With the busy portion of the free agency period completed, it’s time to start looking ahead to the NFL draft and, specifically, needs the Redskins still have. In the coming days, we’ll rank them in order from least to most important. We’ll also take a look at prospects who could be a fit.
Current depth chart: Perry Riley, Darryl Sharpton, Akeem Jordan, Keenan Robinson and Adam Hayward.
Comment: The Redskins are on the clock…to find a long-term replacement for the retired London Fletcher.
In the short term, they’re probably okay with the ILBs currently on the roster. Perry Riley was re-signed and is viewed as a cornerstone player at one of the two inside spots. The question is who plays alongside him? Right now the options are Darryl Sharpton, Akeem Jordan, Keenan Robinson and Adam Hayward.
But there are concerns with each of them.
Sharpton does not have extensive experience as a starter. Nor does Jordan. Or Robinson. Or Hayward.
Sharpton’s youth (26) and salary ($1.75 million) suggests he’ll probably get the first shot. And the wild card is Robinson, who was once viewed as Fletcher’s potential successor before the 24-year-old's career was interrupted (twice) by pectoral muscle tears that required surgery. Coaches and players are cautiously optimistic that Robinson will return to form this season. But he must make up for a lot of lost time. And, of course, prove he can stay healthy.
Jordan and Hayward are also expected to get the chance to compete for a starting job. Hayward, in fact, said he chose the Redskins over other teams because he was told he’d get that opportunity.
Is it possible one of those candidates will separate himself from the crowd and seize the job? Sure. But unless General Manager Bruce Allen is absolutely sure he’s got his guy, his future Fletcher, it would make a lot of sense for him to pursue a prospect in the draft.
Three potential fits:
- Christian Jones, Florida State
Possesses ideal measurables at 6-3, 240-pounds as well as intriguing athleticism, but needs some seasoning. Last season, notched 56 tackles, including eight for loss, two sacks and an interception. Projected as 2nd-4th round pick.
- Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Lacks ideal height (5 foot 11, 248-pounds), but compensates with intensity and a knack for making timely plays. Finished career with 50 tackles for loss, 17 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. Interviewed by the Redskins at the Senior Bowl. NFLdraftscout projects Borland as a 2nd or 3rd rounder, while NFL.com pegs him as a 4th or 5th rounder.
- Shayne Skov, Stanford
Has good football instincts, is an emotional leader and a gamer. At 6 foot 2, 245-pounds, possesses good size, too. Suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and did not return to full strength until last season, when he posted 109 tackles, including 13 for loss, 5.5 sacks and four defended passes. Projected as 3rd-5th round pick.