Mock Draft Monday: Big is beautiful

Defense remains the mock draft theme for the Redskins one month out before a choice at 21 is made, but the candidates vary.

The Washington Redskins hold the 21st pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Depending on what happens in free agency, there are definitely plenty of areas to address: defensive line, secondary, wide receiver, etc. General manager Scot McCloughan has hinted again towards selecting the best player available. Here is what the experts are thinking in their latest mock drafts. For a breakdown of the Redskins draft history check out their track record.

Actually, what the "experts" including our own "expert" Ben Standig believe universally is that the Redskins will focus on defense. For the most part those projections have focused on the big men, whether lineman like Alabama's Jarran Reed or Louisiana Tech's Vernon Butler, or a tackling force like inside linebacker Reggie Ragland. Yet some take an alternate path, by selecting players with less notoriety across the country by the average fan.

Rob Rang, CBS/Scout - Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama

Washington surrendered 4.8 yards per carry on the ground over the regular season (31st in the NFL) and were even worse in the wild-card loss to the Packers, allowing 5.5 yards per attempt. While serving as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, Scot McCloughan plucked Patrick Willis out of the SEC (Mississippi) and saw him emerge as one of the leaders of a formidable defense. Ragland isn't in Willis' class athletically but he's instinctive, strong and a physical, reliable tackler.

BB: The doom-and-gloom with those run defense numbers are why most draft analysts have the Redskins selecting a lineman in the first round, The one exception is Ragland especially since Washington can add a quality if not robust lineman prospect in the second round.

Speaking of linemen...

Peter Schrager, FOX Sports - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

The run on defensive tackles continues. Don't be shocked if 8-10 go in the first round next month. Robinson's massive. If Pot Roast Knighton isn't coming back to Washington, Robinson could be a nice replacement. He played in 43 games under Nick Saban and was a team leader for a national champion. No nonsense and gets after it.

Ben Standig, Scout/ - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

"Needs: DL, S, ILB. The run-stuffing Reed was the pick at 21 in the previous mock. No reason for a change after the motoring lineman chased down runners and shed blockers throughout Senior Bowl week. Biggest questions are will Reed be available and will GM Scot McCloughan target a defensive lineman in round one. Another Alabama product, Reggie Ragland, would address concerns at inside linebacker. Defensive backfield concerns put the likes of Ohio State CB Eli Apple in play. Baylor speedster Corey Coleman could happen if Washington doesn't keep DeSean Jackson and his $9.2 million salary cap hit."

Todd McShay, ESPN - Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

"His outstanding combination of quickness, athleticism and power helps him wreak havoc on the interior. This is a dominant and versatile run-defender who would give the Redskins more depth along the defensive front."

BB: Three defensive tackle options all worthy of selection. It just depends on which of the big men are available at 21 and, of course, who general manager Scot McCloughan fancies most. 

With the likely loss of Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton in free agency, Billings is a big body in the middle who could be the next nose tackle for Washington. Not only does the Baylor Bear engage multiple blockers off the snap, but he consistently through them aside like rag dolls at the collegiate level. As he becomes a better student of the game with pre-snap anticipation, Billings has the makings to be a stud in the trenches. Read a full scouting report on Billings here.


Lance Zierlein, NFL - Chris Jones, DE, Mississippi State

"Big and talented with questions about his work ethic, Jones has the upside that could make him one of the 10 best players to come out of this draft"

BB: This selection may be unlikely because of Jones' arrest for driving with a suspended license although it is not as serious of a crime as others like Randy Gregory or La'el Collins last draft. Jones had flashes of brilliance during his college career and has a high ceiling if developed correctly. For now, most project Jones in the second round. Then again if McCloughan nabs the former Bulldog, I do not think anybody is going to complain too much because the head scout is quite frankly smarter than us. For a full breakdown of Jones' game, click here.

Pete Prisco, CBS - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

"Apple is a player who can come in and contribute right away. He would be a nice player in a division with Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr."

BB: Apple has all the physical attributes, 6'1'' height and 31 3/8'' arms, to be a stud corner that continues to develop. The one mark against the Ohio State product will be his reaction time to diagnose and anticipate a throw, which causes him to grab receivers. With the help of defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, Apple is a nice project that could develop into a starter for the Redskins in the future. For the full scouting of Apple, click here.

Will Brinson, CBS - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky

"Scot McCloughan wants talented, physical players and he's willing to gamble Spence's troubles are behind him."

BB: This is another selection that does not make much spence because of Spence's off the field issues, but also because the Redskins are now stocked with edge rushers. After having to transfer from Ohio State for multiple failed drug tests, Spence was arrested for public intoxication last year. Talent wise, Spence could be a top 10 talent with his lateral quickness and low pad level as an impact pass rusher. Spence also has the versatility to play on either side of the line or as a stand up edge rusher.

Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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