First choice: Dante Fowler Jr.
McCloughan likes big pass rushers and Fowler is a 261-pounder who can put on even more weight. And there’s a big upside to the Florida outside linebacker, who has amazing quickness for his size. But can Fowler make an immediate impact after having played several roles in college? Three years from now, Fowler might be a better player than Vic Beasley, but the Redskins need production now and that’s the biggest concern when considering Fowler. But McCloughan is new in town and has some time to develop players, so he’ll go with Fowler, given his potential to be a 10-plus sack pass rusher.
Second choice: Vic Beasley
The Redskins have a handful of pass rushers to consider — even with USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams likely gone by the No. 5 pick. (Williams will be the choice if he’s available.) Among pass rushers, Beasley is comparable to Fowler and a better pick than Shane Ray or Randy Gregory. The stats are solid: He is Clemson’s all-time sack leader with 33 and had 52½ tackles for loss. Scouting reports on his quick first step and penetration show there’s a lot of upside. He needs to bulk up from 246 pounds, but overall Beasley is the most ready-made of the fistful of pass-rushing prospects.
Third choice: Kevin White
The Redskins don’t need to draft a receiver, but it would be really difficult to pass up on a tall pass-catcher with the potential for greatness. West Virginia’s White is 6-foot-3 — which would give Washington a big red-zone target and the type of receiver that McCloughan prefers. If Oakland passes on White — and Beasley and Fowler are gone — he’d be the best player available for the Redskins. White caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards last season, with 16 of those grabs coming against Texas. He’s a great inside route-runner who’s strong enough to gain extra yards after the catch.
The wild card: Marcus Mariota
If Mariota falls to No. 5, the Redskins will have a gut-wrenching decision to make on whether to select him or trade the pick, but there’s no way the Oregon passer falls to No. 6 — where the Jets would take him without having to give up anything. Most likely, Mariota will be gone before Washington’s turn — either Tennessee will pick him at No. 2 or another team will trade up to take him. To address its many needs, Washington would certainly like two first-rounders for the No. 5 pick, but keeping Mariota to replace Robert Griffin III is certainly in play as well. The Redskins would rather avoid that drama for once, though.
The logical move: Trade the pick
Trading the rights to draft Mariota with the No. 5 pick to Cleveland for the Browns’ 12th and 19th overall selections sounds good in theory, but who says Cleveland is giving up on 2014 first-rounder Johnny Manziel? Manziel might be mentally prepared after a recent rehab stint. No other team has two first-round picks this year, so either the Redskins would have to trade for a first and second in this draft or wait for the additional first next year. There aren’t many trade partners, and swapping picks with the Jets at No. 6 wouldn’t bring enough back to make it worth giving up a franchise passer.
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