Washington Redskins: Dee Ford

The Redskins didn't make a pick, nor did they make any trades. But they were able to see some players who could help them fall to the second round. Which will give them plenty of choices when they make their first pick of the draft.

Washington will make the second pick of the second round when the draft resumes Friday night. One thing the Redskins did not do Friday was trade backup quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cleveland had offered the Redskins a fourth-round pick, an NFL source said, but the Redskins stuck to wanting a high pick (likely a second-rounder). It's debatable if there is any market for him because of the high price tag -- though the Redskins made it clear earlier in the offseason that they did not want to trade him.

Here are some options at 34:

RT Morgan Moses: Moses is an athletic tackle, but also inconsistent. He was better as a senior -- and was excellent against Kyle Van Noy in their limited matchup. But Moses has a tendency to play too upright and would need to fix that or else have problems. I like his long arms, which bailed him out of trouble in college. But I did not like how he handled run-blocking assignments at the second level -- something he'd need to do in the outside zone scheme.

Here's my write-up on him.

RT Cyrus Kouandjio: I really like his ability, but his knees are a concern and I've heard that definitely might scare the Redskins off. He showed good footwork and strength as a run blocker and had a little attitude as well. But he was not as consistent in pass protection, thanks to his balance and footwork.

Here's my write-up on him.

RT Joel Bitonio: He's considered a good fit in a zone blocking system because of his ability to get to the linebackers. He does not have prototypical measurements for a tackle (6-foot-4, 302 pounds; arm length just under the desired length of 34 inches) but he makes up for it with terrific makeup: a leader, hard worker, etc. He also blocks with a little attitude. He ran a 4.97 40-yard dash at the combine.

LB Kyle Van Noy: The Redskins like his versatility, as he can play outside or inside in a 3-4. They definitely feel he can play inside in their scheme. Though Van Noy did not handle this role in college. When he lined up inside, it was in coverage or to rush. But he did a good job of shedding blockers on the edge, which gives the Redskins confidence he could do the same inside. However, 34 is a bit high for him.

Here's my write-up on him.

OLB Jeremiah Attaochu: Has very good quickness and is considered a good athlete. He has good size to handle the outside at 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, but he would probably have to add about 10 pounds. He did a solid job against the run in college.

DE Ra'Shede Hageman: He had top-10 ability, but did not always play at that level. Otherwise, of course, he'd have been selected in the top 10. He dominated at times and made plays that made you say, ‘Wow.' And then he'd do nothing for a while. The fact that he only had two sacks was telling. But he's athletic enough and big enough that he could provide a good push inside. Not sure the Redskins are big fans.

Here's my writeup on him.

ILB Chris Borland: I don't see him as the choice. There are too many other players Washington likes that are available and I did not get the sense that the Redskins felt he was a good fit. I think he's better in a 4-3; he will have issues in space, but would be a good physical player when facing straight-ahead running teams.

Here's my write-up on him.

WR Marqise Lee: The Redskins do not need to pick a receiver high in the draft. Their top three receivers all are under contract through 2016. However, injuries are always an issue and Washington lacks depth at this position. Lee dropped too many passes last season, but he was much more consistent the previous two years. He's had a tough background, but his intangibles are considered strong. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds at the combine.

DE Stephon Tuitt: Projected by some analysts to go in the first round. Isn't considered to have a quick burst, but plays with strength. If the Redskins want another player to provide push inside, then he could be worth a look. However, there are questions about his durability and his motor.

Another option: Trading down. This is clearly a strong option for Washington considering there are a handful of players the Redskins' like who are still around. They only have six draft picks, so this would be a chance to add another selection or two.
I'm taking a look at selected players leading up to the NFL draft, which begins Thursday night. The reports are based on watching multiple games on draftbreakdown.com; I'll let you know when there is an opinion other than my own. I'm not a fan of having to only watch them off a TV feed -- you don't always get the best angle, or see all the players -- but it's the best I can do now and it helps provide a snapshot. The draft analysts -- especially those from ESPN.com, NFL.com and CBSSports.com -- help fill in the gap, especially in terms of where they are projected.

Player: Dee Ford

Ford
College: Auburn

Position: Outside linebacker

College production: He had 29 tackles, including 14.5 for loss and 10.5 sacks, according to Auburn's website. He finished his career with 27.5 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks.

How he'd fit: As another pass-rusher, capable of playing in nickel situations. (Remember: The Redskins were in nickel nearly 70 percent of the time last season.) He could eventually take over for Brian Orakpo, if they let him walk after this season (and don't feel like paying two outside linebackers big money).

What I liked: His speed. It's really hard not to like it considering how fast he ran at his pro day (4.59 in the 40). But it's not just his speed, it's his first step and ability to anticipate the snap. It'll be harder to do that against NFL quarterbacks, but it was easy in college. There were times when I'd hit pause and Ford would be a yard in the backfield while everyone else along the front was still at the line. Ford dominated in the Senior Bowl, giving right tackle Jack Mewhort fits among others. At times the right tackles would have to almost run to a spot rather than slide because Ford would win otherwise. Love his motor; did not see him quit on plays and would see him pursue ball carriers even when he appeared to have no chance. Set up interior rushers with his pressure. He has strong hands; at times he was able to grab onto the quarterback with one hand and drag him down while still being blocked. They make up for average arm length. Fared well against Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi. Ford rushed from both the right and left sides and also from a three-point stance, a four-point stance and standing up. He's very athletic and has good change-of-direction ability, though he's more comfortable going forward than in space.

What I didn't: I did not see him being all that strong against the run. He was much easier to block in that area than in the pass game. I did not see him getting off run blocks enough to make plays or to set a hard edge against tackles. He would need to probably add 10 more pounds to help become more effective in this area -- and learn to take on double-teams -- otherwise he'll just be an extra rusher. But I could see him being a threat to make plays from the backside because of his speed and quickness. I saw him drop into coverage only a couple of times and usually to take the running back one-on-one. He'll have to improve there. He missed games each season due to injuries so durability will be a concern. He did not make game-changing plays: one forced fumble and one interception in his career.

Projection: Possible late first, second. Ford is considered a bit of a tweener -- is he a 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker? I did not see a reason he couldn't find his way in either one, but in both cases he'll be limited early. It'll be best to use him as a rusher in his first season and then develop the rest of his game. On the positive side, he received high marks for intangibles.

Other players examined:

Deone Bucannon

Kyle Van Noy

Jimmie Ward

Morgan Moses

Demarcus Lawrence

Chris Borland

Charles Sims

Cyrus Kouandjio

Jack Mewhort
Ra'Shede Hageman

Antonio Richardson
A little this and that about the NFL draft:
  • I really don’t know what direction the Redskins will go in the second round and nor do they. Too many factors involved at this point. But very few positions would surprise me if addressed with this pick.
  • The only spot defensively I’d rule out would be nose tackle. After that? It’s all up for grabs -- with an edge toward pass-rusher. Offensively, I can see right tackle first and foremost. But this also depends on who falls to this spot, of course.
  • I get the feeling that adding another pass-rusher would be highly desirable and there are several at 34 that they like, including Dee Ford, Kyle Van Noy and Jeremiah Attaochu. Van Noy’s versatility would be appealing; he can play all over and the Redskins do think he can play inside in a 3-4 as well. When he played outside, Van Noy did a good job disengaging from blockers. The belief is that skill would transfer inside.
  • But if a top corner or inside linebacker fell to 34, the Redskins would consider taking them, even though at corner they have their top three already. I know some, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, have projected inside linebacker Chris Borland to the Redskins but I would be surprised if that happened. Borland’s speed and inability to play in space would not be a good fit. My sense is they’d rather take Van Noy and move him inside. But, again, I think they go pass-rusher before these spots. They can also trade down a few picks and still find a pass-rusher they like, if that's truly the direction they want to go. Just keep in mind that they're intent on bolstering the pass rush.
  • Will quarterback Kirk Cousins be traded? I’ve always leaned toward no and that’s the sense I’ve gotten from others. But it’s still a legitimate question because it’s well-known what Cleveland offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan thinks of his former player. But it’s not known what sort of pull Shanahan has in the organization. There are a few layers above him. It also depends what the Browns truly think about Brian Hoyer – is there that big a difference between he and Cousins, enough to surrender a draft pick?
  • I know Bill Polian said on "NFL Insiders" that Cleveland should trade the No. 26 pick to Washington for Cousins. I think it would take the Redskins about one second to say yes. And I really can’t imagine the Browns making such an offer. That’s a steep price for a former fourth-round pick who still has a lot to prove. One NFL executive said he thought Cousins’ value was closer to the third round (maybe even the fourth; but it’s not as if this person had closely studied him).
  • What if the Redskins used Cousins to move up eight spots? The Redskins would have to get back more than just 26; they’d also need another pick in return. Last year, Atlanta moved up eight spots (from 30 to 22) and surrendered their first, third and sixth while also receiving St. Louis’ seventh.
  • By the way, I would not like that move for Washington. There are a handful of players they like in this draft and it’s hard to imagine them all being gone by the time the Redskins select Friday. While Bruce Allen and company might like Colt McCoy, they also like having three quality quarterbacks (potentially at least). With Robert Griffin III’s durability concerns, it’s wise to have excellent depth at this position. Very wise.
  • The bottom line is trading a guy you like at quarterback to move up eight spots is not worth it. Now, what if Cleveland offers its second pick (35th overall)? Again, that’s an awfully high pick to surrender for Cousins in my opinion (which no one involved in any deal would care about). Maybe Shanahan would do it, but would general manager Ray Farmer? They will take Shanahan’s advice on whether or not he thinks Cousins can play, but not on what pick they should give up.
  • Kansas City ended up trading two No. 2s to San Francisco for Alex Smith last offseason (one was a conditional third that turned into a second), but he had a deeper track record and was coming off a good season. Has Cousins really played himself into being worth a high No. 2? That still seems high, though we are talking just one pick compared to the two that Smith fetched. Arizona traded a sixth-rounder last year and a seventh-rounder this year for Carson Palmer.
  • Whether or not this trade happens I don’t know. But it has been discussed and does bear watching. The Browns can end the suspense by selecting a quarterback fourth overall.
Some thoughts from ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay on the Redskins' draft:
  1. In a conference call with NFL Nation reporters last week, I asked McShay about who would represent the best value at 34 as far as pass rushers go. I should have clarified that it could also apply to an interior rusher. It would not surprise me if the Redskins went in one of four directions with this pick (pass rusher, safety, right tackle, inside linebacker). But by pass rusher, that could mean an outside linebacker or someone inside to help more in the nickel. My thought has been more about finding additional interior help. The line has four players who will be 30 or older this season: Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen and Kedric Golston.
  2. If they took an outside linebacker, and they had several visits with them, then that player would obviously sit behind Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo for a year at least. Not sure how wild they are about Kyle Van Noy, but his versatility could help (though, personally, I've liked other players more than him).
  3. McShay said about pass rushers at 34: "That might be the sweet spot in this class in terms of outside guys. I don't know if they'd spend that pick on an outside linebacker. You have [Jeremiah] Attaochu, [Demarcus] Lawrence, who played a hybrid role, and Dee Ford. I've seen him play with his hand in the dirt and from a two-point stance. All could be around when the first round is done. If you're looking for value, it's a good spot."
  4. In their mock draft Thursday night, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay had the Redskins taking Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland at 34 and tackle Jack Mewhort in the third round. Not sure about Borland; there are definite parts of his game I like, but not sold that he's best for Washington. Mewhort is fine as a right tackle prospect.
  5. Here's what McShay said of Borland: "He wouldn't be a bad choice at all. I picture him more as a middle linebacker being protected. He can do a lot of the same things inside in a 3-4 scheme. After [C.J.] Mosley and Borland, there's a real drop-off at that inside linebacker position. You get down to the fourth round probably before you'd feel good about an inside linebacker."
  6. McShay said Preston Brown and Shayne Skov would be options starting at that point, though he said Skov is more a fifth- or sixth-round pick.
I'm taking a look at selected players leading up to the NFL draft, which begins May 8. The reports are based on watching multiple games on draftbreakdown.com; I'll let you know when there is an opinion other than my own. I'm not a fan of having to only watch them off a TV feed -- you don't always get the best angle, or see all the players -- but it's the best I can do now and it helps provide a snapshot. The draft analysts -- especially those from ESPN.com, NFL.com and CBSSports.com -- help fill in the gap, especially in terms of where they are projected.

Kouandjio
Player: Cyrus Kouandjio

School: Alabama

Position: Offensive tackle

College production: Started 26 games the past two years after playing as a reserve during his redshirt freshman season of 2011.

How he’d fit: Kouandjio would eventually become the starting right tackle. How soon? Tough to say, but if he’s picked at 34 it probably wouldn’t be too long before he'd replace Tyler Polumbus. He appeared to be athletic enough to play in a zone system and would give the Redskins a potentially athletic tandem, paired with left tackle Trent Williams.

What I liked: His run blocking. Kouandjio did an excellent job getting his feet in position and then locking on his man. You rarely saw him lose control of his opponent and, in the LSU game this past year, a number of big runs went through his gap and were helped greatly by his blocking. Again, the positioning was good and he also kept his feet moving once he locked onto his man. (He was a soccer player as a kid; I like that if only because it helps with the footwork.) He definitely had some attitude. Saw on a couple screens/draws against Auburn where Kouandjio allowed his man to slip past only to swat him hard to the ground with his right hand. Against LSU I saw him block hard to the whistle -- and then some. Saw it in other games, too, as he showed flashes of an attitude coaches like. He’s athletic and was able to reach linebackers on blocks and even defensive backs. Seemed to have good strength and saw some spin moves fail in part because he knocked his man off stride and had no problems stopping him. Anchored well, especially when balanced and seemed to have strong hands. His athleticism seems to flash more in run blocking than pass protection. But he was mostly fine in pass protection (wish Auburn’s Dee Ford had gone against him). He does have good length, which helps in protection (and saw him use it to his advantage). That plus the fact he is capable of better footwork should lead to more consistency in protection.

What I didn’t: Inconsistent balance, which would get him in trouble in pass protection occasionally. Though he got his feet around on some blocks, his footwork in protection was inconsistent. He could recover at times against lesser competition in college, but it would be an issue to fix in the NFL. At times he blocked hard to the whistle; other times I didn’t see that as much. Against Auburn, I didn’t think he went as hard to the whistle as in other games; also didn’t see him look for someone else to block if he was done with his initial block. He allowed two sacks against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, one coming because he was too flat against a defender who pretty much only attacked wide. Kouandjio at times would block too bent at the waist and with his head down. Again, he compensated with other skills like strength, but in the NFL this will hurt him. Many project him as a right tackle and I could see him having some issues at left tackle with speed rushers just because of his inconsistencies; did see him cross his feet on one pass set, which is a no-no. He’s rather slow, too, (only ran a 5.63 in the 40-yard dash at the combine).

Projection: Late first, early-to-mid second round. Kouandjio left school a year early; he would have been helped in terms of draft stock returning for another year. He also has some medical issues (tore an ACL and MCL in his left knee) that could impact where he goes.

Other players examined:

Kyle Van Noy

Jimmie Ward

Morgan Moses

Demarcus Lawrence

Chris Borland

Charles Sims

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

April, 12, 2014
4/12/14
10:00
AM ET
Back to a hodgepodge, or mish mash if you prefer, of questions for the second part of the Redskins mailbag. A little bit on the offensive line, some tight end and Chris Thompson and, of course, wide receiver talk with the addition of DeSean Jackson. Enjoy.

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