Washington owns the second pick in the draft and there is a good chance they pick Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, unless they trade down for extra picks. While defensive end is not their biggest need, Young is too good to pass up and the Skins are switching to a 4-3 front on defense under new coach Ron Rivera.
The Redskins have seven picks in the draft: no second, two fourths, no sixth, and two sevenths.
I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.
Major Needs (No Particular Order):
Wide Receiver: Terry McLaurin was arguably the most productive third round pick in last year’s draft and he’s their biggest weapon here, catching 58 for 919 yards. Palmyra alum Kelvin Harmon started some games as a sixth round pick and caught 30 passes. Rookie free agent Steven Sims had 34 receptions and second-year player Trey Quinn had 26. They also signed Cody Latimer from the Giants. Major improvement is needed here even if one of the other youngsters develops and the Redskins could pick more than one player in the draft.
Tight End: The Redskins released Jordan Reed, a talented receiver who was often injured. The incumbent is Jeremy Sprinkle, a 2017 pick who is not a receiving threat. Logan Thomas and Richard Rodgers were signed in free agency to provide depth. Rookie free agent Hale Hentges saw some time and rookie Caleb Wilson was signed off Arizona’s practice squad late in the season. Help is needed here.
Offensive Line: This has been a troublesome area for the team, with right guard Brandon Scherff being the only high-quality player, unless left tackle Trent Williams is included. Williams has his troubles with the organization, sat out last year, and it’s questionable whether he returns. The candidates at left tackle are free agent signing Cornelius Lucas and third-year man Geron Christian. Donald Penn started last year, but is unsigned and turns 37 just days after the draft. The right tackle is Morgan Moses and he is backed up by Timon Parris. Left guard has changed with Ereck Flowers leaving for Miami in free agency. Free agent Wes Schweitzer replaces him, but he is probably a temporary solution. At center, Chase Roulier has started the last two years, entering his fourth season and second-year man Ross Pierschbacher, a fifth round pick from last year, could challenge at either center or guard. Other guards are free agent signing Jeremy Vujnovich and Wes Martin, a fourth round pick last year.
Defensive Line: The Skins are switching to a 4-3 after many years in a 3-4. Last year’s outside linebackers, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat, will move up and play end. Also moving to end is Ryan Anderson, who saw increased time late in the season. End could be very deep with Young being picked and continued improvement from both Sweat and Anderson. One thing to consider is Kerrigan potentially being a free agent next year – he’s had a terrific career with the Redskins, but he carries a big cap hit. Tackle will have a competition and possible rotation of the three starting linemen last year: Hunterdon Central alum Matt Ioannidis, Le’Quan Payne, and Jonathan Allen. Ioannidis was their best lineman, while Payne was their first round pick in 2018 and Allen in 2017. There is some very good potential with this unit, provided Young is picked.
Linebacker: With the move to a 4-3, the returning linebackers are inside holdovers from last year. Returning are Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb, who enters his second season. Reuben Foster missed 2019 with a torn ACL/LCL and has had off-the-field problems, but he has talent and can also play outside. The Redskins signed free agents Thomas Davis and Kevin Pierre-Louis – Davis just turned 37 and started for the Chargers on the outside after a long career under Rivera in Carolina. Pierre-Louis is a probable backup. Shaun Dion Hamilton may compete on the outside and Josh Harvey-Clemons is also on the roster. An upgrade is needed here, especially on the outside.
Cornerback: It was a mess last year with only Quinton Dunbar starting more than half the games. He left via free agency, along with Josh Norman. The most experienced players will be Fabian Moreau and Aaron Colvin, with Moreau starting seven games last year. Kendall Fuller returns to Washington after spending two years in Kansas City and Ronald Darby signed from Philadelphia. Also receiving time last year were rookie Jimmy Moreland and Danny Johnson. Improvement is needed here and the draft provides an opportunity for new blood.
Safety: They’re fine with Landon Collins at strong safety, but free safety is questionable. Currently, free agent signee Sean Davis from the Steelers is the likely starter with Troy Apke and Maurice Smith in reserve. DeShazor Everett is also on the roster, but he is known for his special teams abilities. They are likely to pick a free safety at some point and could pick for overall depth.
Quarterback: Washington picked Dwayne Haskins in the first round, he showed progress, and my gut feeling is he will be the quarterback. But Rivera said the position is open for competition. Kyle Allen was traded for in the off-season and he has familiarity with Rivera in Carolina, starting twelve games after Cam Newton went down. Alex Smith has been out for over a year after a badly broken leg that was later infected; he hopes to return and if he can, it would make things very interesting – but the odds are very long. Josh Woodrum fills out this group.
Running Back: This is an interesting situation with Adrian Peterson the incumbent and while he is not what he used to be, he is still a good back. Washington has invested the last two years, picking Derrius Guice in the second round two years ago and Bryce Love in the fourth round last year. Guice has battled knee problems – missing 2018 with a torn ACL and much of last year with a torn meniscus. He has the ability, but needs to stay healthy. Love tore his ACL in his last college game and missed last year. The Redskins signed Peyton Barber and JD McKissic in free agency, making this a position with depth, especially if Guice and Love stay healthy and produce. I don’t see a pick here unless it’s a late one.
*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN.