashard Lawrence – LSU
Van Jefferson is a longer, more athletic receiver that can wow spectators with his open-field speed. At 6-foot-2 he’d make a great number one or two receiver in the NFL. Despite him lacking much agility in this stage of his career, Jefferson can be a great deep threat. Once the ball is in his hands, he takes off and he’s rarely caught. Paired with Terry McLaurin, Jefferson could help stretch out the Redskins’ passing attack.
Though Washington is known for their stout defensive line, they lack depth. At some points in the 2019 season, they were limited to just four linemen due to injury. Drafting Rashard Lawrence would help solve that problem. His quickness off the line is what helps him get penetration, and his big frame makes it hard to miss tackles. Lawrence disrupts SEC offensive lines almost every week, so he’s definitely seasoned for more work at the next level. If coached properly, he’d make a great fit with the other great linemen on the Redskins’ defensive front.
As the draft comes to a close, Washington should assess their current haul and try to fill in other gaps. At this point, they’ll still need another cornerback and perhaps an edge rusher. And they have two picks in the seventh round thanks to the Case Keenum trade.
CB Nevelle Clarke – UCF and DE Trevon Hill – Miami
To start, Nevelle Clarke has incredible instinct when the ball is in the air. His closing speed allows him to track the ball well, and his great hands make interceptions easier to come by. At 6-foot-1 Clarke is a good size for the NFL. He’ll be able to match up nicely with taller receivers, and his 4.5 second 40-yard dash will help him keep up with the quicker ones. Clarke is a true play-maker and might prove to be a steal late in the draft.
If the Redskins miss on Chase Young, they’ll definitely have to look for other edge rushers later in the draft. Trevon Hill might prove to be their missing piece if Ryan Kerrigan continues to regress. Hill is quick off the edge and has a nice arsenal of moves. His awareness is also very clean, as he’s able to set the edge and close the play. With some coaching, Hill could be a nice option for the Redskins with such little help in that department.
Backup Picks: DE Tyler Clark – Georgia and RB Zack Moss – Utah
For their current scheme, the Redskins could use an athletic big man for their defensive front. Tyler Clark is just that. He can disrupt offensive lines well with his quick get-off, making him a capable force. Clark could be a nice backup to Daron Payne and add depth elsewhere on the line.
Zack Moss might be a reach at this point in the draft, but his skill is unquestionable. Despite his stockier frame, Moss is a tough runner that can burst through arm tackles with ease. His quickness makes him lethal in both the run and pass game. And he can be useful on third downs as well. If Moss is on the board this late, the Redskins shouldn’t hesitate to snag him.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Associated Press.
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