With the busy portion of the free agent signing period over, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2016 NFL Draft and, specifically, holes Redskins GM Scot McCloughan still must fill. (And, yes, there are many.) Over the next few weeks, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will examine the prospects who could be a fit in Washington.
Depth chart: Bashaud Breeland, Chris Culliver, Quinton Dunbar, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Jeremy Harris, Dashaun Phillips and Al Louis-Jean.
Current situation: A quick glance at the cornerback depth chart underscores the team’s pressing need at this position. Breeland, after a breakout sophomore campaign, is a bona fide starter. After that, however, there are many questions.
Culliver is on the mend after tearing his ACL and MCL in late November. The team hopes he’ll be ready for Week 1. The team expects Dunbar, a wide-receiver-turned-corner, to take a big step this offseason, his first full offseason as an NFL defensive back. Blackmon might get some reps at safety, another area of immediate need. Ditto for Everett, who is also a standout special teamer.
Harris, Phillips and Louis-Jean? Who knows? Louis-Jean is the most experienced of the trio (nine career games) but he didn’t even play last season.
So, yeah, cornerback is an area that General Manager Scot McCloughan needs to shore up. The only question, it seems, is whether he'll target a surefire starter in the first round or a seek to uncover a gem in the mid-to-late rounds.
Either way, it would be surprising if this year’s haul didn’t include a corner (or two) following a season in which Washington’s pass defense ranked 21st or worse in yards permitted, yards per attempt allowed, passing touchdowns yielded and interceptions.
- Eli Apple, Ohio State
Listed at 6 foot 1, 199-pounds, Apple possesses good size, length and speed and projects as a potential No. 1 corner. In two years as a starter, he produced a combined 86 tackles, four interceptions and defended 17 passes. Mock drafts have him going anywhere from 13th overall to 25th.
- Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
Kendall is the fourth Fuller brother to suit up for the Hokies. But after strong freshman and sophomore campaigns in Blacksburg, he suited up for only three games in 2015 because of a meniscus injury that required season-ending surgery. Good thing for him teams have outstanding tape from 2013 and 2014 to evaluate. Listed at 5 foot 11, 187-pounds, Fuller racked up eight interceptions and defended 24 passes his first two seasons at Tech. Projected as a second rounder.
- Jonathan Jones, Auburn
At 5 foot 9, 186-pounds, Jones lacks the size that McCloughan prefers in his corners but he does possess good speed (high school sprinter and hurdles champion) and hands. He enjoyed a breakout season as a junior in 2014, snagging six interceptions and defending nine passes. As a senior had one pick and 13 passes defended. The Redskins reportedly met with Jones at his pro day. Projects as a 4th-6th round pick.