NFL.com' analyst Mike Mayock released his initial position-by-position rankings ahead of the 2016 Draft. Some general and Redskins related thoughts:
* For starters, Mayock only lists the top 5 at each position, so ultimately this is first round/top 40 picks, though some interior offensive linemen, tight ends and others could last into the middle rounds. As a reminder, Washington owns the 21st pick.
* This is a good year for teams needing interior defensive lineman or 3-4 ends. The Redskins are one of these teams. The players in Mayock's top 5 -- DeForest Buckner (Oregon), Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss), Sheldon Rankins (Louisville), Jarran Reed (Alabama) and A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama) -- show high on any list. The order, however, is slightly different compared to others; Rob Rang ranks Robinson behind Buckner, who he considers a defensive end.
At 21, Washington won't lack for options if general manager Scot McCloughan goes that way. Seeing as there could be 12-17 defensive lineman selected in the first two rounds, McCloughan might decide going another way in round one beliving good value at DL could exist in the second.
* Mayock is among the many draft thinkers talking up Carson Wentz. One month ago the majority of prominent first round mock drafts didn't include the North Dakota State quarterback. Now he's viewed as a top 5 pick overall and the top QB, at least on Mayock's board over Jared Goff (California), Paxton Lynch (Memphis) and Connor Cook (Michigan State). The Browns (2), Cowboys (4) and 49ers (7) are among the teams possibly thinking about selecting a quarterback.
Seeing as Kirk Cousins is essentially a lock to return either with a long-term deal or via the franchise tag, the Redskins aren't thinking QB in the first round (though bet on McCloughan grabbing one in the later rounds). Why it's worth tracking Wentz, Goff, Lynch and perhaps Cook is basic math. The more quarterbacks selected before 21, the more players that can possibly help Washington fall. Also, McCloughan at the Senior Bowl said it's more likely he would trade down than up in the first round. No better trade bait than a QB, though the first three could be gone by 15, which is cool for a team not looking at quarterbacks.
* I've previously mentioned that nobody should expect the Redskins will find a safety for the future in round one. There might not even be one selected in the first if you consider Florida's Jalen Ramsey more of a cornerback. The twist with Mayock list involves who ranked first. That would be West Virginia strong safety Karl Joseph. Mayock doesn't offer projected rounds, but Rang has Joseph in the 3-4 range not to mention fourth just among strong safeties.
* Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith tops all linebakcers for Mayock despite suffering a serious knee injury in a bowl game. Pre-injury projections had Smith in the 5-10 range. At this moment, 19-25. If McCloughan ses what Mayock sees, then the Redskins might not be able to pass on Smith even if they have to wait a bit.
Click here for Mayock's full list.
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