2019 Redskins Draft: A Look at edge rusher/outside linebacker prospects
The Washington Redskins have a huge need at various positions and landing an edge rushers/OLB prospect is high on the list of needs. It is likely they select one in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The 2019 NFL Draft is nearly upon us and the Redskins front office is likely finalizing their draft board. There will be several holes to fill and the departure of edge rusher Preston Smith will force the Redskins to draft one in the early rounds, perhaps in the first stanza. Ryan Anderson is a capable edge rusher after showing steady improvement in 2018, but some analysts doubt that he is ready to be a full-time starter.
Assuming that the Redskins agree with this assessment, what are the options at edge? Free agency really offered no tangible solutions, but the draft could provide what the Redskins may seek.
Will the front office invest in an edge rusher in the first round? It’s possible when one considers the number of talented players that could be available when the Redskins are on the clock Thursday night. While it is nice to think about the best edge rushers falling to the Redskins, let’s focus on who will have a better chance of being there when the pick is made.
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Edge rushers in this highly touted group that could be available at pick fifteen include these blue-chip prospects: Montez Sweat of Mississippi State, Brian Burns of Florida State, Clelin Ferrell of Clemson, and Rashan Gary of Michigan. Any of these players would be a good fit for the ‘Skins and should be able to start the very first game of 2019. Sweat and Burns seem to be a favorite of many Redskins fans. Does either player have the attention of team officials?
Edge rushers in the second through fourth rounds will be plentiful and could offer better value if the Redskins brain trust decides to move in that direction. This group is full of potential. Chase Winovich, D’Andre Walker, Jaylon Ferguson, Zach Allen, L.J. Collier, Oshane Ximines, Jalen Jelks, Anthony Nelson, Joe Jackson, Christian Miller. That is a very talented group indeed, but why would the Redskins take one of these players when that first tier of edge rushers would be available in round one?
It’s simple. The team has pressing needs at quarterback and receiver, too. Taking one of the highly talented tight ends in the first round can’t be fully ruled out as well. Armed with a pair of picks in the third round, the Redskins will have excellent opportunities to add a superb linebacker or two.
This brings us to an uncomfortable moment. What about Jachai Polite? He is a middle/late first round talent, possibly an early second round prospect at the latest. Polite could still be selected in these ranges, but it is much more likely that he will drop drastically in the draft. Could Washington take a flyer on him? Sure, but don’t count on it. His character issues and poor interviews will certainly hurt his draft stock. Polite is one to watch, but not as an early round selection.
The latter portions of the draft, Rounds 5-7, could feature a significant number of edge rushers that could be available when the ‘Skins are on the clock. Having two draft choices in the fifth round and again in the seventh round will give the front office some flexibility. Adding two or three edge players in this draft can’t be fully ruled out. Strength in numbers, right?
Having that extra draft capital could certainly prove to be the advantage that is needed to use such a strategy. Also, any trades down in the draft could strengthen that approach. Edge rushers available in the latter rounds could include any of the following players: Maxx Crosby. Ben Banogu. Carl Granderson. Shareef Miller. Corbin Kaufusi. Jonathan Ledbetter. Austin Bryant. Wyatt Ray.
There will be numerous options to add any number of edge rushers in this draft and the Redskins will have solid choices along the way. Adding one or more of these players will present itself often and the front office can easily fill a huge need.