The Washington Redskins hope to have found short- and long-term upgrades to their 28th-ranked defense on the second day of the NFL draft.
Washington went back to the Alabama well Friday night to take outside linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second round at pick No. 49 and selected injured UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau in the third round with the 81st pick. Anderson’s selection came after the Redskins took Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen with 17th pick on Thursday.
Moreau tore his pectoral muscle at his pro day in March. But when he’s ready to play, the converted running back, Allen and Anderson should provide a boost to a defense that struggled on third down and in the red zone.
“It is a good defensive draft,” coach Jay Gruden said. “To get a quality corner that’ll probably be ready in September, get another outside linebacker, help our special teams and our pass rush, get a big interior lineman — we couldn’t ask for anything more, really.”
As a redshirt senior, Anderson had 19 tackles for loss, nine sacks and an interception he returned for a touchdown. Anderson and Allen combined for 19 ½ of Alabama’s NCAA-leading 54 sacks.
Asked about teaming up with Allen with Washington, Anderson said, “It’s about to get real.”
Gruden said Allen and Anderson were high-motor, intelligent players.
“I don’t see anything negative (with them) coming from Alabama, only positive,” Gruden said.
Anderson became emotional Friday night talking about getting the call from Gruden and boasting that he’s “going to be the best outside linebacker in the game.” After running a 4.78-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, the Daphne, Alabama, native talked about his attributes that will transfer to the NFL.
“I’m a playmaker, man, I’m a game-changer,” Anderson said on a conference call. “I’m the ultimate football player, man. I’m not a combine warrior, I’m not a workout warrior — I’m a football player. At the end of the day that’s what it boils down to. It boils downs to see ball, get ball and striking the man in front of you. That’s what I bring to the table.”
Moreau’s impact could take more time after his bench-press injury. Rehabbing now, Moreau said he was told the time frame was five months from March 22, which would be late in training camp.
In the next several months, Moreau said he’s looking forward to learning from cornerback Josh Norman. Over the next several years he could be starting alongside him.
“I’m a physical press corner,” Moreau said. “I like to get in the receiver’s face. I like to challenge them. I like to make plays, and just be that dog out there helping my team win.”
Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry after falling short of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record, replacing him with Greg Manusky, who was previously the outside linebackers coach.
With seven picks on Saturday, the Redskins could continue to address defense along with offensive-line depth and running back.