Feb 16, 2016, 12:31 PM EDT
Redskins draft countdown
The NFL draft is 72 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.
What they’re saying
Thumping inside linebacker with throwback size and tone setting mentality. Ragland is a confident and capable early starter in league who has the temperament to become one of the premier run-stopping inside linebackers in the pro game. Ragland has some coverage and speed limitations, but his instincts and overall awareness should be able to mask those issues.
How he fits the Redskins: Ragland could be a good example of the team taking the best available player regardless of need. They could start the season with Will Compton and Mason Foster as the starters and have Perry Riley and Martrell Spaight as the backups. But the team needs difference makers on defense and Ragland could be one of those.
The Redskins had some big problems stopping the run (allowed 4.8 yards/rush, 31st in the NFL) and Ragland could be just the solution they are looking for. He plays downhill and is a sure tackler.
There seems to be a good chance the unanimous All-American will still be on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 21, although some mock drafts have him going somewhere in the early teens.
Potential issues: One thing that an inside linebacker in Joe Barry’s one-gap system needs to be able to do is shed blocks. Playing behind the Crimson Tide’s stalwart defensive line that is not something he had to deal with consistently. McCloughan will have to evaluate if he can get coached to do it. He seems to handle himself well in zone coverage but his man to man skills are suspect.
Bottom line: An inside linebacker in a 3-4 is considered to be a relatively low value position and perhaps not worth a first-round pick unless the prospect is flawless. But a right tackle isn’t supposed to be valuable enough to justify a high first-round pick but that didn’t keep McCloughan from taking Brandon Scherff fifth overall (and subsequently moving him to guard).
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