With the busy portion of the free agency period completed, it’s time to start looking ahead to the NFL draft and, specifically, needs the Redskins still have. In the coming days, we’ll rank them in order from least to most important. We’ll also take a look at prospects who could be a fit.
Current depth chart: Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul.
Comment: Like quarterback and running back, the Redskins don’t necessarily need another pass-catching tight end. Then again, when have you ever heard a head coach, who also happens to be the play-caller, complain about having too many weapons?
Jordan Reed had a stellar rookie season, ranking second on the team in receptions (45) and receiving yards (499). That, despite being sidelined for seven games due to injuries, including the last six because of a concussion.
Indeed, Reed is sublimely talented. But he’s also fragile and, given his concussion history, could be one hard, helmet-to-helmet hit away from being shelved for an extended amount of time.
Fred Davis, meanwhile, is a free agent and currently suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Logan Paulsen is rugged and reliable but not a game-changer. Niles Paul is a good special teamer but has caught only 14 passes in three seasons.
Gruden used two tight ends quite effectively last season in Cincinnati, with Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert combining for 85 receptions, 903 yards and six touchdowns. In fact, Gruden had two tight ends on the field for about 56-percent of the Bengals plays in 2013.
So adding another big, athletic, pass-catching tight end would seem to fit Gruden’s M.O. Just as important, it would give the Redskins some insurance in the event Reed gets hurt again.
It should be noted that there haven’t been any reports of pre-draft workouts with tight end prospects. But the Redskins didn’t work out Reed before selecting him in the third round of the 2013 draft, either.
Three potential prospects:
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
He’s 6 foot 5, 262-pounds and possesses the hands and athleticism that could make him a No. 1 tight end in the pros. Hauled in 69 passes for 852 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012 but those stats dropped to 36/450/8 last season. Projected as a second or third round pick.
- C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
At 6 foot 5, 265 pounds, he possesses prodigious size, is a good blocker and has sure hands. Caught 45 passes for 433 yards and a touchdown as a junior but saw those numbers dip to 30/299/6 as a senior. Projects as a third or fourth rounder.
- Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State
A late addition at the Senior Bowl, he impressed scouts with his size (6 foot 6, 260 pounds) and hands by standing out in practice and hauling in five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown in the game. Though he doesn’t possess elite athleticism, he was productive in college, reeling in 47 passes for 577 yards and two touchdowns as a senior. Projects as a late round selection, but his stock is trending upward.