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Redskins Draft: Possible Picks at 51

redskins draft 300x159 Redskins Draft: Possible Picks at 51The Washington Redskins may not have a number one pick in the upcoming NFL draft, what they do have is options with the first pick they own (51st overall).

Over the past few weeks there have been dozens of college players who will be in the draft that have caught our eyes.

First and foremost we believe that free safety is the clear-cut number one need the team has at the moment and for that reason should be addressed first this year when the Redskins go on the clock at pick 51. Cornerback is also a major area of concern as the Redskins will not have any corners signed in 2014 and need to start planing for the future in that department as well.

We’ve comprised a list of possible picks the Redskins could make this year, being as many teams with the same needs pick before the Redskins (some will pick twice) the pool of players that will be available is unknown for now.

Defensive backs who will more than likely be gone by the time the Redskins draft, but if they slipped would be ideal:

 

  • Johnathan Cyprien (S) Florida International 6-0, 217 lbs. Projected First-Second Round

NFL COMPARISON Jordan Babineaux

One of the hardest-hitting safeties in the 2013 draft class, Cyprien offers enough range to be reliable in box coverage while displaying an aggressive mentality against ball carriers and receivers. He plays smart, and that might be the most important trait when looking at safeties. However, despite it being unique, Cyprien doesn’t have a very well known name … yet.

 

  • Matt Elam (FS) Florida 5-10, 208 lbs. Projected First-Second Round 

NFL COMPARISON Quintin Mikell

Elam is one of the higher profile prospects at his position due to his onfield emotion and energy when lining up big hits in the open field. The junior thrives when his number is called, and Elam was very visible since he frequently lined up in the box at strong safety. However, when looking beyond the splash plays, Elam lacks urgency to his game and can be seen standing around while others make the play. That combined with his tendency to launch himself at ball carriers rather than make form tackles may cause some evaluators to be a bit apprehensive. But, if the Gator can harness the electricity he flashes, Elam could end up being one of the top safeties in this class and is a potential first-round pick.

 

  • Xavier Rhodes (CB/S) Florida State 6-2, 210 lbs. Projected Late First-Early Second 

NFL COMPARISON Brandon Browner

Rhodes thrives in physical press coverage, something very few college players can put on their resume. At time his tackling technique is questionable, but Rhodes will make his living locking up boundary receivers with a balanced and strong jam followed up by enough speed to stick in their hip pocket. Just don’t ask him to play in zone, because Rhodes shows tight movements when forced to pass receivers to a separate area. His game is somewhat scheme dependent, but expect Rhodes to be selected in the first 50 picks.

 

  • Jamar Taylor (CB) Boise St. 5-11, 192 lbs. Projected Early Second

NFL COMPARISON Drayton Florence

Taylor is a physical and athletic cornerback looking to be the sixth Boise State defensive back to be drafted by NFL teams over the last eight years. He missed most of the second half of 2011 with a stress fracture in his leg, but returned with a vengeance during his senior year by excelling in man coverage on downfield routes. Since he remained healthy during his senior year, Taylor is poised for a second day or mid round selection, but he would be wise to improve his play against the run when in space.

 

  • Johnathan Banks (CB) Mississippi St. 6-2, 185 lbs. Projected Early-Mid Second

NFL COMPARISON Aqib Talib

SEC receivers were hoping Banks would head to the NFL after his second-team All-SEC junior season, but they had to deal with the tall, lean, three-year starter’s ball skills and competitive streak for another season before he headed off to challenge pro receivers. He has experience playing a number of spots in the secondary, beginning his career as a safety, before eventually settling on the boundary corner and nickel spots. His skills is man coverage were under-utilized at Mississippi State, and if he can keep adding weight to his long, wiry frame, has the potential to be an excellent press-man corner, a skill that could land him in the top 50 picks.

 

NFL COMPARISON Antoine Cason

The brother of NFL cornerbacks Marcus and Isaiah flashes playmaking ability and very good foot quickness, but must play stronger, smarter, and avoid technique breakdowns to be considered a sure-fire NFL starter. His skillset will still likely see him as a Day 2 selection.

 

  • D.J. Hayden (CB) Houston 5-11, 191 lbs. Projected Mid-Second

NFL COMPARISON Richard Marshall

Hayden helped Navarro Junior College win a national championship in 2010, and then aided the Cougars 13-1 finish in 2011 as Conference USA’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year as a junior (11 pass break-ups, five forced fumbles). He was having a fantastic senior campaign until a life threatening injury cut it short. How he checks out medically will play a major role in his draft status.

 

Defensive backs who should be available when the Redskins pick:

-Now this is where it gets interesting, there is no real way of knowing who will be available, but if some of the following guys are already off the board, the Redskins could go best available player.

 

NFL COMPARISON Reggie Nelson

A gruesome left leg injury forced Thomas to question his potential NFL future, but the senior was everywhere in 2012 and looked as good as new. He gets a bit tentative when closing on ball carriers, choosing not to meet them at the line of scrimmage unless lined up in the box, but Thomas thrives at going up and getting it in coverage. Reggie Nelson was mainly a center fielding safety while at Florida and during the early parts of his career, but transformed his game with solid coaching. Thomas may be able to do the same.

 

NFL COMPARISON T.J. Ward

This tenacious hitter originally planned on going to Tennessee, but the resignation of Phillip Fulmer sent him into the arms of Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. He’s played in every game since he arrived on campus, except for the 2012 matchup against Missouri, for which he was suspended after a hit on a defenseless receiver. He has played both free and strong safety, and his good performances as a spot duty at corner against big receivers suggests he has the potential to cover NFL tight ends in coverage well. He projects to be a day two pick.

 

  • Darius Slay (CB) Mississippi St. 6-0, 192 lbs. Projected Late Second

NFL COMPARISON Antoine Cason

Slay is an aggressive corner with good length. He is skilled in playing the hands of the receiver and forces incompletions because of it. Slay’s toughness translates when it comes to his run defense and special teams play. He’s going to have to prove his speed at the combine, but he should go in the middle rounds.

 

NFL COMPARISON Gerald Sensabaugh

Possesses the size, athletic skill set, and playmaking ability to become a starter at the next level. However, multiple suspensions for violating team rules might hurt his draft stock.

 

NFL COMPARISON Bernard Pollard

The son of NFL Pro Bowl safety Tim McDonald and brother of UCLA safety Tevin earned All-American recognition for his big hits and hands in coverage (six interceptions in 2010-2011). However, his lack of agility and instincts could limit his ability to be a reliable starting contributor in a league that is becoming more wide-open. He will probably be best served as a sub-package defender who plays near the line of scrimmage.

 

Other possible non defensive back picks at 51:

 

  • Justin Hunter (WR) Tennessee 6-4, 196 lbs Projected Late First-Second

NFL COMPARISON Roy Williams

Tennessee’s tall strider looked to be on his way to a breakout year (17 catches, 314 yards, two touchdowns in just over two games) in 2011 before tearing his left ACL. He missed no time in 2012, but Hunter apparently lost his reliable hands that were a staple of his game prior to the knee injury. It was confusing to watch, since many of the junior’s mistakes were mental rather than physical limitations. Still, Hunter’s ability to separate with smooth routes will likely land him on the second day of April’s draft.

 

  • John Jenkins (NT) Goergia 6-4, 346 lbs. Projected Late Second

NFL COMPARISON Gabe Watson

Jenkins is a massive junior college transfer with great upside as a run-stuffer, but is limited to being a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme because of his lack of quickness. His impressive size and strength will likely make him coveted, but needs to improve his balance and pad-level

 

  • Margus Hunt (DE) SMU 6-8, 277 lbs Projected Late Second

NFL COMPARISON Calais Campbell

Hunt initially moved to the United States from his native Estonia to further his amateur track career (he won gold medals in the shot put and discus at the 2006 World Junior Championships). Now the 25 year-old uses his elite size/athleticism combination to make an impact on defense (three sacks in the BVAA Compass Bowl against Pittsburgh to finish off 2011, a sack and two forced fumbles against Fresno in the Hawaii Bowl) and special teams (17 blocked kicks in four years). Fulfilling his potential as a starting NFL five-technique defensive end as a senior could land him in the top half of the first round in April.

 

  • Tyler Eifert (TE) Notre Dame 6-6, 251 lbs. Projected Late First-Second

NFL COMPARISON Greg Olsen

Eifert was a 215-pound TE out of high school who didn’t receive too many scholarship offers, but has developed into one of the top all-around tight ends to enter the NFL draft in recent memory. He was Notre Dame’s No. 1 offensive weapon in 2012, lining up out wide as a WR or in-line as a traditional TE, and was the type of target defensive coordinators had to game plan against. Eifert is a fluid pass-catcher with vacuum hands and the hand/eye coordination to make tough catches and although he doesn’t create a lot of space, he secures grabs in traffic, showing outstanding tracking and high-pointing ability. He is a soft spoken guy, but an animal on the field and a much better blocker than given credit, improving in leaps and bounds the past three years with excellent effort – projects as a starting NFL TE with excellent potential as both a receiver and blocker.

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