Welcome back to The Burgundy and Gold Report. With the East-West Shrine game in the books we turn our attention to the highly anticipated Senior Bowl. Washington fans will have a close eye on the quarterback group in particular. Alex Smith's 2019 season is in serious doubt as is his career. The importance of Washington finding their quarterback of the future will be paramount to their short and long term success. They'll also need to have a close eye on potential positions of weakness as well as vacancies created by free agency, most notably OLB Preston Smith & WR Jamison Crowder who could be playing elsewhere in 2019.
Depending on who you talk to, they'll bring up the "Perfect Redskins fit" from the Senior Bowl prospects. Although the actual game will help some of the lesser know prospects, this is just the beginning of the offseason evaluation process.
Let's take a look at 7 Skins Prospects to Watch
#1- Drew Lock 6-3 223 Missouri University (1st Round Draft Projection)
Missouri QB Drew Lock is the consensus #1 quarterback per scouts at the Senior Bowl. The buzz this week has been just how impressive Lock has looked in drills as well as the media pressers. His nine inch measured hand size has been the only real knock on the prospect this week.
According to scouts, Lock's stock is on the rise and his strong arm have GM's attention. The Missouri quarterback admitted that he needs time to develop his footwork. Lock's completion percentage dropped significantly when facing the rush, which lead some to believe he'll need a few seasons to adjust to the speed of the NFL. Some may have Grier ahead of Lock on their overall board, but that's just crazy. Lock seems like a sure top 20 selection in the upcoming draft and the type of strong armed signal caller Jay Gruden covets.
For more on Lock and some of the other Senior Bowl quarterbacks check out Draft Edition: A Sneak Peak at the '19 QB Class and Potential Fits In Washington n blog archives
Reports from the Senior Bowl practices continuously mention two receivers, Ohio State Terry McLaurin & South Carolina University Debo Samuel, who've stood out from the rest. Both posess the traits to be effective NFL pass catchers and help the Redskins stagnant passing game. Both prospects will get their opportunities to showcase their talent with fellow North teammate Drew Lock throwing them darts.
#2-Terry McLaurin 6-0 205 OSU (Late 2nd-4th Round Draft Projection)
McLaurin had the benefit of playing with projected top 10 signal caller Dwayne Haskins, but bailed his QB out of plenty of ill advised throws. Although the Ohio State receiver's four year production isn't impressive (1251 rec yards 19 TD's) he showed that he could have a Ted Ginn-like impact at the next level as a home run threat. Scouts reported that McLaurin is the fastest route runner during Senior Bowl practices. They went onto state that he should run the forty in the low 4.4 second range and could be a top 100 prospect after this weekend. Although McLaurin's stock could be affected by his minimal four year production, he was an offensive captain and leader of the Buckeye receiving core. i
The Ohio State receiver has the versatility to play on the outside or in the a slot, on the next level. A potential replacement for free agent to-be Jamison Crowder isn't out of the question and could bring leadership to a group that has none.
*Potential deep threat in the NFL
*Runs crisp routes and gets in & out of breaks with ease
*Excels in the open field and displays and an effective cross-over move
*Good burst and body control
*Coveted on special teams as coverage gunner
#3-WR Debo Samuel 6-0 210 USC (Late 1st-2nd Round Draft Projection)
As for the former S. Carolina University receiver Debo Samuel, he was cut in the mold of former Redskins WR Pierre Garçon. Similar to the former Redskin receiver Samuel plays with a high motor and strives to improve as an overall prospect. Samuel finished the 2018 season with 62 rec for 882 yards and 11 TD's. While those numbers don't scream franchise receiver, Samuel has an opportunity to be a better prospect on the next level.
Samuel brings versatility as a special teams returner and willing return coverage gunner. He had one of the best KR averages in the SEC in '17 with 26.9 yards per return. On the opening kickoff of the 2017 season versus NC State, Debo returned the game's opening kickoff 97 yards for the touchdown. He may not be one of the fastest wide receivers in the class, but he's one of the shiftiest.
When Samuel was asked what he viewed as something he needed to work on, he mentioned his willingness to block. It was an interesting comment because the tape shows him as an aggressive downfield blocker in the run game. It also goes to the offensive concepts that S.Carolina employs, which reportedly frustrated Samuel behind the scenes. Samuel is the type of player that makes his teammates tougher and willing to go to battle with him.
Similar to McLaurin, Samuel also brings strong leadership and experience. The Redskins may have a few receivers with upside, but Samuel would force his way onto the field with his grit, tenacity and ability. Samuel could be one of the Senior Bowl's fastest risers and would be a steal for the Redskins if available in the 2nd round.
*Shows ability to beat jams at the line
*Very strong hands
*Advanced understanding of route concepts
*An asset in the run game as a blocker
*Creates separation with minimal effort
*Can be trusted with 50/50 balls
*Plays with a mean streak and limitless motor.
The Tight Ends
The current Redskins depth chart at tight end is concerning with Reed's injury history and Davis's age. The Skins need to select a tight end in the upcoming draft and attempt to move on from their current top two tight ends along with their $12 million+ cap hit in 2019. Gruden designs his offensive around the tight end and often passes out of two tight end sets. Trevon Wesco & Dax Raymond offer tremendous upside as potential mid-round options for Washington.
#4-Trevon Wesco 6-30 270 WVU (4th round-UDFA Draft Projection)
Wesco is another West Virginia product trying to make a name for himself at the Senior Bowl. He stunned observers during the weigh-in session and impressed scouts with how well he carriers his 270 pound frame. Having the Mountaineer in the run game is almost like having an extra lineman, similar to a Jumbo set formation, but Wesco can gain ground in a hurry and be tough to defend in the open field.
The limited college production is surely what has put Wesco in the mid-late round discussion. Wesco played in 10 games as a senior in '18 registering only 366 receiving yards and 1 TD. His previous two years included only 2 games played for 6 yards receiving. Although his production was limited as a collegiate athlete, Wesco projects as a TE2 and short yardage fullback on the next level. The former Mountaineer's measurables will put him in the thick of things for teams looking to add an effective blocking tight end. Wesco would be an ideal selection for Washington in round 5, if available.
*Impressive size/athleticism combination for the position
*Difficult to bring down in the open field
*Fearless open field blocker
*Versatile as a Tight End/FB
*Aggressive when the ball is in the air and utilizes strong hands
*Shows a mean streak
#5-Dax Raymond 6-5 250 Utah State (4th-6th Round Draft Projection)
Although Raymond's two year production is pedestrian by NFL standards for a receiving tight end (72 rec 801 yards and 3 TD's), Raymond is a Senior Bowl prospect who offers versatility as an H-Back and Tight End. The former Utah State pass catcher has the size & speed to instantly compete with current Redskins' tight ends Vernon Davis & Jeremy Sprinkle. Ideally, Davis would be a cap casualty, moving Sprinkle to TE2 until Raymond gains experience and refines his technique as a route runner.
Raymond would instantly become the best blocking tight end on the Redskins roster. He would also offer another receiving option in the passing game. Raymond may not be proficient in all route tree concepts, but his tape showed a flawless Seam Route versus Michigan State when he was motioned out as a reciver. Although still raw, Raymond can offer a downfield threat in the passing game. Investing a 5th round selection on the Utah State tight end would end up being beneficial to the Redskins run and pass game.
*Excellent after the catch
*Can lay the wood as a run blocker
*Always looking for the best angle on Crack-back Blocks
*Runs an effective Comeback Route
*Student of the game
*Prototypical Speed, Height and Weight
The Pass Rushers
Edge Rushers Oshane Ximines & Montez Sweat offer polar opposite pass rush styles. Ximeines offers speed & athleticism, while Sweat offers power & technique. Both styles can be effective on the next level. The Senior Bowl will be just the start for evaluators because depending on how these pass rushers test at the combine, it could make or break their stock. Both edge rushers should hear their name called in the top 50 in this years draft.
#6-Oshane Ximines 6-30 247 ODU (Early 2nd-4th round Draft Projection)
During Senior Bowl practices Ximines launches out of a 3-Point or 2-Point stance with urgency, impressing onlookers. His explosiveness during one-on-ones have reportedly pleased scouts and expectations have risen for the Old Dominion star pass rusher. Ximines' ability to be scheme versatile on the next level will help his stock and makes him a likely every down edge rusher.
The Old Dominion pass rusher was the unquestioned leader of the locker room and that's exactly what the Redskins lack. Ximines' small school background might scare some fans, but small school, pass rush specialists, such as Khali Mack have shown that talent is talent. Ximines four year production peeked NFL evaluators interest with his 176 tackles, 51 for a loss 32.5 sacks and 1 int. The 11 forced fumbles over the last three years also helped put him on the scouting community radar.
Ximines is a player on the rise and could see his stock soar with a good Senior Bowl performance. At #15, selecting the Old Dominion pass rusher could be a to high, but a round 1 trade back shouldn't be out of the question to maximize his value. Ximines is on the The Burgundy and Gold Small School Prospect to Watch List, so keep a close eye on Ximines as the draft process plays out.
*Diagnoses formations and reacts without hesitation
*A technician with violent hands
*Versatile as a pass rusher and run stopper with room to grow
*Has quickness to get by NFL tackles
*Long arms which helps his leverage when being blocked
*Will not get washed out in the run game
*Displays a relentless motor
*Shows the ability to break up passes in coverage when asked
#7-Montez Sweat 6-60 245 Miss State (1st-3rd Round draft Projection)
Sweat has the type of nasty streak that teams covet. The S.Carolina edge rusher was a dominant two year starter, registering 97 tackles 29.5 tackles for a loss and 21.5 sacks. Sweat is NFL ready and played both inside and outside on the line. Many experts believe Sweat could be a top 25 draft selection if he has a good game this weekend and continues to show development at the combine. As far as Washington is concerned, #15 overall might be ideal for Sweat, but if his arrow continues to point upward, Sweat could work his way into the discussion and go even higher.
*Every down lineman who never has to be taken off the field
*Excellent at shedding blocksStrong at the point of attack and as a finisher
*Good combination of explosion and balance off the line as a pass rusher
*Offers the mental & physical toughness to shine at the next level
*Can be effective on stunts and blitz packages
*Consistent pocket pusher and has to be accounted for at all times
*Strong hands with an impressive counter move
The Burgundy and Gold Report Top Prospects to Watch
Debo Samuel and Oshane Ximines could see their value dramatically increase this weekend and The Burgundy Gold Report will continue to monitor the off-season progress leading up to the draft.
Stay tuned for The Senior Bowl Wrap up as "The Burgundy and Gold Boots on the Ground Tour" continues with David Hill attending the meet and greet portion of the event today and the game on Saturday. Don't forget to Follow @TheBandGreport @David_Hill99