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Need to Know: More defense in the draft for the Redskins?

Apr 17, 2015, 5:16 AM EDT

Dante-Fowler-UF

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 17, 13 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

The Redskins have indeed loaded up on the defensive side of the ball this offseason with every free agent signing the team made going to help Joe Barry’s unit. So far they have signed three linemen, a cornerback, and two safeties. That alone could well help a unit that was near the bottom of the barrel in most significant statistical categories.

But I don’t think that they are done. Yes, Scot McCloughan will continue to give the defense some building blocks in the draft.

Two big areas are likely to be addressed. It’s no big secret that the best available player is likely to be an edge rusher and that is an area of need due to the departure of Brian Orakpo. Yes, the Redskins do have Trent Murphy but you can’t have too many pass rushers and they likely will take one early in the draft if not with their top pick.

The other defensive position it seems likely that McCloughan will address is free safety. Dashon Goldson will turn 31 early in the season and he is essntially on a one-year deal since his salary doubles to $8 million next year. The Redskins will need a long-term replacement. The draft is thin at the safety position but there are some cornerbacks who could be converted to safeties as well.

I also think that at some point they will want a linebacker or two who can help out on special teams but those will probably come at some point on Saturday afternoon.

Depending on how the draft unfolds edge rusher and safety could be two of the top three draft picks. I think the other top three pick will be used to address the offensive line or perhaps running back but you never know how things will fall.

Timeline

—It’s been 110 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 149 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 3; 2015 NFL Draft 13; Redskins minicamp starts 60

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. bk70 - Apr 17, 2015 at 7:27 AM

    Hey Rich, this all makes sense, but what about drafting a return specialist. What do you think about the FS, Damarious Randall out of Arizona State? What other return specialist are in the draft?

  2. abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    I sure hope they take more defenders. Let’s face it, other than the Wrs, the only offensive players worth taking in the top 5 are the two qbs and I don’t see them falling.

    So, that leaves defense in round 1.

    Round 2, likely an offensive lineman or a defender.

    Round 3, a defender, WR, OL or RB

    And so on and so on for the rest of the draft. It’s very likely our draft is defensive heavy. The defenders we picked up in free agency are all going to be 30 before we know it, we need more young blood on defense.

  3. abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    If we sign Wisnewski, that will probably change the thought that many have that we’ll go OG round 2, which I never understood anyways because we have two young OG’s, we just need to play them.

    I just did a new auto mock draft:

    5: R1P5 DT, LEONARD WILLIAMS, USC

    38: R2P6 LB/SS, SHAQ THOMPSON, WASHINGTON

    69: R3P5 TE, MAXX WILLIAMS, MINNESOTA

    105: R4P6 WR, TYLER LOCKETT, KANSAS STATE

    141: R5P5 RB, CAMERON ARTIS-PAYNE, AUBURN

    182: R6P6 OT, COREY ROBINSON, SOUTH CAROLINA

    222: R7P5 DE/OLB, SHAQUILLE RIDDICK, WVU
    _________________

    • goskins44 - Apr 17, 2015 at 7:44 AM

      If Williams falls to us at 5 that would be great. I have seen some other mocks that show him falling, but I jsut don;t think it will happen.

      I will be in the minority, but after first being against it, I would love to take Brandon Scherff at 5. He is this years Zach Martin. If we can trade back and still get him, fine. But the Giants will take him at 9. If he is good enough for #9 then he is good enough for #5. You can plug him in day 1 at RG and forget about him for 10 yrs.

      • redskinscaio - Apr 17, 2015 at 8:25 AM

        Yes, great to have well-informed fans rooting for the Skins.

        • redskinscaio - Apr 17, 2015 at 8:28 AM

          Sherff should be the Skins’ 5th round pick…or another offensive lineman

      • abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 8:57 AM

        I won’t be upset if Scherff is the pick because as you said, he’s a Zack Martin type that can play every OL position, except maybe center, and that’s extremely valuable.

        The thing is that he’s NOT going to be the best player on the board @ 5. If Williams falls, he will be. If one of the WRs are there, they’ll be. If Fowler or Beasley are there, they’ll be.

        The only way I see Scherff being the pick if we trade down with Chicago or Atlanta and stay in front of the Giants.

        I’m pretty convinced the Giants will take Scherff @ 9, and if we want him as a BPA then we should trade back, but NOT behind the Giants.

      • shermanp79 - Apr 17, 2015 at 11:11 AM

        I actually have the Giants taking him Scherff) too. It’s too high for a G. I have us taking White at #5, I then trade Jackson for a late 1st or early 2nd. They can get something decent for Jackson. As of now Jackson plays AJ Green’s role and White would make much more sense, he is much bigger with the same speed. We want an impact player, he is a guy who can make plays to win games. I hate to lose Jackson but they will get the most now, it helps fill another need and gain Cap space. I think OAK takes Cooper so White would have to get past them. If not take Ray or Beasley. I just think Scot likes the speed to power thing and prefers Fowler or even Dupree, the bigger guys with it. It’s too early for Dupree so I think Ray has a shot to be that guy. He posses that speed to power too and is bigger than Beasley. Ray has a bigger lower body. They say Beasley has a slim waist and skinny legs.(in comparison of pos ideals) I stay away from Gregory that high, he may drop below Dupree with his weight and off field issues. I wouldn’t be upset if the took Beasley, we have Murphy who played the run pretty well, we could have him replace Murphy on passing downs if he had issues but I think he can add enough weight to hold the edge. That question mark is why I think Scot goes a different way. At that pick, you want an every down guy who can impact the game. I think Williams trumps everyone I mentioned, if he was there. So my order at 5 is Williams, Fowler, White, Ray and Beasley. I have Dupree if we trade down a few spots. That opens up other positions too, OL,S,CB, DL, basically any. lol If the Draft would only hurry up and get here!! For now that is my gut feeling based on some of Scot’s statements. He wants “big” guys as he said “they help you win”.

        • babyteal1 - Apr 17, 2015 at 11:17 AM

          There not getting rid of our best WR.

        • abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 11:26 AM

          Oh, I missed that part of the his post, yeah, we’re not trading Djax.

          If we sign White, he becomes our 3rd WR. Djax and Garçon aren’t long terms on the skins, at most they’ll be here two more seasons, but even that’s questionable, same with Andre Roberts.

          Roberts may be cut if we drafted Cooper or White, that’s a possibility.

        • abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 11:23 AM

          I can’t disagree with any of that. Great points

      • captblood3000 - Apr 17, 2015 at 11:58 AM

        Goskins, Zack Martin was last year’s 16th overall pick. If he had been worthy of the #5 pick, that team would have drafted Martin to play left tackle.

        The same reasoning applies to Scherff. If you play Scherff at either tackle spot, NFL speed rushers will expose his lack of lateral speed. Go read the scouting reports. Scherff could well be a perennial all-pro, but only at left guard. That’s not a position anyone drafts at #5, because if the best player available is an offensive lineman, he will be good enough to play left tackle.

        • goskins44 - Apr 17, 2015 at 6:34 PM

          I have read all the reports and agree he is not a Tackle. He is projected to be a G in the NFL. I also know that previously the prevailing wisdom is not to take a G that high. I just disagree with that thinking.

          Back to the other comments about Williams, I totally agree.Williams will be the best on the board. I think he is the best player in the draft period.

          It’s just hard for me to watch him go to the Giants meaning that all 3 of the other NFC East teams are in the process of building a great Oline and we don;t pull the trigger on him because he is not rated that high. It would be a double bonus for us to draft him. Not only do we lock up L/RT for 10 yrs we take him away from the Giants.

          In the end though, I am OK with pretty much anyone we have been linked to taking accept WR. I know White’s a great prospect, but I much prefer Beasley or Fowler, and of course Williams (You will hear me yelling whooppy from any part of the US if we get this lucky!).

    • redskinscaio - Apr 17, 2015 at 8:27 AM

      No way does Williams fall to the Redskins.

      If Tampa goes Winston, Titans go Mariota, Jaguars will take Williams, if not, then the Raiders will. WIlliams is a beast.

      • abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 8:59 AM

        I’m not convinced of that. Both Jax & Oak need a #1 WR for their young qbs.

        You could be right that he or even Fowler go 3 or 4, but it’s certainly no given that happens.

    • Stephfan - Apr 17, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      I’ll go with that

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 17, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    McGlue’s approach (build the team for the long run) is exactly what we’ve needed forever.
    ~

  5. jscx3 - Apr 17, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    Williams or Fowler. Those would be the best picks. I also like Shelton.

    • abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      I love Shelton also, I’m just not sure if the Skins stay @ 5 that they take him, although I’d love it if they did…

  6. renhoekk2 - Apr 17, 2015 at 9:52 AM

    Garcon is set to make 10M in the final year of his contract next season. They can save 8M by cutting him next year or 5M if they cut him this year. They need to find a starting caliber WR. They have a starting caliber OLB in Murphy. You don’t use first rd picks on guys for depth. That’s why I don’t get the whole edge guy at 5. Take one in the 2nd rd if you want depth at the position. Cooper is good enough to walk into the starting lineup. White is not as polished running routes but is still an elite prospect at the position. Watkins, Evans, Beckham all had huge impact for their teams last season as rookie WR. There is a bigger drop off in WR talent from the first to the second rd than there is for edge rushers. The top two edge guys from last years draft had 4 sacks each. The two edge guys taken in the second rd had 2.5 and 2 sacks each. And both had less playing time than the first rd guys. There are too many WR to list but it goes without saying the WR taken in the 2nd rd last season did not have anywhere near the same impact as the guys taken in the first rd. Getting an elite prospect type starting WR for 3.5M is the best value you can find in the first rd. What you would have to pay a FA WR with the ability of Cooper and White would 3 or 4 times as much.

    • Rich - Apr 17, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      I agree, not sure why everyone is insistant on edge rusher. Cooper seems like the real deal & wide out seems like a bigger long term need. Murphy is still developing.

      • abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 11:33 AM

        The belief is that Copper will be gone, if he’s not, he’s certainly a strong possibility..

      • ET - Apr 17, 2015 at 12:19 PM

        I didn’t buy the draft a WR at #5 logic at first, but over time, it’s making sense. Cooper and White are very exciting prospects, no doubt, and the Skins have looming WR issues in 2016 and beyond.

        That said, I’d be pretty happy with Williams, Fowler, Beasley. And I like Scherff, too. Don’t care if he’s a “reach”—he’s an instant starter.

      • Skulb - Apr 18, 2015 at 11:21 AM

        I agree with this. Kick returns, pass protection and the secondary seemed like the biggest weaknesses last year from my amateur perspective. The actual defensive line was maybe the least problematic part of things along with the FGs and cheerleaders. Replacing Orakpo maybe. But not the first pick I would think.

        • abanig - Apr 18, 2015 at 1:35 PM

          It’s not that people want to replace Murphy, it’s that they want to take the BPA and that could very well be an OLB when we pick @ 5.

        • Skulb - Apr 19, 2015 at 12:29 AM

          Yes that`s true. But if the difference isn`t that great you still try to get some improvements right? Taking Williams I get if he`s still around for a fifth pick, which he probably won`t be. But apart from him it seems an even field I think.

          I guess it`ll be what it is. Personally I think the Redskins have a whole lot to do psychologically and tactically. Their players in themselves were good enough last year to at least go 8-8 because the talent was there. But there was almost no rhythm on offense and the secondary gave up too many big plays. I still feel that much of that can be tackled in training and in the video room though. And the mentality just seemed off. And you can`t really draft your way to an improved attitude and improved tactical awareness. The players already there have to gel as a team and do the right things consistently rather than the wrong things.

        • abanig - Apr 19, 2015 at 2:35 AM

          In a way, the Redskins got kind of screwed this draft because the BPA @ 5 is probably not going to be a position they need the most, but no matter who they select – whether it’s Beasley, Cooper, Fowler, Shelton, White or Williams – that player is going to be an improvement on the roster.

          Yeah, they may not be the best player at their position day 1, but that just speaks to how Allen & McCloughan have improved the roster the past two years and how weak the draft is in the top 10 at the positions the Redskins need most.

          The Redskins need a top flight FS or OT that most but the player just isn’t there, and IMO it doesn’t make sense to pass on the best players in the draft to take a lesser talent like a Schereff, La’el Collins or Landon Collins 4-10 spots later and miss on a better player, even if it’s the position you need the most this season.

          The truth is, the Redskins won 7 games the past two years, they could use upgrades in every spot and better depth at every position, so taking DE, OLB, NT or WR is not a bad idea, especially for the long term because the players the Redskins have starting in those positions for this season are all nearing 30 years old except for Kerrigan & Murphy.

          As for the inconsistency in the passing game, I chalk that up more to a new passing game scheme/new offense with two new top wrs and a merry-go-round @ QB because of injury and mistakes by our young and more than anything else.

          I expect our passing game to better in year two of Gruden’s offense because the players will have a year under their belts of working on the offense and working with each other in Gruden’s offense. And thr running game will improve in Morris gets more consistent touches and they use Griffin more as a threat on the ground in the redzone. When Griffin was a rookie he had 7 tds rushing and only 1 TD rushing since. This is mostly because when Griffin was a rookie they ran read option inside the 10 or keepers/qb sneaks. The Redskins need to do that again. They need to stop always trying to make Griffin throw into tight windows inside the 10. It’s about winning games, and if they use Griffin as s running threat inside the 10 more often, they’ll score more and win more games.

        • Skulb - Apr 19, 2015 at 6:42 AM

          I agree with all this. But still I couldn`t really point to a whole lot of guys last season and say “you stink, go get a real job!” Polumbus maybe. But the problems were at least as much to do with tactics, coaching, teamwork etc as the actual individual players. In fact most of them played well last year some of the time. Breeland is a very good example. Other played well in some aspects of the game but failed in others, like Morris or Cousins.

          But some of the time isn`t enough right. Kerrigan was maybe the only one who managed to play consistently well in every game.The talent is definitely there though and it was there last year too. I think imagining that you`ll fix things just through the draft can become a bit of a pipe dream for Redskins fans. Sports psychology is a whole field all on its own. I sometimes wondered last season whether that might not have been what was needed the most. I might be wrong or course.

    • bangkokben - Apr 17, 2015 at 10:49 AM

      Evaluating ‘value’ is ridiculous almost always but especially after one year. Or perhaps you think Griffin’s first year is signs of things to come.

      Edge rushers typically take a year or two to develop. If they draft an edge rusher it its to replace Murphy eventually because he never showed the explosion necessary to be top NFL edge rusher. Also, there are packages with different offensive formations that allow you to have three edge rushers on the field at the same time. If you select White or Cooper it is not an upgrade over Garcon or a reason to ‘save’ money. What could you now get for the five million you would save by releasing Garcon? Three good receivers are better than two or are the Green Bay Packers just getting by with two?

      • renhoekk2 - Apr 17, 2015 at 11:49 AM

        So you think saving money on the WR position isn’t important? Three perennial playoff teams that are in the hunt for a superbowl every year, GB, NE, SEA. GB is paying their top 3 guys a combined 11.8M for next season. NE is paying 11.2M and SEA is paying 6M for their WR group. Our perennial bottom dwelling WSH is paying 22.6M next season for their top 3 WR. Garcon and Jackson are getting over 9M each. You don’t think having that extra 11-15M to spend on other positions doesn’t matter. Guess what? That’s your upgraded OL that everyone is always crying about. But according to you it is money well spent. And you know the ironic thing that makes it even a worse investment? The Skins don’t have a good enough QB on the roster to make that investment in the WR position payoff. That makes it twice as bad. Has spending all of the money on WR made Griffin, Cousins or McCoy better QB’s. Has it amounted to wins? Yes 5 in the last two seasons combined. I guess without Jackson last season they might have only won one game.

        And first round pass rushers taking a year or two to develop. Dion Jordan has had two yrs to develop and 3 sacks over those two seasons. Mingo 7, J.Jones 3, Werner 6.5, Djones 5.

        2012 First Rd Edge guys with 3 yrs to develop. Irvin 16.5 in 3yrs Coples 16.5 in 3yrs, Ingrim 6, NPerry 9 sacks in three yrs.

        Chandler Jones and Ziggy Ansah are the only edge guys taken in the last 3yrs that were worth a first rd pick. Unless you consider 2-5 sacks a season worth the 5th pick in the draft.

        • abanig - Apr 17, 2015 at 1:06 PM

          I’d say it’s needed in the future, not for this season. I believe if they were thinking about trading Garçon or Jackson, they would have done it already, but possibly they do during the draft.

          Still, I doubt it.

        • bangkokben - Apr 17, 2015 at 1:30 PM

          How many of those edge rushers you listed were picked in the top five? One. So compare apples to apples. And more importantly, how does Barkevious Mingo’s draft position and sack history project for the Redskins? You might as well compare Kevin White to Michael Westbrook? They have no bearing on each other. You take the best player available and you build your team with talent. Teams don’t rank guys on whether they’re a 1st rounder or top ten pick; they project what is the ceiling for their career if everything breaks right and determine if the team can maximize their skill set.

          Drafting White is a good thing. So why waste that by then releasing one of your best players? The cap hit can be fixed if needed or Garcon and/or Jackson could be released. Jackson had the better year last year between the two but how you can project that he will continue to produce at a high level for a long time. With his body type and the pounding he takes he might only have three years left with each year being less than the year before and when the speed is gone he’s done.

          What Mingo did last year or Jordan does next year has zero to do with how Fowler would fit with this team. And stop with the moneyballing. That is not how this works. If you overspend in one position you save in another position. Aaron Rodgers cap hit is $18.25M.

  7. Stephfan - Apr 17, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    Denfense ain’t a bad way to go

  8. Rich - Apr 17, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    I would love to see Williams fall to us at 5. I really wanted us to trade back, but now I feel that Fowler, Beasley, or one of the two WRs are good at that spot. Trent Murphy was drafted last year as Orackpo insurance, but these guys are too good to pass up. If we get an overwelhming trade offer that would be great, but the trade should leave us the opportunity for one of these players or just have us go oline. Its seems like the tackles are all over the place as far as where they are mocked. If our picks from a trade turn into Peat & Cann or the guard from Duke I would be estatic.

  9. deepball1 - Apr 17, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    wow…we’re like kids in a candy store with only 1 dollar to spend. So many great choices and so little to spend.

    Amari Cooper would be the best receiver on this team and a top 5 receiver in the league for years to come. Unfortunately the QB can make or break him and none of us or the coaches have a CLUE who the Skins QB will be this year or next year or the year after that.

    Therefore, with that in mind, I need to agree that Edge Rusher and defense is the way to go. Continue establishing a dominance on one side of the ball until the QB situation is solidified. Because if we have problems scoring again…..then a strong Defense can keep us in the game.

  10. sidepull - Apr 18, 2015 at 7:26 AM

    Shelton. Lock for NT. No more worries there for a while. Knighton could easily be playing somewhere else next year . Then what? Back to the same old same old? Your edge rusher, provided they hit the right one of the many to choose from, might not be looking like such a great pick. WR is never a lock. At least not for the Redskins. DL are locks. Williams if he falls or Shelton.

    • abanig - Apr 18, 2015 at 1:33 PM

      I’d love it if ether of them were the pick. I think we can still get Shelton if we trade down, but we can’t trade down too far.

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