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Need to Know: Three dark horse draft picks for the Redskins at No. 5

Feb 23, 2015, 6:28 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 23, 15 days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

Question of the day

I’m back from the combine but I’m still going to post the question of the day for a few more days before throwing it back out to the readers. Sticking with the draft questions: 

Who are the dark horses for the Redskins top pick?

Yesterday I wrote about the three players I think are most likely to be the Redskins’ pick if they keep the fifth pick in the draft. They were, in ascending order of likelihood, DL Danny Shelton of Washington, WR Kevin White of West Virginia, and edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. of Florida.

That certainly isn’t the definitive list; we still have over two months until draft day and plenty can happen as the Redskins and the other 21 teams refine their draft boards. Here are three more who seem to be less likely right now but who could jump into the picture between now and April 30

DL Leonard Williams, USC—This pick is unlikely because he probably won’t be there when the Redskins pick. But let’s say that the two quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, go 1-2 with the Bucs taking one and Titans the other or trading the pick to a team that takes the other. The Jaguars want an edge rusher and take Fowler, the local guy. And the Raiders want a weapon for Derek Carr so they take White. The Redskins gladly take Williams, the athletic, disruptive defensive end. Again, not a likely scenario but it’s hard to rule anything out in the draft over two months in advance.

Edge rusher Shane Ray, Missouri—If Fowler is gone, the Redskins could look to Ray to add to their anemic pass rush. At 6-3, 245 he isn’t quite as big as you’d like a 3-4 outside linebacker to be and we know that Scot McCloughan likes big players. But he has an incredibly quick first step and if he can add 10 or 15 pounds over the next couple of years without losing that quickness he could make life miserable for Redskins opponents.

S Landon Collins, Alabama—I go back and forth on Collins as a possibility at No. 5. Right now he is an in the box safety who likely would play more like a linebacker in nickel situations. A player like that may not have enough value to warrant such a high pick. And at 6-0, 228 he isn’t the Kam Chancellor-sized safety that McCloughan might prefer. But if McCloughan believes that Collins can be taught to be better in coverage, if he is a player who will stay late in the film room learning his craft, the Redskins dire need at the position (need is part of the grade that determines “best available player”), he could pull the trigger on him.


—It’s been 57 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 202 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 15; Redskins offseason workouts start 56; 2015 NFL Draft 66

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. abanig - Feb 23, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Mark me down for Danny Shelton (if Leonard Williams isn’t there) again

    • kenlinkins - Feb 23, 2015 at 7:45 AM

      IMO: Williams, Fowler, Shelton, Collins, Ray, in that order if we use the 5th pick. The Iowa OT is off my board for now unless he is still there is round 2 and is drafted as a OG. If the Redskins trade back I am looking at a OT (Peat, Collins, Clemming) or maybe OLB (the kid from Clemson or Kentucky) and DT (Brown or Phillips). While I do not see any great players, I do see a lot of very good “Pro’s” just waiting for the Redskins to call their name.

    • sidepull - Feb 23, 2015 at 9:40 AM


    • rcjur - Feb 23, 2015 at 1:12 PM

      I agree 100% Shelton if we stay at 5. Gregory, Ray, Fowler Jr., should be good NFL players but in a 2-3 we need beef and we need to start off fresh and rid of Coefield, Bowen, Neil, Golston. Start it off with Shelton, then in 2nd Round get the LB in Perryman. 3rd Round team can grab that Safety with Shaq Thompson. Think all 3 will be there with our top 3 picks if we don’t trade down in first round, and we need DEFENSE. OLine help can come in FA and with your 4th Round Pick. In 5th I pray they can nab WR Stephon Diggs from MD! As for trade’s rid QB Cousins for extra 4th Rounder and get a CB ie: J. Coleman.

  2. kenlinkins - Feb 23, 2015 at 7:29 AM

    Rich: Thanks for helping to define BPA (it does include Need), but after watching (and reading) so much from the combine I am now officially in “Information Overload”. Who impressed you the most away from the playing field (i.e. Guys who seem to get it). After watching so many interviews I was hard pressed to find many guys who were really answering questions. Most were giving the “I just want to be the best” & “I just want to thank my coach and team mates for getting me here” or the “I learned from my mistakes” statement. You had a chance to watch these guys away from the camera’s. Which guys stood out to you as really hard workers and which ones might have been there trying to fool teams with high school type PR statements? (i.e. guys playing grab ass at the hotel or in the locker room).

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 23, 2015 at 9:58 AM

      My favorites at the podium were Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler. I think they all took it seriously, no reports of players out late or otherwise goofing off.

      > > >

    • captblood3000 - Feb 23, 2015 at 1:13 PM

      I think that in the BPA strategy, “need” is more a tiebreaker than anything else. If you have two or more prospects with roughly equal grades, then select for the position of need. In round 2, this might drive the choice between the prospect you rank #20 and the prospect you rank #22. In later rounds the difference in rank you tolerate will go up, because the difference in “best” becomes less in later rounds. I don’t claim to know the magic difference number for any given round, but I suspect McCloughan has them. If you have no such limits, then you draft for need.

      The Redskins claimed to draft BPA when they drafted Cousins. Shanahan said they had a second round (mid, I think) grade on Cousins. ( Remember in the Shrine Game Shanahan coached the South and Cousins quarterbacked the North.). Given that they selected Griffin in round 1 and had no pick in round 2, selecting another quarterback in round 4 caused a lot of head scratching.

  3. mr.moneylover - Feb 23, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    I think redskins gonna keep they eyes on vic Beasley because if Dante flower jr is gone they might go get him with that 5th pick…we havent seen shane ray on what he can do he gotta put on a show at his pro day for the redskins to get him with that 5th pick…I think scot m. Had a look on his face that said — we gonna have a great draft– he just looked like he wanted to tell us something but kept it to his self…or that was him bein happy or excited

    • bowlregard - Feb 23, 2015 at 12:53 PM

      This probably isn’t fair, but last year edge rusher Michael Sam came out of Missouri and was a bust. I am leery of edge rushers coming out of Mo. with good stats as a result. And I know it’s all about the game tape, but Beasley sure put on a show at the combine.

      • ajbus1 - Feb 23, 2015 at 6:32 PM

        Kony Ealy, from Missouri, went way ahead of Sam and was decent in limited action last year. I want nothing to do with Ray though. Too small for a 3-4 OLB. Fowler and Beasley look nice if we go OLB.

      • mr.moneylover - Feb 24, 2015 at 7:44 AM

        @bowlregard…I dont think sam was a bust…I think most teams just aint wanna deal with the circus that comes with Michael sam…but vic Beasley and dante flower jr. Gametape show they both can give O-linemen havoc they both very physical guys and vic Beasley show he can put on more weight more muscle thats very important and thats why he looked good at the combine…vic was 15 pounds lighter while he was a clemson

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 23, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    A player like that may not have enough value to warrant such a high pick.

    I’ll puke up blood if we waste the pick on Collins. He’s just a strong safety.

    Dante Fowler would be great. I’d be happy with Kevin White, too. I’d rather see us trade back than draft Shelton.

  5. deepball1 - Feb 23, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    Just because Fowler weighs more than Shane Ray you put him in front? That is stupid. Brian Orakpo weighs more than Von Miller but Miller had 14 sacks last year and Orakpo had 1/2 of a sack. Miller has 49 sacks in 4 years and Orakpo has 40 sacks in SIX years.

    This idea that a player must be a certain height or weight is completely OPPOSITE of what Scott M said just the other day when interviewed by Larry Michael. Scott is looking for football players and most important…PRODUCTION. Shane Ray gives the Redskins PRODUCTION.

    Shane Ray is a future PRO BOWL pass rusher. Dante Fowler is just a decent to good player.

    • 214hof - Feb 23, 2015 at 11:30 AM

      To compare Shane Ray to Von Miller is silly.

      Von Miller 50.5 TFL, 33 sacks, 1INT, 12PD, 10 FF, 1 FR

      Shane Ray 34 TFL, 19 sacks, 0 INT, 1PD, 5FF, 0FR

      Ray should have stayed in college one more year to prove doubters like myself wrong… Or maybe he didn’t because he knew he wasn’t likely to top the 22.5 TFL , and 14 sacks he had last year. (didn’t want it to hurt his draft stock). If I’m Washington I stay away from this guy.

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 23, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      It seems our opinions differ. That’s fine. But if you can’t refrain from calling the host or anybody else here “stupid” for having a different opinion you’ll have to go find a different sandbox to play in. Not going to put up with it.

      Consider this your one and only warning.

    • ajbus1 - Feb 23, 2015 at 6:37 PM

      Ray relies on speed and speed alone. Everyone is fast in the NFL and QBs get rid of the ball much faster than in college. He won’t make it as an edge rusher in the NFL. He’s gonna have to learn to cover and play OLB in a 4-3. He not the pick for us at 5.

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 24, 2015 at 7:54 AM

      You already saying Shane Ray is gonna be a great fit…hes injured thats why he didnt do nothing at the combine but show he can run his mouth like a girl…I want reliable guys its a difference from bein injured and bein hurt…let me just say this if there was something seriously wrong with shane ray he wouldnt have been holding up the football pad while defense linemen push him around…

  6. bangkokben - Feb 23, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    That LC pick has middle school girls “Eeewww!” all over it.

  7. tralfaz10 - Feb 23, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    It’s hard to say a whole lot about Shane Ray. Missed the combine because of a foot injury. Foot injury? Phillip Thomas…foot injury. Morgan Moses…foot injury. I say stay away from Ray! Undersized as well. Weight may not mean much rushing the passer, but against the run it is a whole different ballgame. I like Fowler. He has the size to do both. Gregory is only 235. That is way too small. If we can’t get Fowler, I say we trade back.

  8. Caveman Cooking - Feb 23, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    I said it yesterday, I’ll say it again today … Vic Beasley. Guy put on 14 extra pounds since the season ended and carried it like it was no big deal. Kid is a beast!
    I truly hope we do not draft Shelton. He disappeared in games against solid competition. We have enough of those kind of players already. With the #5 pick, we need to draft a player who is giving it 110 on every down and against every player.

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 24, 2015 at 7:58 AM

      Agree, actually vic Beasley put on 15 pounds…I think scot m. Gonna keep a close eye on him at his pro day Archives

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