It took until the final round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but former Cowboy Jordan Brailford finally heard his named called. The Washington Redskins selected Brailford with the 253rd pick and signed him to a 4-year, $2.5 million deal a little over a week ago. Washington was looking to find another edge rusher to slot opposite Ryan Kerrigan after Preston Smith left in free agency for the Packers, and they decided to take two of these guys in the draft. Along with Brailford, the Redskins selected former Mississippi State Bulldog Montez Sweat with their second selection in the first round (obtained the pick via trade with the Indianapolis Colts).
So, does Brailford have a shot to see the field next season for the Redskins? Well, let’s talk first about what their defensive depth chart might look like heading into next year. Washington bases out of a 3-4, which means Brailford will most likely be listed at linebacker (edge rusher) as opposed to the defensive end title he held at OSU. Below is a list of their outside linebackers:
• Andrew Ankrah
• Cassanova McKinzy
• Jordan Brailford
• Marcus Smith
• Marquis Flowers
• Montez Sweat
• Ryan Anderson
• Ryan Kerrigan
Kerrigan is coming off his second straight 13-sack season with the Redskins and will be holding down one of the two outside linebacker positions on this Washington defense. Behind him, things certainly are a little more unstable, especially after the departure of Smith. I believe the Redskins are hoping for Montez Sweat to be opposite Kerrigan, but coming in as rookie with no NFL experience, that definitely isn’t a sure thing. In addition to Kerrigan and Sweat, McKinzy and Anderson will likely be the other two guys getting playing time at OLB next season.
After taking a look at Washington’s outside linebacker depth, I think Brailford has a chance to be the third guy up behind Kerrigan and McKinzy on one side of the Redskins’ defense. His elite speed off the edge, shown in the clip below from the East-West Shrine game, is something that will translate immediately to the NFL.
The former Poke also displayed his versatility lining up at linebacker and blitzing from depth, as you see in the following video.
Brailford even lined up over inside receivers on occasion last season for Oklahoma State, displayed in the image below.
I believe this speed and versatility, along with the aggressiveness and energy he plays with on every snap, give him a chance to crack the outside linebacker rotation for the Redskins. If not, as Mark Bullock of The Athletic discussed in a recent article, I at least expect him to be a part of the special teams units. Brailford still has plenty to improve upon in the pros, but I think Washington got a steal in the seventh round with this pick.