INDIANAPOLIS—Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 21, 17 days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.
Question of the day
While I’m here at the NFL Combine this week, I’m going to change it up a bit. I’m going to pose the question each morning centered around the draft and the position group that will be talking to the media on that day. You can find the daily schedule here. Up today, the defensive line.
Can the Redskins find a 2015 starting safety in the draft?
The Redskins have a need at safety.
Yes, that line was copied and pasted from each of the last half dozen or so offseasons.
It seems that the Redskins are always in search of a long-term solution at safety. Or perhaps they haven’t been searching for a permanent answer, generally content to patch the position with veterans who are past their primes (Ryan Clark, O.J. Atogwe) or limited (Reed Doughty) or injury/suspension prone (Brandon Meriweather).
With Clark announcing his retirement and Meriweather a free agent, the Redskins have the “help wanted” sign up at post safety positions. With Scot McCloughan committed to building through the draft, the patch jobs at safety will eventually come to an end. But will it end this year?
Both McCloughan and Jay Gruden said that the Redskins will take the best available player in the draft. The odds of finding two safeties who can start immediately are slim even if you are drafting for need. Finding two who happen to be the best available player on the board when your pick comes up is nearly impossible.
They will have to either find at least on safety in free agency or hand the job to Phillip Thomas. The 2013 fourth-round pick is better suited to strong safety so if they do plug him in they would be looking for someone to play free.
According to Mike Mayock of the NFL Network and other draft analysts this is a particularly weak class of safeties. That doesn’t mean that the Redskins won’t be able to find one; just because draft analysts aren’t impressed doesn’t mean that there isn’t a fit for the Redskins.
The consensus top safety in the draft is Landon Collins of Alabama. However, he probably isn’t good enough to be the best available player with the fifth pick but he will be gone long before the Redskins’ second-round pick rolls around.
Among the safeties the Redskins might look like in the second or third rounds are Cody Prewitt of Ole Miss, Chris Hackett of TCU, and Derron Smith of Fresno State.
It will be interesting to see how McCloughan handles this situation. He doesn’t want to keep the Redskins on their habit of filling holes with free agents. But there is no guarantee that a even a second- or third-round pick will be ready to start the season opener. They will have to have a Plan B in place and that probably means a free agent signing of some sort. I doubt we’ll see a big-money, long term deal; rather, it looks like another patch until a younger player can be developed.
—It’s been 55 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 204 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL free agency starts 17; Redskins offseason workouts start 58; 2015 NFL Draft 68
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
In case you missed it
- Dorial Green-Beckham: Evaluating talent vs. troubles
- Packers' Thompson has a blueprint the Redskins could use
- Redskins possible draft target leaves combine with hamstring injury
- Bruce Allen on RG3: 'He has a high ceiling'
- Help wanted: McCloughan outlines what he seeks in a prospect
- Nebraska DE Gregory's weight may be a concern for Redskins
- Redskins interview Iowa OL Scherff at NFL Combine
- Redskins need to start D-line rebuild in the draft