This time last year, the Washington Redskins were in the middle of all draft speculation. The team was slated to select from the number five slot as quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III to cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Janoris Jenkins had been linked to a spot in the Redskins locker room.
On March 14th, the team made a trade with the St. Louis Rams that shook the foundation of the franchise and sent shock waves across the league, trading away three first-round draft picks along with a second-round selection to move up to the number two slot to eventually select Griffin III.
It’s safe to say one year later that the trade will go down as one of the best moves in team history as Griffin III stabilized a position that has been a revolving door since the team’s Super Bowl XXVI victory in 1992. The risky transaction paid dividends for the team the moment Griffin III put on his number 1o jersey. His presence changed the attitude of the entire organization as they rode the momentum of the move all the way to an NFC East title.
One of the first-round selections that the Redskins gave up was this years pick, leaving the team without a selection until the second-round. While some might think that the draft does not carry as much importance without an opening round selection, this year’s draft may have even more significance as the Redskins look to add pieces to the puzzle in hopes of getting over the hump and into Super Bowl XLVIII.
One position that the team will explore over the next few weeks is the offensive line as they will look to add protection for Griffin III, Alfred Morris, and the league’s reigning rushing attack kings.
Find out about several possible lineman that the Redskins could pursue with the 51st overall selection and what some experts are saying about their draft stocks here:The 2012 NFL Draft brought a plethora of experienced offensive lineman that were all highly ranked in mock drafts.
Seven lineman were selected in the second round last year and all played a key role in their team’s high flying offensive attacks. Every second round selection saw at least 10 game of action in the trenches.
Mitchell Schwartz (Cleveland), Johnathan Martin (Miami), and Kelechi Osemele (Baltimore) all started every game for their respective teams. Osemele protected Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco during his incredible run to Super Bowl XLVII MVP.
Cordy Glenn (Buffalo) and Jeff Allen (Kansas City) paved the way for running backs CJ Spiller and Jamal Charles to have career years pounding the rock.
In last week’s NFL Scouting Combine, 58-of-333 invitees were offensive linemen.
While the Redskins talent evaluators closely evaluated each and every move of all 58 men, chances are guys like Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, and Chance Warmack will not be as monitored as closely as they are projected to go long before Washington is goes on the clock.
Predicting where players will go in the draft is an impossible science to master. While experts can usually hang their hats on predicting the first few picks correctly, after several players are taken off the board well before their prediction slot, mock drafts become obsolete.
Still though, there are many lineman who have been linked to a second round selection.
Alabama has created a dynasty of epic proportions over the last few seasons as they have claimed the BCS Championship in 2009, 2011, and 2012. The Crimson Tide has seen players such as Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Julio Jones, and Dre Kirkpatrick continue to find success in the professional ranks after their college careers ended.
Lineman Barrett Jones and DJ Fluker, however, have been in Tuscaloosa throughout the entire run to glory.
Jones is the epitome of versatility. He has seen action at right guard, left tackle, and center and won a national championship starting at each position. His experience along with fantastic zone-blocking skills could be a perfect fit in Coach Mike Shanahan’s scheme. NFL.com ranks him at an 85.3.
Fluker is a physical specimen that has an unmatched level of physicality. His 87-inch wingspan is simply unheard of and prevents defenders from getting an outside edge on him. NFL.com states that Fluker also “Flashes footwork to reach linebackers at the second level, who can’t separate from him once he locks on” and gives him a 85.5 grade.
Sticking with the SEC, Larry Warford of Kentucky and Dallas Thomas of Tennessee are two lineman who could be coming to Washington next year to help the Redskins defend their NFC East crown.
Warford has turned heads recently after stringing together several games showcasing his ability en route to an Associated Press Third Team All American selection this year. Despite checking in at 6’3″ and 333 pounds, his speed and agility may be his biggest assets.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper has stated that he believes that Warford is one of the most underrated prospects in this year’s draft. He comes into the draft with a 85.3 rating.
Thomas flashed his ability against some of the best players in the country during the year, catching the eye of several scouts. He has the versatility to play on either side of the line and shows a level of flexibility that is uncommon for men his size.
His profile on CBS Sports states “Thomas plays with excellent knee bend, giving him the base to handle powerful bull rushers, as well as the spring to easily move left and right to remain square to quicker pass rushers. Thomas has an explosive punch that he uses often to knock defenders back in the running game. He steps up quickly to seal off the reeling defender and erase him from the play.” With an 82.7 grade and as a projected second round pick, he could be on the Redskins radar.
Oday Aboushi’s draft stock has skyrocketed since his impressive display of power during the Senior Bowl. The 6’6″ tackle out of the University of Virginia could be the next Caviler to be drafted as the school has produced a long list of players who have a reputation of longevity and production. His 78.1 ranking places him 11th overall among line prospects.
Keep close attention to these guys at their respective pro days, as one of them could be selected as the next piece of the puzzle in the Redskins’ quest for the Lombardi Trophy.
Tags: Alfred Morris, nfl combine, NFL Draft, Robert Griffin III
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