The Washington Redskins entered this off-season coming off their first NFC East Division Championship since 1999. If you are reading that statement but never saw the Redskins play in 2012 you would think they had a complete team and didn’t have many needs. The Skins are cap strapped thanks to the second year of a 18 million dollar salary cap penalty and have had to focus on just re-signing their own free agents and getting bargain free agents and for the most part have been able to do so. If you watched the 2012 Washington Redskins you would know they had several needs, especially in the secondary and at right tackle.
Here is my 2013 mock draft for the Washington Redskins:
Round 2: Washington Redskins: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Round 3: Washington Redskins: Tharold Simon, CB, LSU
The Redskins secondary was one of the worst in the NFL in 2012. That’s one reason why you will not see DeAngelo Hall or Madieu Williams back in a Redskins uniform because they were the two most inconsistent pieces to the Skins starting secondary.
For this reason I chose to use the Redskins first two draft picks on defensive backs. Free safety has been their biggest need on defense since Sean Taylor was tragically killed in 2007. For that reason I went with Matt Elam, Safety from Florida with the Redskins second round pick. Matt is a versatile safety who actually plays a lot like Taylor although not as physically gifted. He’s good in coverage, a good blitzer and a heavy, heavy hitter. I think he will start immediately on the Redskins defense alongside Brandon Meriweather and we will have our best safety tandem since 2007 when we brought in Laron Landry to play SS next to Sean Taylor.
With the Redskins 3rd round pick I went back to the secondary to select one of the most physical and athletic corner backs in the NFL draft, Tharold Simon from LSU. After playing the Seattle Seahawks last year in the playoffs it became apparent to me how important it is to have a corner back with size. Simon stands 6’2 and weighs 202 lbs, and just like Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner he is very athletic and physical. Simon had a successful college career, even while being a reserve behind other former highly drafted corner backs like Patrick Peterson and Maurice Claiborne. He did not see a start until his sophomore season in 2011. He played in 13 games, and started 2. He had a great year as he ranked third in the SEC with 10 pass breakups, and he also had two interceptions. Last year in his junior year he again played in all 13 games and Simon had 45 tackles, nine pass breakups, and four interceptions. He has great height, has extremely long arms and is very athletic. He tracks the ball well and does a good job locating it in the air. In his career he has been a consistent play-maker,totaling 22 pass break ups and 7 interceptions. He has very fluid hips that help him turn and run with receivers which is nice to see because most tall corners struggle with this and have to move to safety.
With the Redskins 4th round pick I chose to go with an offensive tackle because the organization has struggled to find an answer at that position since Jon Jansen retired following the 2008 season. I chose to go with Brennan Williams, who at one time during the season was thought to be a lock for a first round pick. He is very talented but has fallen in the draft because of a torn labrum in his shoulder. He could be a really big steal when he gets healthy. Brennan has long arms, great size and athleticism and will fit well into the zbs system.
With the first of two 5th round picks, I chose to go back to the North Carolina well and drafted Kevin Reddick, their star ILB. London Fletcher isn’t getting any younger and even though we have a few young inside linebackers in Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson, we should still address the position again for our future. Kevin Reddick was projected to be a very high pick in the draft but didn’t have the season he wanted to in 2012. Still though, the talent is there for him to become a very good ILB in the NFL. He has good measurables at 6’1, 243 lbs and had a very successful career at North Carolina. Reddick played in every game and starting the last seven as a freshman. He finished the season with 45 tackles and 5.5 for loss, as a true freshman. He again played in all 13 games as a sophomore in 2010 and he led the team in tackles with 74 and 6 were for loss. He also contributed 5 pass break ups and returned an interception for a touchdown. In 2011 he wasn’t truly healthy, battling through an ankle sprain for a few games that even caused him to miss one start. He still had 74 tackles and 6 for loss. In his senior year he played all over the place. He played most of his snaps at middle linebacker in North Carolina’s base defense, but he was used more as a stand up blitzer and even saw him play some defensive end. He flourished in his new role with 85 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He will fit well into our 3-4 system at either linebacker position.
With our second 5th round pick I had the Redskins choose another underrated linebacker who could turn out to be a steal for us. Trevardo Williams who played DE at Connecticut but will transition to OLB in our 3-4 scheme as Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and Rob Jackson have successfully done. He doesn’t have ideal size at 6’1, 241 lbs which is the main reason he is available at this point in the draft. Williams is a lightning fast pass rusher. As a junior he had 43 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks and last year as a senior he had 42 tackles, 6.5 for loss and 11.5 sacks last year. He is a versatile pass rusher who can line up with his hand in the dirt or from a stand-up. He can also rush from both sides of the line and sometimes even moves inside to take advantage of slower interior offensive lineman. He is a very secure tackler, a hard hitter and strong finisher when he gets to the ball carrier or quarter back. He gets off the ball well and times the snap count very well. He is good at stripping the ball on contact with the ball carrier and has good pass rushing moves and counter moves. He plays well against the run as well and is good at setting the edge.
With the final two draft picks I chose to go with two position players who had very successful college careers with my 6th round selection I took Ace Sanders, the wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner from South Carolina and Ray Graham, the running back and kick returner from Pitt. Ace Sanders can replace Brandon Banks on special teams and as our gadget guy and I believe with more development he can replace Santana Moss as the teams slot receiver. Ray Graham had a very promising start to his college football career at Pitt. He was successful as a freshman and sophomore even though he spent his time backing up Dion Lewis the current back up running back for LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia. With Graham being a back up these two seasons he saw a lot of action as a return man and did well returning 38 kicks for 238 yards in his freshman and sophomore years combined. When he finally got his chance to start as a junior, Graham shined. Unfortunately he tore his ACL in the 9th week of the season which derailed a great season where through 8 games he amassed 958 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also proved to be a reliable pass catcher with 30 catches for 200 yards. He worked hard to make it back for his senior season and got stronger as the year went on. He finished his senior season with 1,042 yds rushing, 11 touchdowns, and 36 catches for 340 yards and two touchdowns.