Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) is tackled by Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) in the first quarter in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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The Washington Redskins have nine picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. With the New Year’s Six looming, here is a look at some prospects to take a look at during the games.
The Washington Redskins seem likely to play at least one more week in January if they make the playoffs. However, this is an extremely important week for their scouting department. A good amount of the college football bowl games are this week, and the all-important New Year’s Six are once again approaching.
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The New Year’s Six will feature 12 of the best teams in college football from this past season. Included are the two College Football Playoff games, Michigan vs. Florida State in the Orange Bowl, USC vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl, and more. There will be a lot of top notch prospects playing in these games, and it is often a good time to get a look at some of the potential top picks.
With that in mind, here is a look at 10 prospects to watch for these bowl games. You can be assured that the Redskins will have their eyes on these players during the offseason.
Nov 19, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive tackle Montravius Adams (1) runs the ball after picking up a deflected pass while defended by Alabama A&M Bulldogs quarterback De
10. NT Montravius Adams, Auburn
Nose tackles are an extremely important position for the 3-4 defense. The Redskins did not have a good one at any point this year. They opened the season with Kedric Golston as their starter, and after his injury Ziggy Hood had to play out of position at the spot. The team desperately needs an upgrade at the position, and Montravius Adams could be an option for them.
The big bodied nose tackle has been a steady producer for Auburn in his four years with the program. In each of the last three seasons, Adams has had at least 38 tackles for the Tigers. He also has totaled 11.5 sacks in those years, including a career high four sacks this past season. He has been able to use his size and strength to power his way into opposing backfields, and should be able to do that at the next level.
The good news is that Adams is likely a Day 2 pick, so the Redskins would not have to take him in the first round. If Adams has a good bowl game, he may catch the eye of Scot McCloughan. The team has such a dire need at the position, and Adams may have the most upside of any nose tackle prospect in the class.
Oct 29, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Northwestern Wildcats fullback Garrett Dickerson (9) is tackled by Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
9. LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
If you are looking for a productive college linebacker, look no further than Raekwon McMillan. The junior Buckeye has done a little bit of everything in his college days, and he could end up being a productive linebacker at the next level.
Though McMillan’s tackle numbers are down in 2016, he has 87 this year compared to 119 last year, he has done more in other areas. He has showed active hands when tackling players, and recorded his first two forced fumbles during the 2016 campaign. His active hands have also showed up in pass defense, as he has improved his coverage skills since playing as a freshman.
However, his coverage skills are still a big question mark for the NFL. He may not have the ability to cover players at the next level, as he lacks discipline when following receivers and tight ends. He has the speed to have decent coverage skills, but he just is too often caught out of position.
If McMillan can impress in the playoff, then his stock could go up. However, it seems that he might be an option to consider in the second or third round for the Redskins. It is more likely than not that he will become a two down thumper at the next level.
Nov 26, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers running back Wayne Gallman (9) runs along the sidelines during the third quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Gallman has been one of the most productive runners in the nation in back to back seasons. Functioning as the workhorse for the Clemson offense, the strong runner has posted 2,516 yards and 28 touchdowns combined on the ground over the past two years. He has been a big part of Clemson’s rise to the national spotlight, and he has helped improve the play of Deshaun Watson.
Not only is Gallman hyper productive, but he has a good mix of speed and physicality. Gallman would be a fit as a potential No. 1 back for the Redskins, and he could end up being an excellent complement to Rob Kelley. If Gallman continues to do well, he could end up rising in the draft. No matter what, he should be on the Redskins radar.
Dec 2, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver Corey Davis (84) runs the ball for a td in the first half against the Ohio Bobcats at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
7. WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
The 2017 NFL Draft is not a class that features a lot of strong receivers. However, Corey Davis is one of the best in the entire draft, and he could go earlier than many expect.
Despite playing at Western Michigan, Davis has put together a stellar career. In each of the last three seasons, Davis has had at least 1,400 yards. During that time, he has compiled a ridiculous 45 touchdowns, including 18 this past season. Davis has been the driving force on offense that has carried Western Michigan to such a prestigious bowl game.
For the next level, Davis could still be a very productive player. He has a 6-foot-3, 213 pound frame and has enough vertical speed to be more than a jump ball receiver. However, this game against Wisconsin will be a big test for him. If he can put together a strong performance, he could have his stock rise. He has all the traits that teams look for in a top receiver.
The Redskins should be interested in Davis. He could be on the board in the second round, and he may be a possible replacement for DeSean Jackson, who is expected to leave in the offseason.
Nov 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive back Adoree Jackson (2) hurdles Notre Dame Fighting Irish place kicker John Chereson (43) on a 97-yard touchdown kickoff return in the third quarter during a NCAA football game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
6. CB Adoree Jackson, USC
The Redskins could definitely use some help at the cornerback position. Bashaud Breeland has had a poor season at the position, and I think that the team should explore moving him to safety. That said, the team would have to find a solid replacement, and Adoree Jackson could be a good fit.
At USC, Jackson has been terrific in both his roles as a corner and as a kick returner. Jackson has excellent speed and has explosive, game changing abilities. The Redskins could use Jackson in each role, and he would definitely upgrade their return game.
Last year, Jackson had a whopping 30.5 yards per kick return. He is a threat to bring it to the house every time, and has done so four times during his college career. At the very least, he will be effective in this regard, as kick return skills translate fairly well to the NFL.
On defense, Jackson has some solid ball skills and should be able to succeed as a No. 2 corner. He has defended 28 passes during his three years at USC, and he set a career high with four interceptions this past year. He looks to be a strong, all-around prospect and he could be in play with the team’s first round pick. For that reason, check him out in the Rose Bowl.
Humphrey is a corner that has both great size, and 4.4 speed. The redshirt sophomore has only played a couple of seasons for Alabama, but he has put together a couple of stellar seasons. Over the course of the two years, he has picked off five passes and has defended against 12.
The impressive thing is that opposing quarterbacks avoided throwing too much at Humphrey in the past, as he is Alabama’s most talented cornerback. Still, he has put up solid numbers and really has been one of the defensive playmakers for the Crimson Tide.
The thing to watch for Humphrey in the playoff is his speed. He has been dealing with a hamstring injury in recent weeks, and it remains to be seen if he will be 100 percent. If he is not, this will be a good chance to prove that he can still be a solid corner, even when he is dealing with an injury.
Oct 29, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Chris Wormley (43) rushes the passer against the Michigan State Spartans during the second half at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
4. DL Chris Wormley, Michigan
Over the course of his senior season, Chris Wormley has done a lot to improve his draft stock. The Michigan defensive lineman has proven to be a very strong player at the point of attack, and he looks like a five technique at the next level.
This season, Wormley has played all over the defensive line. He has 5.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss this season and has been able to muscle his way through opposing offensive lines. He has been a very strong lineman and should be able to play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 at the next level.
For the Redskins, Wormley would work as a five technique. The five technique is essentially a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme, the same position that Chris Baker plays. Washington will be looking to see if Wormley can get pressure on the Florida State quarterback. If he can do that, he could get some consideration with either their first or second round pick.
Nov 26, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball past Florida Gators defenders during the second half of the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
3. RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Leonard Fournette is the top running back in the NCAA right now. That said, Dalvin Cook is not as far behind him as many would think. Cook has had a tremendous career at Florida State, and he really helped to carry the offense during the 2016 season.
In 2016, Cook has 1,620 yards on 268 carries. That is good for an even average of 6 per carry and he has totaled 18 rushing touchdowns as well. He was really the driving force behind the offense and for his career, he has averaged a whopping 6.5 yards per carry.
Cook’s skill set is also a major plus. He has a 5-foot-11, 213 pound frame and has the strength and ability to break tackles. At the same time, he does not sacrifice much in terms of speed, so he still has game breaking ability. He could be an absolute game changer at the next level.
Redskins fans should definitely be watching Cook. There is a chance that the team could try to get a true workhorse back this offseason, and Cook could be on their radar in the first round. If he is on the board, he could end up being the best player available.
Nov 19, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Zander Diamont (12) is sacked by Michigan Wolverines linebacker Jabrill Peppers (5) in the second half at Michigan Stadium. Michigan won 20-10. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jabrill Peppers is widely considered to be one of the best defensive players in the draft. In his three seasons at Michigan, Peppers has played the safety position quite a bit while working more at linebacker in his junior season. That said, for the NFL, Peppers looks like a better fit at the linebacker position. He simply is not a great player in coverage, and lacks the ball skills to play the safety position.
During his time at Michigan, the star has only ever recorded a single interception. Usually, safeties put up better numbers in college. He still has great instincts, but he is definitely a better fit a linebacker, where he will have to play less in coverage. He can still be capable in coverage, but not on every play.
What Peppers would bring to the Redskins defense is a playmaker. The team had success in bringing in a hybrid player this offseason, Su’a Cravens, so bringing in Peppers would make a lot of sense. They could figure out what position is best for him.
The main thing to watch for Pepper in the bowl game is his ball skills. If he has issues in coverage against Florida State, that could hurt his stock a bit. If not, then he could end up being a very intriguing first round option if he makes it to the Skins pick.
Sep 10, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers wide receiver Taywan Taylor (2) is tackled by Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
1. LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Since Nick Saban has been the head coach at Alabama, the school has produced plenty of elite linebacker prospects. Over the past few years, C.J. Mosley,Dont’a Hightower, and Reggie Ragland have just been a few of the terrific players that have gone to the NFL. Now, another one will be coming soon, as Reuben Foster figures to be the next great Alabama product.
Foster has been an excellent all-around linebacker in his senior season. He has showed phenomenal instincts and posted a career high in tackles with 94 this past year. He plays with physicality and is a prototypical 3-4 middle linebacker at the next level. This is thanks to his 6-foot-1, 236 pound frame.
Ragland also has solid coverage skills and has defended nine passes over the course of the last two seasons. If he can do a good job in this area on Saturday, he will solidify his status as a likely first round pick.
The Redskins would definitely be interested in a player like Foster. He would be an upgrade over Martrell Spaight as a backup, and could possibly take the starting role away from Mason Foster.