Posted: 11:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2013
By David Fucillo
We're on to the eighteenth pick of the second round, No. 50 overall in the 2013 Niners Nation NFL mock draft. If you missed parts of the first round, check out our entire rundown.
Explanation: The Redskins turned things around in the 2012 draft class when they made moves to get Robert Griffin III. They traded away three first round picks to the Rams, which are the 2012-14 picks. The Redskins were able to make huge improvements from 5-11 to 10-6 and winning the NFC East. With only one pick in the first 60 selections and only two in the first hundred it is imperative the Redskins fill a need at 51. The biggest need for them going in to the draft is with a doubt in the secondary.
The Redskins got burned last year through the air and were one of the worst pass defense teams in the NFL. They allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for 4500 yards and 31 touchdowns. They let 11 different receivers to go over 100 yards this year and allowed rookie Nick Foles to throw for 345 yards. Washington's secondary is filled with question marks at every position from starters down. It is only going to get worse for them unless they shape up that secondary quickly. They have a very tough schedule in 2013 which includes the 49ers, Lions, Bears, Packers and the regular trio of NFC East teams.
Starting with CB's, the Redskins recently brought back De'Angelo Hall after he tested free agency for about three weeks, but Washington maybe would have been better off letting him walk. He missed tackles, gave up a lot of completions and is responsible for over 1000 yards. Josh Wilson actually played pretty well but gave up six touchdowns this year, including the game winning score with 1:15 to play against Eli Manning and the Giants. Not a number one corner but a decent number two. Cedric Griffin is a free agent, and will most likely not be back as he did not make much of an impact last year. EJ Biggers is nothing to get too excited about as he played for the Bucs, another team who had a horrible pass defense last year. Pro Football Focus says that he gave up a reception every 10 times he was in coverage. They have a bunch of young corners who rarely saw the field. Unproven, untested and you would not to go in week one with them as potential starters.
The safety situation for Washington could even be worse than the cornerback situation. Tanard Jackson did not play all of last year after being suspended indefinitely. To my knowledge (the power of Google) I do not think he has been reinstated yet, but he remains on the Redskins roster. Brandon Meriweather has been injured in both of the last two years. Last year being a very significant ACL injury suffered in November. He took a pay cut to stay with the team, most likely meaning they are not sold on Meriweather's recovery. Dejon Gomes is a young kid who hasn't quite found his stride yet going into his second year. He got benched in favour of Reed Doughty, as he was unable to prove himself in three starts. Was used sparingly throughout the rest of the year, and made very little impact. Doughty started the most games last year out of any of the returning safeties. A solid player but nothing special and was not the Redskins first choice coming into last season. Madieu Williams started every game for the Redskins and played okay. He is old and a free agent and most likely will not be back with the team next year.
I do not like to get caught in a run on a position in the draft and agree with the BPA theory. However, in the case of the Redskins I think they have to get one of the few remaining starting DB's in the draft. Phillip Thomas at 6'1 208 is probably the best of that bunch and maybe even better than some of the players drafted in front of him. When drafting a safety you look for one with size, speed, tackling ability, ball skills and natural instincts. Thomas has all of those qualities making him a pretty serious threat in all aspects of the game. He suffered a serious injury his junior year and missed the entire season. He came back his senior season and dominated in his final year registering eight INT's. His game against Oregon this year definitely did not help his draft stock; however he has plenty of film to show his abilities. Playing in a total of 35 games at Fresno state his play only got better with each game he played. He ended his career with 178 tackles, 4 sacks, 13 INT's, 4 INT returns, 28 PD's and 6 FF. Clearly the kid has talent and the Redskins have been searching for a safety since the passing of the late, great Sean Taylor. While no one can live up to the play of Sean T; Thomas could be a starter at the position for years to come. Phillip Thomas, recently visited with the Redskins and apparently was a Redskins fan his whole life. Sounds like a match made in Hogs Haven.
Trevor Woods: BringDaRuckus did his research and gave us a mountain of facts. The fact is, the Redskins secondary was horrible last season, and their safeties were dreadful. There is no way to go but up for this group, and Thomas would have them trending in that direction. Ruckus did point out Thomas' game against Oregon, and it is very troubling. Yes, it is just one game, but it's the best competition he has ever faced in college, and failed the test (missed tackles, bad angles, bad coverage, overpursuit, juked in open field). A lot of scouts probably forgot about that game after he put together an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. Thomas has put up some fine numbers in his college career, the numbers reflect the fact he's a hard hitter who also has coverage skills. This is a pick I could see happening when the real pick No. 51 rolls around.
Nick Chiamardas: I was really high on Thomas coming into this years draft and thought he could be one of the best in the class. After watching more film on him my opinion changed slightly. I still think he can be one heck of a ball-hawking safety but he's not the best tackler or the most physical safety in the draft. He seemed to shy away from contact and didn't look great fighting through traffic to help in run support. However, when it comes to pure ball skills, there may not be a better safety in the draft. It's a slight reach but it's the Skins' first pick and they need to fill a need so it makes perfect sense. Other options could be MLB with Kevin Minter still available or OL with combine stud tackle Terron Armstead also still available.
Niners Nation Mock Draft, Round 1