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 prospects that could be a fit in Washington.
Depth chart: DeAngelo Hall, David Bruton Jr., Duke Ihenacho and Kyshoen Jarrett.
Current situation: There are more questions at safety than perhaps any other position on the Redskins’ roster at the moment.
Hall switched from corner to safety late last season and figures to play a big role in 2016. Bruton, the former Bronco, is a 28-year-old special teams ace who is expected to compete for a starting job. Meanwhile, Ihenacho, who has played just 13 snaps the past two seasons due to injury, also figures to be in the mix. It should also be noted that Bruton (broken leg) and Ihenacho (wrist) are coming off injuries.
And then there’s Jarrett. He flashed so much potential as a rookie, but his status is very much in question due to a shoulder/nerve injury he suffered in the regular season finale.
There’s always a chance that the Redskins will re-sign Dashon Goldson, but give his age (32 in September) and deteriorating play he’s not a long-term solution.
At the owners meetings last month, Coach Jay Gruden said he’s “very concerned” about safety and described the current depth at the position as “a little challenging right now.” Gruden added that cornerbacks Will Blackmon and Deshazor Everett will get some reps at safety during OTAs as the team sorts through its options.
To me, all signs point to General Manager Scot McCloughan addressing selecting at least one safety in the draft, where he’ll plenty of quality prospects from which to choose.
Three prospect possibilities:
- Keanu Neal, Florida
Listed at 6 foot, 211-pounds, NFL.com says he’s got “an athletic frame with NFL size.” Scouts also note his athleticism and knack for seeking—and making—punishing hits. Neal totaled 129 tackles and four interceptions the past two seasons. Could as early as the first round.
- Sean Davis, Maryland
Listed at 6 foot 1, 201-pounds, Davis is lauded by scouts as an intimidating hitter who also possesses good athleticism and length. A Washington native, he idolized Sean Taylor. Played corner last season and finished with 88 tackles, three interceptions and five forced fumbles. Davis is scheduled to attend the Redskins’ local pro day next week, a source told CSN’s Dan Martin. Projects as a mid to late round selection.
- Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee State
In four college seasons, Byard (5 foot 11, 216-pounds) averaged 79.5 tackles and totaled 19 interceptions to go along with 15 pass breakups. Projects as a strong safety who could be had in the mid to late rounds. The Redskins have also reportedly shown interest in Michael Caputo (Wisconsin) and Elijah Shumate (Notre Dame).