NFL Draft: Washington Thoughts On The Senior Bowl

The Senior Bowl is the unofficial start to the 'path to the draft' and for the Washington Football Team -- this draft might be among the most important ever.

ASHBURN, Va. -- An NFL scouting coordinator once told me that Senior Bowl week was a time to shine. 

If you could perform well and above expectations, that's a really good sign because you're getting NFL coaching for the first time, working with different players than you are used to and also a bit rusty from not playing games. 

If you struggle - everything is kept in perspective and the full body of work and tape is much more important. 

With that said, this past week opened eyes and you'll hear criticism of certain players moving forward. We're all guilty of it's natural. 

The WFT come into the draft needing (for now): A stud quarterback, a better traditional running back, a receiver (slot?), a left tackle, guard depth and possibly a starter, a middle linebacker, an outside linebacker, corner help, a ranging free safety and a better kicker. 

Quarterback: There are no studs at the Senior Bowl: Mac Jones from Alabama can become a solid NFL starter, but he's far from a certainty. There's something about Kellen Mond that makes me think he'll be a good starter (Note: Mond was 13-25 for 173 yards and two touchdown passes in Saturday's game). Kyle Trask was hurt and didn't participate. 

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Offensive Tackle: Alex Leatherwood from Alabama figures to be at the top of most teams tackle board among the participants in Mobile. There's no chance Washington is landing the top tackle in the class, Penei Sewell from Oregon. 

D'Ante Smith from East Carolina offers some potential upside and Daniel Jeremiah has been high on him as we profiled earlier this week. He had a great week according to many and has long arms and good athleticism. 

He was banged up at ECU and only played one game. He could be this years Geron Christian, which has to frighten any Washington Football fan. 

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Robert Hainsey from Notre Dame was impressive to many eyes for his versatility and instincts. 

Running Back: Najee Harris from Alabama is where this group starts. He isn't playing in the game because of getting banged up with an ankle injury but there's been plenty of praise for showing up and participating. Is he the next Derrick Henry? 

Receiver: Earlier in the week, it was Shi Smith (three catches for 57 yards Saturday) from South Carolina.  Jeremiah of NFL Network likes Cade Johnson from South Dakota State. He says if your team 'needs a good slot receiver' that Johnson could be an intriguing pick. Hey -- I know of a team that needs a much better option. 

D'Wayne Eskridge is another player analysts are high on. 

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Safety: Richie Grant from UCF was all over the place in the eyes of draft analysts and scouts. Dane Brugler of The Athletic raved about him because of his ranger and play speed. Jeremiah loved him as well saying he can play the deep middle and cover in man situations. 

Cornerback: One player that Brugler liked was Ben St-Juste (two pass break-ups Saturdayfrom Minnesota. He's  6-3 and is quick with a huge wingspan and frame to knock balls away. 

Linebacker: Chazz Surratt - a former quarterback turned linebacker at UNC was a player everyone was keeping an eye on. 

Paddy Fisher from Northwestern was coached by one of the best in Pat Fitzgerald. You know he's going to be a linebackers' linebacker.