The Washington Redskins had an unlikely, magical season in 2012.
With the addition of first round pick, QB Robert Griffin III and rookie RB Alfred Morris (6th round), in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Redskins made the playoffs and won the NFC East for the first time since 1999.
It had been a long time coming for the die-hard fan base in the metro D.C. area.
To acquire Robert Griffin III, the 'Skins traded away two future first round picks in '13, '14 to the St. Louis Rams to move up and select the star from Baylor. At the time this move seemed like a kings ransom for the Rams; which it could still be.
Most football pundits believe the trade up for Griffin was the right move. "You don't find franchise quarterbacks on trees," is the usual quote from draft experts. You can never give up too much for a player like Griffin.
This offseason has been a struggle for the Redskins, strapped for cash in free agency due to a salary cap penalty of $18M. Many fans have pointed towards the draft to aide the 'Skins in upgrading the roster in certain areas that are desperate need of stocking up. Holes at safety, cornerback, linebacker, offensive line and wide receiver, the 'Skins surely do need a solid draft.
The only team in the NFL without a first round pick, the 'Skins will have to rely on their late round picks to come in and play right away. Luckily, head coach Mike Shanahan has had tremendous success with this in his career. With picks in rounds 2 through 7, including two picks in round 5 and the Draft a week away, it's time to predict the round-by-round selections for the 'Skins.
Round 1: "With the 32nd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select....." Just imagine that in two years. Coming off a Super Bowl victory, this will be the next time we get to hear Roger Goodell announce a Redskins' draft choice. Oh dare to dream...
Round 2: (51st Overall) - S DJ Swearinger, South Carolina
The hard-hitting prospect out of South Carolina seems to be rising up consistently on almost every draft board. The Redskins had perhaps the worst safety play out of any team in the league last season and thus an immediate upgrade is needed here.
Pairing Swearinger and incumbent free safety Brandon Meriweather would give the 'Skins a formidable two-man group in the back end. Most mock drafts have Swearinger going to the 'Skins at 51st overall and I am fully on board with this potential selection. Sign me up. Others to watch: NT John Jenkins, Georgia; CB Darius Slay, Miss. St.
Round 3: (85th Overall) - CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
In what is a draft loaded with back-end secondary help both at safety and corner, the 'Skins are in luck with needs all over the place. Starters DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson ranked 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game and a true shutdown prospect is needed.
The 6'0'' Poyer is another riser up some draft boards and I believe could be the pick here for Washington. The need(s) for the 'Skins are obvious and Poyer is just one of many CBs that could go here. Others to watch: CB Blidi-Breh Wilson, Connecticut; CB David Amerson, N.C. State; Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana.
Round 4: (119th Overall) - OG/OT Brian Winters, Kent State
With their first two selections in filling needs in the secondary, the 'Skins here in the 4th round will look to upgrade on the offensive side of the football. Winters is an intriguing prospect who can fill in both at tackle and guard and is the perfect fit for the patented Mike Shanahan zone blocking scheme.
In 2012, the 'Skins drafted guards Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis and tackle Tom Compton. Winters would add depth that the Redskins desperately need.
Round 5: (154th Overall) - NT Kwame Geathers, Georgia
The Redskins are starting to get a little long in the tooth on the defensive line. Starter(s) Barry Cofield, Adam Carriker, Jarvis Jenkins and Kedric Golston could certainly use a young replacement in the near future.
Defensive tackle is also very deep in the 2013 Draft and the 'Skins should utilize this to bolster depth on the line.
Geathers is the younger brother of Robert Geathers of the Bengals and has imposing size and strength to plug up both the A and B gaps in a 3-4 scheme.
Geathers could fit in nicely in a rotation with Jenkins (3rd year) allowing the Skins to aptly stop the run and generate pressure from the edges.
Round 5: (162nd Overall) - CB Brandon McGee, Miami
The old adage in the NFL is that "you can never have enough cornerbacks", and the Redskins make this true with the selection of Brandon McGee in the 5th round. McGee intrigues as a speedster prospect with decent size to either cover the slot or outside receiver(s).
In a division that features the likes of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson, Washington needs as many bodies as possible to survive the rigors of a 16-game schedule. Selections of Poyer (2nd round) and McGee would enhance the Redskins' secondary for years to come.
6th Round: (191st Overall) - WR Ace Sanders, South Carolina
Speed, speed and more speed, you can never have enough of it. In this new age of the NFL, the more speed you have the more potential for big plays. Look for the 'Skins to add an intriguing late-round prospect to their already solid receiving corps.
Washington will need to replace long-time veteran Santana Moss in the next year or so and Ace Sanders from South Carolina could be the perfect replacement. He adds the ability to return both punts and kicks and serve as a dangerous slot receiver. An "ace" in the hole, Sanders is an very enticing player in the 2013 draft despite questions about his size (5'7").
7th Round: (228th Overall) - OLB Alonzo Highsmith, Arkansas
In the 7th round, the 'Skins will look to upgrade their depth at the linebacker position. Both inside and outside linebacker is slowly becoming a glaring weakness for Washington behind incumbent starters, Perry Riley, Ryan Kerrigan, oft-injured Brian Orakpo and ageless wonder London Fletcher.
With the loss of standout Lorenzo Alexander to the Cardinals in free agency, look for the 'Skins to take a player of Highsmith's ilk. If not asked to play right away, Highsmith can slowly attribute himself to the NFL game. Don't be surprised if they look at running back here also.
The NFL Draft is an inexact science, one with it's up and downs. A true football fan takes notice of not only your team's first round pick, but also rounds 2 through 7 and the potential gems that can change a franchise. The Redskins need to hit a few home runs in the 2013 Draft, otherwise a potential repeat as division champs looks cloudy. Like or Dislike my predictions? Comment Below!