Saturday, July 21, 2018

As the 2018 NFL Draft approaches, teams are working to evaluate the best players to select at each position. Players have opportunities in their Pro Days and the NFL combine to showcase their athletic abilities in order to be drafted. Potential NFL prospects are put through off the field tests like the 40 yard dash, bench press, and vertical jump. Although this testing can potentially improve or hinder a prospect’s draft stock, NFL teams are mostly judging these players based on their production on the field.

The college prospect that a team selects with its first round pick is seen as a potential cornerstone player for that franchise, but the quality of players drafted in rounds 2-7 is truly what can make or break a team. Players like Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, and Russell Wilson were chosen in later rounds in the draft, but have gone on to have prolific pro careers. These players, like many others, were drafted because of what they showed in college with their pads on, rather than how they performed in a combine with shorts on.

The Washington Redskins currently have 7 picks in this year’s draft. There is much speculation around players like Vita Vea (Washington) and Derwin James (Florida State) regarding who Washington will select with their first round pick. However, there isn’t much talk about prospects that aren’t deemed first round quality players; aka “sleepers”. The Skins currently don’t have a 3rd round pick, but could trade for one if the right player is available. Based on the team’s needs, Michael Gallup and Tim Settle are two sleepers that the Redskins should look to select in the upcoming draft because of their performance on the field. Here’s why.

Michael Gallup | Wide Receiver

Michael Gallup’s college career began at Butler Community College, where he put up 780 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman. An injury in his sophomore year limited him to only 4 games. Colorado State was one of the few schools to offer Gallup a scholarship and they would not be disappointed by his production.

In his first season at Colorado State, Gallup put up a staggering 76 catches, 1,272 yards and 14 touchdowns. He completed the 2016 season with First team All- Mountain West honors. In his senior year, Gallup would put together another impressive season with 100 catches, 1,418 yards and 7 touchdowns. He finished 2017 as a consensus All-American and Biletnikoff Award finalist, honoring the nation’s top receiver.

The former Colorado State receiver consistently showed on film why he should be selected by the Redskins in the 2-3 round of the draft. At 6’1”, 200 pounds Gallup has shown a valuable skill set that will benefit Washington’s offense. He has displayed the speed and body control to be a vertical threat down the field for QB Alex Smith. His ability to break tackles and make defenders miss makes him a homerun threat whenever he touches the ball. Fans can compare his game to that of Golden Tate (Detroit Lions). Gallup would be effective as an outside receiver to compliment a Redskins air attack that already features Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, and Jordan Reed.

Tim Settle | Defensive Tackle

Tim Settle is a Northern Virginia (Manassas) product that was rated as a top-40 prospect in the nation coming out of high school. As a class of 2015 graduate, Settle chose to stay in-state and play at Virginia Tech. He would go on to redshirt his freshman season.

As a rotational defensive tackle, Settle appeared in 14 games and recorded 7.5 tackles for loss in 2016. In 2017, the 6’3”, 335 nose tackle dominated in his first season as a starter. In his 13 starts, he recorded an impressive 12.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Settle concluded his brief career at Virginia Tech with 2nd team All-ACC honors.

Tim Settle’s stout frame and athleticism make him an excellent draft prospect for the Redskins. Just like Gallup, Settle is a player that Washington should look to select in rounds 2-3. The hometown product has shown the power to take on blocks and stop the run, as well as the speed to be a productive pass rusher. Redskins fans can compare him to Damon “Snacks” Harrison (New York Giants). This skill set will enable Settle to be effective at Nose Tackle in the Skins’ 3-4 defense. The trio of Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle would make the Skins more than formidable up front. The addition of Settle would instantly help a Washington run defense that finished last in the NFL this past season.

Michael Gallup and Tim Settle have both shown the abilities on the field that will lead to successful pro careers. Although the Redskins do not have a 3rd round pick in the upcoming draft, it may be worth trading into that round to get one of these players, if still available. Both players have the skill sets that would allow them to easily integrate into the Redskins’ offensive and defensive schemes. Drafting players of their caliber, along with key free agent acquisitions, can put Washington into a good position heading into the 2018 season.

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