The conclusion of Senior Bowl week, a staple on the draft evaluation circuit, means we're one step closer to the 2017 NFL Draft. At least for now, the Washington Redskins hold the 17th pick. Some players possibly in consideration for that spot -- not to mention prospects of all shapes, sizes and potential -- practiced and played in front of the entire league. No doubt such scrutiny leads to changes in mock draft thoughts, which is why we take a look around for the latest.
Redskins reminder: Depending on what happens in free agency, there are definitely plenty of areas to address, namely defensive line, middle linebacker, safety and perhaps wide receiver. Here's our guide to general manager Scot McCloughan's documented draft trends.
Now, the mocks.
Stop us if you've heard this before, but the Redskins need defensive line help above and beyond everything else, especially with Su'a Cravens headed to safety in 2017. The 280-pound McDowell isn't a nose tackle, but the athletic presence could be a force as a 3-4 end or inside in 4-3 looks. He recorded 34 tackles -- seven for loss -- and 1.5 sacks in nine games before missing the last three games with an ankle injury.
"Washington would be lucky to get one of my favorite players in the draft in this spot. With his ability to reduce inside and rush the passer in sub-packages, the Redskins might be able to challenge the Cowboys' Great Wall 2.0."
BB: Similar to last year when the majority of experts believed Washington would address the defensive line, it will likely be a common theme this time around as well. With multiple defensive linemen set to become impending free agents, including Chris Baker, will McCloughan address the defense for the first time in the first round during his time in DC? My opinion is he would be best doing so.
"The Redskins surrendered an average of nearly 120 yards per game on the ground in 2016, and only three teams (Chargers, Bills and 49ers) allowed more than their 19 rushing touchdowns. Cunningham, the SEC's leading tackler in 2016 and a two-time first-team all-conference selection, possesses the speed and instincts to help shore up Washington's run defense."
BB: Starting ILB Will Compton is a restricted free agent. That aside, the Redskins could use more pop from the position.
"The Redskins could use young talent on the defensive line. Here's a potential impact-making five-technique with the versatility to play in 4-3 sets. At 6-foot-5, 297 pounds, Wormley has versatile size to play in a either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. In a 3-4, he would be a five-technique defensive end. In a 4-3, he could play tackle, end or both. Wormley needs to continue to develop his pass-rushing moves."
BB: Ziggy Hood was a reasonable nose tackle, given he was playing out of position, for Washington when Kedric Golston went down early in the season but the reality remained he was not anywhere close to a dominant force to compete at the points of attack. For a second year in a row, there will be multiple big bodies linked to the Redskins but as we saw in 2016, McCloughan and company decided not to go down that route.
"I know this seems a little too far in the first round for Foster, and it very well may be. However, over the years we’ve seen plenty of inside linebackers drop so it shouldn’t be a total surprise if it happens to Foster. If that happens, Washington should pounce and get a player who can develop into the leader of the defense."
BB: If by some miracle Foster drops all the way to 17, there is not a doubt in my mind that the Bama backer will be donning Burgundy and Gold come next season. Foster is an even better player than his former teammate, last year's prospect Reggie Ragland and has a decent shot of being a top ten pick come April. With Su'a Cravens moving to safety, Washington will have to look elsewhere for an upgrade at middle linebacker and Foster would fit the bill.
Previous Mock Draft Editions:
- January 16: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Solomon Thomas, Chris Wormley, Reuban Foster.
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