When the Washington Redskins re-signed DeAngelo Hall earlier this week, many fans and even some media, took that as a sign that cornerback was no longer a draft priority for the Redskins, and that the Redskins 2nd and 3rd round picks would be used at other positions. Though it is very possible that the Redskins top two picks do go in a different direction, it shouldn’t be due to lack of need now that Hall has re-signed.
A top three cornerback trio of DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers is only marginally better than last year’s top three of Hall, Wilson and Cedric Griffin, and that unit people would have loved to have seen bolstered by an early round pick last year. In fact that unit struggled so poorly, that fans started looking to 7th round rookie Richard Crawford as the future. Though Crawford did well for a 7th round rookie, his overall play was poor and he was passed over by a street free agent last year. Crawford’s biggest contributions were on Special Teams where he took over as the punt returned late in the year. He may be a nice player to have around and one that you hope develops, but his presence on the team has no bearing on whether or not the Redskins need to draft a corner early.
The other factor troubling the Redskins cornerback situation is their contract status. Hall, Wilson and Biggers are all unrestricted free agents after next season and none of them would be considered a lock to re-sign. The Redskins need to have a starting caliber corner who is under control for longer than next year and the cheapest and best way to do that would be to draft a guy early.
The other major issue is simply value. Safety may be the Redskins biggest need, but will there be anyone worth taking at the 51st spot? It’s a very deep position overall, but the only guys with really consistent 2nd round (or higher) grades are Kenny Vaccaro, Jonathan Cyprien, Matt Elam and Eric Reid. All four of those guys are likely to be off the board by the time the Redskins pick. Corner on the other hand has more top two round depth, as you legitimately have eight guys with at least 2nd round value. While the order that they will be drafted is up for debate, It’s very likely the Redskins will be able to choose one of the following corners: Jonathan Banks, Jamar Taylor, Jordan Poyer, Darius Slay, and Logan Ryan (Dee Milliner, Desmond Trufant and Xavier Rhodes are the other corners, but they are very likely to be off the board). In fact the Redskins will likely have more than one of those guys on the board, so they can pick the best fit , instead of just taking the last man standing. That to me is better than reaching for a 3rd round value in the 2nd round (if they trade back that could be a different story).
Now the Redskins may luck out and see a safety fall to them, but the reality is that cornerback remains a very viable option to them, even with the DeAngelo Hall signing. The best news is the Redskins should still have a number of viable safety options on the board when they select in Round 3, meaning that the Redskins can potentially lock up two troubling positions long term.