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Redskins seven-round Redskins mock draft, version 2.0

Redskins seven-round Redskins mock draft, version 2.0

Here is my second go at a full Redskins mock draft (find version 1.0 here). Again, I was trying to think of what the Redskins would do, not necessarily what I would do. I was open to trades in this go-around but with 10 picks already I was offered nothing compelling enough to add to the stockpile of selections.

Round 1 Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Reuben Foster, Haason Reddick, Christian McCaffrey were all off the board. If I wanted to go defense the best choice was the versatile Jabrill Peppers of Michigan. I would not be shocked if the Redskins took him but I think that Jay Gruden loves what Cook can do for the offense. 

READ MORE: Draft countdown on Dalvin Cook

Round 2 Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

The D-line choices here were third-round talents as were any inside LB prospects. Tankersley has good length at 6-1 and good ball-hawking skills as evidenced by his nine interceptions in his last two seasons.

Round 3 Elijah Qualls, DL, Washington

How about that, a case where need meets the best available player. At 6-1, 313 he could either play nose tackle or work as a defensive end. Maybe you’d like a player with more versatility in the third—you’re not going to get much in the way of pass rush from Qualls—but given the need Qualls is a solid pick.

Round 4(a) Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State

This would be something of a steal, getting a three-time first-team All-Big 10 player who was a captain at Ohio State. At 6-3, 303 they might want him to put on a few pounds and, as is the case with most fourth-round picks, he’s not an instant starter. But in 2018 he should be ready to start at center if Spencer Long is gone as a free agent or if Long moves to guard assuming Shawn Lauvao moves on.

Round 4(b) Deatrich Wise, DL, Arkansas

At 274 pounds, he will need to add some weight to play end in the 3-4. Wise has the power to be effective against the run and some good pass-rushing ability (8 sacks as a part-time player as a junior). He had a disappointing senior season due in part to a hand injury, which is why a player with Wise’s physical talent is available in the fourth round. The Redskins would need to be confident that he can bounce back and work to improve.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 9.0

Round 5 Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee

We heard a lot from Kirk Cousins this week and his presence on the roster in 2018 is still a coin flip. Dobbs could be the perfect understudy. The aerospace engineering major has good size and speed, which translates into playmaking ability. He needs to do a lot of work on footwork and decision making but that is what his redshirt year (or maybe two) would be for.

Round 6(a) Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, NT, USC

If you don’t like Qualls at nose tackle, this guy could be the solution. At 331 pounds, he’s an effective space eater.  He’s also active and gets good separation.

Round 6(b) Hardy Nickerson, LB, Illinois

At this point in the draft, the two best players on the board are a kicker and a punter. Hard pass. I’m going to put my chips down on bloodlines and take Nickerson, whose father, also named Hardy Nickerson, played inside linebacker in the league for 16 years and was first-team All-Pro twice for the Bucs. The younger Hardy doesn’t seem to have that ability but at this point in the draft I’ll take a competitor who could help on special teams.

Round 7(a) Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State

Many wide receivers coming out of college, even those drafted in the early rounds, need extensive work on running pass routes properly. If you can get a seventh-round pick like Rudolph, who already has some polish in his routes, you take him.

MORE REDSKINS: What will they do with pick No. 17?

Round 7(b) Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State

Remembering that the team’s top three inside linebackers all are slated to be free agents in 2018, this pick continues the tradition of taking a developmental inside LB late in the draft (Martrell Spaight in 2015, Steven Daniels in 2016).

Summary: I know that that a running back in the first is a controversial selection for the Redskins but there wasn’t a defensive player on the board who would have more impact. Three of the next four picks are on defense as are six of the total of 10 selections so that side of the ball does get a good infusion of young talent.

The glaring omission is an edge rusher. I think the Redskins will find one at some point in the first few rounds but the board didn’t play out that well for me.

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.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

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.