Round 1, Pick 13
Will Pick: NT Vita Vea, Washington
Right now, it’s seeming like Vita Vea might be the favorite for the Redskins with the No. 13 pick. Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline reported that Vea to the Redskins is the “worst kept secret in the league,” so it appears that the ties there are strong. This is a sensible move, as the team does need a true nose tackle.
Vea has excellent size at 6-foot-4, 347 pounds and in surprisingly athletic. However, there are some concerns about how he will translate as a pass rusher given his slower first step. Still, he is going to be a productive pro and an excellent run stuffer at the very least.
With the First Pick
Should Pick: NT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
If the Redskins go the nose tackle route, the team should almost certainly go after Da’Ron Payne. Though Payne is smaller than Vea at 6-foot-2, 311 pound, he has elite athleticism. Payne was superb at the Combine and looked great during the College Football playoff as well. In the NFL, he could be a three-down player who opens up opportunities for his teammates.
It is notable that Payne only had three sacks at Alabama, but at the same time, he did a lot to open up pass rushing lanes for other players by occupying interior linemen and bursting into the backfield with his quick feet. He has more upside, so Jim Tomsula could truly turn him into an upper echelon NFL player. For that reason, the team should favor him to Vea, though it appears they are leaning towards the Washington product right now.
Dark Horse: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
There are many who are crying for the Redskins to select Guice here. While Guice is a solid player and will probably be a starter at the NFL level, the value just isn’t right at No. 13 pick. He is more of a late-first, early-second round pick because of minor concerns about his maturity level.
In terms of talent, Guice is a strong runner with good speed, but he doesn’t appear to have any truly elite skills. That’s why I have him at No. 3 on my running back big board, as he will be a good starter, but I question his ability to truly be great. For that reason, grabbing him at No. 13 is too steep a price to pay. But, the team could still surprise and pull the trigger on Guice here. Or, they could trade down.