The Redskins looked completely helpless trying to stop Alfred Morris in a must-win game the week after Thanksgiving. They need to bolster their defensive front, and Vita Vea happens to be one of the best players available.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S - Fitzpatrick will certainly be in the conversation if he's available, as he could be the top prospect on the board.
2. Da'Ron Payne, NT - I've had either Payne or Fitzpatrick slotted here in every single mock draft I've done since February. Until today.
Rd. 2, Pk. 12
Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
The Redskins are looking for a new running back, as all the options they have at the position are pretty lackluster.
Rd. 4, Pk. 9
Daurice Fountain, WR, Northern Iowa
Daurice Fountain's stock is surging, and the Redskins could be interested, given that they need to add one more viable receiver to their roster.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Cole Madison, OT, Washington State
The Redskins have a solid offensive line when everyone's healthy, but left guard and center must be addressed.
Rd. 5, Pk. 26
Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama
The Redskins mostly have a strong offensive line, but they really could use an upgrade at center, especially with Spencer Long gone.
Rd. 6, Pk. 31
Nic Shimonek, QB, Texas Tech
Alex Smith will be Washington's starting quarterback for the next couple of seasons, but the Redskins need to find a young signal-caller to groom as an eventual replacement.
Rd. 7, Pk. 13
Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn
Will this finally be the year the Redskins fix their kicking woes?
Rd. 7, Pk. 23
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
Here's someone who can help the Redskins' special teams. More secondary depth doesn't hurt either.
Based off some information, I think Washington's pick could come down to Reuben Foster, Marlon Humphrey, Adoree' Jackson, Haason Reddick or Charles Harris. If Foster gets to the Redskins' pick, I think they would be thrilled as he is their first choice. After Foster, I think there will be a big debate between the others. I think the decision would then come down to Harris or Jackson. This is a deep cornerback draft, so Washington could lean toward the rusher with its first pick. Additionally, Harris is loved by teams for his football character, but he is the Plan B, I believe. I think the Redskins want Foster more than anyone else though and character concerns could push him down to them.
In 2016, Foster amassed 115 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two passes broken up. The 6-foot, 229-pounder came on strong late in the 2015 season for Alabama and had the game of his life in the National Championship against Clemson. He totaled 73 tackles with eight for a loss, two sacks and nine passes batted for the year. The light looked like it clicked on for Foster toward the end of the 2015 season as he was suddenly a different player. He carried that over into his senior year, when he was a physical force. Foster is a fast, athletic linebacker who can go sideline-to-sideline while also dishing out punishing hits when he gets there.
Kpassagnon notched 45 tackles with 21.5 for a loss, 11 sacks, one forced fumble and a pass batted in 2016. He totaled 33 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for a loss, two blocked kicks and a forced fumble the year before.
Evaluators believe that the 6-foot-6, 280-pounder is raw and has great size, but the skill set is there with a lot of upside to develop. Sources say that Kpassagnon is a perfect fit as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense and they see him as a second-day talent.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
The Redskins grab a slot cover corner to team with Josh Norman and Kendall Fuller.
If Lewis (5-10, 188) were larger, he would be a first-round pick. Lewis is a fast, athletic corner who is adept at running the route to prevent separation. In the NFL, however, he is going to struggle with big receivers making receptions over him. Therefore, he could be limited to the slot.
The senior had 25 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions during 2016. In 2015, Lewis was a good corner for the Wolverines with a ridiculous 20 passes broken up, two interceptions and 52 tackles. He also averaged 25.2 yards per kick return. As a sophomore, Lewis recorded 39 tackles with two interceptions and six passes broken up.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Chad Williams, WR, Grambling
The Redskins could use some receiver depth as Terrelle Pryor only signed a 1-year contract. They've also shown interest in Williams.
Williams (6-0, 204) had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl and flashed some speed to push defenses vertically. In 2016, he totaled 89 receptions for 1,334 yards with 10 touchdowns. Williams also had a strong junior season with 64 receptions for 1,012 yards with 11 touchdowns.
Williams could be a sleeper prospect who ends up being a nice value pick. There are sources who are impressed with him.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jon Toth, C, Kentucky
The Redskins have a talented young offensive line, but they could use an interior lineman to finish it off.
Toth (6-4, 308) had a fine senior season and career at Kentucky. He started 47 straight games and was a big part of the Wildcats having a team average of 5.5 yards per carry. He also turned in a quality week at the Senior Bowl.
Toth has good size to be a center in the NFL. He has strength in his base and developed technique.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Jamaal Williams, RB, Brigham Young
The Redskins grab some running back depth.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
The Redskins could use some running back depth given Matt Jones' durability issues.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Darius English, DE/3-4OLB, South Carolina
The Redskins take some pass-rushing depth.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Kai Nacua, S, Brigham Young
The Redskins get some safety depth with a sleeper who could be a steal.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Kofi Amichia, G, South Florida
The Redskins get some offensive line depth with a player they hosted on a visit.
The Redskins could go a few directions with this pick, but I believe Vea is the perfect fit. He gives them a tremendous run stuffer to pair with Jonathan Allen and cause disruption at the line of scrimmage. Vea also has the ability to nose tackle or five-technique in their scheme. Hence, he's the pick over Alabama nose tackle Da'Ron Payne, who they also like a lot. Minkah Fitzpatrick is also in the running for the Redskins from what I've heard. <br> <br>
Vea recorded 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four passes batted in 2017. The 6-foot-4, 337-pounder was a load at the point of attack for Washington in 2016, too. He totaled 39 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one force fumble and two passes batted on the season. Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack. He is a heavy nose tackle who is a rock against the run and can occasionally collapse the pocket in the pass rush. For the NFL, Vea also has the height and length to play end in a 3-4 defense as well as nose tackle.
The Redskins' top needs are a quarterback - unless Kirk Cousins is willing to sign an extension, which is unlikely -, defensive front-seven talent, and a safety. Of those needs, adding a quarterback is the most critical issue to address, but all of the quarterbacks are gone. Thus, Washington grabs an upgrade to the defensive line. Reuniting Payne and Jonathan Allen could be tremendous for the Redskins' defense. <br> <br>
Payne dominated at the point of attack in 2017, stuffing runs while showcasing his freakish speed and athleticism. On the year, he totaled 53 tackles, two half-sacks, three passes batted, an interception and a touchdown reception. I heard general managers and scouts raving about Payne all season. <br> <br>
Scouts were already raving about Payne's potential in the preseason. He was the Crimson Tide's best defensive lineman in 2017, following Jonathan Allen's moving on to the NFL. Payne (6-2, 319) is a run plugger with a lot of potential to grow. When given the opportunity to rush the passer in 2016 and 2017, Payne was impressive, and sources have said that he helped set up sacks for Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, Ryan Anderson, and Rashaan Evans the past two seasons.
Let's admit it, the Washington Redskins are a team that a player should not want to play for or get drafted by right now. The team completely botched their relationship with Kirk Cousins, and he is now twice as close to sniffing a potential Super Bowl appearance as quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings. The team doesn't have a general manager currently after their last gm, Scot McCloughan, was fired due to drug and alcohol problems. Washington cannot even decide whether the team name "Redskins" is a discriminatory term and if the team should go ahead and change the team name. The team is a mess and lacking all direction and identity. The face of the franchise is currently star cornerback and jekyll-and-hyde personality Josh Norman. The team traded for quarterback Alex Smith this offseason and with holes all over the roster, this is a team that is in complete rebuild mode.
How do you solve this problem and kickstart a rebuild without a potential franchise quarterback available to be drafted? You don't. The best plan of action would be to stick to your draft board and select the highest rated player on your board, no matter the position. The goal should be to just try to accumulate building block players to your roster and not a player who could bust and possibly set the team back another year. The Redskins have a few options to accomplish this goal in defensive tackles Vita Vea and former Johnathon Allen teammate DaRon Payne, linebacker Roquan Smith, and wide receiver Calvin Ridley.
Derwin James would most likely be the highest rated player on Washington's board, however, and the correct selection at this pick. James would be the Redskins' opportunity to re-energize the fan base with a player reminiscent of Sean Taylor, a star taken away too early. The Florida State safety prospect would also give Washington a complete position group, believe it or not. Playing next to emerging safety Montae Nicholson, James would compliment cornerbacks Norman, Orlando Scandrick, and sophomore Fabian Moreau. Derwin James was a star prospect his freshman season at FSU as a tall and long, hard-hitting safety where he had 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Unfortunately, he tore his meniscus in the second game of his sophomore season, which has some NFL front offices wary. Jones was able to return to form during his junior season this past year by leading a terrible Florida State team with 84 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and 11 pass deflections. James' stock has been soaring recently and by some experts is viewed as the superior safety prospect to Minkah Fitzpatrick. James would be a solid building block for this faceless franchise and possibly be a difference maker to help the team win a few games this upcoming season.
The Redskins' top needs are a quarterback - unless Kirk Cousins is willing to sign an extension, which is unlikely -, defensive front-seven talent, and a safety. Of those needs, adding a quarterback is the most critical issue to address, but all of the quarterbacks are gone. Thus, Washington grabs an upgrade to the back end. <br> <br>
Fitzpatrick has 55 tackles, one interception, eight passes broken up and a forced fumble in 2017. He has played really well, doing everything that could be asked of a safety. Fitzpatrick is a superb center fielder, covering receivers deep downfield. He is also fast in pursuit, tackles well in space at the second level, can come down into the box, and is able to play man coverage against tight ends and slot receivers, plus help out his cornerbacks. The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder has excellent size and some natural cover skills. Sources have said that Fitzpatrick is a prototypical free safety for the NFL. They say he has good size, speed, athletic ability and high football I.Q. in a play-maker. <br> <br>
In 2016, Fitzpatrick recorded 66 tackles with seven passes broken up and six interceptions. He was dominant at times for Alabama, splitting time between corner and safety. Fitzpatrick had a superb 2015 season for the Crimson Tide. The freshman totaled 45 tackles with two sacks, 11 passes broken up and two interceptions - both returned for a touchdowns.
The Redskins traded away Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the compensation to bring Alex Smith, much to chagrin of the rest of the Redskins secondary who considered Fuller their best player. He will undoubtably need to be replaced.
Ward is only 5'10 which will put off a lot of people, however he definitely doesn't play like it using supreme athleticism and quickness and closing burst to stick with all receivers and reminds a lot of Chris Harris Jr. He tied for the lead for all DBs at the combine with a 4.32 40-yard dash and a 136" Broad Jump, and was one of the best in the vertical jump as well posting 39" which will allow him to make up for the size he's missing.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Denzel Ward Going to Redskins
Rd. 1, Pk. 13
Da'Ron Payne, DT/NT
The Buccaneers broke the Redskins' hearts by selecting Vita Vea oen pick before them. Fortunately, there's one other stud nose tackle in this class, and Washington was able to obtain him.
Payne is a solid choice for the Redskins, as he reunites with Jonathan Allen on the defensive line. The Redskins were woeful versus the run late last year, and Payne will definitely be able to help in that regard.
Rd. 2, Pk. 27
Derrius Guice, RB
One of the NFL Network guys said there would be some breaking news about Derrius Guice that would embarrass him and the team that selected him, so hopefully it's not too bad. Guice is a steal for his talent level, but he has character concerns. He and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman actually got into a heated exchange leading up to the draft. If Guice is clean, this will be an A+ pick, as he could be the best runner on the roster right now by a wide margin. However, I'm worried about some impending problems, so I'll keep this as a B+.
Rd. 3, Pk. 10
Geron Christian, OT
There were grades all over for Geron Christian. Some teams thought he could be a second-round prospect, while others had him on Day 3. Christian has great upside and could develop into a left tackle one day. He doesn't fill a need for the Redskins right now, so a tackle probably should have been addressed a bit later.
Rd. 4, Pk. 9
Troy Apke, S
I don't hate this pick, but it doesn't seem like a very good one. Troy Apke is a very athletic safety who thrived at the combine. This obviously put him on the radar, but I thought he would be more of a sixth-round selection. He'll at least be a solid special-teams player.
Rd. 5, Pk. 26
Tim Settle, DT/NT
The Redskins already selected a nose tackle, but they might as well add another one, given how much they've struggled against the run. Settle is a force versus the rush, but he can also apply some pressure on the quarterback.
Rd. 6, Pk. 23
Shaun Dion Hamilton, ILB
Shaun Dion Hamilton would have gone much earlier than this if he didn't have severe injury concerns. It always seemed like he was injured at Alabama. It's a shame, as he's a smart linebacker who could have emerged as a starter in the pros. He still has a shot though, so I like the Redskins taking a chance on him in the sixth round.
Rd. 7, Pk. 23
Greg Stroman, CB
Greg Stroman was highly productive at Virginia Tech, but fell to the seventh round because teams don't like cornerbacks who are both small and slow. Stroman was one of the worst testers in pre-draft workouts, but I could see him proving evaluators wrong.
Rd. 7, Pk. 38
Trey Quinn, WR
Trey Quinn might be one of the better Mr. Irrelevants we've seen in a while. He was an extremely productive receiver for SMU this past season. He's quick and sure-handed, and I wouldn't be surprised if he emerged as a quality slot receiver in the NFL. Well done by Bruce Allen at the very end of the 2018 NFL Draft!