5 under the radar NFL Combine players that make sense for Redskins
NFL Scouting Combine @ Lucas Oil Field
The NFL world descends on Indianapolis this week to scout college football players eligible for the upcoming draft. That's not all that goes on, as agents and front offices begin to work on new deals that will have the rumor mill buzzing. The Redskins have nine picks in the 2017 Draft, and Scot McCloughan and crew will be very busy this week. There will be plenty of big names drawing attention, but here are some off-the-radar guys the Washington scouts will be checking out.
Oklahoma DL Charles Walker
After a sensational redshirt sophomore season in 2015 for the Sooners, Walker looked like he could be an early round draft pick. That year, Walker posted 10 tackles for loss to go with six sacks and a forced fumbles in 12 games. His junior year came undone by concussions, he only played five games, and a rather controversial ending to his time in Oklahoma when he decided to leave the team with two games left in the season to prepare for the NFL Draft. In a series of tweets, Walker explained his decision, as he was still not cleared from the concussion. The team that drafts Walker will have to consider his head injuries, but he could be a late-round steal if he can again reach the potential he showed in 2015. A 6-foot-2 and 304 lbs., Walker has the size and burst to play on the next level.
Florida DE Bryan Cox Jr.
If the name sounds familiar, it should. Bryan Cox Sr. played in the NFL for more than a decade, winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots and making three Pro Bowls. Unlike his dad, Bryan Cox Jr. plays defensive end instead of linebacker, and projects as a late-round pick. Cox impressed members of the Redskins scouting staff with his play at the East-West Shrine game, and similarly to Walker, posted great stats in 2015 before injuries cost him a number of games in 2016. As a junior in 2015, Cox logged 11 tackles for loss with 3.5 sacks to go with two forced fumbles and recoveries over 14 games. In 2016, injuries limited the 6-foot-3, 269 lbs. Gator to just eight games and his stats dipped significantly. Likely a Saturday draft pick, Cox could provide value if he can rediscover his 2015 form. Position questions may also hurt Cox, who will need to add more weight to play defensive line in the NFL, or be best suited as a defensive end in a 4-3 system. To play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, Cox will need to prove some ability in pass coverage.
East Carolina WR Zay Jones
Redskins fans are slowly working their minds around what could be a very different offense in 2017. While it seems likely Kirk Cousins will be back under center, his receiving options could be in need of an overhaul, as one or both of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon could leave via free agency. That means it would make sense for the 'Skins to draft another wideout, and East Carolina's Zay Jones looked like a future star at the Senior Bowl in January. Jones had 158 catches for the Pirates in 2016, crazy numbers, and shows good hands to go with speed and athleticism. He also has good size, something the 'Skins receiving group has lacked for a few seasons, at 6-foot-2. Projected as a third-round pick but with a lot of buzz headed to Indy, Jones could make sense for Washington.
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Toledo RB Kareem Hunt
Scot McCloughan showed that he likes to try his hand at speed running backs with the late selection of Georgia's Keith Marshall in 2016. Well, if McCloughan wants speed, look no further than Kareem Hunt, a big play waiting to happen. In four seasons at Toledo, Hunt averaged 6.3 yards-per-carry. As a sophomore in 2014, he averaged 8 YPC en route to a 1,600 yard season. He's got elite speed at the running back position, and impressed in the Senior Bowl. Likely a third round pick, flashing a great 40-time in Indy could move Hunt even higher up draft boards, especially as he's shown to be a solid pass catcher out of the backfield and maybe could become a useful return man in the pros.