Since Monday, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir has examined the Redskins’ depth chart and evaluated potential needs in the upcoming draft, ranking them in order from least to most important. He's also taking a look at the prospects who could be a fit.
Current depth chart:
Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Rob Jackson, Darryl Tapp, Bryan Kehl, Vic So’oto, Ricky Elmore
Although the signing of former Eagles veteran Darryl Tapp eliminates an immediate need at this position, questions could be looming in the not-so-distant future.
The Redskins would like nothing more than to see Brian Orakpo return to his Pro Bowl form in 2013. But that’s anything but guaranteed. Although the 26-year-old said last week that he’s “100-percent” recovered from a second surgery on his pectoral muscle, there will be questions until he gets through an entire season. Orakpo is also entering the final season of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next year.
Rob Jackson, meantime, established himself as a potential first stringer after starting the final 14 games last season in Orakpo’s place. But Jackson will miss the first four games of the season for testing positive for a banned substance. And like Orakpo, Jackson can become an unrestricted free agent in 2014.
Bryan Kehl, meantime, can play both inside and outside linebacker, but was listed in 2012 as Perry Riley’s backup on the inside. Kehl is a special teams standout who did not take a snap on defense.
The other two OLBs on the roster – Vic So’oto and Ricky Elmore – have one career NFL start betweem them.
For those reasons – and the fact that the Redskins were tied for 23rd in sacks – it might make sense for Mike Shanahan and Co. to be on the lookout for 3-4, pass-rushing linebacker in the middle to late rounds, particularly if a highly-touted prospect slips.
Three middle-to-late-round prospect possibilities:
- Trevardo Williams, Connecticut
Another defensive end who projects as an OLB in the pros, Williams (6-1, 241 pounds) left UConn as its all-time sack leader with 30.5. Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds.
- Travis Johnson, San Jose State
At 6-2, 240 pounds, Johnson was named the 2012 WAC defensive player of the year. He notched 13 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss (for a total of 113 yards) as a senior.
- Ty Powell, Harding
Projected as a fifth-round pick, Powell (6-2, 249) recorded 8.5 sacks and totaled 15 tackles for loss as a senior. Clocked in the 40 at 4.60.