Josh Norris

Draft Decisions

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NFL Draft Preview: Redskins

Monday, March 24, 2014


Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by team draft preview schedule.


No. 1 Team Need: Defensive Back


Silva's Analysis


Washington was shredded in the secondary throughout 2013, struggling at both safety and cornerback. David Amerson, DeAngelo Hall, and Tracy Porter are penciled in at corner, while Brandon Meriweather returns at free safety. As none of those four defensive backs were effective last season, multiple additions are needed in the Redskins' back end. 2013 draft picks Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas are expected to enter 2014 as clear-cut backups.


Norris' Options


Second day possibility: Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois - This is likely Ward’s floor, as I think he has a legitimate chance to be selected in the first-round. He is a movable chess piece defensively, matching up in man coverage with receivers or tight ends in the slot, roaming the box, or covering the deeper portions of the field. I know Rambo had a poor rookie season, and the Redskins have been using Thomas as a strong safety, but both are at their best as ball hawks in center field. Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller is an option if they would rather select an edge defender.


Third day flier: Terrance Mitchell, Oregon - Might have the most experience among cornerbacks in terms of alignments (press, press bail, shot off coverage or 6-10 yard cushion). Displayed a consistent ability to defend intermediate and downfield patterns. Mitchell was a bit overlooked throughout the season, thanks to his running mate Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, but he is a personal favorite.


Video: Norris on Washington's top need



No. 2 Team Need: Linebacker


Silva's Analysis


The Redskins franchise tagged Brian Orakpo and re-signed ILB Perry Riley, but Darryl Sharpton won't cut it as an inside starter, and there is little or no depth behind Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan on the edge. Per their current contracts, both Orakpo and Kerrigan can be free agents in 2015. So the Skins need a starting inside linebacker and a No. 3 outside rush 'backer.


Norris' Options


Second day possibility: Edge player Marcus Smith, Louisville - A top-40 prospect in my eyes, Smith converts speed to power at a high rate. Hand use is a big part of edge rushing evaluations, but many times it is a projection. Not in this case as Smith does not mind finding contact through his hands to create a positional advantage and length to generate separation to shed. Smith has good upfield burst and experience rushing from a two-point stance. Wants to play in the backfield. Occasionally dropped into coverage.


Third day flier: ILB Avery Williamson - Played a lot of weak side linebacker and covered a good amount of ground. With that said, he isn’t afraid to contact blockers in the box or work around them at the second level. Change of direction ability is there, and Williamson could be the next promising linebacker out of Kentucky, following in the footsteps of Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan.



No. 3 Team Need: Offensive Line


Silva's Analysis


Outgoing coach Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme stockpiled undersized linemen with movement skills. New coach Jay Gruden ran a power-based run game in Cincinnati. The Skins have already taken steps to get bigger on the line, cutting C Will Montgomery and signing RG Shawn Lauvao to a $17 million deal. RT Tyler Polumbus (6'8/305) remains a suspect fit for the new offense, however, and Chris Chester (6'3/309) is smallish for a Gruden guard.


Norris' Options


Second day possibility: Joel Bitonio, Nevada - One of the most versatile linemen in the draft, Bitonio has a very athletic lower half and has been worked out at tackle, guard and center throughout the draft process. I have heard Bitonio could have a “Kyle Long type rise,” and although he does not have the same functional strength the upside could still be there.


Third day flier: Trai Turner, LSU - With plenty of functional strength and body positioning, Turner could be an early contributor even if he is selected in the fourth round. A very powerful grips helps when he gets a bit top heavy. Head is on a swivel in pass protection and is an explosive mover when asked to pull in space. Turner declared as a redshirt sophomore, which likely plays a part in the lack of buzz.



Redskins 2014 Draft Picks


Second Round (No. 34)

Third Round (No. 66)

Fourth Round (No. 102)

Fifth Round (No. 142)

Sixth Round (No. 178)

Seventh Round (No. 217)


Redskins Current First-Team Offense


QB: Robert Griffin III

RB: Alfred Morris

FB: Darrel Young

WR: Pierre Garcon

WR: Andre Roberts

TE: Jordan Reed

LT: Trent Williams

LG: Chris Chester

C: Kory Lichtensteiger

RG: Shawn Lauvao

RT: Tyler Polumbus


Redskins Current First-Team Defense


RE: Jason Hatcher

LE: Chris Baker

NT: Barry Cofield

ILB: Perry Riley

ILB: Darryl Sharpton

OLB: Brian Orakpo

OLB: Ryan Kerrigan

RCB: David Amerson

LCB: DeAngelo Hall

FS: Brandon Meriweather

SS: Phillip Thomas



Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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