- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Relegated to the role of spectator for the last two years, the Washington Redskins will have a first-round selection in the NFL draft, which begins Thursday night.

The Redskins handed over their first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 as part of the trade that led to the selection of Robert Griffin III in 2012. Now, by virtue of their 4-12 record last season, they’ll enter Thursday night’s proceedings holding the No. 5 pick in the draft.

As always, the biggest question regarding that pick is what the Redskins will do with it — but the answer isn’t that clear-cut. There’s a legitimate chance new general manager Scot McCloughan may attempt to trade the pick, which would allow the team to pick up additional selections while also adding a player they covet later in the first round.

Here, then, are four scenarios for the Redskins, spotlighting players who may be available to them depending on when they make their first selection.

If they keep it:
Dante Fowler, outside linebacker, Florida

The way the 6-foot-3, 261-pound Fowler was used during his three seasons with the Gators makes him the top pass-rushing prospect available in the draft. A first-team all-SEC defensive end who had 15 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks during his junior year, Fowler lined up all over the field, rushing from both a two- and three-point stance. He’s explosive, strong, long and knowledgeable — all of which are traits that would allow him to move from that collegiate defensive end position to outside linebacker in the Redskins‘ 3-4 defensive scheme. He’s raw, because he’s been asked to do so many things, but scouting reports consider him to be a potential Pro Bowler.

If they move down a few spots:
Vic Beasley, outside linebacker, Clemson

Should the Redskins find Fowler is off the board with the top four picks, or decide that they’re comfortable enough with the talent expected to be available around No. 10 or so, they could look to address that pass-rush inefficiency by adding Beasley, the Tigers’ 6-foot-3, 246-pound defensive end. Beasley, a senior in 2014, was a first-team All-American and the ACC defensive player of the year after finishing with 21.5 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks, which made him the school record-holder in that category. Most comfortable with his hand in the dirt, Beasley is considered a fluid rusher whose biggest adjustment will be adding weight to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

If they move to the middle of the first round:
Landon Collins, strong safety, Alabama

There’s a chance that if the Redskins move down to the middle of the first round, they might be able to snag an impact player in Collins, who is considered far and away the best safety available in the draft. The 6-foot, 228-pound all-SEC first-teamer, a junior last season, actually played both safety positions in the Crimson Tide defense, but his instinct and aggression likely will make him a better fit at strong safety. He had a team-high 103 tackles in 2014 to go with three interceptions and is big and physical enough to challenge any pass-catcher. The Redskins signed Jeron Johnson, a backup over four seasons in Seattle, to be their starting strong safety, but Collins would push him immediately.

If they move to the end of the first round:
Cedric Ogbuehi, offensive tackle, Texas A&M
It’s unlikely the Redskins would trade out of the No. 5 slot to end up past No. 20 without picking up an additional first-round pick — Cleveland holds the No. 12 and No. 19 picks, for example — but if they’re selecting here, they could find a number of offensive linemen in play. One of them, Ogbuehi, was a projected first-round draft pick as a junior and garnered top-10 consideration midway through his senior season before he tore the ACL in his right knee in the Aggies’ bowl game against West Virginia. The 6-foot-5, 306-pound Ogbuehi is rangy, athletic and light on his feet, which McCloughan said he likes in his offensive tackles, but isn’t the strongest and grittiest player. He’d need time to recover, and adjust, before settling in as a starter.


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