With the Washington Redskins (and yes, I still HATE using that name) officially eliminated from playoff contention for the third year in a row, it’s time to shift focus to the 2019 season, and that should begin with the NFL Draft.
Washington has a good number of holes to feel, but none are bigger than the gap at QB.
With Alex Smith going down a potentially career-threatening injury, and the team failing to sign a capable backup (cough..cough..Colin Kaepernick was available) the most important position on the field was left in shambles.
While signing Kaepernick might have made sense for Washington this year, the fact is, the polarizing QB is 31 years old, and probably wouldn’t have been a long-term solution for the Redskins.
Also, who are we fooling? There’s no way Daniel Snyder was going to sign off on bringing in Kaepernick. Perhaps my confidence in Snyder’s closemindedness is why the team is in its current state, but I digress.
In any case, Washington needs a QB, but they also need weapons in the passing game. There isn’t one Washington receiver that strikes fear in defenses, and that needs to change.
Also, Washington could benefit greatly from the addition of a playmaker at free safety. As of now, Deshazor Everett is simply a passable option. Adding someone who can be a force in the defensive passing game, and a player opposing QBs have to be wary of would be a plus.
Let’s take a look at the picks I’ve drawn up to improve the Redskins.
The draft order isn’t final, it’s based on current records and projected compensatory picks from hogshaven.com.
Round 1 – 16th Pick – QB, Daniel Jones, Duke or Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
The 2019 draft looks to be a fairly solid one for QBs, at least in terms of volume. There may not be a prospect that jumps out as a transcendant talent, but it looks as if there are at least a handdful of guys who could spend a good piece of time as an NFL starter.
Because the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars will almost certainly beat the Redskins to Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, Washington will likely pick between Jones and Grier.
I’d say they prefer Jones, but there is talk he could return for his senior season. If that happens, Grier, whose stock could be rising out of the Redskins’ reach at No. 16, wouldn’t be a bad option.
He’s been incredibly productive at West Virginia with 37 TD passes to just eight interceptions this season.
However, he’s only 6’1″ and already 23 years old. He’ll be 24 before the draft. Those are potential drawbacks for a first-round QB, but it’s hard to teach the kind of arm strength he possesses. He throws the deep ball accurately, and it’s just a flick.
Jones isn’t the finished product, but he’s 6’5″, drawing comparisons to Peyton Manning, and he’ll be 22 when the 2019 season starts.
Round 2 – 47th Pick – WR, Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
The Redskins need to get some weapons for whomever will be under center.
Brown isn’t the biggest receiver at 5’10” 170 pounds, but he has electrifying speed and agility in the open field. He has followed up a 1,000-yard season in 2017 with an even better campaign in 2018.
Heading into the Orange Bowl, Brown has 1,318 yards and 10 TDs. He’s the kind of deep threat and run-after-the-catch weapon Washington’s offense needs. Think Brandin Cooks.
Round 3 – 79th Pick – FS, Taylor Rapp, Washington
There is a chance a player like Rapp could rise on big boards as the draft draws closer.
He’s a hard-hitting, smart, high-character player who has had to scrap for everything he’s gotten in the sport. If available in the third round, Washington might have an opportunity to grab a player who could start at this position from Day One.
Rapp has the looks of a player who could be one of the draft’s biggest steals.
Round 3 – TE, Caleb Wilson, UCLA
Jordan Reed will finish the season on injured reserve, and while he’s only 28, he has had his share of injuries. Vernon Davis is 34 years old and Washington could stand to add another young and capable receiving option at TE. Wilson would seemingly fit the bill.
He reminds me a bit of the Chicago Bears’ Trey Burton, only he might be slightly slower on the field. Still, he’s established himself as a guy who knows how to find open spots in zone defenses.
Round 5 – OL, Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
Cajuste is a tackle in college, but with a smallish 6’4″ 315-pound frame, he might be looking at a move inside in the NFL. Scouts seem to be up and down on him, but in the fifth round, it wouldn’t be a bad option for Washington to add some depth to its O-Line.
Round 6 – WR, KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State
Good size, hands and he’s been productive on the college level, but there are concerns as to whether he can gain separation from defenders in the NFL.
Round 7 – OLB, CeCe Jefferson, Florida
This pick could wind up being nothing more than depth at OLB, a practice squad player, a special teamer or someone who simply doesn’t make the roster at all.
At this point, every team is simply trying to find a player who can stick. Anything above that is icing on the cake.
Round 7 – QB, Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
This is a somewhat interesting concept for the Redskins. The QB situation is perhaps the worst in the NFL considering Smith’s injury and the lack of backups.
Because of this, it’s not crazy to think the team could use two of its picks on the QB position. Hansen has put up supercharged numbers for a stat-friendly system. He’s a dual-threat who has shown efficiency and effectiveness in a short-passing game. Some think his success is a little too predicated on short, easy throws, and that his delivery is far too slow.
If you think about it, that sounds a lot like Smith coming out of Utah, granted he was the No. 1 pick overall in 2005.
Clearly, Hansen isn’t being regarded as that kind of talent, but there would seemingly be a skill-fit match. At the very least, Washington would have two young QBs to develop for its future or a potential trade down the line.
Would Hansen be the worst third-string option given what we’ve seen from Washington in 2018?