Assessing the 2018 Washington Redskins draft needs is never an easy task and this year is no different. The 2018 NFL Draft is just over two weeks away and teams are beginning to finalize their draft boards as they assess every prospect and hidden gem. The Redskins enter the draft with eight picks and plenty of needs. They traded a third-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for quarterback Alex Smith last month and they were able to gain an extra fifth-round pick from the Denver Broncos for safety Su’a Cravens.
The latter transaction included the opportunity to move higher in the fourth and fifth rounds as the Redskins swapped draft positions with the Broncos. The Redskins also have an extra seventh-round choice courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams in an off-season transaction from last year. With the extra picks in its draft arsenal, the front office could fill several needs that include defensive tackle, inside linebacker, running back, left guard, and wide receiver. Who will be added to the team?
Assessing the 2018 Washington Redskins Draft Needs
The one position that has bedeviled the Redskins in recent years is defensive tackle. SThe free agents they’ve signed over the past decade have proven to be marginal players at best. Draft choices at this position have been few and far between, but a deep class of defensive tackles provides hope in 2018. Two players often mentioned for the burgundy and gold are Da’Ron Payne from Alabama and Vita Vea from the Washington Huskies. Both are elite prospects who could fill a vital need. There are solid prospects in the later rounds as well. Tim Settle of Virginia Tech, Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State, B.J. Hill of North Carolina State, and Folorunso Fatukasi of Connecticut could provide good value in the early and middle rounds. There will be several opportunities to grab a defensive tackle in this draft.
If the Redskins are serious about adding a starter and feature back, then they will need to add one in the first or second round. Head coach Jay Gruden has echoed the front office in recent days as the need for such a back has been widely discussed. While it is unlikely a running back will be taken in the first round, the chances certainly increase later on in the draft. There have been strong rumors of taking a running back in the first round, but that is highly unlikely. Fortunately, many solid prospects should be available in the second round and that list includes Ronald Jones, Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson, Rashaad Penny, and possibly Sony Michel. This would the round to find that starter at running back.
Trying to predict when the Redskins will select a left guard in this draft is like trying to find a specific grain of sand in the Pacific Ocean. If they choose to find a potential starter in the fourth round, then Braden Smith could be an option. In the fifth round, a versatile Sean Welsh could be available. The next round could see K.C. McDermott as an option. The seventh round could see the Redskins drafting Taylor Hearn or Brendan Mahon – perhaps both as they have two selections in the seventh. The choices are plentiful, but it is difficult to know who will be targeted.
Inside Linebacker and Wide Receiver
While there are needs at inside linebacker and wide receiver, it is for depth purposes only. There are times when hidden gems are unearthed in the latter stages of a draft and the Redskins wouldn’t mind finding a diamond or two in the rough. Finding good prospects at these two positions late in the draft would certainly be a bonus and if special teams players and depth is added, then it will be considered a success. The Redskins have been low key players in free agency, but having eight picks in the draft could afford the team to find several quality players. The draft will be here before you know it.