The 2016 NFL Draft is almost upon us and anticipation to see what players each team selects is growing. The Redskins should be a particularly interesting case due to their laundry list of needs that must be addressed in the draft. A few weeks ago I released my Redskins 2016 7-Round Mock Draft 1.0 to predict who I believed the Redskins would and should take in the upcoming draft. Since then, the Redskins have made several changes to their roster and members of the Redskins organization have released statements giving hints to their draft strategy. This led me to update my mock draft accordingly.
In the previous mock, I had the Redskins trading their first round pick with the LA Rams in exchange for the Rams second, third, and fourth round pick. With the Rams trading up to nab the first overall pick in the draft, that scenario is not very likely to happen. Therefore, this time around I have them trading back in the first round, allowing the Seattle Seahawks to move up. I have the Redskins trading the 21st overall pick to the Seahawks in exchange for the Seahawks first (26th overall), 4th (124th overall), and 5th (171st overall) picks in the draft.
Here is how I see things shaking out:
1st Round (26th Overall) from SEA
Chris Jones – DT/DE – Mississippi State – 6’6″, 310 pounds
With the Redskins first pick I have them taking DE/DT Chris Jones out of Mississippi State. Jones was originally tabbed as a second round pick but has been rising up draft boards the past couple months, now garnering first round consideration. Jones boasts tremendous tools with the ideal size, power, and quickness necessary to succeed at the next level. His ability to push the pocket is elite, providing value in both stopping the run and rushing the passer. He also provides scheme versatility with an ability to play both DT and DE, which would allow the Redskins ability to utilize him in a variety of ways. Jones’ technique could use some work and he displays some inconsistency in his play but he has room to grow and would provide the Redskins with much needed youth and talent along the defensive line.
2nd Round (53rd Overall)
Michael Thomas – WR – Ohio State – 6’3″, 212 pounds
I had the Redskins choosing Michael Thomas in the 2nd round of my previous mock draft and I have the Redskins doing the same here. The Redskins sorely need size in their receiving corps and Thomas provides that and more. The Redskins are very high on Thomas as it has been reported the Redskins view him as the top receiver in the draft class. The reason the Redskins are so high on Thomas is the fact that he has vast untapped potential as he has all of the skills of a number one receiver. As noted before, Thomas has the body of an NFL receiver paired with ideal height and weight for the position. He also displays smooth and shifty footwork, reliable hands, and underrated athleticism. Thomas needs work on several important aspects of being an NFL wide receiver such as route running and run blocking, however, he would be presented the opportunity to learn behind several veteran wide receivers on the Redskins roster. Thomas’s upside is simply too enticing for the Redskins to pass up especially with the impending free agency of Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson.
3rd Round (84th Overall)
Jihad Ward – DE/DT – Illinois – 6’5″, 297 pounds
Jihad Ward is an interesting prospect due to the fact that he just recently switched to the defensive line a few years ago in junior college. This makes him a fairly raw prospect but he has flashed immense potential, especially in his standout performance in the Senior Bowl, which has him shooting up draft boards. Ward is a versatile defensive lineman with the strength and size to play inside at DT and the speed and athleticism to play on the edge at DE. He sports ideal size at 6’5”, 296 pounds with a frame that carries little bad weight. His technique is raw due to his limited experience at the position and his production during college leaves much to be desired but he has room to grow physically and in his technique. Ultimately, Ward would provide much needed youth and depth along the Redskins defensive line and he would be provided a great situation to grow and develop behind the Redskins veterans.
4th Round (120th Overall)
Alex Collins – RB – Arkansas – 5’10”, 217 pounds
The Redskins running back corps took a hit when Alfred Morris turned to the dark side and signed with the Dallas Cowboys. While the Redskins seem comfortable moving forward with Matt Jones as their lead back, it would be wise to add a backup in the draft. Alex Collins would be a good option as he will be available in the mid-rounds and has the skill set to thrive in Bill Callahan’s power based running scheme. Collins is a big back who has a relentless running style that allows him to bowl over defenders when faced with contact. He also displays excellent vision that allows him to hit the hole when it opens up and find running lanes at every level of the defense. Collins possesses underrated agility as he has a knack for juking defenders in tight spaces to create extra yardage. The main knock on Collins is his ball security as he had 16 career fumbles at Arkansas.Despite the fumbling issues, his fit in the Redskins offense is undeniable and his skill set would be a nice complement to Matt Jones.
4th Round (124th Overall) from SEA
KJ Dillon – S – West Virginia – 6’0″, 210 pounds
The Redskins have several players vying for playing time at both of their safety positions but few of them offer reliable coverage ability from the safety spot. KJ Dillon could provide the Redskins with exactly that and more. Dillon displayed a well-rounded game at West Virginia with the ability to make plays against both the run and pass. He is a highly instinctual player who shows a nose for the ball in both phases of the game, allowing him to quickly read and react to ball carriers and frequently make plays on throws in his vicinity. Dillon’s main strength is his skill in coverage; he has the ability to cover in zone underneath and over the top as well as skills to cover receivers man to man when called upon. The weaknesses in Dillon’s game revolve around his tackling; he has had trouble with missed and broken tackles throughout his career due to a lack of physicality in his approach and poor technique. KJ Dillon’s coverage skills offer something the Redskins don’t currently have at the safety position and with some added bulk to his frame and refinement of his tackling technique, Dillon could develop into a key piece in the Redskins secondary.
5th Round (158th Overall)
Evan Boehm – C – Missouri – 6’2″, 302 pounds
I had the Redskins choosing Evan Boehm in my previous mock draft and I have them picking him once again here. The Redskins got by last year with a patchwork offensive line after a string of injuries which exposed their lack of depth along the o-line. One position of need is center as Kory Lichtensteiger graded out as an average center and he doesn’t exactly fit the power blocking scheme that Bill Callahan has implemented. A player who would fit this system seamlessly is Missouri’s Evan Boehm. Boehm is a powerhouse at the center position with the strength to maul defenders at the line of scrimmage. His power would be welcome to the Redskins offensive line as well as his toughness and durability. He pairs his power with great recognition before the snap for a well rounded game. His frame is a concern as well as mobility past the first level but Boehm’s power, intelligence, and leadership should allow him to excel at the next level.
5th Round (171st Overall) from SEA
Terrance Smith – ILB/OLB – Florida State – 6’3″, 235 pounds
The Redskins have a variety of inside linebackers on their roster but all provide similar skillsets and they lack the athleticism needed in today’s NFL where linebackers have important coverage responsibilities. Terrance Smith would be a good option for the Redskins as he will be available in the later rounds, giving the Redskins the ability to address more pressing needs earlier in the draft. Smith is an athletic, rangy linebacker with the straight line speed, quick acceleration, and agility necessary to fulfill coverage responsibilities. This is his most appealing quality but he also offers the technique and instincts necessary to excel in the other aspects of the position. Smith is lacking in some physical aspects of the game including tackling and attacking of ball carriers downhill plus he has suffered several injuries. However, most of this would be helped by adding some bulk to Smith’s lean frame. Ultimately, Smith offers a skillset that the Redskins would benefit from which is why they should pull the trigger on this selection.
6th Round (187th Overall)
Kevin Hogan – QB – Stanford – 6’3″, 218 pounds
Kevin Hogan is another player carried over from my previous mock draft and the recent stories coming out about him being a late round gem and Jay Gruden wanting to draft a developmental QB further solidifies this selection. Kevin Hogan would be a good option for the Redskins as he will be available in the late rounds and has many desirable traits for an NFL quarterback. Hogan is a tough competitor with a proven winning track record in his 4 years at Stanford. His size projects well to the NFL and he has extended experience in a pro style offense. The knocks on Hogan are well documented: awkward mechanics, shoddy footwork, average arm strength, and bad pocket presence. These are all aspects of his game that can be developed by QB coach Matt Cavanaugh and head coach Jay Gruden. Hogan is worth drafting because he has all of the traits that can’t be coached and he will be given time to develop behind Cousins and McCoy.
7th Round (232nd Overall)
Deon Bush – S – Miami – 6’0″, 199 pounds
Scot McCloughan has a formula when selecting late round selections which usually includes choosing players with the following characteristics: playing experience, passion, high character, and special teams value. All of these characteristics can be applied to Miami safety Deon Bush which is why he would be a good selection here. Bush played all 4 years while at Miami, providing an imposing presence in the ‘Canes secondary by laying the lumber on any ball carrier in his vicinity. He possesses a nose for the ball paired with excellent technique to make plays on ball carriers. Bush has also been identified as a player with a passion for the game of football which carries over to his giving 100% effort in all aspects of the game, including special teams. He also possesses excellent character, earning a spot on the American Football Coaches Association All-Good Works team as a senior. Bush has several weaknesses in his game including trouble in open field coverage, displaying limited range and trouble changing direction in coverage. There are also concerns surrounding his ability to diagnose plays before and after the snap which is a serious problem for a safety. However, his experience, passion, character, and special teams prowess should make him a McCloughan favorite and should make him worth a 7th round selection.
7th Round (242nd Overall)
Taveze Calhoun – CB – Mississippi State – 6’0″, 192 pounds
With the Redskins signing of Josh Norman to a 5-year, $75 million deal the need for a corner has become substantially less pressing. However, it would be a smart move for the Redskins to add a young corner to their roster to learn behind the Redskins veteran defensive backs. Taveze Calhoun is an intriguing option as he fits the mold of a McCloughan cornerback and he should be available when the Redskins pick in the 7th round. Calhoun is a tall, lengthy corner with experience against some of the premier wide receivers in the SEC. He is an intelligent and instinctive player who plays with great technique in coverage. Calhoun is also a high character individual on and off the field with special teams experience, which are staples of McCloughan late round picks. There are several holes in his game, however, as he sports a skinny frame that limits his strength and physicality and he lacks the speed to keep up with fast receivers, especially over the top. Despite his shortcomings, Calhoun could provide depth, leadership, high character, intelligence, work ethic, and special teams value which would be quality contributions from a 7th round selection.