Redskins Combine Preview

Chris Russell

It's time, it's time, it's Combine time! And we're not just talking about a 40-yard dash time.

This week, the NFL Scouting Combine has as usual descended upon Indianapolis. The week long event is an offseason football-a-palooza of guys in underwear and tight shirts, sweating and grinding for glory and dollars.

You can see some of it but perhaps the most important parts are still missing. The face-to-face meetings and private time that the Redskins, their coaching staff and scouts can spend with players.

Remember, Redskins coaches are behind a little bit because they had to spend so much time amping up their knowledge base of the current roster as they arrived, so in some ways this will be their first dip into the 2020 pool.

Kyle Smith, Tim Gribble, Cole Spencer and the rest of the Redskins college scouting department have been doing the grunt work to prepare the new staff for what they will be getting their hands on this week.

For me, this week will be much more about what we don't get to see as opposed to what we do.

We'll get to hear from Smith and Ron Rivera this week as well. 

2019 Season in Review

The Redskins were mostly awful over a (3-13) season that finally allowed the organization to move on from the decade of destruction that was engineered by Bruce Allen. That's the good news. There was a reward for being awful.

With Ron Rivera and his staff taking over, it was crucial for some continuity of the common sense kind. Kyle Smith was properly recognized and rewarded.

The Redskins have more than three-win talent. They miserably underachieved last year and everyone knew it. They're not helpless, yet they have plenty of holes.

2020 Draft Position

The Redskins have the No. 2 overall pick and that's where the draft could get really interesting. The problem is they do not currently have a second-round pick or a sixth-round selection.

Overall, the Redskins have the No. 2, No. 66 (3rd), No. 98 (4th), No. 130 (5th), No. 193 & No. 206 (7th) picks. 

That's not a lot of capital to be honest, so a trade is probably necessary if they want to really fortify the roster.

Help Wanted and Help Needed

With the No. 2 overall pick, if the Redskins stay at that spot - the pick will be the uber-talented Chase Young. That's assuming he doesn't go first overall to the Bengals, if they choose not to trade out. Young will not be on the field this week. 

Washington should meet with Joe Burrow this week as a just in case. They should do their due diligence for every scenario and I'm sure they will. 

Speaking of trading - if the Redskins do trade down - Jeff Okudah could be a target depending on how far they go down. He might not be there at five overall, if Washington were to swing a deal with Miami.

If the Redskins were to trade with the Chargers, Jacksonville or Las Vegas - anything is on the table. Depending on what happens with Trent Williams, the Redskins could target left tackle prospects Andrew Thomas or Tristan Wirfs. They could go wide receiver with Jerry Jeudy from Alabama.

No matter where the Redskins land if they trade down, Isaiah Simmons, a versatile and explosive linebacker could be on the radar.

It's impossible to know before free agency and without the benefit of a second round pick for now, who the Redskins ultimately might target early in the third round, but if a talent like Troy Pride Jr. is still available - Washington should close the door. Ashtyn Davis, a very athletic and fast safety could be available here as well.

The Redskins are going to need a tight end, possibly another interior offensive lineman and might want to look running back as well in the middle few rounds. 

One area I feel good about is the defensive line, especially with transition to a 4-3. 

Five Players the Redskins Must Watch:

Georgia LT Andrew Thomas - Perhaps the most polished left tackle in the draft. The Redskins almost surely would not take him No. 2 regardless of what happens ahead of them at the Bengals pick, but in case they trade down, Thomas is probably the safest pick of a deep crop that includes Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills and more.

Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons: As mentioned above,  Rivera and Jack Del Rio should feel pretty good about the front defensive line but have major questions at all three linebacker spots. Cole Holcomb figures to fill one spot, Jon Bostic is a free agent but could return and how Shaun Dion Hamilton fits in is certainly a question. The Redskins can't count on Reuben Foster so this is a major area of need for a defensive staff.

LSU CB Kristian Fulton: If the Redskins trade down and don't select Okudah, Fulton is probably a nice consolation prize in the middle part of the first round. No. 18? Per - he was their third highest graded coverage corner over the last two years combined.

Alabama S Xavier McKinney/LSU S Grant Delpit: Alright we lied. We're going with six players. McKinney is extremely versatile and can help the Redskins in huge positions of need (free safety, slot corner). Delpit might be better overall, but the knock against him is tackling.

The Redskins need someone with range so that they can play single-high looks. Both players fit that bill.

Baylor WR Denzel Mims: The Redskins are likely to sign a veteran receiver to compliment the young core that they have but if they come up short in that pursuit and if they traded down with Miami, for example, Mims could be a target late in the first round.

Who Makes The Call?

Rivera will make the final call with a lot of input from Smith and Gribble. There is no doubt who the man in charge is but what no Redskins fan wants is for the group to be deadlocked and to turn it over to Dan Snyder, as they said they would.

Recent Draft Hits and Misses:

Because of Smith's ability to identify talent, the Redskins have done a good job in the draft overall in the last few seasons.

Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Terry McLaurin and a few others are recent examples on the hit side.

There's many questions for different reasons about Dwayne Haskins, Derrius Guice, Geron Christian and others.

A few misses would be Montae Nicholson and Samaje Perine.

If we extend the scope further, Kyle Smith was at least involved to some degree in Brandon Scherff, Jamison Crowder and Matt Ioannidis on the positive side.

Josh Doctson and Su'a Cravens were under the Scot McCloughan and Bruce Allen umbrella but Smith contributed also to those drafts. 

Chris Russell is the Publisher of & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.


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