With the NFL Draft less than a month away, the Redskins are expressing a growing interest in Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons and a willingness to trade out of the second overall pick, says NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.
To this point, many believe the Redskins will make the obvious choice in selecting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young. The 20-year-old, whose often described as a generational pass rusher, is coming off a 16.5-sack Junior season and could prove too tempting for the defensive-minded Ron Rivera to pass up.
"The more people I talk to, the more I strongly believe that Washington is open to moving out of this pick, and maybe even slightly motivated," La Canfora said Monday morning on CBS Sports HQ. "And that's not a slight on Chase Young, but I continue to hear they've fallen in love with Isaiah Simmons."
"They're looking at their draft boards, and they're looking at the breakdown of their roster and they're seeing holes all over the place," he continued. "And Ron Rivera knows he doesn't need just quality, he needs quantity as well."
The Redskins are in a unique position with the No. 2 overall selection, picking after Cincinnati who's expected to take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. Sandwiched between Washington and Miami at No. 5 are the Lions and Giants, respectively. The Giants just drafted Daniel Jones last year and the Lions are expected to stick with Matthew Stafford at quarterback.
Which leaves Miami, who covets Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, in a pre-draft standoff with Washington, who could pick just about anybody at No. 2.
"They've put so many assets into that defensive line, into that front seven already recently in the draft before (Rivera) got there, and they're holding onto Ryan Kerrigan for another year," La Canfora continued. "And they look at Simmons as a guy who could be incredibly impactful for them. They can move him around, do different things with him.
"And you might be able to get him at five, if they were to trade down and Miami moves up here for Tua. If Washington stays at two, I think they probably just go ahead and take Chase Young, because there's that hope that he could be a generational pass rusher. But a trade here would not surprise me at all."
"I would put my best guess on Miami, but it could be somebody jumping up to get ahead of Miami as well for Tua," he said. "The more we see of Tua looking like himself and looking spry, and able to swing his hips and do some of the drills we've seen, that's only good news for the Redskins because that continues to get other organizations talking about Tua."
The Redskins have to be careful, too, about overplaying their hand. With an interest in Young and now Simmons, by trading back they could risk losing both.
JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington tacked on this addendum to La Canfora's report: