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Ranking the Redskins' top-5 needs for the 2019 NFL Draft

Ranking the Redskins' top-5 needs for the 2019 NFL Draft

The Redskins need a lot of help in the 2019 NFL Draft, and with less than two weeks remaining until the first round opens up, the front office is probably getting close to finalizing their draft board.

What that looks like will remain a mystery, but the biggest areas of need in Washington are not.

Looking over the Redskins roster and considering their financial situation, some of the holes are more obvious than others.

Below are the ‘Skins' needs, ranked. Disagree? Speak your piece in the comments.

1) Quarterback: Since Alex Smith broke his leg last November, the Redskins QB situation spiraled out of control. Washington will pay Smith more than $40 million for the next two seasons, but he probably won’t play. Colt McCoy and Case Keenum are only under contract for 2019. The Redskins need a long-term answer at QB, and they need him cheap. That means a passer on a rookie deal. No position in sports is more important than a quarterback.

2) Edge rusher: Losing Preston Smith in free agency hurts the ‘Skins, but never consistently getting the best out of Smith did, too. Ryan Kerrigan is a durable Pro Bowl caliber player, but he could be an All-Pro caliber player if the ‘Skins put somebody with real speed opposite Kerrigan. 2017 second round pick Ryan Anderson needs to have a big year, but still, Washington has to add an edge rusher this year, and the 15th pick presents a strong opportunity. In the NFL, QBs make the most money, but sack specialists come next on the pay scale. Get a great one, and your football team can change right away. Just ask the Bears after the Khalil Mack trade.

3) Tight end: This need became much more apparent when Jay Gruden talked about how his current tight end groupings leave him in tough spots. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis don’t do well in run blocking schemes, so when Jeremy Sprinkle enters the game it’s obvious the team will run the football. Gruden wants that changed, as he explained last month at the League Meeting, “Your tendencies are probably through the roof when you throw, that's what we're trying to guard against. We got to figure out ways to be balanced in all personnel group settings and make sure that's really what were studying in the offseason and moving forward how we can adapt our running game to make sure we have the equal amount of runs in each personnel group with each person in that group.” Keep this in mind too: the Redskins spend more money at the tight end position than the rest of the league, and don’t have the production to match.

4) Wide receiver: Some might put the receiver group higher on the Redskins need list, especially after losing Jameson Crowder in free agency. The problem is, from a draft standpoint, the team has a first rounder on the roster in Josh Doctson. And there is a big money free agent in Paul Richardson. Unfortunately for Washington, neither player produced at their expected level. Doctson has been inconsistent through three years while dealing with foot injuries, and Richardson hardly played last season and landed on the injured reserve list. The Redskins must add help at wideout if the pass game is going to progress from the ugly level of 2018. Tight end ranks higher, however, because of the importance of that position in the run game as well.

5) Safety: The Redskins lost DJ Swearinger and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from last year’s team, but added Landon Collins. The former Giants Pro Bowler will help a lot, but there is a serious question who he will line up next to in the defensive backfield. Montae Nicholson has a legal issue and was suspended to finish 2018, and last year’s fourth round pick Troy Apke is not ready to be an NFL starter. Veteran special teamer Deshazor Everett has made plays when given chances, but he rarely gets those chances.

Just missed the list - Guard: The Redskins very obviously need somebody to play left guard. They have for years. The Ereck Flowers experiment seems unlikely to answer that issue.


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If the Redskins want to trade back in the NFL Draft, one team makes a lot of sense

If the Redskins want to trade back in the NFL Draft, one team makes a lot of sense

The Redskins want to trade back in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

Says who? Says Washington Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, that's who. 

"I’m going to go on the record and say that’s a possibility that we won’t trade up, but there’s a great possibility we’ll trade back if that opportunity came," Williams said on Monday during the team's pre-draft media session.

While trading up seems unlikely, trading back could certainly happen. The Redskins have needs - quarterback, wide receiver and edge rusher stand out - but the team isn't exactly desperate at any position. In turn, more picks could help in more areas. And more picks come from trading down. 

"I'm not going to sit here and say we got to get better at any position, which we know we have to get better overall as a football team," Williams said.

Rotoworld's Josh Norris explained one exact trade down scenario that could work for Washington (see above video).

The Houston Texans must add help at offensive tackle, and the consensus has most of the best tackles taken by the 18th or 20th spot. If Houston wants to get their tackle, like Florida's Jawaan Taylor for example, the Texans might need to move up. In turn, the Redskins can offer their 15th pick to Houston in exchange for the 23rd spot and an additional pick later in the draft, perhaps as high as a third. 

At 23, the Redskins can get their pick of a number of need positions, like left guard, wide receiver or cornerback. 

"That's where those talents match up with the value," Norris said. 

That makes sense, as there isn't a wideout or guard that demands to be taken at 15, but could match the Redskins' draft board eight picks later. Maybe a guy like Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown or Boston College OL Chris Lindstrom specifically.

There's also the quarterback spot. 

There are four rookie passers projected to be first round picks: Kyler Murray, Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones. It seems possible Jones would be there at 23.

Two other names to watch, particularly if a trade down scenario emerges for the Redskins. 

Norris suggested the Redskins like Maryland safety Darnell Savage, and he is gaining momentum as a possible late first-round selection. 

Additionally, one NFC scout told NBC Sports that he would not be shocked if West Virginia QB Will Grier sneaks into the end of the first round. Remember, first-round contracts automatically carry a team fifth-year option, an incredibly lucrative bonus considering the money some quarterbacks are making around the league. 

Stay alert out there - it's almost draft day.


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Doug Williams: Redskins trading down from 15 is a 'great possibility' for NFL Draft

Doug Williams: Redskins trading down from 15 is a 'great possibility' for NFL Draft

ASHBURN -- Doug Williams offered a piece of advice for those focused solely on which player the Washington Redskins might select with the 15th overall selection.

The pick could be on the move. If so, the odds are stronger in one direction.

“I’ve said all along the chances of trading up is a lot slimmer than trading back,” the Redskins’ senior VP of Player Personnel said Monday

Williams spoke from Redskins Park as the team wrapped up its pre-draft media availability before the NFL Draft. The three-day event begins Thursday with the first round.  


“I’m going to go on the record and say that it’s a possibility that we won’t trade up,” Williams continued. “But it’s a great possibility that we trade back if that opportunity came.”

Now, preferring a trade down rather than moving up isn’t unique -- but that’s not what Williams said. He spoke in terms of preference but also likelihood and opportunity.

“We got a chance to trade back,” Williams said. “It all depends on who’s there.”

The “who’s there” angle goes both ways, of course. 

The Redskins might covet a specific quarterback, pass rusher or other prospect and, therefore, punt on the idea of trading out if that player is available.

That it is far more difficult this year to pin down a short-list of targets compared with 2018 when the Redskins selected Daron Payne speaks to the team’s list of needs but also the balance of prospects in the 15 to 40 range. There are scenarios where Washington might choose a path that lands extra draft picks or players.

Last year the Saints traded picks 27, 147 and their 2019 first-round selection to the Packers for the 14th overall selection. In the same draft, the Bills shipped 21, 158 and offensive tackle Cody Glenn to the Bengals for 12 and 187. Buffalo then made another deal to acquire the No. 7 selection from Tampa Bay.

In the draft, you cannot be sure which player or position inspires a bold move. New Orleans wanted pass rusher Marcus Davenport. Buffalo drafted quarterback Josh Allen at seven.

If the Redskins jump up, the logic is a passer or pass rusher. The thought here throughout most of the 21 NFL mock drafts centered on the Redskins not focusing on a QB and seeing which edge option remained on the board.

As for a trade down scenario, there are a few names to keep in mind.

♦ With Kyler Murray the likely first passer off the board, quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones are obvious potential targets. The teams potentially moving up for those players, less so. The Giants have six and 17. My mock drafts continue giving New York a defense player at six, leaving the quarterback in play at 17. Don’t hold your breath thinking two division rivals would make such a deal. However, it’s possible another team wants to jump the Giants. That other party could be one of the squads with an older QB (Steelers, Chargers, Packers, Patriots). Perhaps the Raiders, who could jettison Derek Carr after this season, package some combination of their three picks in the 24-35 range.

♦ The Redskins need an edge rusher. So do the Panthers (16), Giants (6 and 17), Titans (19) and Ravens (22). It's possible Florida State’s Brian Burns and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell are the only top rated options available by the time we reach the middle of the first. 


♦ Teams wanting to be in front of a position run might want to jump into the middle of the first. That’s when the wide receivers (D.K. Metcalf, Marquise Brown), cornerbacks (Greedy Williams, Deandre Baker, Byron Murphy) and offensive lineman (Jonah Williams, Cody Ford, Andre Dillard) might start flying off the shelves. Williams said Monday the Redskins need a "go-to guy" at receiver. 

♦ The Redskins don’t have a glaring need for Clemson defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, but others may covet their interior power.

♦ One of the true wild cards in the first round is Mississippi State’s Jeffrey Simmons. The defensive lineman was considered a potential top-5 selection before suffering a torn ACL earlier in 2019. Simmons remains a likely first-round pick. Where depends on when a team feels long-term value trumps that of the healthy prospects.

The idea of trading the pick outright to Arizona for Josh Rosen remains intriguing should the quarterback become available with the Cardinals selecting Murray first overall. Some fans are skeptical about dealing 15 for the second-year passer. Should the Redskins trade down from 15 yet remain in the first, that selection might be enough to entice the Cardinals while allowing Washington to get additional assets.

The likelihood is the Redskins stick at 15 and choose a player. Based on their needs and overall draft projections, edge rusher, offensive line, Michigan inside linebacker Devin Bush or that elusive long-term quarterback seems like the logical options.  Williams stated Monday that if there’s movement, the Redskins are going down. It just depends who is available when the clock starts ticking at 15.