Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins: 2017 NFL Combine Players to Watch

redskins defense via Keith Allison


Combine Prospects for Redskins Defense

It’s no secret that the Redskins defense was the downfall of the team in 2016. The unit finished last in nearly every major statistical category. The team last drafted a defensive player in the first round in 2011. Washington parted ways with Joe Barry in January, but it’ll take more than a coaching change to invigorate the Redskins defense.

When Scot McCLoughan arrived on the scene he vowed that opponents would “feel” the Redskins. It’s fair to say that the Redskins defense has regressed since McCloughan’s arrival in Washington. His influence on both the Seahawks and 49ers rosters from 2010-13 had those teams in championship contention. The pressure is on McCloughan to find young talent to revive the Redskins defense.

Zach Cunningham- Inside Linebacker, Vanderbilt

The Redskins defense lacks true team speed but inside linebacker Zach Cunningham would be a fine asset in fixing the Redskins defense. Despite a slim 6-4 230 pound frame, Cunningham was an absolute stud for the Commodores. He led the SEC in tackles this past season (126) as well as being a two-time all-conference selection and first-team All-American as a Junior.  The 6-4 230 pound Cunningham has a nose for the football and the speed and athleticism to track it down.

Bishard Baker-Safety, Washington

Despite his small frame (5-10, 185) Baker prides his game on physicality. One of his greatest qualities is his ability to diagnose plays. A former track standout, Baker is highly instinctive and an effective blitzer. He also has exceptional ball skills, and the ability to blossom in to a solid single-high safety. As a three-year starter, Baker earned Pac-12 accolades in each of his three years for the Huskies.  His game is very reminiscent to former Indianapolis Colts great Bob Sanders. Listed at 5-8, 206 pounds, Sanders went on to become a NFL DPOY selection, and was one of the more dynamic safeties of his era.

D.J. Jones-Nose Tackle, Ole Miss

D.J. Jones spent the past two seasons anchoring the Rebels’ defensive line. In 2016, he started all 12 games, and ended the season with 30 tackles, three for a loss, and two sacks. At 6-0 321, Jones translates his weight-room strength to the field. He has a low center of gravity and is rarely on the ground. A former JUCO transfer, Jones has the potential and skill-set to be a solid nose in 3-4 schemes.

Jarrad Davis-Inside Linebacker-Florida

Davis received a combine invite, but won’t participate in any drills. He suffered an ankle injury during the regular season but it should be fully healed in time for Florida’s Pro Day. The injury limited him to nine games in 2016 but he was a second-team all-conference performer. At 6-2 240 pounds Davis is force. He’s an exceptional tackler and is a fluid athlete. Coaches and scouts rave about his work-ethic and leadership. His best season came in 2015, as he posted 98 tackles, 11 for loss, 3.5 sacks and four pass deflections.