- Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller is expected to be available when the Redskins are on the clock in the first round of the NFL Draft. (Photo: Associated Press)
Preparation for this week’s Under Armour Senior Bowl continue down in Mobile, Ala., and NFL officials -- including a crew from the Redskins’ organization, continue to evaluate talent for April’s draft.
In yesterday’s TBDSkins post highlighted three players that could be under the Redskin microscope this week, and based on reports from Day 2 of practices two of those players are on the right track.
The first player mentioned yesterday was University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker. The senior is probably under more scrutiny than any other player at this week of practice because he had such a high stock as a junior, but decided to remain in school and ended up having a disappointing senior season. He still is probably the most talented quarterback in the draft, but accuracy problems have caused red flags regarding Locker.
Based on multiple reports yesterday, however, Locker made big improvements from Day 1 to Day 2. He was more decisive and more accurate, and showed good command having spent another day in the offense he will is running this week.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock and Paul Burmeister sat down with Locker as well as fellow quarterback's Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) and Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) -- both of whom are expected to be available in mid-rounds. About halfway through the clip, Locker discusses his struggles with accuracy and what he is doing to improve.
Another player I highlighted yesterday was Texas A&M’s Von Miller, who is projected to be on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 10 overall, and could meet a real need for a pass-rusher to complement Brian Orakpo.
According to ESPN’s Todd McShay, Miller was the star of Day 2. Here’s some of McShay’s report on the linebacker/defensive end:
“Miller has been spending most of his time at linebacker; at 6-foot-3, 237 pounds, that is where he'll need to play in the NFL. He was allowed to leave the LBs and join the D-linemen for one-on-one pass rush drills Tuesday, and it was impressive. He was unstoppable against players who are expected to go in the first two days of the draft. On the first play, he did an outside-in double move to beat Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod, and it wasn't even close. The move was so quick and so natural, Sherrod had no chance. The next play, Miller did a quick stutter fake inside, and then showed great torso flexibility by dipping his shoulder and following with a rip move that allowed him to tightly bend the edge and get to the QB (or in this case, a bag that was representing the QB). There were no wasted steps with him as a pass-rusher. … Miller is proving he's receptive to coaching, specifically on improving his technique in drops and overall awareness in zone coverage. It's very clear Miller has the athleticism, speed and raw, natural football instincts to not only become adequate in coverage, but to make it a strength of his game, which already includes man-to-man coverage ability.”
If Miller continues to impress and is sitting there at No. 10, Mike Shanahan & Co. could have a real predicament on their hands. Quarterback definitely is a need, but that 3-4 defense will not take steps forward without the addition of playmakers. And because of the impending lockout, Washington won’t have met needs through free agency because that signing period won‘t begin until after the new CBA is agreed upon, and signing a stud pass-rusher is no sure thing even when free agency is finally commenced.
Do they take a running mate for Orakpo and then try to find the quarterback they need either by trading back into the first round, or use the 42nd pick on one? Or, do they take that franchise quarterback, who is likely to be a project, at No. 10, and hope to address the defensive upgrades later?