The Washington Redskins have plenty of needs entering next month’s draft and free agency hasn’t exactly altered them. That’s why the three players Scouts Inc.’s Kevin Weidl pegged to the Redskins in the first three rounds would have made sense before or after free agency.
In this Insider’s piece, Weidl named three players each NFC East team should draft. As he made clear, it’s not a mock draft, but rather trying to align players with schemes. For the Redskins, he gave them a defensive lineman (Chris Jones), a corner (Artie Burns) and a receiver (Malcolm Mitchell). Other positions make sense as well -- a running back instead of a receiver in the third round, for example. Or a safety. But the three positions they targeted all make sense.
Here are their picks and my quick take on if they indeed make sense:
Defensive lineman Chris Jones (Mississippi State): As has been stated a thousand times since the season ended, the Redskins want to get younger along their defensive front. They have not yet accomplished that so drafting someone here makes sense. Does that mean Jones also makes sense? Yes and no. Really, it depends on who else is still around at No. 21 because this is an excellent draft for defensive linemen and this is the first time I’ve seen anyone connect Jones with the Redskins. And he’s not a player I’ve studied in full yet, but the description on ESPN Insiders fits what the Redskins want: someone who can be disruptive, who changes directions well and who can line up at multiple spots and be effective. They also mentioned his quick first step, an important trait in a one-gap scheme. The Insiders projected Jones as a second-round pick, though and my guess is that stems largely from his lack of production. They cited his "below average" production with 8.5 sacks in 39 games. If the Redskins re-sign Terrance Knighton (and if they like the shape he’s in when they see him Wednesday, they will re-sign him), it could have an impact on the direction of their first choice. But they still lack young defensive linemen so if that was one offseason goal, it has yet to be achieved. Jones would give the Redskins an athletic, still-developing young lineman.
Cornerback Artie Burns (Miami): I like the idea of picking a corner high in the draft, simply because there’s a need with Chris Culliver coming off a torn ACL and possibly not being ready until the season opener. Even if he is ready at that time, he’ll still be less than a year from his injury. It’s tough to come back and be yourself for a while. So the Redskins could use another young body to pair with Bashaud Breeland or Will Blackmon. If Culliver is fine, then they have excellent depth. Burns has long arms, which is helpful in press coverage (which they will use) and is said to be good in off-man or zone, which they like to play. Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan is a big believer in building the defensive front and stocking a roster with plenty of corners.
Receiver Malcolm Mitchell (Georgia): Another position that would be wise to address in the draft. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon both in the final year of their deals, the Redskins would be smart to add a young target. I’m not crazy about the receiving depth, though there is hope that speedy Rashad Ross can take another step this season. And while Jay Gruden still raves about Ryan Grant, he was underwhelming in his second season. I don’t know if Mitchell is the right guy or not. He’s not a big guy (6-foot, 198 pounds), though he has long arms and big hands. He's not a burner either, though he is fast having run the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds. He has excellent quickness. Scouts Inc. projects him as a No. 3 or 4 receiver, but he has the ability to become a little bit more.