Washington Redskins: Xavier Su'a-Filo

Taking a look at the ways the Washington Redskins could go not only in the second round Friday, but beyond -- and why.

Right tackle

The case for: Tyler Polumbus is not the long-term answer and, in fact, his contract is up after this season. Though he improved last season, it's clear the organization would like an upgrade. They could find a future starter -- whether Day 1 or not remains to be seen -- at 34. Or they could find a guy who might take a year or so after the second round.

The case against: Tough to make a case against drafting a right tackle, especially because there are some good ones available at that spot. That, combined with a need for the position -- even if Polumbus starts they need his eventual replacement.

Names to watch: Cyrus Kouandjio. The main reason he's available is because of questions surrounding his knees. But he was also inconsistent in pass protection (much better against the run), another reason he fell. Some teams have definitely been scared off because of his knees -- he has a degenerative issue with his knees, according to ESPN's Stephanie Bell. But he's also had no problems since his 2011 ACL surgery and, in fact, never missed a practice, had pain or swelling. So there's a risk-reward here and some positive signs mixed with concerns. And the Redskins' relationship with Dr. James Andrews, whose office performed the surgery on Kouandjio, is important and helpful here. If he can't play tackle, Nevada's Joel Bitonio, could move easily to guard. They also showed interest in Jack Mewhort, Morgan Moses and Antonio Richardson. I would not draft Mewhort or Richardson at 34; Moses' ability suggests he should go the highest of these three. We'll see.


The case for: The Redskins need depth with Leonard Hankerson still uncertain following ACL surgery. Aldrick Robinson is entering the last year of his contract, too. Both have shown flashes but for one reason or another (yes, injuries a part) haven't put it together. Also, if the receiver they pick can return punts and kicks, that's even better.

The case against: They have three starting receivers -- and all are under contract for the next three seasons. Whoever they get, barring injuries, would end up being a No. 3 at best.

Names to watch: Marqise Lee is still available. But this is a deep draft at receiver so finding one after the second round is a distinct possibility. They also expressed interest in receiver Cody Latimer before the draft. He's an interesting player, faster than realized given how he was used at Indiana and because of injuries.

Tight end

The case for: Washington can use another pass catcher opposite Jordan Reed. Logan Paulsen is a blocker and an occasional pass threat, but they could use more given Reed's durability issues. Niles Paul remains on the roster, but is a free agent after this season.

The case against: Tough to make a strong case against adding another one at some point. At 34? Seems a big stretch considering Reed would still be the primary target if healthy. But in the third or fourth round? Sure.

Name to watch: Jace Amaro. More of a guy who would line up wide, but has definite receiving skills.

Running back

The case for: They clearly would like another pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Alfred Morris is set as the full-time ballcarrier, but Roy Helu is not set as the third-down back.

The case against: The second round is too high for this position given the needs elsewhere. But if they pick up another third? Then this spot becomes one worth watching (though the fourth round is fine here as well).

Names to watch: De'Anthony Thomas, Dri Archer, Charles Sims, George Atkinson III.


The case for: Though the Redskins signed Shawn Lauvao, they still have questions inside. Chris Chester, who struggled last year, returns. The Redskins could opt to draft another player here and plug them in immediately. Chester would then be in jeopardy of losing his job (releasing him would save the Redskins $2.7 million against the salary cap.

The case against: They did invest inside during free agency and still need a right tackle. For them to take a guard in the second round, it would have to be someone who was head and shoulders above.

Names to watch: Xavier Su'a-Filo. The UCLA guard is No. 1 on Mel Kiper's list at this position. Some tackles, such as Bitonio, might eventually end up at guard. Cyril Richardson has the size to play tackle, but his game might translate more to guard. He's a third-round guy.
Even though the draft is finally underway, there are still players who will be available for the Redskins on Friday that are worth analyzing. I won't get to them all, but I'll get to a few. 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: Xavier Su'a-Filo

College: UCLA

Position: Guard

College production: Started 13 games at left tackle as a freshman, then served as a missionary for the next two seasons. Started 27 games the past two seasons, at both guard and tackle.

How he'd fit: Plug him in at right guard and let him go. Or they could keep him at left guard, where he played in college, and shift Shawn Lauvao back to right guard, where he mostly played in Cleveland. Su'a-Filo seems to be a player who could start much sooner rather than later. The odd man out in this scenario would be right guard Chris Chester.

What I liked: Another guy who blocks to the whistle and plays with intensity and always was looking for someone else to block. I like guys like that. Worked well to the second level and showed a lot of versatility. Had to play left tackle on occasion (six starts at left tackle in 2013), including against Stanford in 2012 and had some positive moments when facing pass-rusher Trent Murphy. But it's not his spot and he had to rely more on competitiveness to survive there. However, in the couple games I saw him at left tackle he did not embarrass himself. I saw other analysts rip him for how he fared at left tackle, but I did not see enough to go there. Defended one spin move by Murphy by knocking him off stride to negate the impact after the spin. Awareness improved this past season. Drives well off the ball. Seems to have a strong base (big butt; that's good). Good athleticism. Intangibles.

What I didn't: Inconsistent in pass protection, thanks in part to his hands. Inconsistent placement and would get driven back on occasion; but he could anchor eventually. Saw more refinement in him as a run-blocker for now than in protection. Missed some stunts, often, it seemed, out of awareness. However, that seemed to improve this past season. But it will be a big test for him against more complicated NFL schemes and blitzes. Has to work on being consistent when he bends.

Projection: Second round. Su'a-Filo has experience in both man- and zone-blocking schemes and offers versatility, again having played left tackle on more than a few occasions (it's what he was as a freshman, too). But his size is more suited to guard (6-foot-4, 308 pounds). He's the top-ranked guard by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.