With team president Bruce Allen and coach Jay Gruden having more power in the Washington Redskins draft this season, it is hard to predict how they will attack the draft.
The Redskins have a few needs but could still improve their team by taking the best player available. The team lost two 1,000-yard receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. They also lost a nose tackle in Chris Baker.
Washington did pick up receiver Terrelle Pryor, safety D.J. Swearinger, linebacker Chris Carter, and defensive linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee. Now, what way should the Redskins go with the draft?
Here are five players who would all be early-round fits for the Redskins:
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The Redskins had trouble stopping the run in 2016. The team was 24th in the league, allowing 119.8 rushing yards per game. The Redskins also allowed 19 rushing touchdowns.
Alabama’s Rueben Foster would help tremendously. He is explosive and plays with an attitude. And if teams think he’s a liability in the passing game, they would be wrong. Foster makes opponents pay by finishing hard. Some teams may be turned off because he got sent home from the NFL Scouting Combine. But Foster is a great player and would make a lot of teams happy.
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
After losing two big-play receivers, the Redskins could use another big body. Mike Williams would give Kirk Cousins a big target. Williams is 6-foot-4 and a baller on the football field.
He had more than 1,300 yards receiving last year and ranked third in multiple career categories for Clemson. He uses his body to shield off opponents and has excellent hands. He’s not the fastest but would be a good fit with the Redskins young wideouts.
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The name that is starting to circulate as a fit for the Redskins is Temple linebacker Haason Reddick. He was an edge rusher in college and could fit into Washinton’s 3-4 defense. Reddick finished with 10.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for losses. The Redskins could use some players who can make plays in an opponent’s backfield.
Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
Although he weighs less than 310 pounds, Caleb Brantley can play nose tackle. He is strong, but what makes Brantley special is his quickness. His 8.5 tackles for losses led the Florida Gators in 2016, and he was named Second-Team All-SEC.
He doesn’t get a lot of sacks, but that’s not the role the Redskins would need him to fill. He would be able to collapse the middle of an offense and give the linebackers or edge-rushers opportunities to get after the quarterback.
Roderick Johnson, OL, Florida State
When Cousins had time in the pocket, he often lit up opposing defenses. There were games, however, where the Redskins’ offensive line was simply overpowered.
Roderick Johnson would help alleviate that at either guard or right tackle to start. Eventually, he could take over for Trent Williams at left tackle.