Ignore the pre-draft talk and look beyond the depth chart. By almost any logical measure, the Washington Redskins did good work with their three picks through the first two days of the NFL Draft. Wide receiver Josh Doctson, hybrid safety Su'a Cravens and Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller either address specific needs or offer sincere talent.
They just don't play along the defensive line, the one unit every analyst suggested the Redskins needed the most help. By help that means high-end talent and youth. Whatever options were on the board, the Redskins didn't bite. Even with one day left in the draft, the concern outside the building is whether the defensive line has enough bite.
“There’s a lot of debate going on for every pick," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said after Day 2 concluded about not addressing the line through three rounds. "We feel great about the guys we got, but I feel good about the line that we have. We’ll try to add one tomorrow and see what happens, but we’ve got [Ryan] Kerrigan, [Junior] Galette, we’ve got Preston Smith, [Trent] Murphy, [Stephen] Paea, Ricky Jean [Francois], we’ve got Chris Baker, we’ve got Kedric [Golston]. We added some other guys. Corey Crawford is a young player – up-and-coming player."
Baker is coming off a career season. Paea could rebound after an injury ended his first season in Washington. Francois is a quality end. Add in Murphy transitioning from linebacker and that's a viable rotation -- at end. None of those players are true every-down nose tackles. None of them are promising young talents. Good, yes. Potential Pro Bowlers, unlikely.
Last season, the Redskins allowed a dismal 4.8 yards per carry. Poor tackling in the back seven played a factor, especially early in the season. Lack of imposing lineman didn't always help -- and that was with Terrance Knighton and Jason Hatcher.
The draft isn't over and the Redskins have five picks remaining over the final four rounds. Most analysts believe this class, particularly at defensive tackle, offers legitimate help deep into Day 3. Hassan Ridgeway (Texas), Andrew Billings (Baylor), Willie Henry (Michigan) and Sheldon Day (Notre Dame) are Interesting prospects still available.
We should remember that a year ago nobody would have predicted a sixth-round pick turning into a key role player, but safety Kyshoen Jarrett did just that. Those are just long odds to beat every season.
Another note: The Redskins had true needs at wide receiver and safety. With Doctson and Cravens, done and done.
However, if the Redskins enter training camp with the current veterans plus Day 3 picks, concerns about what they have with their first line of defense will continue, at least outside the building.
"I feel good about the depth that we have," Gruden said. "I’d like to maybe add one tomorrow, but we’ll see.”
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