The Redskins’ lack of a second-round pick is the biggest issue they currently face with their draft. They should possess three selections in the top 66 picks, but they instead chose to send this year’s second-rounder, packaged with last year’s second-rounder, to move up for Montez Sweat in 2019. Sweat flashed a huge ceiling at the end of last year, and his upside is immense, so the move is understandable. Due to this, expect the Redskins to be viewed as a trade-down candidate until they make their selection at #2. Let’s take a look at what might happen at #2, and beyond, in this Redskins 7-round mock draft.
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The Redskins needs are obvious. First and foremost, they need talent. When picking, they need to make sure that they don’t let the need for a certain position dictate their selections. Making the decision to select a less talented player at a position of need over a better overall player is how teams miss out on the truly special talents. As far as the positional needs go, I believe the Redskins have one major need, that must be addressed this season, and currently has no real talent on the roster. That is Tier 1, followed by a group of positions that you can draft starters from in the first few rounds. That’s Tier 2. Finally, Tier 3 contains positions that I believe the Redskins don’t have to draft, and should only be selected in late Day 3. on prospects with upside.
Tier 1: Talent, Tight End
There’s a legitimate case that the Redskins have the absolute worst tight end group in the NFL. The future of the position is currently Jordan Reed, who has not been fully healthy at any point in his career and will command a large salary if he is not cut. After Reed, the only two players under contract are Hale Hentges and Caleb Wilson, who have a combined eight career receptions. The Redskins have been heavily tied to the tight end position this offseason. PFN’s own Tony Pauline connected Washington to Hooper. Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner said that “right now, the tight end is very important to our offense” and that they will “look in free agency and in the draft.” So expect them to improve the position in a number of ways.
Tier 2: Cornerback, Edge Rusher, Linebacker, Offensive Line, Safety, Wide Receiver
Just to preface, the positions listed above are simply in alphabetical order and not how I believe those positions list in order of team need. They are all equal. The Redskins have some talent at all of these positions. If they rolled into 2020 without making a move at one of them, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. However, the team could easily find guys on the board that will help improve the team, whether it’s early in the draft, to add a starter, or later, to add strong depth pieces with starting potential. These positions could also be affected via free agency signings and by some internal moves. These are the Redskins timelines you should make sure you pay attention to before the 2020 NFL Draft.
- Trent Williams contract situation
- Brandon Scherff negotiations
- Ereck Flowers negotiations
- The health of Reuben Foster
These could all be major factors in how the Redskins draft board falls, but we won’t know until they happen. For this Redskins seven-round mock draft, we’ll be proceeding under the impression that Trent Williams is still not participating, that they re-sign one of the starting guards, and that Reuben Foster is fully healthy. Those feel like the most logical and even balanced ways to advance forward.
Tier 3: Defensive Tackle, Quarterback, Running Back
These are positions that the Redskins could avoid drafting completely if they wanted to. However, every position can always be upgraded. The Redskins could use a developmental backup QB with a good ceiling, or a running back that can be a receiver out of the backfield. However, it wouldn’t be an issue if they ignored these positions completely.
Round 1, Pick 2: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Chase Young is the best player in the class, and in my opinion, is the best player since Myles Garrett, who came out in the 2017 NFL Draft.
I listed EDGE as a Tier 2 need for the Redskins, but above all I else, I listed their top need as talent, and Young is the most talented player in the 2020 NFL Draft class. He is an elite athlete for the position, displayed a refined pass rush skill set, and was also the most productive pass rusher in college football this season. So not only does Young have the potential to be a perennial All-Pro, but he’s also proven himself with elite production in college.
The Redskins have spent a fair amount of their draft capital on the defensive line over the past few seasons, spending two first-round picks and three second-round picks in the past three drafts. However, the San Francisco 49ers have been the best defense in the NFL this year, and that unit is lead by the top defensive line in the NFL, which happens to have four first-round picks on it.
The Redskins spent last year’s second-round pick and this year’s second-round pick to move up and select Mississippi State defensive end Sweat, a player many believed had the upside to be a top edge defender in the NFL. Also on the roster is franchise staple Ryan Kerrigan, but Kerrigan is coming off the least productive season of his career. Even with this talent and depth, Young is not the type of player you just pass up on. The Redskins could look to move back in the first round and add more draft capital, but if they stay at #2, expect them to take Young. This was the easiest selection of this Redskins 7-round mock draft.
Round 3, Pick 66: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
The Redskins’ biggest positional need is tight end. I was initially expecting to select Dayton’s Adam Trautman because I had assumed Kmet would not be available. However, Trautman ended up being the first tight end drafted, and it caused Kmet to be available. Both are likely the top two tight ends in the draft class, and the Redskins would be lucky to have either available when they’re selecting early in the third round. In what’s viewed as a very weak tight end class, those are the two that stick out.
Many believe Kmet is the best tight end in the class, and the Redskins would be happy to add him to the roster. He has an elite frame at 6’5, 250 pounds, and is an above-average athlete. Kmet has soft hands, and with his excellent height and weight, he also works as a contested-catch threat. He works as a blocker and has the frame and athletic ability to be one of the top blocking tight ends in the NFL. However, his technique is poor, as he fails to bring his hips and drive his legs. A good tight ends coach will help him develop his traits into one of the most well rounded tight ends in the NFL.
The Redskins are invested in QB Dwayne Haskins, and giving him an able body at the tight end position will be crucial for his transition into new offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s offense. The Redskins’ biggest need is filled with a talented player in this Redskins 7-round mock draft.
Round 4, Pick 105: K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
The Redskins already added one piece to the passing offense in Cole Kmet, so why not add another that has some familiarity with the current team? K.J. Hill was the teammate of Haskins and superstar receiver Terry McLaurin at Ohio State University. In fact, Haskins has already proclaimed his support for the Redskins to draft Hill. The Redskins should look to add a talented receiver on Day 3, just to add some more capable bodies at the receiver position. Hill’s skill set fits in well with what the Redskins are lacking in their receiving group.
Hill doesn’t possess an elite NFL ceiling. Of the three Redskins receivers that were rookies last year, I’d say he probably has a lower ceiling than all of them. He isn’t big and has just average athletic ability. However, similar to McLaurin, Hill is already a polished route runner. He creates separation consistently, and his hands are excellent. Hill is also strong after the catch and would work well as an underneath option while McLaurin pushes vertically and Kelvin Harmon works the intermediate zone. Hill would also allow Scott Turner to utilize Steven Sims Jr. in ways other than just out of the slot. Hill would be an excellent addition to the receiving corps, and adding talent around Haskins is the easiest way to help him be successful.
Round 4, Pick 141: Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
With Trent Williams’ future with the Redskins in doubt, the Redskins should leave the 2020 NFL Draft with a tackle that has a chance at developing into a starter. They get that in SC State’s Alex Taylor.
Taylor was at last week’s Reese’s Senior Bowl and was maybe the most impressive physical specimen there. Taylor measured in at 6’8, 308 pounds, with a ridiculous 88-inch wingspan. His length is elite and could be a tool he uses to become one of the top tackles in the NFL. However, there are negatives with his frame. At 308, Taylor would be lean for someone who’s 6’4. Being 6’8, there are some real issues with his lower body. Some of the wide receivers in Mobile had thicker legs than Taylor, and when playing in the trenches in the NFL, you’re guaranteed to get rolled up on. Taylor must fill out his lower body before he can start in the NFL.
Regardless of whether Williams returns to the Redskins or not, if Taylor is there on Day 3, he’s absolutely someone I’d want the team to draft. He can sit and develop for a season or two until his body is ready for the NFL. He still has some room for improvement with his technique, too. He’s absolutely a project, but Taylor’s upside is right around the top of the class. If the team could develop him properly, he’d be the steal of this Redskins 7-round mock draft.
Round 5, Pick 148: Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis
Antonio Gibson was listed as a WR at Memphis but practiced with the running backs at the Senior Bowl. So my guess is that NFL teams prefer him as a running back. Thus, I’m labeling him a “RB/WR”.
If you couldn’t tell from the last three picks, the Redskins need talent everywhere. I feel that running back is maybe the most volatile position on the roster. They could potentially have a guy in Derrius Guice who, if fully healthy, becomes one of the top 5-10 running backs in the NFL. However, he has not shown the ability to stay healthy thus far in his NFL career.
The Redskins have paired Guice with NFL legend Adrian Peterson, who has done an excellent job filling in as the team’s lead back when they need him, even though Peterson is 34, playing a position not known for longevity. They’ve leaned on Chris Thompson to be their go-to receiving threat out of the backfield, but he has struggled to stay healthy and his contract is up this offseason. With the firing of Jay Gruden, it’s hard to imagine a future with Thompson in a Redskins uniform. Fans hope that Bryce Love can be the heir apparent to Thompson, but Love caught less than 50 passes in his four-year career at Stanford, so I’m not sure we should expect him to be a direct replacement for Thompson.
Enter: Gibson. As I said early, Gibson is a bit of a hybrid. In his career at Memphis he had more receptions than he did rushes. Even though he was used as both a rusher and receiver, Gibson only touched the ball 77 total times in his career at Memphis. In those 77 touches, he was able to score 14 times. That’s a touchdown every 5.5 touches. Ridiculous production. Gibson could fill that hole that Chris Thompson is expected to leave behind, and if Derrius Guice continues to be unable to stay healthy, Gibson would fit perfectly in the Christian McCaffrey role for Scott Turner. He’s arguably my favorite fit in this Redskins 7-round mock draft.
Round 7, Pick 216: Mohamed Barry, LB, Nebraska
As the Redskins transition to the 4-3, they’ll need to add bodies to the linebacker room. They lack size and don’t currently have the right player to play the SAM (linebacker that plays to the strong side of the rotation; typically a strong run defender with size). While Barry does have some athletic limitations, he could be a guy that could compete for playing time, as he’s the perfect size for the open SAM spot. That’s all you can really ask for from a seventh-round pick.
Round 7, Pick 229: Darrion Daniels, DL, Nebraska
No, the Redskins don’t “need” any more interior defensive linemen. However, when it gets this late in the draft, the best way to proceed is by selecting the BPA, or “best player available.” Daniels was a nice surprise at the Senior Bowl, displaying both power and some pass rush finesse. Daniels would be a nice reserve for an already loaded defensive line.