Redskins Draft Questions from a Reader

Every once in a while, Redskins Hog Heaven receives questions from a reader pertaining to stuff we have written.  And sometimes, it happens the other way: we get questions that are worth writing about.  This is one of the latter cases.

Reader Mitchell wrote in asking Tony to analyze his Redskins mock draft.  Tony sent it my way because, well, because he knows I like to write about these things.  And write.  And write some more.

Mitchell’s dream Redskins draft (commentary, his) goes as such:

1 – Mike Pouncey
2 – Marvin Austin
5 – Brandon Harris (no way he’ll be here)
5 – Noel Devine or Jacquizz Rogers – we never have anyone to dump the ball off to in the flat and let them make a play. both of these guys are explosive and are homerun hitters
6 – Adrian Moten
Fast, undersized, overall good football player who could contribute on special teams right away

With the Redskins sitting at the 10th pick and Von Miller likely being selected in the top 5, do you think the Redskins will “reach” for another pass rushing linebacker? Maybe like Akeem Ayers out of Cal? or maybe try and pick up Tamba Hali?

“IF” there is still a free agent market this season, what do you think about the Skins going after Davon Joseph from Tampa Bay, Tamba Hali (opposite of Orakpo looks good), Antonio Cromartie and maybe Tom Zbikowski? They are all fairly young still and have a lot of time left.

Before I talk about his mock draft — the total haul looks good to me — I was going to start on the questions first.  And once I start, it is hard to slow me down.

Do I think the Redskins will reach for another pass rushing linebacker?  That’s tricky.  My analysis from last year shows that the most crictical part of a competent three-four defense that the Redskins didn’t have on the roster last year was a second edge rusher.  The 3-4′s advantage is that you can confuse an offense by bringing pressure from all angles.  You can’t do so much if all an offense has to do is find 98.  In 2010, that was a problem.  Brian Orakpo was able to beat the pass protectors often and create holding situations, but he didn’t exactly surprise anyone as to where he was coming from.  Pass rushing schemes for the Redskins were often ineffective because there werent enough quality rushers to attack quarterbacks with.  This meant more guys in coverage, and more guys in coverage meant more time to find guys who could be exposed in coverage.  Which there were plenty of.

The Redskins have a huge need at the linebacker level for someone with pass rushing skills.  If quarterback is the team’s most glaring need, a pass rusher is a close second.

Will the Skins reach for someone who isn’t Von Miller?  Miller is the highest rated 3-4 OLB type, and theres a good chance that he’ll be gone when the Redskins pick.  But it’s not like Miller is the only player at the top of the draft who can play the 3-4 OLB position.  Mitchell mentioned Akeem Ayers as a potential “reach” at no. 10.  But I think two things about that hypothetical:

  1. As far as reaches go, Akeem Ayers isn’t that bad of a reach at no. 10, as even though he didn’t run well at the combine, he’s going to be a hot name in the 11-25 range.
  2. 3-4 OLB types Robert Quinn and Aldon Smith are both expected to go before the 15th pick.
  3. I like Georgia’s Justin Houston so much, that I would take him in the first round ahead of Ayers.

In other words, the Redskins won’t have to reach at no. 10 for pass rushing help, even if Von Miller is gone.  They are actually perfectly positioned to land the edge rusher of their choice, if they choose to do so.  But it’s not the only place they can go on the defensive end.  Because the Redskins also need help in the front three on the defensive end.  And the best player for their scheme would probably be Alabama’s Marcell Dareus, who could slot in instantly at RDE, and provide pass rushing acumen in the four man rush schemes that complements Brian Orakpo.  Cal’s Cameron Jordan wouldn’t be nearly as sexy (or as good a value) as Dareus or Nick Fairley, but would fill the same hole for the same price.  And obviously, the other possibility is that a rising Dareus and Robert Quinn end up pushing Von Miller down to no. 10, and the Redskins do get their guy.

As for Mike Pouncey at no. 10, I’ll say a couple of things.  I have it on pretty good record that the Redskins plan to use their draft picks in the first two rounds of the upcoming draft on either a quarterback, or on defense.  This doesn’t mean things can’t change between now and the draft.  It doesn’t mean that if AJ Green is sitting there for the Redskins at no. 10 overall that they won’t adjust their draft plans and take him.  The draft is dynamic.  Smart franchise leaders must be able to adjust to unexpected outcomes.  But it’s unlikely that if a quarterback the Redskins like at no. 10 is unavailable, that the Redskins will use the pick on the offensive side.

The Redskins have had a large hole at guard since Randy Thomas began getting hurt constantly in 2007, and it was a hole that was only briefly filled by Pete Kendall.  Drafting Mike Pouncey would fill that hole.  But at no. 10?  I don’t feel like the Redskins would be getting good value on Pouncey because I feel like he’s being rated a bit higher than his film would suggested based on a bloodline with a successful recent NFL rookie.  And I’ll grant that such a bloodline mitigates a bit (though not much) of draft risk in the player.  Problem is, with only two picks on the first two days, the Redskins need to give themselves as many possible swings at the fences as they can get.  Pouncey, while filling a major need, almost certainly would use that 10th pick in a manner that gives the Redskins, at best, a role player.  If he’s a trancendental guard in the way that the Redskins hope Trent Williams can someday be at left tackle, then great choice, but otherwise, the Redskins need to at least draft to win for later, not just to limit the possible damage caused by poor OL play in the upcoming 2011 season — if there is a 2011 season.

And to fix this guard problem, I think Davin Joseph makes a lot of sense, for now.  Tamba Hali has since received the franchise tag (driving the need for the Redskins to draft pass rushing help even higher), but Joseph will, at some point, test the market.  Potentially, a restricted free agent tender could stand in the way of the Redskins getting Joseph, but the CBA agreement will be the final ruler on whether the tender given to him by the Bucs is even valid.  If not, he will be a free agent.  I have a soft spot for Tom Zbikowski (Buffalo Grove High School, University of Notre Dame), but he received a third round tender from the Ravens (with only three years of service time, this RFA tender is far more likely to hold than Josephs), and since the Redskins don’t have a third round pick, you can consider Zbikowski as a possible target for 2012 free agency.  I would not go after Antonio Cromartie, because he’s looking for DHall money, isn’t as good as Hall, and I already think Hall is a liability as is.

Marvin Austin could be an interesting target in the second round, but I don’t like Austin as a nose tackle type, or in the 3-4 defense at all.  I think he would be a bad scheme fit here.  It’s going to be way easier to find OLB pass rushing help later on in the draft than quality 3-4 defensive linemen, but if you’re looking at the type of 3-4 DL who might be available in round two, I’d look at Stephen Paea or Phil Taylor at nose tackle, or perhaps Hampton’s Kenrick Ellis.  Non-elite RDE help will be available later on, but at that point, it might be smarter to wait a year.

I’m more interested and intrigued by the late-round plan of the Redskins than willing to predict or expect anything out of those players.  Look at the late rounders last year from the Redskins: they got virtually no contribution from that group.  But they added a couple of undrafted free agents who are already selling jerseys.  The biggest thing about this year is that until there is a new CBA, there will be no signing of undrafted free agents.  That will almost certainly change the dynamic of the draft’s third day.  Whether they can land a fun RB type like Jacquizz Rodgers, Noel Devine, or Dion Lewis, or whether they rest on their laurels and bring in undrafteds to play with their current RB group, or whether they go the developmental QB route, I think we’ll learn a lot about the future of the franchise by sitting back and watching Day 3 unfold rather than rooting to add a whole bunch of college stars in the late rounds.

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