The Washington Redskins enter the 2019 season with many holes to fill. How can the Redskins use the 2019 NFL Draft to improve their roster?
Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden is in the unique position of having his starting quarterback nursing a severe leg injury. After trading for Case Keenum, the team still has a glaring vacancy for a starting QB, which PFN addressed before. Washington picks in the middle the first round and would need to trade draft assets to acquire a higher pick. For the sake of argument, I ran a mock draft using The Draft Network’s new simulator, ignoring any potential trades to try and maximize the value the team has in its draft picks. With many holes, I tried my best to find adequate talent to mitigate some of the talent deficiencies.
Round 1, Pick 15: D.K. Metcalf | Wide receiver | Ole Miss
Despite the recent hype surrounding Metcalf’s performance, he still will need polish at the next level. He has a surplus of physical traits, but he ran a very, very limited route tree at Mississippi. That, along with limited production and injury history could affect his stock. Factoring in depth at the pass rusher position and the love for quarterbacks, I see Metcalf falling just slightly, right to the end of the top 15 and into Washington’s lap.
Metcalf has the size, speed, and athleticism you dream of in a receiver. While I’ve seen many a comparison to justify his level of ability, I see a younger Terrell Owens. He’s the total package, can outmuscle defensive backs for passes and then torch them for a touchdown. He’s easily a threat from anywhere on the field.
Giving Smith, or Keenum, this level of weapon will maximize their ability from the pocket, and Gruden will finally have a true number one receiver. Adding Metcalf to pair with Josh Doctson outside gives them receivers who can compete at the catch point, especially off of play fakes and rollouts. Metcalf can be a cornerstone weapon for years.
Round 2, Pick 46: Elgton Jenkins | Interior offensive lineman | Mississippi State
Washington is in absolute need of bolstering their interior offensive line. Last season, the line crumbled after several injuries and changed the entire chemistry of the offense. Elgton Jenkins is a first-round caliber lineman but will be viewed less highly simply because he isn’t a tackle. He has the polish and anchor to handle defensive tackles such as Fletcher Cox and Dalvin Tomlinson in the division.
Jenkins best attribute is his versatile, athletic interior presence. He could easily slot in at center, but his ability as a guard is substantial. With the ability to start and potentially provide depth to all three positions inside, Jenkins would be a valuable addition to the offense.
Round 3, Pick 76: Will Grier | Quarterback | West Virginia
With a hole at QB, Washington may be a candidate to trade up, but shouldn’t. The future of the franchise? Possibly. Grier compares favorably to Andy Dalton, quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, and former passer under Gruden. Similar in stature, college scheme, athleticism, and arm, he’d be a perfect selection to run the Gruden offense. Especially considering their focus on running the ball, Washington would benefit from having Grier fall to them in the third round. Fortune like this removes concerns about the position at least until Smith recovers, and Grier could still be the starter going forward too.
By bolstering the middle of the offensive line, adding a top tier wide receiver, and Guice returning, Grier is in a stable position to play right away and succeed.
Round 3, 96: Joe Giles-Harris | Linebacker | Duke
Losing Zach Brown was another unfortunate part of the free agency process for Washington. However, they don’t have to look very far out of their state to get his replacement. Giles-Harris is a cerebral linebacker that plays with intelligence and a mean streak. He’s a very consistent, competent tackler that uses his football knowledge to put him in the right position.
Giles-Harris has limitations physically, but averaging over 100 tackles and ten tackles for loss per year is an astounding number that supports his awareness on the field. Adding Giles-Harris will at least improve their special teams unit, but he will be a welcome locker room addition.
Round 5, Pick 153: David Sills V | Wide receiver | West Virginia
The receiver position, even with Metcalf, needs a significant enhancement, so adding depth is a priority. Whoever plays under center needs to know they have plenty of weapons at their disposal. Also, if Washington picks Grier, what better way to acclimate him to the pros than to acquire his top option in college?
Sills is a converted quarterback who’s playing shows it. Whether versus man or zone, Sills identifies coverage shells as the play develops, is mindful of the nearest defensive back even in man, and positions himself for catches routinely. What he doesn’t have in pure speed or agility, he makes up for with his game above the shoulders. Like Metcalf, Sills is a tall target that’s physical on every down and will fight for passes. Pairing these two with Grier would invigorate the rookie QB’s development. Moreover, Sills caught over 40% of Grier’s touchdown passes at West Virginia. That’s a surefire way to help Grier adjust to the pro level.
Round 5, Pick 173: Sheldrick Redwine | Safety | Miami
Adding Landon Collins may have been a massive move for this team, but outside of him, there is nothing on the roster at safety for Washington. Redwine is an under the radar prospect that presents a pretty well-rounded game. He possesses ideal size and movement skills for the position, especially in man coverage. Also, his play in the box and solid tackling gives him value as a player close to the line of scrimmage.
Greg Manusky would love this signing as Redwine could easily split coverages with Collins well enough to keep offenses guessing. When one is in the box, the other is in coverage, but with similar skill sets, it’ll be harder to decipher who is doing what. Adding the Miami Hurricane would be a great fit.
Round 6, Pick 206: Shareef Miller | EDGE | Penn State
Losing Preston Smith will be a more considerable loss than most think. Despite not racking up the sack total warranted for big contracts, Smith was a consistent presence off the edge for three downs. While Miller isn’t the polished rusher Smith was coming out, he has the motor and burst off the snap to certainly assist in the pass rush. Lacking consistent power on tape, Miller looks like a prospect that needs to be coached up. He flashes speed, some bend, and again, the tenacity.
Having Ryan Kerrigan on one side certainly helps, and Miller could easily slot in quickly in a rotational role.
Round 7, Pick 227: Ryan Bates | Offensive lineman | Penn State
Improving the offensive line isn’t going to end by selecting just one during the draft. In this case, Washington can add an offensive lineman that could provide valuable depth. Bates doesn’t have the ideal physical measurables and is about average at best in all aspects as a blocker. However, he easily slots in at guard or tackle, considering his 34 career starts all over for the Nittany Lions. Recognizing the value Jenkins brings by being adept for the interior, Bates rounds out the rest of the line.
His multifaceted resume also provides insurance should Ereck Flowers, a former first-round bust of the New York Giants, continue his streak as a subpar NFL pro. Washington could easily cut bait in camp if that’s the case but still retain the versatility.
Round 7, Pick 253: Jonathan Ledbetter | Defensive lineman | Georgia
Ledbetter has the frame a fan would see on the street and think, “This is a football player for sure.” However, he’s a bit of a tweener considering he’s 6’3”, 277 lbs. He’s not an overly athletic guy, lacking bend and rush moves to contribute often on passing downs. Teams will most likely drop him on their board because of this. Being one dimensional isn’t ideal, but he’s a great run defender. He has the aggression and attitude you want on an attacking front. He’s also overcome early maturity issues in his career to become a leader for the Georgia Bulldogs, so he seemingly brings quality to the locker room.
Ledbetter always seems around the ball, very active, and not giving up on plays. That’s a valuable trait for a seventh-round pick if he wants to stick on the roster. Moreover, while teams will view him as limited, Washington should love to embrace his motor in a division with Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, and the newly added Jordan Howard.
The Washington Redskins have many holes to plug, including figuring out the QB situation. With this mock, Gruden gets himself a potential future QB without using a high pick, two weapons outside, and reinforcements on both fronts. Fans have to hope that the draft hits hard if they want to compete.