Redskins draft countdown
The NFL draft is 34 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players the Redskins will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.
I am not a scout but I will pass along my observations from watching some game tape of each of the players profiled here.
40-yard dash: 4.52
Projected draft round: 1
What they’re saying
Explosive, quick-twitch athlete. Great flexibility with loose hips to turn, twist, and chase. Excellent reactive quickness and change-of-direction agility. Dynamic playmaker in space. Locks onto targets and instantly accelerates to the ball. Finished 2016 regular season with 21.5 tackles for loss. Fluid mover around field. Has chase range over extended territory.
—Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins have devoted major resources to the edges of their defense with free agent dollars and high draft picks going to get Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, and Josh Norman. But the middle—nose tackle, inside linebacker, and safety—remains shaky at best. Reddick could give them an immediate boost in the core of the defense.
At 185 pounds, he walked on at Temple as a safety, bulked up and finished as a two-year starter. Reddick played defensive end and dominated in many games, recording 10.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for a loss. But he doesn’t have the bulk to compete on the edge in the NFL so he will be either an outside linebacker in a 4-3 or an inside backer in a 3-4. The Redskins would have him on the inside in base defense and could have him roam when the go to a four-man line.
Film review: vs. Cincinnati, vs. USF
Reddick played on both sides of the line in two- and three-point stance. He seemed to be more effective standing up; he lacked the size to tangle with the Cincinnati and USF offensive tackles.
He seemed to be a bit slow in recognition. There were times where he reacted after the play already was by him.
Reddick wasn’t asked to cover often but he can drop back and cover a zone. I did not see any man coverage. His backpedal will need work.
He showed good hustle and pursuit, got in on a few plays when lined up on the right side and play went wide to the left.
Against USF he played off the line of scrimmage on about 30 percent of the snaps. He didn’t do anything notable good or bad from there but it was a small sample size.
The bottom line is that it’s hard to see how well he could play at inside linebacker based on the tape. It will take a lot of projection by the scouts, something that I will readily admit is beyond the scope of my capabilities.
Potential issues: After playing defensive end at Temple, Reddick needs to adjust to playing on two feet. Inside linebacker in a 3-4 is a complex position to master and there could be a substantial learning curve involved.
There is a little bit of off-field trouble in his past. He was suspended from the program for three months in 2015 following an off-campus fight but assault charges were later dropped. That appears to be a blip on the radar with no issues reported before or since.
Bottom line: Reddick certainly has great athleticism. Among defensive linemen and linebackers who tested at the combine, Reddick had the best performances in the 40 (4.52 seconds) and in the broad jump (11 feet, 1 inch). It seems that he has the potential to be a good linebacker. And with Will Compton and Mason Foster in place now, Reddick could get some time to develop in Washington.
However, the Redskins defense needs some instant impact. If they want an inside linebacker they might prefer to go with one who is better prepared to contribute now like Zach Cunningham of Vanderbilt or, if he’s available, Reuben Foster of Alabama.
Jay Gruden has expressed frustration about the lack of impact he has been able to get from the team’s last two first-round picks. He could be complaining about a third if Reddick is the pick.
However, if other teams decide to pass on Reddick and he is available in the second round (which seems unlikely after his combine performance but in the draft you never know), the Redskins should give him a hard look.
In his own words:
Reddick on changing from defensive end to playing in space as a linebacker:
I feel really comfortable. At the end of the day, I’m a competitor. That’s what I like to do. That’s what I do. There’s no question about that. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me, or what they ask me to do. I’m just going to try to do it as best as I can. That’s the approach I took at Senior Bowl.
Previously in Redskins draft countdown:
Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.