Let’s put down the Kyler Murray/Dwayne Haskins/general quarterback talk for a moment – and just a moment – to focus on other needs for the Redskins.
Namely, what areas could Washington consider in the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft?
Actually, we’ve done that exercise. Depending on what transpires in free agency and if any salary cap surprises are forthcoming, the list includes wide receiver, guard, edge rusher, inside linebacker, safety and, yes, a signal caller.
What becomes interesting is the game of supply vs. demand.
Take for example the receivers. The need is evident.
Jamison Crowder enters free agency coming off an injury-plagued 29-catch season. The underwhelming Josh Doctson is somehow heading to a fourth NFL campaign. Speed threat Paul Richardson, last off-season’s significant addition, landed on injured reserve halfway through the year. We can talk ourselves into 2018 rookies Trey Quinn, Cams Sims, and Darvin Kidsy, but they remain unproven options.
Examining this lot is why some draft analysts send a receiver to Washington in their mock drafts. The logic exists. Not only does the Redskins need help, but the first target likely does not off the board any earlier than the 15th overall selection owned by Washington.
Want blinding speed and slot replacement for Crowder? Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown is the runaway option -- or at least he was before undergoing foot surgery last month for a LisFranc injury, ESPN reported Monday.
Prefer a power forward type for those plays in traffic? Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf, a hulking 6-foot-4 target, may emerge as the top-rated receiver if the medical folk are cool with his progress following a neck injury that ended his final season with the Rebels.
For the highlight tape faction, Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry should be a familiar name after hauling in one absurd catch after another. A.J. Brown, Metcalf’s teammate at Ole Miss, NC State’s Kelvin Harmon, Ohio State’s Parris Campbell, South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, and Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside also received first-round love early in the mock draft season.
Only Marquise Brown and Metcalf are likely candidates at 15 based on consensus, but injuries cloud their upside. If they suit game-planning desires – and are genuinely among the best-player-available candidates on Washington’s big board, rock on. Otherwise, this is where the idea of quality vs. quantity kicks in.
ESPN’s current draft prospect rankings include eight receivers among the top 52 overall prospects and 14 receivers within the top 100. CBS offers a similar breakdown: also eight receivers among the top 52 overall prospects and 15 named within the top 103.
As a reminder, the Redskins currently have picks 15, 46 and 77 plus a compensatory third-round pick from Kirk Cousins signing with the Vikings. Washington shouldn’t wait on receiver just cause, but options exist on Day 2 if it does.
Also, consider numerous teams have pass-catching concerns. The Browns, Ravens, Raiders, Packers, Bills and Broncos are among the teams with WR needs selecting between Washington's first and second-round picks.
The collection of defensive end/edge rushers is even more robust throughout the top 100, particularly at the top. Based on the latest NBCS Sports Washington mock draft, five options are off the board thru 15 picks.
Outside linebacker is a potential high need should starter Preston Smith not return – minimal talks have gone created no movement, a source tells NBC Sports Washington. Considering the premium put on getting after the passer, the Redskins should rush to add help even if they believe Ryan Anderson replaces Smith in the starting lineup. Should they wait, options exist in rounds two and three.
Now consider inside linebacker. The Redskins seem likely to jettison Zach Brown this off-season, leaving Mason Foster and a group of young players, all of whom were selected with Day 3 picks. If Washington wants help, it better bounce. ESPN ranks four ILB among the top 100 including LSU’s Devin White (11) and Michigan’s Devin Bush (18).
The Redskins also have a clear need for interior offensive linemen after issues attributed to injuries and a shortage of talent over the last two seasons.
Similar to receiver waiting works considering an ample supply of Day 2 candidates including Mississippi State’s Elgton Jenkins, Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom, and Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy.
However, there’s a clear breakout option in Oklahoma’s Cody Ford. The 338-pounder mauler consistently grades out as a Day 1 selection with a draft range starting in the middle of round one. Ford, who played tackle at OU would address the massive hole at left guard and offer protection should injuries befall left tackle Trent Williams.
Guards aren’t typically viewed as must-have players in the first, though Quenton Nelson’s monster rookie season with Indianapolis may change minds. If a team sees the gap between Ford and the rest greater than Brown and Metcalf versus the other receiver options, invoking a quality over quantity argument works.
Mock drafts often include just one round. Those picks are the sexy selections. Alone they do not tell the whole story when it comes to adding immediate help and supply vs. demand.
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