The 2018 NFL Draft is just under a month away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into this year’s draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. Draftmas continues today with the Washington Redskins 2018 NFL Draft profile.
Washington finished third at 7-9, in a tough NFC East last season. They were unable to qualify for the playoffs and have now entered a new era.
Whether Kirk Cousins was the answer or not is now out of the question, as he is in Minnesota and Alex Smith takes over. The passing offense is all the Redskins have had the past few years and ranked 12th in that category last season. Jay Gruden prefers quarterbacks who can hit the short passes, so Smith seems like a good fit, but he will need to adjust his offense.
They have had some injuries and disappointments at the tight end and wide receiver positions in recent years. Jordan Reed staying healthy would be a huge help and Paul Richardson was added to bring depth to the position. They still don’t have a true number one receiver though.
The running game ranked 28th in the NFL at 90.5 points per game. This helps signify that while the offensive line has a few good players, it needs more help. In addition, the running back situation isn’t in a great spot. Chris Thompson will thrive with Smith at quarterback due to his ability as a receiver. Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine have both shown flashes of good plays, but are inconsistent. Smith will need more of a running game to work with.
On defense, the Redskins have one of the worst units in the league, allowing 24.3 points per game, which tied for 27th in the league. Their pass defense was fine, but they were the worst rushing defense in the NFL last season. This highlights their need for defensive linemen in their 3-4 scheme.
The back seven of the defense has some good players including Ryan Kerrigan and Josh Norman. The linebackers have to help out more with the run, but the secondary, with Norman, can shut down a lot of good receivers.
With Smith now running the show, can the Redskins improve the team enough through the draft to compete for a playoff spot?
Picks and Needs
The Redskins have eight picks in the draft to help improve their standing.
First round (1 pick): 13
Second round (1): 44
Third round (0):
Fourth round (1): 109
Fifth round (2): 142, 163
Sixth round (1): 188
Seventh round (2): 231, 241
Center/Guard- The offensive line has solid tackles, including the great Trent Williams, but needs some help on the interior. Getting good interior line players will not only help protect new quarterback Alex Smith but will also help the very bad run game.
Running Back- Washington has a good third down back in Chris Thompson, but needs an every-down back. Kelley and Perine are ok, but not great running backs.
Wide Receiver- There is some potential at the position already in Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder, but a number one receiver is needed.
Nose Tackle- The run defense has to be improved and it starts with the nose tackle. Ziggy Hood is over the hill and needs to be upgraded. With a few good players who can fill this need in this class, the Redskins should be able to improve the situation via the draft.
Corner Back- Orlando Scandrick was signed to play opposite Josh Norman. Scandrick hasn’t been great the past few years but can fill in for the time being. Depth and a developmental corner who can take over for Scandrick is a need that can easily be filled.
Pick No. 13: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
Vita Vea could be the pick here if he falls, but Payne is an experienced nose tackle as well. He played in Alabama’s three-man front and was continually doing great things. As a nose tackle, his play doesn’t always show up in the stats, but a quick look at the tape will prove his skill. He even played some offense for the Crimson Tide. Payne should be able to clog up the middle of the line and vastly improve the Redskins’ rush defense.
Pick No. 44: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
As mentioned earlier, the Redskins need to improve their running game. They haven’t had a quality every-down back in a while. With Thompson already doing well on third downs, Guice can make the most of his carries in the early downs. Guice is one of the top running backs in the class and has a great combination of size and speed.
The Redskins will certainly have a new feel next year and now have to draft players that can help them compete in the NFC East.