10 IN 10: WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The NFL Draft is literally hours away. This new ‘10 in 10’ series will look at each team picking in the top ten, having started with the Cleveland Browns last Tuesday and finishing with the Cincinnati Bengals tomorrow. For a more considered, in-depth look at the perfect picks for each team check out the good work of my fellow contributors at The Touchdown here:
For the purposes of simplicity, no trades will be considered in this countdown unless they occur in the days leading up to the draft itself. Each article will look at individual team needs before deciding on the right pick for each franchise, whilst also considering some alternatives at that spot.
#2: WASHINGTON REDSKINS
No hot takes here. With the second pick in the NFL Draft The Redskins should (and I can almost guarantee will) select Chase Young, defensive end, Ohio State. The Redskins’ roster is already well stacked on the defensive front, but a talent like Young cannot be passed on. Make no bones about it, he is the best player in the 2020 Draft. We’ve saw last year what adding Nick Bosa did for the 49ers’ pass rush and in turn their fortunes. By all accounts, Chase Young is set to have a similar (if not greater) impact in the league in his rookie year.
Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis and Daron Payne make this a fearsome D line to begin with, despite underperforming in 2019. Washington added Montez Sweat last year, trading back up into the first round to get him. Sweat rewarded the team with 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in his rookie year. He became the third first round pick in as many years to bolster the Washington front line. Allen went #17 overall in 2017, and Payne #13 overall in 2018. Chase Young would be the fourth premier addition to the Redskins’ defensive line in four years.
THE 'BUCKEYE BEAST'
Rather than focus on other needs, Washington can make a good defense better by selecting the best player in the draft in Young. In his junior year at Ohio State he was the best defender in college football, recording 16.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 21 tackles for loss. Adding him to an already promising front seven could make the The Redskins the best defense in the league. They will have to improve, though – Washington ranked 27th in total defence and 30th in DVOA last year. The roster is stacked with first round talent; the challenge now is to get them playing to their potential.
Some commentators have tried to bring up questions about Young’s character. First, there was the two game ban in the 2019 season when Young accepted a loan from a family friend so his partner could go to the Rose Bowl. That incident says more about college football and its refusal to pay its athletes than it does Young’s character.
Others questioned his decision not to participate in drills at the Combine – the former Buckeye claimed he didn’t want to “waste time” preparing for the drills rather than the season ahead. The talking heads jumped on these comments, suggesting he was arrogant to take such a decision. But in my mind Young was right to skip the workouts – what does he have left to prove to NFL teams? They’ve already seen the tape, where he often beats double teams to get to the passer. What will a three cone drill add to his draft stock?
OFFENSIVE LINE WOES?
There are a few unlikely scenarios where the Redskins don’t take Young. First is if the Bengals surprise us all and take him off the board, rather than Joe Burrow. Young is, after all, the best player in the Draft. Another option is to trade down with a team such as Miami or the Chargers, who may come up to get their quarterback. Though it would mean they miss out on Young, it does mean that they’d have some extra draft capital.
Washington lack a second round pick this year as a result of the Montez Sweat trade from last year. They currently have one third and two fourth round picks to stock up on an offensive line that released Tony Bergstrom and Donald Penn in the off-season. Left tackle Trent Williams continues to hold out, and seems unlikely to remain in Maryland. Brandon Scherff was franchise tagged, meaning he could be a Redskin for just one more year. This year’s offensive line group is a promising one, but the best talent will be gone by the time Washington makes its second pick.
Dwayne Haskins showed some glimpses of his potential in the back end of the 2019 season. If Washington wants him to succeed, they need to protect him. More picks in Days 1 and 2 of the Draft would help them achieve this. That being said, any potential offer for the Redskins to move down the board must be stacked in their favour. A team will have to overpay in order to convince them to pass on Young, who could go on to become one of the best edge rushers in the league.
TOM WATCHED HIS FIRST EVER NFL GAME AT AN EX’S HOME IN NORTH CAROLINA IN 2013 AND “ENCOURAGED” TO SUPPORT THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS. ONE BREAK-UP AND FOUR YEARS LATER, HE SWITCHED ALLEGIANCE TO THE JETS AND HAS BEEN OBSESSED WITH THE GAME EVER SINCE. TOM CAN BE FOUND ON TWITTER AT @DOWNTHEMANNYRD