The Washington Redskins were well on their way to making a playoff push in 2018 before a season-ending injury to quarterback Alex Smith put an end to those plans. With Smith’s long-term health in question, Washington decided to trade for a veteran quarterback (Case Keenum) for a second consecutive year.
The 2019 NFL Draft is in just a few weeks and many are wondering what the Redskins' brain trust will do to improve the roster heading into 2019. Washington has nine picks, including two each in the third, fifth and seventh rounds. Here are five players that the Redskins could target come April 25-27:
1. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
There are several Redskins fans who are hoping that the team chooses to draft a quarterback in the first round. While that’s a possibility, the better option may be to give Case Keenum, who the team just traded for in March, a true No. 1 target to throw to.
From a physical standpoint, Metcalf is one of the most gifted receivers to enter the draft in quite some time. At the Scouting Combine, the Ole Miss product checked in at an impressive 6-foot-3, 228 pounds. What was even more impressive; however, were his testing results given his size.
Metcalf ran a 4.33 40-yard dash while also posting eye-popping numbers in the vertical (40.5 inches), broad jump (134 inches), and bench press (27 reps). There was some concern over his poor three-cone drill (7.38), but it’s safe to say that Metcalf will hear his name called in the first round.
If he makes it to pick 15, Washington would be wise to explore drafting him as a potential replacement for 2016 first-round pick, Josh Doctson.
2. Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama
Washington made a huge splash during free agency by signing Landon Collins away from its division rival, the New York Giants. Collins inked a six-year, $84 million deal, making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.
While that was an excellent signing, the Redskins don’t view the safety group as a completed project. They made that clear when they tried to re-sign Collins’ former college teammate at Alabama, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Ultimately, Clinton-Dix decided to join the Chicago Bears, meaning the starting position next to Collins is up for grabs.
In recent years, Washington has made a habit of plucking former Crimson Tide players in the draft, especially on the defensive side of the football. Thompson is a rangy safety who also brings a physical presence to the back end.
That skill set makes him the perfect complementary piece to a guy like Collins, who does his best work in the box. If Thompson is available in the second round, Washington should pull the trigger.
3. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
There’s no need for Washington to draft a quarterback in the first round. The options at No. 15 won’t be overly impressive, and they did just invest draft capital to acquire Case Keenum.
Still, the second round may be the time to strike, especially if a player like Grier is available. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was a huge advocate for his former team (the Cincinnati Bengals) drafting Andy Dalton back in 2011. And from a physical standpoint, there are a lot of similarities between Dalton and the former West Virginia star:
Andy Dalton (2011) – 6-2 / 215 / 9 1/2” hands / 4.87 40-yard
Will Grier (2018) – 6-2 / 217 / 9 3/8” hands / 4.84 40-yard
In addition, both players have limited arm strength and benefitted from the college system they played in. Could Gruden look to add a guy like Grier? It’s very possible.
4. Tre Watson, LB, Maryland
Landon Collins wasn’t the only Alabama player on Washington’s radar during free agency. Former Tide linebacker, C.J. Mosley, also was being courted by the Redskins before he decided to sign a five-year, $85 million deal with the New York Jets.
Losing out on Mosley didn’t stop the team from releasing last year’s starter, Zach Brown, which means a potential roster spot will be up for grabs at inside linebacker. Watson could end up being an option there early on Day 3.
The 6-foot-2, 236-pound linebacker out of Maryland was fourth in the Big Ten in tackles (114) last season. He also chipped in three tackles for a loss, a sack and a Big Ten-leading five interceptions. Overall, Watson is an ultra-productive defender who could eventually work his way into a starting role on the next level.
5. Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
If D.K. Metcalf is off the board by pick 15, Ford could be an intriguing fallback option. The Redskins have had a crater-sized hole at left guard for quite some time, and Ford is exactly the type of player who could slide into that spot and dominate next to fellow Oklahoma alum Trent Williams.
Despite starting all 14 games at right tackle for the Sooners this past season, Ford spent his first three years in Norman at left guard. He’s a massive presence (6-4, 329) up front, but also brings the needed athleticism to help him play at an elite level in the NFL.
Ford isn’t going to be considered a “sexy” pick by many, but adding him to the roster would solidify the offensive line – if guys can stay healthy.
— Written by Clint Lamb, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ClintRLamb.