Redskins fans might want to pay attention to this year’s combine. It will be new coach Ron Rivera’s first with the team, and he will have to navigate the challenge of being his team’s top decision-maker, something he wasn’t in his 8½ years as the Carolina Panthers’ coach. Also, fans will get a chance to see Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young’s workouts. Most draft analysts consider Young the draft’s top player and project Washington will take him with the second pick, after the Cincinnati Bengals select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
Here’s what Redskins fans will want to look for each day from the combine:
The wide receiver workouts
The first players to work out will be the quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers; they will go through drills from 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday. These workouts will be some of the most important for the Redskins, who desperately need at least one starting tight end and are looking for wide receivers who can get separation the way Terry McLaurin did for them as a rookie.
With the Redskins probably committed to Young with the second pick and not choosing again until the start of the third round, they probably will be looking at players in the middle rounds, especially because they are likely to be awarded a second fourth-round pick as compensation for wide receiver Jamison Crowder signing with the New York Jets as a free agent last year.
Some intriguing tight ends to watch are Stanford’s 6-foot-7 Colby Parkinson, Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam, Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant and Dayton’s Adam Trautman, who looked strong in Senior Bowl practices.
This a draft filled with quality wide receivers, and several talented prospects might be available in the middle rounds, including Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool, Southern California’s Michael Pittman Jr. and Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden. Watch Tulane wide receiver Darnell Mooney and Devin Duvernay of Texas in the 40-yard dash. Both are among the fastest pass catchers in Indianapolis.
The buzz around Tagovailoa
While Dwayne Haskins is expected to be the Redskins’ starting quarterback this season, it’s worth watching what happens with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, who is still recovering from a hip injury.
He isn’t expected to participate in workouts, but he will be measured and examined by doctors. If teams are comfortable with his progress, they might be interested in trading up to Washington’s second spot to guarantee they can pick him. Tagovailoa is expected to be a major story line this week.
Friday’s offensive line and running back workouts
Even if left tackle Trent Williams returns and the Redskins find a way to keep guard Brandon Scherff, they are going to be adding offensive linemen this offseason. This is a draft heavy in talented tackles.
Unless Washington trades the second pick, it won’t be picking one of the top tackles in the draft, such as Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. or Georgia’s Andrew Thomas. But the Redskins might be interested in using a mid-round selection on Matt Peart of Connecticut, Texas Tech’s Terence Steele or guard Ben Bartch from St. John’s, who also stood out at the Senior Bowl.
Running back remains an unsettled position, with injury questions about Derrius Guice and Bryce Love. UCLA’s Joshua Kelley looked good at the Senior Bowl, and two other prospects to watch are Arizona’s J.J. Taylor and TCU’s versatile Darius Anderson.
The big story Saturday would have been Young’s performance during drills, but it appears likely at this point that he will sit them out. But how he performs during his interview sessions with teams and in his news conference during the week will still be a matter of discussion, as will whether the Redskins should draft him second overall or consider trading out of that spot.
If Young indeed does sit out during Saturday’s defensive lineman and linebacker drills, Washington’s fans may want to pay attention to Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who is considered the top outside linebacker in the draft and is a potential target for the Redskins if they trade out of the No. 2 spot. With uncertainty about the health of Reuben Foster, the Redskins might also look at mid-to-later-round off-ball linebackers. Utah’s Francis Bernard is an interesting one to watch, as is South Dakota State’s Christian Rozeboom.
Sunday’s defensive back workouts
After releasing Josh Norman and with uncertainty about how much Quinton Dunbar wants to play for the Redskins this year, Washington will be looking for cornerbacks. Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah might be the third player selected, and he is a real possibility if the Redskins trade the second pick. Tulsa’s Reggie Robinson II and Nebraska’s Lamar Jackson are tall cornerbacks who might be interesting to watch in the later rounds.
Although Rivera was only at one Senior Bowl practice, he did approach Maryland’s Antoine Brooks Jr. and California’s Ashtyn Davis. That might mean nothing — Rivera went to Cal, after all — but it’s worth keeping an eye on how they do at the combine.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect the news that Chase Young may not work out during his position drills at the combine.