Redskins might seek defensive line help on last day of draft
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) After stockpiling plenty of young talent and winning the NFC East, the Washington Redskins went into the NFL draft with fewer holes to fill, giving them the flexibility to address more specific short- and long-term needs.
The Redskins used their first-round pick on a receiver in TCU's Josh Doctson who could help replace Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson if one or both leave in free agency after next season, added depth at quarterback by taking Indiana's Nate Sudfeld in the sixth round and acquired three more picks for next year.
''We were 9-8 last year and won the division,'' coach Jay Gruden said Saturday. ''We didn't have a lot of glaring needs like, `Oh my gosh, we're totally incompetent at this position.' I feel really good about the depth on our football team already.''
The Redskins filled some immediate needs on defense by taking USC hybrid linebacker/safety Su'a Cravens in the second round, Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller in the third and Temple defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis in the fifth.
Couple that with the signing of free agent cornerback Josh Norman, and Washington's defense should be upgraded from its 28th-ranked finish last season.
Versatility is the name of the game for the new additions, with Gruden pointing to everything Cravens can do in coverage, pass-rushing and run-stopping and the potential Fuller has coming off a knee injury that hurt his stock. Ioannidis, the pick at No. 152 overall after the Redskins traded down from No. 120 with the New Orleans Saints, could be a nose guard, Gruden said, if he puts on 15 pounds, but he did it all as an All-American Athletic Conference player at Temple.
''I would just say I'm a relentless, tough player who's going to bring a lot to the table,'' Ioannidis said on a conference call.
The Redskins liked Ioannidis but knew they could wait to take him, adding a 2017 fifth-round pick from New Orleans to slide down 32 spots. They were confident enough to deal the 158th pick to the New York Jets for a 2017 fourth-rounder.
''You add picks for next year and you get quality players this year, and that's what it's all about,'' Gruden said. ''We're sitting in a good spot.''
The Redskins feel they were in a good spot at receiver before taking Doctson with the 22nd pick. And they're set at quarterback with Kirk Cousins, but the 2012 fourth-round pick is only signed for next season with the franchise tag, and the team hasn't been able to negotiate a long-term deal.
Enter Sudfeld, who looked up to Cousins as a fellow Big Ten quarterback and made strides as a senior, when he completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,573 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Sudfeld is clearly the third quarterback behind Cousins and Colt McCoy, and he's OK with that.
''I cannot wait,'' Sudfeld said. ''I don't think there could be a better situation for me with Colt and Kirk and (quarterback) coach (Matt) Cavanaugh and Coach Gruden.''
Sudfeld's size, accuracy anticipation and potential made him a target for the Redskins with the 187th pick.
''He anticipates throws, gets them out of his hand, he can speed up his delivery when he has to and he buys time,'' Gruden said. ''He's very functional in the pocket for a big man as far as buying time in the pocket.''
In the seventh round, the Redskins selected Boston College inside linebacker Steven Daniels with the 232nd pick and Georgia running back Keith Marshall with the 242nd pick.
After making three trades during the draft, the Redskins now have nine picks in 2017, including an extra selection in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds. Giving up current picks for future ones is something Gruden termed a ''luxury.''
''I think that speaks to the team that we have already in house,'' Gruden said. ''We're all interested in this year coming up, obviously, but you're talking about the foundation of this football team and this organization.''
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