Jay Gruden is a big fan of Trent Williams
The Redskins are at the NFL Combine this week without a first-round draft pick in their pockets. They do have their second-rounder, which is the 34th overall selection and they should be able to get a quality player who can contribute right away.
Who will they take? With all of the needs the team has there are numerous possibilities. Over the coming days we’ll take some possibilities from the Top 50 prospects list compiled by Josh Norris for our corporate cousins at Rotoworld.
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin
Measurables (official combine): 6-5, 240, 40 time 4.61
College highlights: He’ll be remember best for his last play as a Seminole, his leaping catch of Jameis Winston’s pass in the end zone to give Florida State the lead with 13 seconds left in the BCS title game. That capped a season where he caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards (an impressive 18.7 yards per catch) and 15 touchdowns.
Norris’ take: No. 32 prospect overall “Huge frame and length to win at the catch point in contested situations. Very good body control to slow down, time catch, and contort frame to haul in a catch. Long strides allow him to get downfield. Unafraid to work across the middle on deep posts. Able to make adjustments with the ball in the air that other receivers can’t. Displays strength after the catch.”
Fit with the Redskins: The Redskins attempted 611 passes last year and 174 of them were targeted to Pierre Garçon. That high percentage of passes going to one receiver (28.5%) is both a compliment to Garçon and an indictment of the rest of the receiving corps. If Robert Griffin III is going to shake the issues he had as a sophomore he will need another reliable target.
Last week we looked at a smaller, faster receiver in Brandin Cooks. Benjamin is huge; even if he’s covered, a quarterback can throw to his back shoulder and he can make a play on the ball. That’s what Norris was talking about with “win at the catch point in contested situations”.
And Benjamin isn’t just a third and six target. Half of his receptions last year were 11 or more yards past the line of scrimmage and 25 percent were 20 yards or more downfield. That will certainly keep the safeties from paying too much attention to Garçon.
It has been well established that Jay Gruden has a preference for taller wide receivers. Benjamin would be three inches taller than Leonard Hankerson, the tallest receiver currently under contract for 2014.
Availability: With his combination of size and speed you might think that the Redskins would have no shot at Benjamin at pick No. 34. But Benjamin’s hands are suspect; one Rotoworld analyst said his drop rate was 9.7 percent. Two of CBS Sports’ mock drafters have him going in the mid-20’s, the other two don’t have him going in the first at all. Norris does not nail down a draft position in his evaluation but he does think that he could draw interest similar to Mike Evans of Texas A&M, who is a potential pick in the first half of the first round. If the Redskins have their eyes on Benjamin they should hope that teams are willing to wait until later in the draft to dive into the deep pool of receivers.