With less than a week before the draft -- finally -- that should be, and is, the focal point of this week's mailbag. There are two questions, one centered on priorities and one on linebacker Reuben Foster and where he might fall after his failed urine test. Better yet: Will he fall to 17?
John Keim: That’s easy. The Redskins want an edge pass-rusher – and I think they want one in the worst way. Their offseason goal has been to improve the third-down defense and to do so they must upgrade the pass rush.
They can do so in a few ways, but the scenarios include drafting someone who can help the pass rush. It could be someone such as Temple’s Haason Reddick, who projects inside in a 3-4 base front but who could help as an edge rusher in nickel/dime packages early. He also can cover. With Reddick and safety Su’a Cravens, you’d have two players who could improve the rush but from different spots.
It really depends on who is available at 17. If Reddick is there, I could see him being the pick. If he’s not then I could see Missouri end/linebacker Charles Harris being the guy. And if he’s gone then possibly Kansas State’s Jordan Willis. See the picture being painted?
They’d go this direction for a few reasons: Trent Murphy's four-game suspension and pending free agency in 2018; Preston Smith not showing them more last season and Junior Galette coming off two missed seasons because of Achilles’ tears.
Obviously Reddick would check off two boxes: edge rusher in some packages and, eventually, an inside linebacker. But I don’t believe he’d start there immediately.
Defensive line would be next, but 17 is not a good spot to find value unless they really like Malik McDowell. But I do think they’ll get one in the second or third round (thought so last year too). The one interesting part in the first round: If running back Christian McCaffrey is available at 17 (I believe Dalvin Cook will be). That’s the one offensive position I could see them going in the first round.
Both Cook and McCaffrey would give the Redskins something they lack: a dynamic every-down back (more in the Brian Westbrook mold). Cook, though, has more red flags and that could cause him to slide.
Not sure about safety because I think the other players/positions would rate above this one.
It’s not a great draft for offensive linemen; I have heard they like Forrest Lamp, but my sense is he’s lower on their list and therefore unlikely at 17.
#jkmailbag What are your thoughts about the Skins considering Reuben Foster at #17 or if he starts to drop trade back and select him?— Dan Novak (@dan31676) April 21, 2017
Keim: That would be an interesting one. If Foster is there, my sense/gut feel is they would strongly consider him. To say they would take him is real tough because it also depends who else would be available. But he can be a difference-maker. I don't know about trading back and getting him. Too hard to know that right now. When you trade back, and still want one player in particular, you must do so knowing he'll still be there. Otherwise, you'd better have two or three players you're OK with. My guess is if they trade back, they'd have several in mind.
But will Foster fall to 17? I’ve talked to a couple people who do think he’ll fall because of the latest issues – and others who say no. How’s that for mixed opinions? Point is: It's hard to know right now. I don't think the Redskins are anticipating this, but they didn't think receiver Josh Docston would fall to them last spring either. Whatever you think about him now, they viewed Doctson as a top-10 pick.
He’s considered a top-10 talent so if he’s around at 17, it’d be real hard to not select him. Foster can run and he also called signals at Alabama, but I’m not sure that’s what he’d do in the NFL. My concern would be durability. At 225 pounds, and with some past concussions and shoulder issues – mostly stingers – would he be available enough? But the only reason Washington would get a player such as Foster is because of any lingering questions.