The BCS will crown its national champion tonight and there are two very good teams vying for that honor. Such achievement almost always comes on the shoulders of extremely talented players, guys who will be continuing their careers at the next level. There are a lot of players in the game tonight who will be eligible to be drafted, and their performances will somewhat dictate where they are selected.
So let's take a look at some of the players who will be playing tonight that could be a good fit for the Redskins in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Cam Newton, QB:
Newton is obviously the cream of the crop here and will probably be the best player on the field tonight. The big question is whether or not his skills can translate into the pro game. It's a question that a lot of teams will have to think long and hard about before investing a high first round pick in him this spring.
Newton has all the physical ability needed to be a major difference maker in the NFL. He has ideal size for the position, and remarkable athleticism considering his frame. He has also demonstrated that he has a strong and accurate arm to go along with all of his other physical gifts.
The big question is if Newton's decision making is good enough to succeed at the next level. He hasn't shown anything that suggests it won't be, but the big problem is that there just isn't that much good film on him. This is his first year at Auburn so we just haven't seen enough of him. I personally think he would be a good pick for the Redskins because I think that he will be able to succeed at the next level. But I understand that he represents a significant risk and the Redskins organization might want to avoid that type of player all together.
Nick Fairley, DT:
While Newton is a risk, Fairley is as close to a sure thing as you are going to get in this draft. He should be the best defensive player on the field tonight. He is a game-changer from the defensive tackle position, but I'm just not that sure he fits into the Redskins scheme.
Fairley is the type of penetrating and disruptive tackle that would be perfect in a 4-3 defense, a la Warren Sapp. The defensive tackle the Redskins need for their 3-4 would be more of a block-occupying nose tackle type. I suppose Fairley could work as a defensive end in the Redskins' scheme, but I'm not sure that would be a good fit for him or for them.
That also doesn't take into account that Fairley probably will be long gone by the time the Redskins pick. It sure is nice to dream though.
Josh Bynes, LB:
Bynes isn't the first round lock that Newton and Fairley are, but I think he could be a good fit for the Redskins if they choose to bolster their linebacking core later in the first round. He is a rangy athletic type in the Rocky McIntosh mold that would be a good fit to step in should the Redskins choose to go in a different direction this Winter.
Bynes should be available on the third day of the draft, and because of his physical gifts for the position, would probably be a good pick there.
LaMichael James, RB:
Based on conventional wisdom, James is too short to play running back in the NFL. But I'm putting in here because I believe in the end, talent wins out over stereotypes like that.
James is a sophomore, but he is eligible to declare for the draft because he red-shirted a year when he first got to Oregon.
He is an explosive runner and has excellent balance, two things that translate very well to the next level. James might not go in the first round because of the fears about his size, but he'll be a steal for some team in the draft whenever he gets picked. He might not be able to be a full time running back, but he can certainly share carries in the NFL.
Casey Matthews, LB:
The Matthews family has such good NFL draft lines that it might be smarter to just take one when they are available instead of potentially missing out on a big time difference maker.
Casey is a different type of linebacker than his older brother Clay, a DPOY candidate for the Green Bay Packers. While Clay spends his time getting after quarterback, Casey plays from the middle of the field and tackles anything that moves.
Casey is a good fit for a 3-4 defense. Having a block-occupying nose tackle in front of him will give him the chance to just run around the field and make plays without obstacle. That is something the Redskins have in London Fletcher. Fletcher is getting up there in age, and it's never too early to thin about bringing in a potential replacement. Especially if one like Matthews is available in a round where he would represent good value.
There are plenty of other players in this game who will be playing on Sunday, but these are five guys that I think would be able to succeed in the NFL, and could really thrive as members of the Redskins.