CSN's draft board: Cornerback

CSN's draft board: Cornerback
April 23, 2013, 11:30 am
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Since last Monday, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir has examined the Redskins’ depth chart and evaluated potential needs in the upcoming draft, ranking them in order from least to most important. He's also taking a look at the prospects who could be a fit. 

No. 2:

Cornerbacks

Current depth chart:

Josh Wilson, DeAngelo Hall, E.J. Biggers, Richard Crawford, Jerome Murphy, Chase Minnifield.

Comment: Since the start of free agency, the Redskins have made it clear that they are in the market for an upgrade at this position. Limited by a penalty-reduced salary cap, they made unsuccessful bids to sign veterans Aqib Talib and Antoine Winfield. Now, they’re pursuing another free agent, Quentin Jammer.

The interest is not at all surprising; the Redskins ranked 30th in pass defense and yielded more passing touchdowns than all but one team in 2012.

Josh Wilson, 28, was the Redskins’ most consistent player on the backend and figures to return as the starting right corner.

Three weeks after his surprising release March 11, DeAngelo Hall accepted a $5 million pay cut to return. The 29-year-old will probably start on the left opposite Wilson. After a slow start last season, Hall’s play was significantly improved during the team’s seven-game winning streak, including a memorable performance against the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant in the winner-takes-all regular season finale against.

The Redskins did not re-sign Cedric Griffin but did add free agent E.J. Biggers, who figures to compete for the third corner job. ProFootballFocus.com rated Biggers as the NFL’s 20th best cover corner last season.

After some early struggles, Richard Crawford was inactive from Weeks 7-13. But the 2012 seventh round draft pick rebounded in the second half of the season and also seized punt return duties from Brandon Banks, who is no longer in Washington.

Jerome Murphy, meantime, appeared in two games on defense, while Chase Minnifield aims to return from a torn ACL that ended his rookie season before it began.

Although conventional wisdom suggests the Redskins will target a safety with their first pick, it’s important to note that Wilson, Hall and Biggers are all due to become unrestricted free agents in 2014. So, given the need for immediate help as well as a long-term solution, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them bypass safety and snag a corner in the second round.

Three early-round prospect possibilities:

  • Darius Slay, Mississippi State

At 6-0, 192-pounds, Slay has good speed, long arms, solid coverage instincts and a nose for the ball. He notched five interceptions as senior, returning them for a total of 101 yards and a touchdown.

  • B.W. Webb, William & Mary

The 5-10, 184-pound Webb overcomes his smallish stature with good footwork and closing speed as well as notable ball skills. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock says it’s Webb’s return ability to return kickoffs and punts that could make him a late second rounder.

  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut

At 6-1, 195, Wreh-Wilson has good size and speed (4.4 second range), but it’s his shutdown coverage potential that makes him a second round talent and potential Redskins’ target, according to ESPN analyst Mel Kiper. Also a four-year starter and two-time captain of Huskies.