WASHINGTON — The Redskins happily watched as defensive end Jonathan Allen fell to them at No. 17 in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. Now, they look to build on that surprising addition with the No. 49 pick and No. 81 pick on Day 2. Here are the top prospects still on the board when the draft resumes at 7 p.m.
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, OG
Probably the top-rated player on most boards and someone who would fit well at either guard position for Washington. A tackle in college, most experts expect Lamp to kick inside in the NFL. He’s even spent this offseason working on his skills at center. Has good size now at 6-foot-4, 309 pounds, but not a massive frame. Held his own against Alabama’s defense. Not sure there’s higher praise than that. Is guard an immediate need? No. And Lamp should go quickly on Day 2. But he would fit perfectly with a young offensive line that just locked up right tackle Morgan Moses to an extension. Read more…
Dalvin Cook, Florida State, RB
An explosive running back who always seemed to be at his best in the big games. Topped 1,000 rushing yards all three years with the Seminoles. He’s capable of big plays in a way that Rob Kelley and Matt Jones – already involved in trade speculation, according to NFL Network – just can’t. Cook could be a true three-down back. He’s slid in part because of character concerns dating to middle school and had 13 fumbles at Florida State, including two at the Rose Bowl, and shoulder issues. The Redskins like him. A lot. But, again, it seems unlikely he’d fall to 49. Do they like Cook enough to spend some of their draft capital to go up and get him? Read more…
Kevin King, Washington, CB
Starred opposite the injured Sidney Jones at Washington and began rising up the draft boards through the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. A big corner, though not necessarily a physical one at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. Tough to beat in short areas of the field. A defensive red-zone weapon who should match up well with even the tallest receivers. He’s played safety and slot cornerback, but it’s hard to see how he’d hold up in the slot at that size against smaller, faster receivers. Broke up 18 passes in his final two college seasons. King is likely a plug-and-play starter at corner.
Budda Baker, Washington, S
He’s small at 5-foot-10 so this isn’t your traditional safety. Then again – can I interest you in a dynamic player who started 40 games in the Pac 12 and had five interceptions and three forced fumbles? It doesn’t hurt that he has experience covering the slot, too. Probably better as a single-high safety given his size. This isn’t a player who should be checking tight ends too often. He’s 195 pounds. But his coverage skills should be a plus from the start. A legitimate, if undersized, free safety who fans will gravitate towards immediately. The Redskins just happen top need one of those.
Sidney Jones, Washington, CB
Would have been a top 20 selection if he hadn’t torn his Achilles tendon at Washington’s Pro Day. That’s terrible timing for a player who – while he says he’ll be back for the season – ultimately is going to have to serve a redshirt year. Remember how long it took DeAngelo Hall to return from his Achilles tears? Junior Galette? This is an issue. But when healthy, Jones is a wonderful player. He’s a little thin at 186 pounds, but an instinctive player who had nine career interceptions. Broke up 20 passes over his final two college seasons. If you’re willing to wait, you can get a steal. Players can recover from Achilles tears – but it’s a concern and the second round might be too soon to wait out a player when you want to get better now.
Marcus Maye, Florida, S
The safety position is deep in this year’s draft and Maye is probably the most balanced one remaining. He’s got good size (6-foot, 210 pounds). He’s a playmaker with three years as a starter at Florida under his belt. Had four interceptions and 17 pass break-ups during his career and he didn’t even get to finish. A broken arm cost him the final four games of his senior year. A physical tackler who has range so he can play free safety or box safety. The fact that Maye isn’t top-tier at one of those skillsets and that his position is deep has knocked him into the second round. But this is a good player who could contribute as a rookie and be a starter by next season. For the Redskins, adding a solid starter at free safety would be a win for a team that has been without one for years.
Jordan Willis, Kansas State, DE
If the Redskins wanted to add another piece to their defensive line, Willis is a legitimate option. He was productive at Kansas State with 21 sacks over his final two college seasons. He has the size (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) to hold up in the run game, though there’s some question if his pass rush skills will translate to the NFL. This is an “effort” player whose motor never really stops. Tested well at the Combine so he’s a much better athlete than was given credit for entering the draft process. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Willis was “good on tape, great at the Senior Bowl, great in his Combine workout and I thought his workout numbers were better than the athlete I saw on tape. There’s a lot to work with there, let’s put it that way.”
Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
Doesn’t have the natural football instincts some of the other safeties in this class do, but physically Melifonwu can match up with any of them. Redskins coaches would probably be happy to take a pure talent and mold him into a good player. He is 6-foot-4, 224 pounds and ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the Combine. Melifonwu won’t have any issues keeping up with tight ends or most running backs coming out of the backfield. Could even be used as a cornerback by teams the way his former UConn teammate Byron Jones has been with Dallas. Great range, a good tackler. Doesn’t always make the play in coverage, though, and that’s a concern, especially early in his career. He had four interceptions as a senior. Probably not as safe a pick as some of the other safeties on this list (Budda Baker, Marcus Maye), but those physical gifts give Melifonwu a higher ceiling.
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Another big, physical cornerback (6-foot-1, 211 pounds). He doesn’t have the name recognition of teammate Teez Tabor, but he was arguably the better player this year. A true “press” corner who can keep receivers from getting into their routes, but still enough of a playmaker that he had three interceptions. Some scouts question if he can stick at corner, but at least early in his career that’s where most teams will play Wilson. This wouldn’t be a bad backup plan if Redskins don’t want to pay Bashaud Breeland, who was a fourth-round pick in 2014 and is entering the final year of his rookie deal.
Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama
A safe pick at outside linebacker (6-foot-2, 253 pounds) who could be a fit in a 3-4 scheme. Not an elite athlete compared to other top picks at his position, but should still be able to drop into coverage. He’s a smart player and essentially majored in the sport as a five-year player at Alabama who was once a five-star recruit, but had to earn his way onto the field. A steady player who will play assignment football and should find a role in the NFL, not a star. Defenses need players like this to upgrade the margins of the roster. Anderson forced five fumbles over two years and can get to the quarterback with effort. Not a natural pass rusher, but can get home. Given their questions at outside linebacker, the Redskins would do well to grab Anderson at 49 and give themselves another option at that spot.
Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
Might be the best pure pass rusher at outside linebacker in the entire draft. Teams aren’t sure how good Williams will be against the run because of his thinner build (6-foot-3, 244 pounds) and it’s possible he’s just a specialist when it comes to getting to the quarterback. There’s value there, especially in the second or third round. You already drafted his college teammate, Jonathan Allen. There are concerns. Williams failed multiple drug tests at Alabama and was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. At some point his draft spot will outweigh those character concerns, especially if you’re getting a pure pass rusher. Williams is explosive off the edge and should be able to handle dropping into coverage with his foot speed and athleticism. The opposite of his college teammate Ryan Anderson. Williams is not a safe pick at all, but the Redskins might be tempted by that skillset.
Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
We all know the sordid details. Punched a girl in the face during his freshman year at Oklahoma and was eventually suspended a full season. There’s no indication Mixon is even on the Redskins’ draft board. But he is a gifted running back – arguably the third or fourth best available in this draft. You will take a public relations hit by drafting him. That’s just the way of the world and few will feel sorry for Mixon or the team taking him. A team will bite and Mixon could very well have a good career and stay out of trouble. But in the second or third round? You better be sure this is your guy and you have the locker room and coaching staff to keep Mixon continuing on the right path. At 49 or – more likely – 81, the temptation will be to grab a top talent.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
Arguably as good a player as Mixon, but without the major character concerns. An explosive player at 5-foot-10, 214 pounds who inexplicably wasn’t used as much as you’d think at Tennessee. Kamara has big-play ability and showed that time and again with the Volunteers. Never going to be a workhorse back and that’s a concern. Is this a niche player or someone who can still contribute on all three downs? In college he never carried the ball more than 18 times. But he’s so versatile he’ll have an impact. Pushed down the draft board because there are so many good backs available who have gone already and Dalvin Cook might be a higher priority for some teams. Might not be worth trading up for, but if Kamara is there at 49? The Redskins might have to pounce depending on what defensive options are available. A tough player who is still learning in pass protection.
Nate Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
Put the Kirk Cousins/Cleveland trade rumor from Thursday night aside. The Browns can both call the Redskins to pitch a trade because they missed out on their guy and Washington can be supremely uninterested. For what it’s worth, Jay Gruden insisted the Redskins didn’t even field calls on Cousins. That’s probably stretching things a little, but whatever. The facts are still the facts. Washington’s starting quarterback isn’t under contract beyond next year, keeping him on a franchise/transition tag would be profoundly expensive and at some point you have to have options.
Colt McCoy is in place as a bridge quarterback/backup. Nate Sudfeld was worth a flier as a sixth-round pick in 2016, but assuming anything about him is crazy. Enter Peterman. He picked up schemes at Tennessee, where he lost out to Josh Dobbs, and then Pitt, where he managed a ridiculously efficient offense and learned in a pro-style offense. The arm strength is a question. That’s why he’s not a first-round pick.
But Peterman’s got good size (6-foot-2, 226 pounds) and he was an accurate college passer. A constant comparison by coaches at the Senior Bowl who watched his practices? Kirk Cousins. A focused, detailed player who plays bigger than his physical tools and has natural timing. That might ultimately translate into an average starting NFL quarterback. I think folks in Washington know the value in that now.
Josh Jones, S, North Carolina State
One more safety option at either 49 or 81. Lesser known than the others on this list, but he was a productive player for N.C. State with a team-high 109 tackles and three interceptions as a junior. At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, he’s a big body who can play strong safety, but still has the speed to play free. A few too many missed tackles for some scouts so some of his aggressive instincts need to be coached out of him – or at least reigned in some. He’s dropped into the second day because of those issues, but physically the Redskins could get a safety versatile enough to hold up at both positions.
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