The NFL Draft is just over two weeks away and I’ll continue researching the prospects throughout the lead-up to the draft. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.
What they’re saying:
Strengths: Keeps busy and works to secure blocks in run game. Good foot quickness into pass set. Consistently in ready position with good hand readiness in pass sets. Uses good hand placement and has natural timing with hands. Converted defensive tackle who will continue to improve in the NFL with more experience at center. Displays good snap-to-step quickness.
Weaknesses: High-cut with tapered lower body, lacking power in legs. Pops straight up in pass rush. Susceptible to bull rush. Had issues handling the edge speed of Clemson's Vic Beasley in 2014 and his days of playing tackle are likely over. Relies on lean rather than hip thrust to generate power. Taught to absorb and control as a pass protector and needs to establish more pop in punch.
—Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
How he fits the Redskins: Kory Lichtensteiger was at worst the Redskins second-best offensive lineman last year and given how Trent Williams struggled from time to time with injuries he was arguably the most consistent. But the team is looking to move to more of a power rushing attack and may be looking for someone with more heft to replace the 6-2, 296-lb Lichtensteiger.
Although they are in no hurry to push Lichtensteiger out if the right player is there in this year’s draft they could jump. And Cameron Erving could be the right player. He’s agile enough to have played left tackle for the Seminoles, although he is better in a phone booth than in space. At 6-5, 313 he has excellent size for a center and if they want him to add a few pounds his frame could handle it.
Potential issues: If the Redskins do have an eye on Erving availability could be an issue. Erving certainly doesn’t justify the No. 5 pick; in fact, he would be a reach anywhere in the top half of the first round. But mock drafts have him going as early as 18th to the Chiefs so he may be out of the Redskins’ reach in the second round.
His technique needs some refinement but there is nothing wrong there that some time under the tutelage of Bill Callahan can’t repair. He came to Florida State as a defensive lineman and has played all over on the line so it could take some time to clean up his fundamentals.
Bottom line: The good thing about the Redskins’ center situation is that there is no great urgency to get it fixed. Lichtensteiger just turned 30 and is under contract for three more years at healthy but reasonable cap numbers of just over $4 million per year. So if things don’t work out in regards to getting a long-term answer at the position this year it’s not a disaster. Lichtensteiger is smart enough to use positioning and leverage to get by in a power scheme for the time being.
So, if Erving drops to the second round and he’s the best available player when the Redskins draft, they take him. If things don’t fall that way they don’t have to reach or trade up to get an answer in the middle of the line.
In his own words:
Erving on his frequent position switches:
“Honestly when I made the switch a lot of people asked me how I felt about it in terms of the NFL. That wasn’t on my mind. I mean, I’ve always been the type of person that does what’s best for the team. When I moved from defense (after freshman season) that was what was best for the team. And that’s how I did. As far as moving from tackle to center it’s what the team needed at the time. So I did it. “
Previously in Draft Countdown:
- Connecticut DB Byron Jones
- Northern Iowa RB David Johnson
- Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon
- Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson
- Penn State S Adrian Amos
- Duke G Laken Tomlinson
- LSU OT La’el Collins
- Clemson Edge Vic Beasley
- Alabama S Landon Collins
- West Virginia WR Kevin White
- Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr.
- Oklahoma NT Jordan Phillips
- Utah CB Eric Rowe
- Nebraska DE Randy Gregory
- Virginia S Anthony Harris
- Florida State G Tre Jackson
- Syracuse S Durell Eskridge
- Stanford OT Andrus Peat
- Ole Miss S Cody Prewitt
- USC DT Leonard Williams