Redskins Can Explore Many Options With No. 5 Pick


Just last week, I said that the Washington Redskins and general manager Scot McCloughan must address the safety position during the offseason because of the lack of talent and production from Ryan Clark and Brandon Merriweather.

Now that the Redskins finally have a first-round draft pick – fifth overall – they can choose to address their secondary woes early, or fill in some other gaping holes.

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While the quarterback was a large problem in Washington last season, one of the contributing factors to the poor performances by all three quarterbacks was a lack of protection from the offensive line.

Opponents racked up 58 sacks against the Redskins, including 33 against Robert Griffin III (insert comment about him holding the ball too long here). Colt McCoy was taken down 17 times, and Kirk Cousins was sacked just eight times.

Should McCloughan decide to go the route that Jerry Jones has taken lately and draft an offensive lineman early, one player that stands out is Brandon Scherff.

Jan 2, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; IIowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Brandon Scherff (68) before the start of their game against theTennessee Volunteers in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Scherff, who stands at 6’5″, weighs 320 pounds and played at Iowa, is ranked as one of the top offensive linemen in the draft. Many experts believe he can play the tackle position if needed, but he would be better suited to play as a guard.

But if the Redskins decide to focus on defense with their No. 5 overall pick, they can go a few different ways.

Despite high profile names rushing the passer such as Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins only tallied 36 sacks last season. Orakpo, who is unquestionably the team’s most talented pass rusher, has struggled to stay healthy as he has missed a total of 25 games over his career. He’s also set to hit the free agent market this offseason, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll be back in burgundy and gold next season.

One player that McCloughan can turn to should he feel the need to replace Orakpo is Dante Fowler from Florida. Fowler stands at 6’3″, 260 pounds and played a variety of pass rushing roles, including both left and right defensive end, defensive tackle and outside linebacker.

Fowler had 5.5 sacks during the regular season and bullied Eastern Carolina for three in the Birmingham Bowl. He’s projected as a top-10 pick by many experts and could be a smart pick for the Redskins.

And then there’s the secondary.

Only one player stands out as a potential first-round pick, let alone a top draft pick, and that’s strong safety Landon Collins from Alabama.

Collins is a physical safety that can not only contain the run, but can lineup one-on-one with tight ends, a necessity in today’s NFL. One of the only knocks on him, however, is that he drops too many potential interceptions.

Whichever path McCloughan and the Redskins decide to take with their fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, there are several players on both sides of the ball who could step right in.

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