The Redskins head to the NFL Combine on Wednesday 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.
Offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Measurables: 6-6, 314
College highlights: He jumped in as the starting left tackle as a sophomore in 2012 and started all 14 games of the Crimson Tide’s national title run. Last year he again started every game and was an Outland Trophy semifinalist. Kouandjio decided to enter the draft following his junior year.
Norris’ take: “Does occasionally bend at the waist but is athletic enough to recover and regain balance. Best when keeping separation thanks to great length. Can get a bit short in his drops, but again, has the athletic lower half to react and keep positioning. Better in pass protection than run blocking.”
Fit with the Redskins: The NFL is getting to the point where you need a quality right tackle as much as you need a good left tackle. Teams are moving their best pass rushers around and bringing pressure from all over the line. Even if it’s not to the quarterback’s blindside, pressure will disrupt the passing game.
The problem for the Redskins is that bringing in a quality veteran free agent tackle to pair with Trent Williams is that such a situation could be a salary cap buster. The solution, then, is to bring in a quality tackle in the draft and get four seasons of play at a relatively cheap rate.
Enter Kouandjio, who played the left side at Alabama but could certainly slide in on the right. He should be ready to start right away and displace journeyman Tyler Polumbus. Right tackle will be solved for four years and if the Redskins end up having issues bringing back Williams when his contract expires after the 2015 season, Kouandjio might be a ready replacement on the left side.
Availability: Norris does not have Kouandjio going anywhere in his most recent first-round mock draft so he could be available. But if the guys at CBSSports.com are accurate, the Redskins won’t have a shot at him. All four of their mock drafters have Kouandjio going in the first round anywhere from 16th to the Ravens to 26th to the Browns.