Few NFL teams face as many long-term questions as the Washington Redskins, including some at the game’s most important position.
Few teams are facing as many questions about their long-term fortunes as the Washington Redskins these days. From the coaching staff to the quarterback, Washington is a team that could swing in a number of directions in the most important areas of franchise formation.
It will be telling to see the moves the team makes in the upcoming NFL Draft and what areas they look to address.
State Of The Team
The Washington Redskins should be rebuilding, but the team’s brass has made clear their intentions in 2019. They want to win now, and they want to maximize their closing window of contention. Jay Gruden is on very thin ice, and his job depends on improvement in 2019. Having gone 22-25-1 over their last three seasons, the Redskins have been flirting with the playoffs under Gruden, but they’ve never been able to get over the hump.
With their quarterback situation very uncertain, contention is no sure thing in 2019, and forcing the issue at the sport’s most important position could ultimately set the Redskins back. But Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden are focused on 2019. They’ll try to contend, even if such a feat proves unattainable.
Total Draft Picks
The Redskins can start to address some serious needs with four picks in the top 100 picks.
- Round 1 (Pick 15)
- Round 2 (Pick 46)
- Round 3 (Pick 76)
- Round 3 (Pick 96)
- Round 5 (Pick 153)
- Round 5 (Pick 173)
- Round 6 (Pick 206)
- Round 7 (Pick 222)
- Round 7 (Pick 253)
Top 3 Draft Needs
Quarterback: The Redskins ultimately need to find the solution to their quarterback situation, whether long-term or short-term. Case Keenum was acquired at good value, but he’s nothing more than a stopgap, and his contract will have expired next season.
With Alex Smith‘s future as a football player in serious doubt, Washington is essentially starting from square one again, at the most important position in football. They’ll need to decide if they’re ready to take on a franchise quarterback on a rookie deal, or if they’re better off adding a later-round rookie as depth and security, in order to prep themselves at a run for a top-tier quarterback in the years to come.
Edge Rusher: With Preston Smith‘s departure to the Green Bay Packers in free agency, the Redskins are suddenly without a running mate for perennial Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan should a few peak years left, but as he ages, he’ll need the man opposite of him to take some of the load off his shoulders. Smith helped with that, but his departure leaves a void that will need to be filled at some point in the NFL Draft. Ryan Anderson was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but his upside is in question, and he might not be ready for a starting role.
Interior Offensive Lineman: The Redskins have long ignored their need at left guard, but after a year in which their interior line was exposed, both due to injuries and lack of quality play, the Redskins need to make their blocking unit a priority. As we’ve seen in recent years with teams like the Colts and the Patriots, a good offensive line can facilitate an offensive unit, and a bad offensive line can tear it apart. The Redskins must ensure that they won’t fall under the latter category in 2019.
Top 3 Draft Targets
Of the top four quarterback prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft, there are only three relatively realistic ones for the Redskins. Kyler Murray could ultimately go No. 1, leaving Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones still available. Of those three, Missouri’s Drew Lock has perhaps the highest upside. With exceptional arm talent and athleticism to combine with an infectious charisma, Lock has the traits necessary to be a franchise passer, but he may need time to sit and learn in the NFL, as he brings various technical issues with his footwork and on-field mental processing as well.
EDGE, Florida State
The Redskins picked the right time to add a need at edge rusher. While they lost Preston Smith in free agency, they could have their choice of various top-tier edge rushers at pick No. 15. Of the available players, Brian Burns is the most enticing. One could argue he’s a top five prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, but lingering concerns about his slight frame could send him slipping. Either way, Burns possesses a very well-rounded skill set. He has the burst, bend, length, and technical prowess to be a very productive pass rusher at the next level, and he offers a unique combination of upside and reliability that the Redskins should pounce on.
OL, North Carolina State
If the Redskins desire an immediate starter with upside at the left guard position with their No. 15 pick, then North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury could give them what they want. Bradbury boasts some of the best athletic upside among interior linemen in the 2019 NFL Draft, and with room to add power to his game, he projects as an ascending prospect who could fit the Redskins scheme particularly well.
Decision Maker (Or Who To Blame If Things Go Wrong)
The Redskins success drafting in recent years can be attributed to rising stars in the scouting department like Kyle Smith. While some valued voices such as Smith have input, the final decision is ultimately passed by Bruce Allen, whose record is less encouraging. In recent years, Allen has displayed a preference for Alabama players. Don’t be surprised if the Redskins take at least one to add to their championship pedigree.