Redskins Draft Prep With the 2017 NFL Draft quickly approaching the majority of Mock drafts have the Skins selecting a DL or ILB. Redskins desperately need D-lineman based on the historically low-ranked defense from 2016. The first round is an opportunity for the Skins to select a Pro Bowler. As it stands at the moment, signing ILB Brown was huge acquisition, albeit to a one year deal. This signing gives the Skins some flexibility with their # 17 pick. Since the Senior Bowl & East West Shrine Games concluded, three early round prospects and a few later round prospects have grabbed my attention. Leading up to the draft I’ll discuss players that would match what, in my opinion is, what the Redskins need on both sides of the ball. Let’s get this show on the road with my
My B & G Defensive Prospects to watch!
*Connecticut S Obi Melifonwu 6’4 224lbs
Melifonwu is a polarizing prospect who in my opinion should be drafted more by his potential rather than his college stats. That may sound like a strange way to evaluate a college player since top level draft picks are expected to make an immediate impact. Although I don’t believe Melifonwu is ready to start his rookie season, I do see him on the field every third down and obvious passing situations. You see, the Redskins started the transformation of their defense by drafting SS/ILB Cravens in 2016. The NFL game is starting to emulate the college game offensively and more ultra athletic players are needed to defend the pass happy NFL. As it stands, Swearinger will play FS and Cravens will be starting at SS. The signing of ILB Brown will allow the Skins to have a coverage linebacker with speed covering tight ends, but a player like Melifonwu can be an extra DB allowing Cravens to do what he does best and rush the passer. Bottom line is this kid’s 4.4 sec 40 yard dash speed at his height is unheard of! I’ve seen a lot of prospects check off the height, weight, speed, strength boxes and bust. This kid knows how to play the game and has the potential to be a star at safety or even linebacker with added weight. If I’m the Redskins and Melifonwu is sitting there at pick #17, I’d pull the trigger knowing I’m getting a player who loves the game, but more importantly has the potential to dominate the NFL with the right coaching.
*Houston U OLB Tyus Bowser 6’3 247lbs
Bowser has been gaining steam lately and some believe he could be a first round pick (previously evaluated as a 2nd/3rd round pick). Picking Bowser at #17 seems a little high for me, but if rumors are true and the Skins are looking to acquire extra picks by trading back, in my mind Bowser would definitely be in play later in the first round. His 33 1/4 inch arms make him a terror when he bends the edge on his pass rush. One thing on tape that jumped out was his coverage ability. While playing for Houston he showed he excels in coverage and takes good angles. Working with a veteran like Ryan Kerrigan would really help a player like Bowser refine his pass rushing arsenal. With the NFL turning into a pass first league, an OLB like Bowser knows the nuances of passing schemes and just needs to refine his game. In the end, I’d feel more comfortable drafting him in the the later part of round one.
*Temple LB Hassan Reddick 6’1 247lbs.
Reddick tops my list as the most versatile player in this years draft. Like Melifonwu, the speedster from Temple also has seen his stock rise from a potential 2nd/3rd round choice, to a potential top #15 pick or better. At this point l, I think the only way he falls to #17 would be if 3 QB’s and 2 RB’s get drafted ahead of Reddick. Even then a team such as the Colts at #15 could draft Reddick. The fascinating thing about Reddick is he was a passing rushing OLB in college, but was a cornerback as a freshman. Now he is forced to switch to ILB based on his size, but his speed and athleticism make him a prototype NFL Rush ILB.
*Albany State DT Grover Stewart 6’4 325lb
Stewart definitely is the definition of a small school Stud who dominated his level of competition at Albany State. Grover is slotted to be drafted any where from rounds 4-6 per most scouts. Not only did Grover play defense he also saw time at right tackle and was often used as a swing tackle. He is probably a more natural 4-3 DT,but showed he can effectively take on double teams and perhaps be the NT the Skins have been searching for. Grover is still very raw and needs to work on his technique and dedicate more time in the weight room. However in my opinion he is definitely worth a 4th round investment.
*Ole Miss U DT DJ Jones 6’1 320lbs
Jones athleticism make him a sure fire on the radar defensive lineman for the Redskins. His motor is what separates him from other players NT’s in this draft. He projects as a one gap nose tackle who can be disruptive. I love that Jones is a weight room junky and put up 25 reps of 225 lbs at the NFL Combine. Although strength isn’t always a good measuring stick to succeed in the Pros, playing the nose makes superior strength imperative otherwise they just get washed out in the run game. I watched tape on Jones and he almost always is taking on double teams and doesn’t get driven back often. This is not a sexy pick, but ever since the Skins switched to the 3-4 defense they have not invested in a true nose tackle. I think Jones can be the hole plugger that we need and the 4th/5th round seems like a prime landing spot for the Redskins in the draft if he’s available. There is no doubt that this draft has talent, but the defensive side of the ball is where the real talent lies. Although the Redskins need to consider an early round running back, that position has value in rounds 2-5. Also this class is loaded with tight ends. The Skins need to consider drafting one based on Reed & Paul’s injury history.
In the next installment of the Burgundy & Gold Report I’ll share my B &G Offensive Prospects To Watch. HTTR!!! Written By Adam K Aniba