Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 22, 33 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Five possible Redskins first-round draft targets
As I noted here yesterday, it’s too early to go in depth into the draft. But it’s not to early to peruse some prospect rankings and mock drafts and talk about some players the Redskins would consider with pick No. 21. So let’s do that.
Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama—A versatile player can play inside in a 3-4 or (should the Redskins decide to change schemes at some point) in the middle in the 4-3. The inside linebacker spot isn’t one of terrible weakness for the Redskins but they lack an impact player there. Ragland could quickly develop into that guy.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State—Could he be the dynamic, all-around back that the Redskins are looking for? You never know but he has all the tools. Will Scot McCloughan view his comments ripping the play calling after the Buckeyes’ loss to Michigan as indicative of a “me-first” attitude or as a sign of passion for the game? That could determine whether or not he will consider him.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss—The Redskins need a big, productive receiver and Treadwell could be the guy. What he makes up in terms of raw speed he compensates for with smooth route running and a great ability to use his body to wall off defenders. The medical reports on the broken leg and dislocated ankle he suffered in a game on November 1, 2014 will be important. McCloughan would have strongly considered Amari Cooper if he had been there at No. 5 last year so there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t look at a receiver at No. 21.
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson—Alexander has been linked to the Redskins in a few prominent mock drafts even though at 5-10, 195 he is a bit smaller than the Legion of Boom sized corners that McCloughan is said to prefer. But toughness and athleticism could move him up a few notches in the GM’s eyes.
Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville—Jason Hatcher could be gone, either through retirement or as a cap casualty. Rankins could take his spot and offer better run stopping ability and, after he has some time to develop it, strong pass rushing skills. The line needs a major injection of youth and Rankins, who will turn 22 a few weeks before draft day, could be the guy to provide it.
—The Redskins last played a game 12 days ago. It will be about 233 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL Combine 33; NFL free agency starts 47; 2016 NFL draft 97
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