The Kirk Cousins saga and era for the Washington Redskins is finally over with the keys to the offense now handed over to Alex Smith. With the immediate future of the quarterback position now figured out, Washington can turn its focus to an important upcoming NFL Draft.
The priority this offseason should be upgrading the front seven. Allowing a whopping 2,146 yards in 2017, Washington finished 32nd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. Linebackers Zach Brown and Junior Galette are free agents, potentially leaving even bigger holes to fill.
A team stuck in mediocrity and below average results, Washington has just two seasons of at least 10 wins since the turn of the century with an average of 6.7 wins per season since 2000. The addition of Smith should give Washington a few seasons to improve the infrastructure of the roster and prepare it to aggressively add a young signal caller to end the pedestrian output of the team on the field.
Using the FanSpeak On The Clock Mock Draft Simulator, here is one realistic scenario that would make sense for the Redskins.
Round 1, pick 13: Vita Vea, DL, Washington
The Redskins front seven needs overhauled and Vea is a versatile piece that could immediately be plugged in.
From a size and power perspective, Vea would fit well clogging up running lanes and rushing the passer in the Redskins’ defense. His size and strength allow him to take on double teams and control the line of scrimmage.
Combined with 2017 first-round pick Jonathan Allen, Vea gives the Redskins a dynamic pairing of defensive lineman to get the unit headed in the right direction.
Round 2, pick 44: Leighton Vander-Esch, LB, Boise State
The Redskins need upgrades and replacements on the second level of the defense and Vander-Esch would be a great addition. A gap-savvy and physical linebacker, Vander-Esch does well to work through traffic and find the ball. He would add a rangy, playmaking presence to the linebacking corps.
Round 4, pick 109: Holton Hill, CB, Texas
Hill has first-round talent but has some red flags off the field that could make him available early on Day 3. He is a physical corner who excels in press and zone coverage while offering good ball skills. He is disruptive in the contact window and knows how to ruin route timing early on. The loss of Kendall Fuller and likely free agent departure of Bashaud Breeland makes corner an important need for Washington.
Round 5, pick 140: Cedrick Wilson, Boise State
Wilson has the play speed, route-running nuance, hands and ability after the catch to win at all levels of the field from either the slot or outside. In two seasons at Boise State, Wilson tallied 139 receptions for 2,640 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging nearly 19 yards per catch. After playing quarterback in high school and only two FBS seasons at wide receiver, Wilson has room to grow.
Round 6, pick 174: Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State
Washington needs to add to its pool of pass rushers and Rolland-Jones is an intriguing option at this point in the draft. A relentless rusher, Rolland-Jones racked up 63 tackles for loss and 42 sacks in his college career.
Round 7, pick 205: Will Richardson, OL, NC State
A 6-foot-6, 322-pound four-year starter in the ACC, Richardson is a developmental offensive lineman who offers upside to become a starter in time. The Redskins need to replenish the depth of the offensive line with Shawn Lauvao and Spencer Long slated to be free agents.
Round 7, pick 215: Greg Stroman, CB, Virginia Tech
Coming from Bud Foster’s defense at Virginia Tech, Stroman has the upside to play inside or outstide. He has outstanding ball skills, good route anticipation, and is willing to play physically. He is a tad undersized and lacks long speed, but Stroman has a natural feel in coverage and can provide quality depth for Washington with the upside to eventually start in the slot.