NFL Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins: NFL Combine Provides New Targets For 2014 NFL Draft

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Washington Redskins: NFL Combine Provides New Targets For 2014 NFL Draft

Washington Redskins: NFL Combine Provides New Targets For 2014 NFL Draft
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

For a franchise that has traditionally been hit or miss when it comes to the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins face a critical couple months in preparing for the 2014 version of the Draft. The Redskins once built their three championship teams almost exclusively through the draft, but during George Allen and their "Over The Hill Gang" days, the draft was completely ignored. After a 4-12 season, and now with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, the Redskins will not have the benefits of the second overall pick as it was traded to the St. Louis Rams in the Robert Griffin III trade two years ago. Still, the Redskins will have plenty of needs to fill to get back to the top of the NFC East.

One of Washington's biggest needs this offseason has to be the secondary. Whether its a cornerback group that is high in big-names, but small in production, or a safety duo led by head-hunter Brandon Merriweather, both secondary positions need upgrades to stop the other big-play offenses within the division. While there are some young players in the fold with cornerback David Amerson and safeties Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas, all of these picks were made by a previous regime that is longer in command, giving the new regime no incentive to keep any of these players.

Offensively, the Redskins have questions to address on their offensive line and their receiving corps, where both units struggled from a great 2012 campaign to a struggling 2013 campaign. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Washington not upgrade their offensive line or their receiving corps. In addition, the Redskins will have to decide on some free agents from the team that the Redskins will have to decide on keeping. On defense, safeties Reed Doughty, and Merriweather along with linebacker Brian Orakpo are up for free agency, and on offense, the Redskins will have to decide on receivers Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, and the recently suspended tight end Fred Davis.

The Redskins will undoubtedly have a lot of work to do this offseason in order to retain their at the top of the NFC East. Here are five players who performed well at the recent NFL Scouting Combine and who should be on Washington's radar.

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5. Gabe Ikard, OL, Oklahoma

Gabe Ikard
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

While Oklahoma's Gabe Ikard was mostly a center for the Sooners, Ikard has the versatility to kick out to guard if need be. At the Scouting Combine, Ikard ran a 5.13 40-yard dash, good for a lineman, had a solid 22 reps at 225 on the bench press, and in the 20-yard shuttle, Ikard ran it in 4.37 seconds. Playing in a sophisticated offense that Bob Stoops runs, Ikard called out defenses, shifted fronts, and put the Sooners into positive plays. His ability to play multiple positions will help the Redskins as some of their starting linemen are getting up there in age.

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4. Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming

Robert Herron
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Receiver Robert Herron from Wyoming put together one of the more impressive combines by a receiver who was not highly talked about coming into the event. Herron ran an impressive 4.48 40-yard dash at 5'9 and 193 pounds. Herron also showed his strength by putting up 18 reps at 225 on the bench press, and had a 35 and a half inch vertical jump. Herron would be an excellent replacement for Moss in the slot as the Redskins continue to surround Griffin III with some more offensive weapons.

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3. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

Shayne Skov
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

With long-time leader and middle linebacker London Fletcher calling it quits this offseason, another inside linebacker to pair with Perry Riley is a move the Redskins must make. While Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov did not participate much at the Combine, the Redskins still have to consider him for their 2014 roster. Skov proved his value to teams this season with 109 tackles, including 13 for loss. Skov also showed that he can rush the passer by recording five and a half sacks last year. Skov is too good of a player for the Redskins to ignore, even without performing at the Combine.

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2. Chris Smith, DE/OLB, Arkansas

Chris Smith
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

With Orakpo a question mark to return next season, Arkansas hybrid linebacker/defensive end Chris Smith would be a perfect replacement the team should target. Smith had a solid 4.71 40-yard dash, an impressive 28 reps at 225 on the bench press, and also had a top five performance in the vertical jump at 37 inches. Smith's 2013 season was marred by a poor season by the entire Razorback team. The defensive end had 8.5 sacks, and 36 tackles while being the main focus of every offense the Razorback defense faced.

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1. Tre Boston, DB, North Carolina

Tre Boston
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Both Merriweather and Doughty are past their primes, and a good safety that can replace either of these two will be a top priority for the Redskins. In North Carolina's Tre Boston, the Redskins would get a two-way safety who exceled as both a safety who can be a good run-stopper in the box, and a safety who can create turnovers. At the Combine, Boston ran a 4.59 40-yard dash, put up a great 18 reps on the bench press, and also notched a solid 35 inch vertical jump. Boston has experience playing both corner and safety, giving the Redskins options in where and when they can use him in certain in-game situations.