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 draftniks including our own 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.
"Washington went after physical trench players in the 2015 draft, and Reed would be a continuation of that trend. There isn't a better defender against the run, and Reed is ready to get on the field for pretty much any team."
BB: With lots of changeover on the defensive line, a big and young nose-tackle like Jarran Reed would make sense. Terrance Knighton has signed with the Patriots after seemingly little interest from Washington, Jason Hatcher has been let go, and Stephen Paea was rather ineffective despite a large contract. Besides Chris Baker, there is nothing set in the trenches for Joe Barry’s defense. The only thing that might hold GM Scot McCloughan from pulling the trigger is his desire to select upper classmen, of which 19 of McCloughan 21 first rounders have been. Check to see if Reed has the same attributes NFL coaches look for.
"They will take the best defensive player on their board."
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. Take a look at the full break down of the Buckeye corner here.
"Their corner position isn't very good. Alexander would be a nice man-cover player to add to their defense."
BB: A top corner in the draft, Alexander stands only 5-10 but has the athletic upside to be a great cover man. He was often given no help in college and enjoyed the spotlight to be on an island. Besides his superb man-to-man cover skills, Clemson coaches have praised his dedication to work in the film room. Although undersize, Alexander has a lot of other intangibles to offer.
"With one of the worst inside linebacker situations in the NFL, Washington will be watching all of the linebacker prospects very closely."
BB: The Redskins inside linebacker situation is not actually the "worst", but Ragland would provide stability in the middle of the Redskins defense for years to come. A sure tackler is something Washington has not had in years and what made Joe Barry's defense look horrendous in the run game early in the year. If Scot McCloughan decides to draft an interior linemen later in the draft, because of the depth at the position, Ragland would definitely make some sense. Although Mason Foster and Will Compton are back as presumable starters, Ragland could be the quarterback of the defense for years to come. Click here for the full scouting report on the Bama backer.
"Without question, the Redskins need defensive linemen and there are four great options available, including Sheldon Rankins. The thing is, Washington could use a lead running back and somehow Ezekiel Elliott, a consensus top-5 to -10 overall prospect, is still on the board. Knowing the defensive line class offers good options on Day 2, the Redskins can take the best player available at a position of need. Rankins is no-brainer otherwise."
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