Washington Redskins draft capsule
13. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-9)
LAST SEASON: Injuries and inconsistent play on both sides of ball kept Redskins from staying competitive in NFC wild-card race. Without consistent running game and behind often patchwork offensive line, quarterback Kirk Cousins still threw for 4,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Defense was bigger issue against run and pass. Loss of rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Allen hurt pass rush and run defense, so opposing QBs carved up secondary. Cousins is gone, replaced by Alex Smith, and Redskins President Bruce Allen is tweaking defense. Inside linebacker Zach Brown was bright spot and led NFL in tackles before missing final two games and will return. Team is counting on big season from cornerback Josh Norman and growth of Quinton Dunbar after pass defense struggled in 2017.
THEY NEED: RB, WR, LG, DL, LB, S, CB
THEY DON’T NEED: OT, TE, K, P, LS
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DT Vita Vea, Washington; CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State; S Derwin James, Florida State; DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama; ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia; RB Derrius Guice, LSU; DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
OUTLOOK: Running back is top priority, even if not in first round. Redskins have so many holes to fill on defense they should go that side of ball in first round after top three picks last year started building process. Replacing traded linebacker/safety hybrid Su’a Cravens, bolstering defensive line and finding defensive backs will be on docket. First draft without help of former general manager Scot McCloughan, who has fingerprints on 2017 picks despite being fired in March; he helped build list of prospects. Super Bowl MVP-turned-senior VP of player personnel Doug Williams will rely heavily on new director of college scouting Kyle Smith, son of A.J., for insight. With Alex Smith signed for foreseeable future, Redskins are in win-soon mode, so this crop’s success or failure could be make or break.