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Washington Redskins NFL Draft preview: Chase Young ... then what?

The Redskins will be the first NFC East team on the clock on Thursday night

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The speculation surrounding the draft will soon be put to rest as the clock inches closer to Thursday, April 23 -- the first night of the 2020 NFL Draft.

At Big Blue View, we have analyzed what the New York Giants might do in the draft from countless different angles. Now, let’s take a step back and consider the rest of the NFC East. The Washington Redskins are the first team in the conference on the clock. Let’s start there.

After finishing 3-13 for a last-place conference finish in the 2019 season, the Redskins are entering a rebuilding year - and their conservative actions during free agency suggest that the organization does not believe this rebuild will happen overnight. New head coach Ron Rivera has preached a player-centered culture with a focus on discipline and hard work since stepping foot in Loudoun County. Scott Turner is the team’s new offensive coordinator and Jack Del Rio will lead the defense. Long-time president Bruce Allen was fired after the season. These changes suggest that Washington is serious about turning its organization around. And for Rivera and new vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith, the road to the Redskins’ first winning season since 2016 must start with Chase Young.

Team needs

As I mentioned, the Redskins had a quiet free agency. They pursued Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper hard and reports connected them to tight end Austin Hooper, but neither panned out in the end. Washington’s few notable offseason acquisitions include quarterback Kyle Allen from the Carolina Panthers, cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby, linebacker Thomas Davis and running back J.D. McKissic.

The team has many holes to fill on its roster. The Redskins have added some cornerbacks but should try to add more depth to that position in the draft. Washington also needs tight ends in the wake of Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis’ departure and offensive linemen as Ereck Flowers left for Miami and Trent Williams (maybe, somehow?) will be gone by next season. The Redskins have Morgan Moses and Geron Christian to provide protection up-front but they need to add more intensity to that position group.

First-round targets

The Redskins have been surrounded by rumors all off-season regarding what they should do with the No. 2 overall pick. For a moment, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa seemed like a far-fetched option. Then, a trade with Miami has become a possibility because the Dolphins have the incentive to trade up for a quarterback and the picks to deal. With three picks in the first round alone, Miami has the potential to offer Washington perhaps two first-round players. It’s important to keep in mind that the Redskins do not have a second-round pick after trading trading their second-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts last season to draft linebacker Montez Sweat. So as the draft stands right now, Washington will pick at No. 2 and not pick again until the third round with the No. 66 pick.

Though it is fun to come up with rogue ideas for what the Redskins can do at No. 2, I think they should ultimately stick with the star defensive end out of Ohio State, Chase Young. Many think Young is the best player in the draft and he will have an immediate impact on the Redskins defense. The words “no-brainer” have been used often to describe Young, so I don’t think Washington should try to reinvent the wheel at No. 2.

Later-round targets

After the first round, the Redskins have one third-round pick, two fourth-round picks, one fifth-round pick and two seventh-round picks. Because Washington finished last in the league last season with 16.6 points per game, they will be looking to add offensive weapons in the draft. I mentioned the need for a tight end earlier but the Redskins should also come out of this draft with at least one or two wide receivers, depending on availability. Dwayne Haskins Jr.’s primary target last season was the standout rookie Terry McLaurin Jr., but he needs more playmakers.

That being said, I think the Redskins should look to draft a tight end with the No. 66 pick to fill that need because the tight end position in this year’s draft class is notably thin. The top-tier tight ends include Dayton’s Adam Trautman, Washington’s Hunter Bryant, and Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet. Because I think Bryant will go in the second round, the Redskins should scoop up Trautman or Kmet with their No. 66 pick in third-round.

The Redskins should shift focus to offensive lineman and wide receiver with their fourth-round picks. Because this 2020 wide receiver draft class is historically talented, there will be solid players still available in the later rounds. The Redskins can therefore try to take care of their other needs before trying to acquire an offensive weapon.

Best-case scenario

When the Redskins added quarterback Kyle Allen to their roster, they signaled to the NFL world that the quarterback job is Haskins’ to lose. The Redskins are sticking with the former Buckeye and the best-case scenario for the draft is that they build an offense around Haskins that can win. During his press conferences with the media this offseason, Rivera has rejected the “best-player available” approach and preached drafting players who fit Washington’s system. If the Redskins are assertive, but not aggressive, they will give themselves their best chance for success heading into the 2020 season.

Washington’s draft picks

Round 1 (No. 2)
Round 3 (No 66)
Round 4 (No. 108)
Round 4 (No. 142)
Round 5 (No. 163)
Round 7 (No. 217)
Round 7 (No. 230)