by Paul Wanecski
If you were to have an argument about the worst owners in sports, it won’t be long before you hear the name, Daniel Snyder. Washington is a runaway train this offseason. As the rollercoaster has gone since Snyder bought the team in 1999, no head coach has ever made it four seasons. Never. That’s not to say current head coach Jay Gruden he will make it through the 2018 season (his win totals since taking control have been 4,9,8,7) but typically we would have seen a change by now. The organization was a consistent storyline through the early start of 2018 and with the 13th overall selection; they may not be done surprising folks.
It could certainly be better for Washington who will spend about $7 million on their draft picks this year, leaving them with $14 million in salary cap space and to be honest, for a team that isn’t very good, they should be spending a lot less. The trade and extension for Alex Smith certainly threw some pretty big money down on the table, meaning that the top four players on the Redskin roster were accounting for nearly 36% of their salary cap space. Realistically, shedding the Alex Smith contract can’t happen until 2021. So…that’s production you are just basically going to have to get used to.
The internet was buzzing when it was announced that Alex Smith was being sent to Washington in exchange for former first-round CB Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick was being sent to Kansas City for Smith. That essentially put the nail in the coffin that Kirk Cousins had a future in Washington. Outside of that, Washington really didn’t have the money to do much else. They spent some cash on WR Paul Richardson, brought in Orlando Scandrick (assumingly to take Fuller’s spot after the trade), and shipped of Su’a Cravens to Denver for basically the 163rd pick this year. Not a bad deal considering he has been said to consider retirement. Either way, Washington is not heralded as a place players long to go and that is pretty obvious by the signings this year. Simply put, they weren’t very good last year and really the only thing they did was swap Cousins for Smith and Terrell Pryor for Paul Richardson. Not good enough for today’s NFL. If the Redskins finish with a better record this upcoming season, I promise, I will print this article out and eat it. On Facebook. Promise.
Boy, do they need linebackers. And Cornerbacks. And a Nose Tackle. The draft has some really great talent at the LB position, so you might see Washington try and strike early, especially if talent gets pushed down the board if 3 QBs go in the first 10 selections. Who is a fit? Well…if they play LB, they are a fit, Washington needs just about everything at that position. They are also a candidate to trade back given the lack of improvement through free agency.
Vita Vea, DT Washington– he will be mocked to everyone in this draft. He could make any interior line better. I am not convinced he is a true nose tackle like a lot of other folks. He can definitely fit within a 3-4 defensive system but he doesn’t have very quick get-off and is a man with no-plan when double teamed, depending on just push to get him past offensive lineman.
Da’Ron Payne, DT Alabama – If Washington trades back (or Vea is taken before), Payne may be their next target. He might not be a tall as Vea but he is significantly faster. He is an interior lineman who can get after the QB and has a solid understanding of pocket and gap pressure. Vea is the name to know, Payne is the player to draft.
Tremaine Edmunds, LB Virginia Tech – If there was ever a Daniel Snyder pick, this guy is it. A complete freak athlete who enters the draft at 19 years old; raw, fast, powerful and disruptive. He also used his amazing ability to cover up his bad angles, inability to play man coverage, and lack of understanding a developing play, something that with great speed and power can be overlooked at the college level. Teams love him but Washington should know better. They probably don’t.
Roquan Smith, LB Georgia – A complete player compared to Edmunds, Smith might not make it to 13th overall. He does almost everything right. The biggest concern for him as being “undersized”. He has great eyes, hips and can run with almost anyone on the field. In a 3-4 system, he makes a lot of sense on the inside if you are willing to bet he doesn’t get soaked up. A great nose tackle would sure help that.