Pick: S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State
Comment: It can be argued that this month’s draft is the most important of the Mike Shanahan era.
This year’s and next year’s first round picks were dealt 12 months ago to acquire quarterback Robert Griffin III. And because of the NFL-imposed $36 million cap penalty, the Redskins were, for the most part, unable to use free agency to bolster last season’s NFC East championship team. As such, any improvement in 2013 must come from the 21 starters who are set to return.
And the team’s second round selection.
Thomas would be the perfect fit for the Redskins’ primary need entering next season: free safety.
The first unanimous All-America selection in Fresno State history, Thomas (6-1, 208-pounds) possesses the straight-line speed (4.57 second 40-yard dash), agility and ball skills to slide into the starting lineup in September alongside strong safety Brandon Meriweather. Thomas recorded 13 career interceptions for the Bulldogs, returning four for touchdowns (three last season).
He also visited with Redskins officials last week in Ashburn, Va.
The only question now is this: will Thomas still be on the board when Commissioner Roger Goodell puts the Redskins on the clock?