Redskins to meet with a pair of former Hokies

It would seem to make sense that, in an area filled with Virginia Tech alumni (man of whom constitute the loyal Redskins fan base), the Redskins would work out a pair of highly successful draft prospects from Blacksburg, Virginia.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor – the reigning Player of the Year in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) – and running back Ryan Williams are both scheduled to meet with Redskins brass, in the days and weeks leading up to the NFL draft.

While Taylor’s official visit date has not yet been confirmed, Williams is set to arrive for a private meeting, taking place on April 14th and 15th.

Williams – a Manassas, VA native – is almost unanimously considered one of the top running backs in this year’s draft class. In his first year at Virginia Tech, Williams was named ACC rookie of the year, after running for 1655 yards and 21 touchdowns. He spent a lot of the 2010 season dealing with severe hamstring injury that forced him to miss four and a half games, but he still finished the season with 477 yards and nine touchdowns, on only 110 attempts.

Considering the lack of the depth the Redskins currently have at the running back position, especially now that Clinton Portis has been released, the team could look to a runner like Williams to join the relatively unproven incumbents in Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams.

His one-cut-and-go style of running makes him a perfect fit in the Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, especially considering his patience and vision as a runner seem to be two of his strengths. Williams may actually remind Redskins fans a bit of the now-departed Portis, because of the way he runs with authority and shows no fear in doling out punishment to opposing defenders.

Meanwhile, opinions are split regarding Taylor’s prospects at the next level. Because of his lack of height (he’s below 6’1) coupled with his outstanding athleticism & elusiveness, there are many who believe that Taylor should switch positions in the NFL. However, over his last two seasons in Blacksburg, Taylor continually sought to show that he’s a passing quarterback first, with the ability to beat defenses with his legs only when the opportunity presented itself.

Taylor played in a very basic, “vanilla” offense when in Blacksburg, more a function of coaching style than Taylor’s ability to execute an offense. Still, it only accentuates the learning curve that Taylor would face when playing at the next level. While he improved every single year in college and can make outstanding throws while on the run, there are still a few questions about his accuracy.

Current projections have placed Taylor anywhere from the third round to a late-round selection. Meanwhile, Willams appears likely to be selected in either the second round, or third round at worst.


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