At one time, draft analysts projected Florida offensive tackle Xavier Nixon as a third- or fourth-round draft choice. His athleticism impressed them, as did his size: He's 6-foot-6, 321 pounds.
Instead, Nixon went undrafted and signed with Washington as a free agent. This weekend, he and the other rookies will be in town for a three-day minicamp.
He's one of 12 undrafted free agents attending, along with a number of other players on a tryout basis.
Houston offensive lineman Jacolby Ashworth leads the way among other undrafted players. The list also includes: Houston offensive lineman Jacolby Ashworth, UAB linebacker Marvin Burdette, Nebraska linebacker William Compton, TCU receiver Skye Dawson, Appalachian State linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough, Georgia State tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi, Troy receiver Chip Reeves, Utah offensive lineman Tevita Stevens, New Haven receiver Jason Thompson, Troy offensive lineman Kyle Wilborn and Connecticut receiver Nick Williams.
|For John Keim's in-depth scouting reports of the Redskins' draft picks, visit washingtonexaminer.com/sports/redskins-confidential.|
Position » Running back
College » Florida State
Draft pick » 154 (fifth round)
Height » 5-7
Weight » 192 pounds
His size will be an issue when it comes to durability and pass protection, though his technique and desire are good. But as a runner, his other attributes make him dangerous. He's best working the cutback lanes. Sometimes he glides through his cuts because he does not waste any steps. A long run against Clemson provided a perfect example. He took a handoff on an outside zone to the left. When the hole developed, he cut up into a hole where a safety was coming up to fill. Thompson hopped to his left as a corner was closing in. So he shook him with a hard plant inside and burst outside. His ability to create plays downfield is one reason why he was so dangerous in college.
His acceleration skills can't be underestimated. The agile Thompson is dangerous when he cuts because he doesn't slow down. And he uses his lack of size to his advantage.
Position » Safety
College » Georgia
Draft pick » 191 (sixth round)
Height » 6-1
Weight » 211 pounds
Rambo's instincts in pass coverage were good and he loves trying to strip the ball from the runner. Yes, Rambo missed a couple tackles in the open field. But for the most part, when he'd come downhill from a two-deep look, he'd attack the proper shoulder (the inside), forcing the ballcarrier to stay inside if he missed. Rambo did miss some plays and he'll have to do less grabbing and tackling up high in the NFL. He's not a punishing hitter, but he was able to usually get guys on the ground.
He was mixed in run support, too. I saw a couple times where he did not take on the lead block well, allowing a bigger hole to be created for the ballcarrier. When not facing a lead blocker, he was able to squeeze the hole and was a little more aggressive. Rambo will need to show more urgency in this area.