The draft might be a completely manufactured event, but if you love the NFL, man is it fun. Last night’s first round went away from conventional expectation by pick No. 3, and 100% of mock drafts were shot by pick No. 7. If you missed it, Cindy Boren blogged as it went, and there are some pretty good short bites at The Early Lead that recap the night. You guys lalso went nuts with a 1,200-comment Insider thread.
Tonight, of course, the fun begins for Redskins fans. The major curiosity out of Round 1 was what would be left for Washington afterward, particularly at safety. The Saints took Kenny Vaccaro at 16, the 49ers jumped up to No. 18 to grab Eric Reid, and the Ravens used the final pick of the night to take Matt Elam. None of those players were expected to fall to the Redskins, and with three safeties going on Day 1 instead of more, Washington did pretty well.
Jonathan Cyprien, D.J. Swearinger and Phillip Thomas, among others, are still out there. The bad news is safety-needy teams are woven within the 17 that pick before the Redskins, and if Washington is content to sit tight and not give up any assets to pick earlier, it could be a nail-biting ride.
Rich Tandler of CSN did a supply-and-demand at safety post earlier in the week, identifying 11 need teams by the grade their starting safeties earned last season. Four of those teams could be viewed to need two safeties — the Eagles, Jaguars, Rams and Cowboys, and none of them addressed the position in Round 1.
Jacksonville and Philadelphia have two of the first three picks tonight, but each could also be interested in a quarterback, and only EJ Manuel went in Round 1. Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib could each be of interest, but so could a safety. If Cyprien, Swearinger, et. al. get past those two and the Lions, who go fourth in Round 2, Washington might stay put and be able to nab a safety. Dallas picks only a few spots before the Redskins, and wouldn’t be impossible to jump in front of, should the situation get more dire.
Washington picks 21st in Round 2, but Cleveland and New Orleans are removed from the order, so there are only 18 choices to worry about. Of those, the Bills pick twice before the Redskins, and could be hunting for safeties. The Cardinals, Chargers, Jets and Steelers all bear watching as well, as do The Patriots, who go just after Washington but have the ammo to trade up to get a player they want.
Luckily, not all those teams will go with a safety. In our comments late last night, or really early this morning, p1funk took a stab at how Round 2 might go pre-Redskins:
1 Jacksonville – DE Tank Carradine or Margus Hunt
2 San Francisco – DT Jonathan Jenkins
3 Philadelphia – QB Geno Smith
4 Detroit – T Menelik Watson
5 Cincinnati – S Johnathan Cyprien
6 Arizona – QB Matt Barkley
7 NY Jets – TE Zach Ertz
8 Tennessee – DE Marqus Hunt or Tank Carradine
9 Buffalo – WR Justin Hunter
10 Oakland [from Miami] – T Terron Armstead
11 Tampa Bay – CB Jamar Taylor
12 Carolina – WR Robert Woods
13 San Diego – LB Sio Moore
14 Buffalo [from St. Louis] – LB Manti Teo
15 Dallas – S DJ Swearinger
16 Pittsburgh – RB Eddie Lacy
17 NY Giants – LB Kevin Minter
18 Chicago – LB Arthur Brown
Two safeties go in that scenario, yet it leaves quite a bit for Washington to choose from. Also potentially buried in our comments, GFT-74 highlighted the corners and safeties with second- or third-round grades left on the board, per NFL.com:
Taylor, Jamar CB 5’11″ 192 Boise State 85.5
Banks, Johnthan CB 6’2″ 185 Mississippi State 84.4
Alford, Robert CB 5’10″ 188 Southeast Louisiana 81.0
McFadden, Leon CB 5’10″ 193 San Diego State 80.7
Wreh-Wilson, Blidi CB 6’1″ 195 Connecticut 77.2
Amerson, David CB 6’1″ 205 N.C. State 74.4
Cyprien, John FS 6’0″ 217 Florida International 90.6
Swearinger, D.J. SS 5’10″ 208 South Carolina 81.4
Wilcox, J.J. FS 6’0″ 213 Georgia Southern 77.0
Williams, Shawn SS 6’0″ 213 Georgia 74.8
Thomas, Phillip SS 6’0″ 208 Fresno State 74.1
Jefferson, Tony FS 5’11″ 213 Oklahoma 73.2
HokiesSkins was less optimistic, seeing the DBs fly off the board in Round 2:
Here’s how I see those picks going (now I’m off to bed)
13) Chargers-S, RB
That’s as many as four safeties and three corners before the Redskins pick, not including what the Bills do. In that scenario, maybe it’d be wise for Washington to go for another position at 51, or trade back, rather than chase a need with the pool of players so far depleted.
Anyway, in Round 1, a total of seven DBs went, with nine defensive linemen, nine offensive linemen, two linebackers and just five skill players, including one tight end and no running backs. It’s a passing league, and teams are trying to get after the passer, protect the passer or defend the pass. The quarterback crop apparently wasn’t first-round worthy.
Another Round 1 note that might make Redskins fans happy, but isn’t such good news for Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo and friends: The Eagles, Giants and Cowboys all went offensive line with their first round pick.
Who do you think the Redskins end up with tonight? Remember, they pick 85th as well. The draft resumes at 6:30 p.m. and should hum along.
More draft coverage from The Post: