Free agency is in its latter stages as the calender turns to April, and the NFL’s collective focus has shifted toward the draft. Redskins coaches, executives and scouts began their draft meetings last week with hopes of maximizing a selection process the club has navigated well since coach Mike Shanahan took over in 2010.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper on Wednesday morning discussed the Redskins’ options for the 51st-overall pick. (Remember, they traded their first-rounder to St. Louis last year in order to move up to draft Robert Griffin III)
“I tried to think free safety/corner,” Kiper said. “I gave them Blidi Wreh-Wilson from Connecticut in the second round, and I actually thought linebacker in third just because you can’t force things with Jonathan Bostic from Florida. But you’re going to have to try to find some safety help at some point.
“It’s a deep safety crop, and I think it’s not as great as some people made it out to be, the way it all has shaken down late as we move into April now. Some of these guys – Tony Jefferson, obviously, hasn’t achieved a high grade I thought he could, possibly, when he came out early from Oklahoma.
“There’s an elite group that are all going to go high. You’re going to have a run on safeties in the second round.”
The following are direct quotes from Kiper about safeties in this year’s class:
- “If Johnathan Cyprien is not a first-round pick out of Florida International, he will be a second.”
- “Matt Elam, if he’s not a 1, he’ll be a 2 out of Florida.”
- “Shamarko Thomas out of Syracuse will be a 2.”
- “D.J. Swearinger from South Carolina probably a 2.”
- “J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern; Shawn Williams from Georgia could be a 3.”
- “Eric Reid, LSU, probably more of a 3.
- “Duke Williams is an interesting guy out of Nevada.
- “I think Don Jones from Arkansas State is an underrated fifth-to-seventh-round pick. Same thing with Ray Polk from Colorado.
- “Rontez Miles from Cal (Pa.) has moved into that fifth-round mix.
- “Zeke Motta would have been a third-round pick had he run better. He didn’t. Now he’s a late-rounder/priority free agent out of Notre Dame.
- “Melvin White is a versatile kid out of Louisiana-Lafayette.”
“So there’s a lot of guys; it depends upon when you want to pull the trigger on a safety, whether you want to do it in the second round – and you’re going to have to if you want one of those guys I mentioned because they’re going to be gobbled up quick. Or do you want to go corner? Is it a better corner or safety when the Redskins are up with that 51st pick overall?”