The Redskins season ended Sunday - thanks, Aaron Rodgers - which means time to look ahead whether ready or not. Free agency comes first and then the draft. Before all of that, we ponder Washington's top needs.
Here's the thing: It's certainly not a short list.
Assuming Kirk Cousins stays, the 2016 Redskins are set at the following positions: Quarterback, tight end, outside linebacker. Probably offensive tackle.
Yes, the needs list is longer. Based on some early homework, Washington should find some help with one of these key spots with the 21st overall pick, but not all.
Back to the needs. The improved defensive line could lose more than half its members and needs some youth regardless. Even if potential salary cap casualties DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon stick, the Redskins need more size at receiver.
Inside linebackers Keenan Robinson and Mason Foster are free agents. Cornerback could be a strength if Chris Culliver returns sooner than later from a season-ending knee injury, but depth was dicey most of the season.
Jay Gruden may think DeAngelo Hall is one of the starters at safety next season, but he's no long-term answer. Alfred Morris probably won't return. That doesn't automatically mean Matt Jones gets the running back job. Meanwhile, upgrading the interior of the offensive line isn't a secondary issue.
Based on the 2016 class and general draft positional value, not everyone of these issues is a likely consideration in the first round.
Now, it's doubtful the Redskins would target a running back in round one, though Alabama's Derrick Henry certainly is the kind of physical player general manager Scot McCloughan prefers. Based on early consensus, the first round likely concludes without a center, guard or safety selected (tight end as well). Clemson safety Jayron Kearse, a 6-foot-4 thumper, could make a move during workouts. Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland could land in the top 15, but might be the only player at his position off the board in the first.
From a draft depth standpoint, the Redskins should be good to go with defensive linemen, wide receivers and corners.
Arguably 14 defensive lineman are realistic possibilities among the top 32 picks. Alabama's A'Shawn Robinson might be moving out of Washington's range, but his teammate, defensive tackle Jarran Reed is no mere consolation prize. Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings provides legitimate pass rush up the middle and Ole Miss's Robert Nkemdiche brings top-5 talent, but off-the-field questions. Florida's Jonathan Bullard and UCLA's Kenny Clark are two others likely available in the second half of the first round.
By the time April 28 comes around, the date of the first round, we'll know if the Redskins kept Terrance Knighton and Kedric Golston; if they added other pieces in free agency; perhaps whether Jason Hatcher retired and maybe whether McCloughan believes more help is needed. Between the various needs and draft options, DL tops the odds list of most likely position selected at 21.
If the Redskins desire size at receiver, Ohio State's Michael Thomas (6-foot-3) and TCU's Josh Doctson (6-foot-2) are projected in the 15-30 range. Should they need a DeSean Jackson replacement, Baylor speedster Corey Coleman fits the bill as much as anyone can.
As for corners, Virginia Tech's Kendall Fuller and Ohio State's Eli Apple have good size. If LSU's Tre'Davious White turns pro, six corners could go in the first round.
Because the Redskins have so many needs, McCloughan can easily go with a best player available approach and still provide immediate help. At least at three positions, he should plenty of options at 21.