Since the NFL made the cash-grabbing, highly lucrative format switch for the NFL draft — having the first round broadcast on Thursday evening, the second and third round on Friday evening, and the rest of the draft on Saturday — this will be the first Thursday evening where the Redskins are not slated to make a draft pick. The burgundy and gold faithful won’t wake up on Friday morning knowing their team just took a Robert Griffin III or a Trent Williams, or even a Ryan Kerrigan.
That being said, this draft is absolutely chock full of high-quality offensive line and secondary prospects, which coincidentally match positions of need the Redskins currently have on their roster.
While many of the “blue chip” prospects will be long gone by the time the Redskins make their first (slated) pick on Friday evening — in the second round, #51 overall — here are 10 guys who have been connected with the Redskins as possible selections with their second around pick.
Listed in alphabetical order:
Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana — A ball-hawking cornerback who met with the Redskins at the Senior Bowl after a really good week there. He’s “light in the pants” (5’10 and 188 lbs), meaning he’s not the most physical or even able tackler in the world. He’s more of your traditional “Deion Sanders” (or DeAngelo Hall?)-type cornerback: he can cover anyone and he can make plays on the ball, but don’t ask him to stick his nose in the pile.
David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State — Another ball-hawking cornerback, Amerson had 13 INT’s in 2011 for the Wolfpack. He tracks and attacks the ball like a wide receiver, and has rare size for a cornerback (6-1, 2 05 lbs). But that size may also be cause for concern; is he a cornerback/safety ‘tweener? He might not have the quick feet, fluid hips, and change of direction skills to play in man-coverage schemes. But the Redskins value guys in the secondary who can generate turnovers, and Amerson has all the ability in the world to do that.
Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff — Armstead (6’4, 306lbs) may have had the most impressive combine showing in anyone’s memory. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.71 seconds) ever run by an offensive lineman, and showed everything you could possibly look for in a zone-blocking offensive lineman prospect, in terms of foot quickness and agility. Simply, he’s almost the perfect prospect for someone like the Shanahan’s to mold; he just needs a lot of seasoning. Oh, and I find it interesting that his head coach at Arkansas Pine Bluff football coach was/is none other than the legendary former Redskins linebacker Monte Coleman.
John Cyprien, S, Florida International — He’s steadily rising up the draft boards, to the point where he probably won’t even make it to Friday without being taken by some team (in the first round). He’s an aggressive player with the range and athletic ability to develop into an effective starting free safety. For what it’s worth, Cyprien went to the same high school as E.J. Biggers, whom the Redskins recently signed during the offseason, and is reportedly friends with the new Redskin.
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU — Ah yes, the Honey Badger. Easily the most divisive player in this entire draft, especially when his name has been linked with the Redskins draft pick. Most Redskins fans would tell you they’d be ok with taking Mathieu with a 5th or maybe a 4th round pick. But the problem is: Mathieu may not make it out of the 2nd round. Would the Redskins, then, take Mathieu with their second round pick? Washington also was one of 32 NFL teams to attend the Pro Day at LSU, where Mathieu took part in some on-field work. There are whispers that the Redskins coaching staff may be interested in taking a gamble on Mathieu, as he’s a proven playmaker.
Brandon McGee, CB, Miami — What would a draft be without the Redskins taking a close look at someone from “the U” ? The Washington Post reported that the Redskins were one of several teams that attended a private workout for McGee, and were scheduled to host him for a pre-draft visit as well. McGee has a great a combination of height and bulk, along with upper echelon top-end speed. He also fits the Redskins mold of “high football IQ guys,” showing very good natural instincts at the position and the ability to effectively read a QB’s eyes. He’s not much a “playmaker” or “turnover generator” though.
Phillip Thomas, Safety, Fresno State — Thomas has been a really popular player to link to the Redskins in mock drafts and draft scuttlebutt, and it makes sense to do so. He fits the high character, high football IQ guy whom the Redskins prefer, and has shown he can make plays and generate turnovers. He was first player in Fresno State history to be an unanimous All-American. His biggest knock is that he’s not the best tackler in the world, and becomes even less effective when tackling in space.
J.J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern — Another guy whom the Redskins took an interest in at the Senior Bowl, Wilcox is a fantastic physical prospect that’s probably a little better fit at strong safety. With a 6’0, 213lb frame, he’s plenty capable of playing near the line of scrimmage and helping in run support, but still has plenty of speed and athletic ability to help in coverage. But he’s still learning how to play the safety position after spending his first three seasons at receiver and running back in college.
Duke Williams, S, Nevada — The “underwear olympics” — aka the NFL scouting combine — was a total bull market for safeties, which Williams also got benefitted from. He ran a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, which is pretty solid for a safety just shy of 6 feet tall and over 200lbs (5’11, 203). He’s shown the ability to be the “single-high” centerfield-type safety with the ability to also come down and match up one-on-one with slot receivers. He has a little bit of the gambler mentality, in that he might make a huge play on the ball, but might also get beat in the process. He’s also the opposite of a “high character” player that the Redskins seem to prefer. But Raheem Morris hasn’t shown much hesitation in (potentially) dealing with proverbial “problem children” — why do you think the Redskins kicked the tires so much on Aqib Talib — so if Morris vouches for this guy, who knows what might happen.
Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor — This one is interesting. Williams exchanged a series of cryptically motivational and borderline bromantic tweets with our very own Robert Griffin III — which were since deleted — which could be surmised as the Redskins having interest in drafting Williams. As our friends at HogsHaven.com point out: In Williams’ junior season at Baylor with Griffin under center, the two connected for 59 catches for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s not a polished route-runner overall but he excels at the “9″ routes, being able to take the top off of a defense. Given some of the throws we’ve seen Griffin make to guys like Aldrick Robinson last year, Williams could really open things up underneath for the offense.