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Mel Kiper focuses on rebuilding the Redskins up front

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. switched things up a little bit, finally projecting what he would do rather than what he thinks a team would do. The result for the Redskins: drafting a pass rusher and a rebuilding the offensive line.

Kiper, who selected players in the first three rounds for each team in this Insider's post, has the Redskins taking linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. in the first round, tackle Cedric Ogbuehi in the second and guard A.J. Cann in the third.

Here’s some of what Kiper wrote about the picks:

“Fowler doesn't just bring the presence of a pass-rusher -- in reality, he still has a ways to go to be really good in that area -- he also is just a relentless battler up front, is versatile and is going to help us against the run ... Combine him with the big bodies we've added in free agency and there's reason for optimism. Maybe we don't have certainty at the QB position, but adding Ogbuehi (a first-round talent available in Round 2 because of a knee injury) and Cann will help up front. In rebuilding this roster, my focus is on the trenches ..."

Let’s take a look at his selections with my take on his picks:

Dante Fowler, Florida linebacker: If you want to be more physical, you find physical players. Sort of a no-brainer approach, but there are too many times coaches say that’s what they want and then draft guys who aren’t physical. Fowler is a physical player, and his versatility and relentless style should be a good fit. The problem I have with Fowler is that his first step often was excellent, but the next few did not always have a purpose, and it prevented him from winning more than he should.

Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M: As with the first pick, this fills a need. After watching Ogbuehi, it's clear that if he hadn’t been hurt, he would have been a first-round pick. But he still needs to improve in pass protection -- he loses balance and strength because of how he sets, and he needs work on his punches. He’s not a road grader in the run game, though part of that stems from not seeing a lot of that because the style of A&M’s offense. Still, he’d be an improvement at right tackle, and with good coaching, he could be developed. There are other tackles and linemen whose dispositions I like more (Brandon Scherff, Ereck Flowers).

A.J. Cann, South Carolina: I haven’t watched a lot of him, but from what I’ve seen, he’d be an excellent run blocker (he played left guard last year). At 315 pounds, he has the size general manager Scot McCloughan likes at guard. Cann blocked to the whistle, but it looked like his pass protection needed some work -- mostly he needs to keep his feet moving; but his power did not seem to be an issue. The Redskins drafted guard Spencer Long in the third round last year and he, too, fits what they like. But to develop linemen, it’s good to keep bringing in new ones. The Redskins need an identity and finding more players who are physical and block to the whistle, the more you develop one. This isn’t just about helping one position (the quarterbacks), it’s about establishing who you are and what you want to be.