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Need to Know: Who is the favorite to be the Redskins' top draft pick?

Need to Know: Who is the favorite to be the Redskins' top draft pick?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 6, 20 days before the NFL draft.  

Setting the odds on the No. 1 pick

We’re a little less than three weeks away from the first round of the draft.

The Redskins’ draft board is nearly set so let’s break out the $100 in imaginary casino chips and see who is the favorite to be the first player off the board for the Redskins. 

We are going to assume here that the Redskins do not trade up or down and they stay with pick No. 13. 

DL Da’Ron Payne, $35 — It’s too early to have a strong favorite here. I’m going with Payne because I think that the Redskins want a lineman who can play nose tackle and still have impact in nickel situations. And they can fill their need without reaching; the No. 13 spot is just about right for the 6-2, 311-pound Payne. 

DL Vita Vea, $25 — Maybe my belief that the Redskins will take a D-lineman in the first round for the second straight year after going 20 years without taking one is too strong. But Vea certainly would be a solid value at No. 13. Nobody doubts his ability to clog up the middle. The questions about him surround his ability to be effective on the field on second and third downs. He was effective rushing the passer at University of Washington, but will that translate to the NFL?

LB Roquan Smith $15 — After thinking for a long time that he’s a guaranteed top-10 pick, I’m starting to get the feeling that he will be there at No. 13. Some teams will talk themselves out of taking him due to his size. Would the Redskins take him even though they just re-signed Zach Brown and Mason Foster? It is possible, but I have my doubts.

S Derwin James, $10 — Although he clearly is a top-10 talent, safeties aren't valued as high as some other positions. That could cause a slide to No. 13. The Redskins are set at safety with D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson, although the latter’s injury issues combined with the Florida State product’s special talent could make them opt for James if he falls back that far. 

CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, $10 — I’m not so sure that I’d take him this high but I’ve seen Tyrann Mathieu comparisons and that makes him very intriguing. The Redskins would have to think very hard about taking him if he’s there. 

RB Derrius Guice, $5 — Due to the Redskins’ needs and the way the draft shapes up, the only offensive player on the board here is a long shot. He’s a good running back and I think he’d be a good fit but in a draft that is deep in running backs, I don’t see where it makes sense that early to take one who is only marginally better than others. But given the attention the Redskins have given to him, including a pre-pro day dinner with a contingent that included Bruce Allen, you can't completely rule him out. 

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 10
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 112
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 156

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Need to Know: Setting the final odds on the Redskins first-round draft pick

Need to Know: Setting the final odds on the Redskins first-round draft pick

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 23, three days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Setting the odds on the Redskins’ top pick

We have just three days left until the draft and it’s time to make the final predictions. For the last time before this draft, we’re going to break out the $100 in imaginary poker chips and see who is the favorite to be the Redskins’ top pick. 

Before we get started, all of these odds are set with the Redskins staying at No. 13. With a separate stack of chips, I’ll put $20 on them trading down, $80 on them staying put. There just isn’t an obvious team to deal with or a player that would be on the board to make a team want to move up. 

DT Vita Vea, $30—I would have this a little higher but I’m becoming less confident that he’ll be on the board when the Redskins draft at 13. Normally nose tackle isn’t a high-value position but this is an odd draft and Vea is a freakish talent. He has to get past the Raiders picking tenth and the Dolphins at No. 11 and I’m not sure they will. 

S Derwin James, $20—If Vea is gone then there is a good chance that James will be there at 13, assuming that the four quarterbacks everybody thinks will go in the top 12 are indeed selected. Although the Redskins have D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson at safety, the versatile James could find snaps all over the field, as a third safety to cover tight ends and perhaps even at slot corner. 

DT Da’Ron Payne, $15—It’s starting to look like he’ll be a reach at 13; his real value may more in the late teens or early twenties. But the analysts’ consensus doesn’t necessarily match up with what the Redskins think. If they believe that Jim Tomsula can coach some pass rushing ability out of him, they could well have him graded high enough to go ahead and fill the need with the first-round pick. 

LB Roquan Smith, $10—His size may concern enough teams to leave him on the board until the Redskins are on the clock. I’m not sure that the Redskins would take him because the just re-signed Mason Foster and Zach Brown. But he is fast, hard hitting, and he may be too good to pass up. 

DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, $10—Many project him to be a slot corner in the NFL. A few years ago, many teams would hesitate to take a nickel corner in the first round. But today, with teams lining up with three or more wide receivers on 63 percent of the snaps a slot corner is much more than a role player. Add Fitzpatrick’s ability to move back to safety and you have a player the Redskins should covet if he drops to 13. 

CB Denzel Ward, $10—I don’t give much of a chance of being on the board when the Redskins pick but stranger things have happened. He would be a steal at 13.

RB Derrius Guice, $5—I don’t think that this will happen, but I can’t look at all of the attention the Redskins have given to him and believe that there is a zero chance of them taking a running back this high in an RB-rich draft.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 18
—OTAs start (5/22) 29
—Training camp starts (7/26) 94

The Redskins last played a game 113 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 139 days. 

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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