Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama (6-foot, 229-pounds)
Here’s what CSC member Chinwag had to say:
A top-three offense in total yards. Offense built around a top-two passing attack and a mid-tier rushing attack. A bottom-three defense in total yards, shipping over 6000 yards last year. Sound familiar?
The Redskins share a lot of similarity with the current Saints, meaning that their most pressing needs going into the 2017 draft are on the defensive side of the ball. That being said, I did consider three offensive positions with the number 17 pick.
21st in rushing yards, and with Tulane product Rob Kelley most likely atop the depth chart going into the new season, the Redskins’ running back room could use an upgrade. Fournette and McCaffrey are gone, but Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook are still on the board. Both come with off-field concerns, but Washington has shown in the past that they can easily overlook some pretty deep flaws (see Galette, Junior). But a deep RB class and more pressing needs on defense led me away from this direction.
The receiving corps took a big hit when the Redskins became the first team to lose two 1,000-yard receivers from the previous season in the same offseason in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. Former first-round pick Josh Doctson has a chance to bounce back after injury wiped out most of his 2016 season, and Jamison Crowder has quietly developed into a reliable slot option. Adding big-bodied pass catcher Terrelle Pryor into the mix, along with TE Jordan Reed, and the ‘Skins passing attack looks in decent shape still. But Pryor is only signed for one year, leaving a potential long-term hole at number one receiver. Based on that, similarly-sized Mike Williams became a big consideration at this slot, but my defensive fears won out again in the end. John Ross was also a brief consideration as a direct Jackson replacement, but I think a burner could be found solely to take the top off a defense in the lower rounds.
Kirk Cousins is also only signed for the year, as he plays out his second franchise-tagged season in a row. If trade rumors come to fruition, QB may come into play with this pick, but with Cousins on the roster at this point it’s not a real consideration.
Two of the biggest concerns on the defensive side are in the secondary, as evidenced by 4,130 passing yards being conceded last season. 2nd corner Bashaud Breeland was picked on mercilessly as teams avoided Josh Norman, and a mediocre safety group will not be massively upgraded by D.J. Swearinger next season. But the deep corner class means they can address the former need later on, and with Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker long gone, it’s hard to justify Jabrill Peppers, Budda Baker, or Obi Melifonwu at this point of the draft.
Defensive tackle is a need, but the top-end of the class is not as high as last year; Malik McDowell is likely the only realistic option this high talent-wise, but rumors about his attitude and work ethic persist. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah said of him: “Just no effort. To me, he’s a tough one. All the ability in the world – he’s got as much upside as any defensive linemen in the draft because you see him dominate at times. He just isn’t consistent.” While he could end up being a steal for a team later in the draft, the risk is too high for me at this point.
With 24.5 sacks from Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy and Preston Smith in 2016, and with a man who produced 22 sacks over two seasons not long ago in Galette, the Redskins’ pass-rushing corps looks to be in decent shape. But Galette is in trouble with with the law again, and after two season-ending Achilles tears, he may never play another down in the NFL. And Murphy and Smith have both been suspended for the opening four games of 2017 for PED violations, leaving pass rusher as at least a short-term pressing need.
Taco Charlton is still on the board, and was certainly in play for the Saints’ pick at 11th. Great size, length, and athletic traits haven’t always been backed up by his tape, but the potential is there. Charles Harris has also been rising on many draft boards, after a season with Missouri where he put up decent numbers without a particularly strong supporting cast. The temptation to take one of these two is there, but with Murphy and Smith only out for four games (possibly less) Washington may baulk at using such a high pick on this position.
My last major need for the Redskins is inside linebacker. The team shipped the ninth-most rushing yards in 2016, and while Mason Foster and Will Compton are serviceable they are athletically limited, particularly in coverage. Former Bill Zach Brown was brought in late in free agency, however the group as a whole is underwhelming. I was amazed to find so many linebackers on the roster, but depth players such as former Saints Rufus Johnson and Khairi Fortt aren’t going to cut it.
I looked heavily at Haason Reddick at this point; the darling of the Senior Bowl has been projected anywhere between 10-32 in mock drafts I’ve seen, but has been a consistent pick for Washington at 17. ESPN’s Todd McShay called Reddick “a true three-down linebacker with the ability to cover in space and get after the QB on passing downs”, and said “his performance at the Senior Bowl and testing numbers at the combine catapulted him into the first round”. Jeremiah said Reddick “can play off the line of scrimmage on run downs and rush off the edge on passing downs. He is an elite athlete who has really helped himself during the postseason". With some pass-rush ability in addition to a nose for chasing down runners he would seem to be a perfect fit.
I was confident that Reddick would be my pick, but I thought I’d better cast my eye over the board again before handing my pick in. It was only then that I noticed a glaring omission from the first 16 picks - Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. A well-publicized incident at the Combine and lingering concerns about a should injury have dented his stock slightly, but at this point the value is too good to ignore.
According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, the unanimous first-team All-American and Butkus Award winner is a “vicious hitter with elite playmaking range”; ESPN’s Mel Kiper called him an “every down linebacker, built for today’s NFL”, while McShay said he thinks Foster is the “best pure football player in this draft”. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus suggested Foster has the lateral speed and agility to run with tight ends, chase down runners, and take on and beat blockers, and called him a “complete player” with “rare ability in all phases”.
Barring a system change next season, the 6-foot, 229-pound linebacker could be paired with Brown in the middle of the 3-4 alignment the team currently runs. Dan Kadar of SB Nation mocked Foster to the Redskins, and wrote: “If Foster drops, Washington should pounce to get a player who can quickly become the leader of the defense". CBS Sports’ Rob Rang made the same pick, stating: "The Redskins surrendered an average of nearly 120 yards per game on the ground in 2016 and only three teams allowed more than their 19 rushing touchdowns. Foster was kicked out of the combine after a run-in with medical personnel but his talent is undeniable. Possessing remarkable closing speed and the physicality to intimidate, he could prove a steal at this point in the draft".
I tend to agree, so with the number 17 pick of the 2017 draft, the Washington Redskins select Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.
Do you agree with the Redskins taking Reuben Foster?
This poll is closed
Thanks to all the CSC members who are participating in this year's community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible!
Community Mock Draft Results
- Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, TAMU
- San Francisco 49ers - Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
- Chicago Bears - Jamal Adams, S, LSU
- Jacksonville Jaguars - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
- Tennessee Titans - Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
- New York Jets - Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
- Los Angeles Chargers - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
- Carolina Panthers - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
- Cincinnati Bengals - Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills - Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
- New Orleans Saints - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
- Cleveland Browns - Mitch Trubisky, QB, UNC
- Arizona Cardinals - Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota) - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
- Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin
- Baltimore Ravens - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
- Washington Redskins - Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The Tennessee Titans are back on the clock!