No. 1 – Ohio LB Quentin Poling
Even with Zach Brown locked up for the next three years, the Washington Redskins should look to add a little more depth to their linebacker unit in the NFL Draft, or afterward, if they fail to address the need there. One player that is egregiously underrated is former Ohio linebacker Quentin Poling.
Poling isn’t a perfect prospect. He’s a bit undersized, standing at 6-foot-0, 231, and his level of competition in the MAC will raise concerns, although successful linebackers have emerged from the same conference.
Aside from his limited flaws, there is one word that automatically comes to mind when studying Poling: Production. Over four years as a starter with the Ohio Bobcats, Poling amassed 373 total tackles, 43.5 tackles for loss, 18.0 sacks, seven interceptions, 15 pass deflections, and five forced fumbles. That is quite a stat line.
Poling’s impact doesn’t stop with numbers, either. The level of respect he receives from local Ohioans is nearly unmatched. They recognize not only the impact that Poling has on the field, but also the devastating impact losing him will undoubtedly have. According to an article by Andrew Gillis of The Post-Athens, the contrast between a defense with Poling and a defense without Poling was stark.
"In 2015, Poling left the game against Western Michigan with a hip injury. The Broncos rushed for 401 yards in the second half alone en route to a 49-14 Bobcats loss. The following two weeks, Ohio lost twice and allowed 103 points in the two games. Not coincidentally, in Poling’s first game back, Ohio shut out Kent State 27-0."
Poling is a player who lacks a bit of size, and he may not be the best athlete in the NFL Draft, but he makes up for it with his motor, his football I.Q., leadership, and experience. There’s a reason Poling gave such an impact to a MAC team: Because he’s not a MAC player. He’s a true NFL prospect. And whoever swipes him up in the undrafted pool is going to get a steal. For the Washington Redskins, who could use depth and some young talent to groom as Brown and Foster grow older, Poling would be a perfect fit.
The Washington Redskins have made a habit out of being active in the undrafted free agent frenzy in recent years. With all the talent that will inevitably be left to claim, the Washington Redskins would do well to carry that trend into 2018; the additions made in the days after the Draft, as the Eagles and so many other teams have taught us, can ultimately be the difference.