NFL Draft: Redskins Draft Cornerback, Safeties to Improve Flawed Secondary


The Washington Redskins had to wait until the 51st overall pick in the second round to select their first player of the 2013 draft. They gave away their first round pick in last year’s draft trade for quarterback Robert Griffin III, a move that proved more than worthy as Griffin performed spectacularly last season.

But with the Redskins trading away picks to get RGIII, the most obvious thing to do is to use the rest of the picks left to give weapons to the quarterback you’ve invested so much of you’re future in, right?

Not necessarily.

Redskins head coach and Vice President of Football Operations Mike Shanahan opted to use the draft to repair one of the weakest areas of the team: the defensive secondary.

With the 51st overall pick, the Redskins drafted North Carolina State cornerback David Amerson, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound defensive back with outstanding ball-hawking skills. Amerson had five interceptions for N.C. State last season and led the nation with 13 interceptions in 2011. His 2012 season obviously wasn’t as impressive as 2011, but he said that’s because he was trying too hard to top the former. He told reporters he won’t make that mistake in the pros, and should help a Redskins’ secondary that ranked 30th in the league last season.

Shanahan used the Redskins third round pick Florida tight end Jordan Reed, a weapon more suitable for the passing game as opposed to being a blocking tight end. At 6-foot-2, 236 pounds, Reed looks more like a big receiver than a tight end and could serve as a valuable weapon for RGIII.

But fans were more excited over the ‘Skins’ fourth round pick, Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas. Washington hasn’t had a star safety since Sean Taylor was murdered years ago. Thomas told reporters after being drafted that Taylor was his favorite player to watch growing up and he can’t wait to fill his void. Draft experts considered Thomas as a pure steal because of how far he dropped in the draft. He was projected to go either late in the first round or early in the second round; instead, he fell to the ‘Skins in the fourth round. Thomas recorded eight interceptions last season, the most by any player in 2012. He’s probably has the best ball-hawking skills in the draft and could end up starting at free safety during his rookie year.

Along with Thomas, the ‘Skins drafted another safety, Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo in the 6th round. Rambo was also projected to go higher in the draft, but wound up being grabbed by Washington. Rambo is known for his hard-hitting abilities, but also has adequate coverage skills as he ranked second in the nation behind Amerson with eight interceptions in 2011.

If Amerson, Thomas and Rambo turn out to be the players they’re expected to be, Washington’s secondary will vastly improve and maybe stop giving up so many big plays down field. That may not directly help RGIII produce on offense, but it will help him keep a lead.

Here’s the Redskins’ full order of picks in the 2013 draft:

Round 2: David Amerson (51st overall) – N.C. State, Cornerback
Round 3: Jordan Reed (85th overall) – Florida, Tight end
Round 4: Phillip Tomas (119th overall) – Fresno State, Safety
Round 5: Chris Thompson (154th overall) – Florida State, Running back
Round 5: Brandon Jenkins (162nd overall) – Florida State, Defensive End
Round 6: Bacarri Rambo (191st overall) – Georgia, Safety
Round 7: Jawan Jamison (228th overall) – Rutgers, Running back

NFL Draft: Redskins Draft Cornerback, Safeties to Improve Flawed Secondary

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