The Washington Redskins will need to add a cornerback in the 2018 NFL Draft. But not just any cornerback.
The cornerback drafted by the Washington Redskins will have to fill a specific niche. On the outside, Josh Norman is still here for at least one year, and if in the near future, he ends up elsewhere, due to his hefty cap allowance, the team still has young, viable options behind him in Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau.
Quinton Dunbar is an ascending cornerback who played very well as a part-time starter last year, and Fabian Moreau, before the 2017 NFL Draft, garnered some recognition as a first-round talent. In 2018, he should get a chance to show more of that.
The Washington Redskins don’t need another outside cornerback, and if they decide to pick one, it should be in the later rounds. The priority in this draft is not an outside cornerback. It is the acquisition of a slot cornerback, and the subsequent replacement of Kendall Fuller‘s impact in 2017.
Replacing Fuller’s 2017 impact might not happen in a year. Fuller was a premier playmaker for an oft-injured Redskins defense. When the sides were locked down by Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, and the quarterback threw to the slot, Kendall Fuller was always there to make a play on the ball. The former third-round pick showed immense growth in his second season, amassing four interceptions and ten pass deflections.
Slot cornerback is a very important position. With the newly-opened void there, quick slot receivers may be able to find a crease in the Washington Redskins defense. These kinds of weaknesses can help a defense self-destruct from the inside, wearing out players with big gains until the offense’s momentum is hard to stop.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins’ priority at cornerback should be to find a new starter in the slot. Orlando Scandrick has experience there, but he’s aging, and shouldn’t be viewed as a viable option. If Minkah Fitzpatrick slips, he would immediately fill that void, but if he doesn’t, there are several options in the later rounds, such as Florida’s Duke Dawson and Alabama’s Tony Brown.
If nothing else, this matters: The Washington Redskins can’t draft a cornerback based on length unless it’s in Round 7. The priority is finding a cornerback who’s quick, instinctual, and has traits that bode well for a career in the slot. That is where the Washington Redskins can get the most value.