Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 17, 56 days before NFL free agency starts.
—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 48
—NFL Draft (4/26) 99
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 235
Five possible Redskins first-round draft picks
As you can see from the “Days until” counter above, the NFL draft is 99 days away. A lot will happen between now and then but let’s look at some prospects who will fit the Redskins and who should be available at pick No. 13.
ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia—If you watched Georgia at all during the national semifinals or finals, you had to be impressed with his instincts, speed, hard hitting, and solid tackling. Even if free agent Zach Brown stays, the Redskins could pair him up with Smith and have a dynamic pair of inside linebackers for the first time since they started running the 3-4 in 2010. The problem for the Redskins is that his high-profile performances in those big game may have pushed Smith into the top 10.
QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma—A quarterback should be the choice early in the draft unless Kirk Cousins is signed to a long-term deal. Mayfield is an unconventional type of QB at about 6-1. There’s a lot to like about him, though—mobility, playmaking ability, and deep ball accuracy. He seems to have learned from his off-field mistakes, including an arrest about a year ago (apparently for yelling). In any case, if he is on the Redskins’ radar they will thoroughly vet him between now and draft day. Other QB possibilities are Josh Allen of Wyoming and Lamar Jackson of Louisville.
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama—Hey, why not another wide receiver, which would be the second one in the first round in three years, and another member of the Crimson Tide after taking Alabama players 1-2 in 2017. I know that people would cringe at another round 1 WR, but after Terrelle Pryor flamed out last year it certainly is a need. Ridley would represent a solid value at No. 13.
DL Vita Vea, Washington—This pick would solve a couple of problems. At 6-4, 332 Vea has the size and strength needed to play nose tackle, solving another problem that has been around since 2010. What might make him worth a first-round pick is that he doesn’t have to go to the bench in nickel. Vea is versatile enough to rush the passer and play three downs. Start a line with Vea, Jonathan Allen, and Matt Ioannidis, mix in a few quality rotational players, and get Jim Tomsula to coach them up and you will have a top-notch D-line. As of right now, Vea is considered to be more of a late first-round player but a lot can change in the next 99 days.
RB Derrius Guice, LSU—Dreams of getting Saquon Barkley at No. 13 are just that and trading up far enough to get him would cost way too much draft capital. But Guice is a good mix of speed, power, agility, and receiving ability. With the exception of Alfred Morris’ first couple of seasons, the Redskins have been ordinary at best since the prime of Clinton Portis a decade ago. Many were impressed with Sony Michel of Georgia, who could be available in the second round.
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