As time ticks down to the start of the 2015 NFL draft, being a Redskins fan suddenly doesn’t feel the same this year. Not only is having a first-round selection after going two consecutive years without one a nice change of scenery, but competency in the front office by way of new general manager Scot McCloughan also helps to reassure the organization is in good hands (at least from a roster development standpoint).
Given that they hold the fifth-overall pick, as well as a disastrous 4-12 record from a season ago, the Redskins could/should/maybe will have a number of different ways to go by the time their name is called on Thursday night. And while the entire idea of mock drafts is nothing more than a laughable game of darts and guesses (here’s our latest version, by the way), the following is meant to form a list of possibilities for Washington at No. 5 and rank them from least likely (10) to most likely (1).
The Redskins are one team I really don’t know what they’ll do. Scot McCloughan keeps it pretty close to the vest.
– League executive regarding the draft’s top-ten [source]
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10. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Ever since McCloughan mentioned that he and his staff wouldn’t rule out a quarterback at No. 5, the Mariota-to-Washington thing (if you can even call it a thing) has been somewhat of a hot topic.
Sure, you could argue a need at the quarterback position in Washington, but this feels more like strategic posturing than anything. It’d be silly for McCloughan — who has admitted interest in acquiring more picks in this draft — to completely write off his own team’s interest in a prospect that should/would/will garner a potential trade-up opportunity. He’s keeping things interesting, maintaining a poker face, and making things a little tougher on contending front offices.
9. Bud Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky
With his freakish athleticism and natural twitch, Bud Dupree is one of the more intriguing pass rushers in this draft, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Redskins address the position this early on.
At this point in the draft, however, you’re assuming either Dante Fowler Jr., Vic Beasley, or possibly both are still available, and I think both of those guys rank higher on boards due to them both having a higher floor than Dupree. As mentioned in the scouting report, there’s a ton to like about Dupree, but he’s rawer than others at this stage in his career.
8. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Although no position would truly be a surprise in this draft, it seems like drafting a wideout would draw the most inadvertent WTFs amongst the Twitterverse. People see Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson and wrongfully assume the position is solidified. Look a bit further down the depth chart and you’ll notice that, after those guys, there isn’t much left to wow you. Not to mention, adding a threatening red zone target wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Kevin White is the complete package in terms of size, strength, speed, and ball skills. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, White would immediately become the team’s most lethal target in a number of areas and he’d fit the criteria of the front office looking to surround Robert Griffin III with as much talent as possible.
7. La’El Collins, OT, LSU
Upgrading the offensive line with power and size is on the menu with McCloughan and new offensive line coach Bill Callahan in the kitchen, and there should be plenty of bulldozer talent to choose from at No. 5.
With Trent Williams at left tackle, La’El Collins would likely slide in as your starter along the right side. He has quick feet to go along with a powerful frame and the ability to swallow oncoming defenders so long as his technique is sound.
And depending on how the Redskins view his athleticism, they may even view Collins as a mauler at the guard position. The only trouble there, however, would be the idea that drafting a guard at No. 5 is too high. Whether McCloughan gives a hoot about such theory is yet to be seen.
6. Leonard Williams, DL, Southern Cal
Regardless of what your team needs, whether you’re picking first or 32nd, Leonard Williams is an upgrade to your team’s roster. At 6’5″, 300 pounds, Williams is an imposing and forceful load along the defensive front, and he very well may have the highest floor of any top-rated prospect in this class. Even with their recent free agent additions up front, the Redskins clearly fall into play here.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine Williams making it past Oakland at 4. His talent is deserving of the first-overall pick and every team picking before the Redskins (TEN, JAX, OAK) could easily benefit from his services.
If he’s there for the Redskins at 5, great — I just wouldn’t count on it.
5. Shane Ray, EDGE, Missouri
There’s a wide range of opinion when it comes to Shane Ray. On the one end, people see Ray as the best pure pass rusher in this class and they use his game tape to prove it. On the other end, many view Ray as limited due to his lack of versatility and size.
Although I tend to lean toward the former (you can check out the scouting report here), I recognize the latter as well. For what it’s worth though, I don’t think it affects Ray’s stock much. Teams who look to add him are going after a guy they can throw on the field to hunt the quarterback and go full speed at all times. Ray gives you that.
What may affect Ray’s stock, however, is his latest citation for marijuana possession just three days before the draft. As it is in most situations like these, it’s not exactly the drug choice that teams are worried about, but rather the judgement. What does it say about the guy if he’s this careless only days before (possibly) earning millions of dollars?
The Redskins could use some beef to rush the passer, but Ray’s recent run-in may not bode well for a perfect fit in Washington.
4. Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Arguably one of the safest names on this list, Brandon Scherff would immediately bolster the Redskins offensive line. Coaches would have their choice as to whether to play him at right tackle — where he has plenty of strength and athleticism to win — or kick him inside to guard and perhaps get the best return on their investment.
You’ll hear stuff about No. 5 being entirely too early to draft a guard (if you see him as that), but in terms of what McCloughan covets in a lineman, Scherff checks all of the boxes — high floor, solid worker, tough as nails, big and strong.
If the Redskins go offensive line at No. 5, my money’s on them doing so with Scherff.
3. Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE, Florida
When it comes to edge rushers, Dante Fowler Jr’s name probably sits atop a fair share of team’s boards. He has great size, athleticism, versatility, and effort, all of which will translate seamlessly to the NFL, and he may tote the highest ceiling of any pass rusher in the draft. Check out the rest of the scouting report here.
Fowler would be a great fit in Washington, and we know the Second-Team All-American has recently visited Ashburn for a private workout. It’d be hard to see the Redskins passing on Fowler if he’s there, unless of course they liked another edge rusher just a bit more.
2. Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson
If the Jaguars go with an edge rusher at No. 3, my gut says they go Dante Fowler, in which case the Redskins should have their stab at Vic Beasley — an explosive athlete with underrated power and good balance. While arguably not as versatile as Fowler, Beasley is very good at what you’re drafting him to do, and that’s getting after the quarterback.
It’d be interesting to see how the Redskins react with both Fowler and Beasley sitting there at No. 5, but that situation doesn’t seem likely. Either guy would fit the bill of improving the pass rush in Washington, but Beasley gets my nod based off (anticipated) availability and overall talent level (although it’s close).
1. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Availability, best player available, improving your roster, improving your current players — throw all those things into an equation machine for the Redskins and you’re likely coming up with a product named Amari Cooper.
Touted as a can’t-miss prospect, Cooper has the full package in terms of speed, hands, and route running. He has great feet combined with a good understanding of coverage and his potential is that of a quarterback’s best friend.
Kevin White may be the flashier name atop the receiver board, but Cooper is the more sure thing. If McCloughan really goes into this thing with BPA mentality, it’d be hard to argue anyone over Cooper if he’s still there at 5.
- And despite the weed thing, I still don’t see Ray getting past Atlanta. (back)