Lately the big name that keeps popping up in connection to Washington is former LSU RB Derrius Guice. Guice recently visited Redskins Park, which is no indication that he would be their pick. Teams routinely request visits with as many Draft prospects as possible, prior to the Draft. Going on Senior VP Doug Williams words alone, a running back seems to be very high on their board. When discussing the Redskins options at running back, the usual names arise; Saquan Barkley, Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones and Rashaad Penny. These backs are all projected to go in the Draft’s Top 60-80 picks, with the first three listed as possible first rounders. The fact is, this Draft has talent beyond the first two rounds and the running back pool is deep in 2018! The B&G Report put together 5 Prospects that have been intensely studied and dissected. I’m a believer that if the Redskins have two better non-running back prospects fall to their picks in rounds 1 and 2, they’ll find a very good back in Rounds 3-5. Without a further ado let’s get to it!
Kerryon Johnson Auburn
Royce Freeman Oregon
John Kelly Tennessee
The former Volunteer back is a bit of enigma. At 5’9 210 he looks the part and seeks out contact, rather than avoiding it. He’s extremely raw, but his sideline to sideline speed is impressive. As a pass catcher he has some ability as well. Now let’s get to the drawbacks, that have some scouts labeling him as a potential bust. His Pass Pro skill set is nonexistent and Tennessee really didn’t ask him to do it. Although I like his lateral quickness, his jump cut move is weak. Everybody is looking for the next Alvin Karma and where better to look then his former team right? Well that would be a huge mistake! Kelly finished 2017 with 1077 yards from scrimmage (299 receiving), but his yards per carry took a dramatic dip in 2017 with 4.1 YPC Down from 2016 in which he had a 6.4 YPC average. Personally I want to see a back get better every year, but leaving with another year of eligibility was a mistake in my opinion. Word is financial/family stability was the reason for Kelly’s early declaration to the NFL Draft as a Junior. Usually underclassman request an NFL Draft projection, which predicts the player as a 1st-2nd round prospect or beyond. Well scouting reports leaked out that Kelly wasn’t even viewed as a 4th Round prospect. I do like Kelly’s upside as a developmental back that could be stashed on the Practice Squad, but a fringe 4th round prospect he is not. If he some how slips to the late 5th round, the Skins could consider him. I don’t envision the Redskins waiting that long though.
Jaylen Samuels NC State
Samuels is considered a versatile running back, who can be used in a variety of ways in the right offensive scheme. At 5’11 223 he has the look of a bell cow back, but his numbers didn’t always tell that story. The opportunity to display his skill set was wasted at the Senior Bowl unfortunately, when Senior Bowl Coaches and staff decided to work Samuels with the Tight End group. This made absolutely no sense, considering he was even small for an H-Back!Samuels displays good hands for a running back, but will have to show more on the next level for coaches to trust him. At times he chest catches balls, which will not work on the next level consistently. The former Wolfpack back was used more of a changeup back, as well as NC State’s on and off again Special Teams Returner.
His Combine numbers were nothing to write home about, but I really liked the instincts he displayed in College and during workouts. Coaches and teammates label him as intelligent leader, who’s just scratching the surface of his talent. As far as his possible role, if Washington decides to draft him? Well Alex Smith had a similar looking back in KC with Kareem Hunt and I can’t ignore the similarities in their playing style. Both are ready made for the NFL passing game as dual threat backs, in Samuels’s case he actually runs crisper routes and gets in and out of breaks quicker than Hunt. Add in his 4.54 second Forty time and I could envision Samuels fitting nicely in Jay’s scheme. The key for Samuels will be his blitz pick up/pass blocking. Also his vision and lack of a jump cut move hurt his stock. These are deficiencies, that have inevitably dropped him on some teams boards in my opinion. As it stands Samuels is viewed as a 4th-Early 5th Round prospect. If the Redskins hold off on running back until the 4th Round, they could make Samuels their next running back.
Kalen Ballage Arizona State
The Redskins seem prime to take a running back in the Top 50, so all this analysis could be a moot point. The thing about the NFL Draft compared to other Pro League Drafts, the NFL is the most unpredictable and anything could happen! Most notably, how often teams trade up and trade down in the NFL Draft. The Bears showed that unpredictability in the 2017 Draft, when they traded up to select QB Mitch Trubisky in the top of the Draft, even though they signed Mike Glennon to a $13 million dollar a year contract that same offseason. The point is knowing your team needs is one thing, but other teams could shake up the Draft leaving Blue Chip Prospects hanging around in the 2nd-3rd Rounds. It’s fine and dandy if Doug Williams and Co want to Draft a running back early, but a few early round trades could change their plans in hurry. I like the running back depth in this Draft and when it comes to best player available and needs, this Redskins team could go in any direction! Stay tuned for the next B&G Report Draft Prospect Evaluation and which prospects could hear their name announced as the Redskins next Draft pick!
Stay Tuned for more Draft Prospect Evaluations and who could have their names called to don the Burgundy & Gold!