The Washington Redskins currently have the 49th selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, now who could they take with the second-round pick?
The Washington Redskins have done a good job in free agency, filling some holes on a team that just missed getting to the playoffs for the second straight season. While the Redskins lost their two best wide receivers from a year in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, they added Terrelle Pryor and Brian Quick — not to mention, last year’s first-round pick, Josh Docton, should be good to go in 2017.
Defensively, the Redskins were a mess in 2016. Actually, they’ve been a mess on that side of the ball for several years. A big part of the problem is lackluster talent on the defensive line and a lack of speed at linebacker.
Zach Brown’s addition will bring speed to the inside linebacker position. Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain will help the defensive line, but that position clearly needs more attention. This draft is quite deep along the defensive line, specifically from the second round on.
If the Redskins choose to go the best player available in round one, then all options are on the table with their second-round pick. Could they choose to add some talent to a depleted defensive line?
Or will Washington add more offensive weapons? What about a quarterback?
Oct 15, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators linebacker Jarrad Davis (40) against the Missouri Tigers during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
5. Jarrad Davis, LB – Florida
Does Brown’s signing keep Washington from taking another inside linebacker early in the draft? It shouldn’t. Remember, Brown is only on a one-year deal. Sure, the Redskins could decide to keep him around for the long-term, but that’s not a guarantee.
Alabama’s Reuben Foster is the grand prize at inside linebacker in this class. If he falls to pick No. 17, it would be tough for Washington to pass on him. However, he isn’t the only talented middle linebacker in this class.
Jarrad Davis of Florida is an immediate starter at the next level. If the Redskins decide to draft he won’t have to start right away. Currently, the team has Brown, Will Compton and Mason Foster around. All three have contracts that will expire after the 2017 season, though.
What would the team be getting in Davis?
An every-down linebacker with strong instincts who plays fast. Davis is a hard-hitter who has the quickness to cover tight ends and is strong versus the run. Once Davis learns to play with stronger technique he will be a star. If he’s around with the 49th selection, the Redskins should think long and hard about choosing him.
Oct 3, 2015; Tulsa, OK, USA; Houston Cougars linebacker Tyus Bowser (81) and cornerback Lee Hightower (18) react after a tackle against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane during the first half at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
4. Tyus Bowser, OLB/EDGE – Houston
At some point in this draft, the Redskins are going to select a pass rusher. They could decide to go with one in the first round. However, if they wait until the 49th selection, some talented players will be available. Houston’s Tyus Bowser is one name that comes to mind. Of course, there’s the question of will Bowser even be around when Washington picks for the second time.
The Redskins have some solid outside linebackers on the roster currently. Ryan Kerrigan is good for 10-11 sacks every year. He’s steady and reliable and locks one spot down. Trent Murphy, a former second-round pick, finally broke out last year and finished second on the team in sacks. Unfortunately, he’s suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season. Another former second-rounder, Preston Smith, disappointed last year after a promising rookie campaign in 2015.
Washington has some depth here. What they don’t have is a quick-twitch rusher capable of taking over games. Bowser could be that guy.
At Houston, Bowser finished with 8.5 sacks in 2016 in just eight games. Bowser has enough athleticism he could play outside in the 3-4 and stay on the field when Washington goes with a 4-3 look as a linebacker. Bowser has an amazing first step and could be an instant-impact selection for the Redskins.
Jan 2, 2017; New Orleans , LA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon (25) runs down the sideline against the Auburn Tigers in the second quarter of the 2017 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
3. Joe Mixon, RB – Oklahoma
The Redskins need a running back and if they decide spending a first-round pick is too rich, then why not take one in Round 2? That’s where Joe Mixon comes into the picture. The super-talented Oklahoma back would be a no-doubt first-round pick if not for the questions surrounding him off the field. For some teams that doesn’t matter. However, for others, Mixon will not even be on their draft boards.
Where do the Redskins fit in? That’s what no one truly knows. Washington has shied away from troubled players in recent years, but did take a chance on Junior Galette two years ago despite a checkered history.
There’s a lot of talk about where Mixon will fall in this draft. Some teams, especially the Lions and Bengals, have shown a lot of interest in Mixon. According to ESPN, Mixon has met with those teams, in addition to the Browns and Saints.
From a football standpoint, Mixon would be a terrific choice for Washington. His size, speed, vision and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield make him an ideal NFL back. Watch him run and you see shades of Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson. He possesses that type of potential.
If he’s around when the Redskins pick at 49, he should get serious consideration. At this point next year he will likely be talked about as one of the steals of the draft.
Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Nathan Peterman (4) passes against the Syracuse Orange during the third quarter at Heinz Field. PITT won 76-61. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
2. Nathan Peterman, QB – Pittsburgh
The Redskins currently have a quarterback in Kirk Cousins. However, he is about to play his second consecutive season under the franchise tag, something no other quarterback has ever done. The Redskins refusal to give Cousins a long-term deal is telling. They like him, but how much?
Washington should do its best to get Cousins signed to a long-term deal. He isn’t an elite quarterback. He is, however, a solid starter who operates at a high level within Jay Gruden’s offense.
The Redskins won’t have Cousins locked down to a multi-year deal before the draft which means the team could be in the market for a young, developmental passer. Pittsburgh’s Nate Peterman is the quarterback most compare favorably to Cousins.
Pitt’s Nate Peterman runs and @MikeMayock says, “Sometimes I think I don’t talk about this kid enough.” Again makes Kirk Cousins comparison
He doesn’t have the biggest arm, he’s athletic enough, he operates well within a system and will get the most out of what physical tools he does have. It’s important to note most of the quarterbacks in this class possess more physical tools than Peterman, but he could be the one most ready to play.
Is Peterman worth a second-round pick? Maybe not, but quarterbacks are judged much differently. While some teams may have a fourth-round grade on Peterman, he will go long before then. Several teams like Peterman, especially those who run the West-Coast offense.
At some point in the 2017 NFL Draft, Washington will select a quarterback for developmental purposes. Could it be in round two? If it is, Peterman could be that guy.
Mar 6, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Connecticut Huskies defensive back Obi Melifonwu runs the 40 yard dash during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
1. Obi Melifonwu, SS/CB – UConn
The Redskins have some needs in the secondary. Those needs aren’t as pressing as finding help along the defensive line and more pass-rushers, but you can never have enough defensive backs.
Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland are the starters. Kendall Fuller, a third-round pick last year, and Quinton Dunbar fill out the depth chart. Dunbar, a former receiver, has been a nice find for the Skins. Fuller started out well in his rookie year, but struggled once receivers discovered his weaknesses. Coaches had him playing out of position last year as the slot cornerback. Fuller should be on the outside.
At safety, the Redskins signed D.J. Swearinger to pair with Su’a Cravens and hope DeAngelo Hall can come back and give them something. Now, Washington needs a fast, athletic and versatile defensive back that can play anywhere in the secondary. Enter Obi Melifonwu.
The four-year starter from Connecticut has experience playing safety and cornerback. And he’s also a physical freak. At 6-4, 224 pounds, Melifonwu also ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. He was also in outstanding individual drills, showing an ability to turn and run with receivers if teams chose to play him at cornerback.
The problem with Melifonwu is his tape didn’t always match his measurables. While he had a solid career at UConn, he didn’t always play as fast as he ran. That’s important. He also, at times, didn’t trust his instincts. Those things will probably keep him out of the first round, but he won’t drop too far on the second day of the draft.
If he’s available for the Redskins at No. 49, he’d be a terrific addition to a secondary in need of some speed.