Washington Redskins: Addressing the defensive line in NFL draft
We know that in the NFL games are won in the trenches. Simply put, the Washington Redskins have a lack of shovels and pitch forks. It’s a good thing that the NFL draft is less than two weeks away, because the club has a chance to get some re-building done.
It is no secret that the Redskins seek help on the defensive line. They add free agents Terrell McClain (Dallas Cowboys) and Stacy McGee (Oakland Raiders). But they don’t necessarily offset the loss of Chris Baker (check out Chris Cooley‘s film breakdown here on ESPN 980). On top of that, Ricky Jean-Francois is cut and signs with the Green Bay Packers.
At this point, Washington has depth pieces on the line, but no established star. If the ‘Skins hit the field at this point, their depth chart would look like this (via Ourlads):
RDE: Terrell McClain, Matt Ioannidis, C.J. Francis
Washington, we have a problem. There are two ways to attack this situation. One is through free agency, and the other is the NFL draft. There will be some opportunities for the Redskins at the 17th spot in the first round. Either Takkarist McKinley or Malik McDowell will make excellent options. In the second, you could consider at Chris Wormley or Tanoh Kpassagnon (Tawn-oh pass-N-yo).
McKinley (6’2″, 250) out of UCLA, brings an unstoppable motor. He has high speed and a large tackle radius. He won’t be stopped and always finds a way to make the play. McKinley anticipates well and will chase down ball carriers anywhere on the field. His active hands keep the offensive line from locking him down. He incorporates the swim and rip moves frequently.
McKinley will struggle when it comes to bringing in the heavy artillery such as the bull rush. His frame is just too thin. McKinley gets shut down by tight ends and fullbacks who will square up on him. He will be much better against the pass than the run.
McDowell (6’6″, 295) out of Michigan State, is a huge man-beast, but don’t let his size fool you. Yes, he is primarily a defensive tackle but did play edge at Michigan State as well last season. He has great bend and flexibility that allow him to slip through the gaps of the offensive line. He has a great base to push and wreck havoc by collapsing the pocket.
McDowell chases and gets to ball carriers before they hit the corner. He has explosive lateral quickness. Even though he has a strong base, he needs work on his technique and footwork. McDowell is often off-balance and will need to control the point of attack better. McDowell will either be an All-Pro or a bust considering how he develops and the coaching he receives.
With Wormley (6’5″, 298), they will get a versatile athlete from Michigan. He can play anywhere from the 1-3 technique and his power and speed will allow him to take on multiple blockers. Wormley can set the edge against the run and rarely allows linemen use their hands to control him. He may not rack up the sacks, but he is athletic enough to contain the front and allow the linebackers to do their job.
Kpassagnon (6’7″, 289) is a giant out of Villanova. He is a raw athlete but has the ceiling of a skyscraper. Kpassagnon has the frame to fill out and as he progresses he will do so. As you can imagine, he has an excellent reach and is a rugged run defender. Kpassagnon is savvy and hard to move off the blocks. Even at his height, he can get to the point of attack quickly. Kpassagnon has active hands and the strength to shed blocks. Even though he is tight and not very agile, he has a good bull rush technique.
Mike Valverde has been a fan of football for the last 40 years and been playing fantasy football for the last 25. He looks forward to giving you the best look at the Washington Redskins as I possibly can. You can follow Mike on Twitter at me @RFLRedZone.