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Clinton's Draft Preview: Defensive Backs

Posted Apr 13, 2018

Former Redskins running back Clinton Portis provides four names amongst defensive back prospects that Washington could select during the 2018 NFL Draft that will take place later this month.

Former Redskins running back Clinton Portis provides four names amongst defensive back prospects that Washington could select during the 2018 NFL Draft that will take place later this month.

Despite opportunities for an expansion in playing time for some of the younger defensive backs like Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau, the Washington Redskins could look to add to the secondary throughout this year's draft.

As he continues his position previews for the 2018 NFL Draft, here’s four defensive backs former Redskins running back Clinton Portis believes could fit in well with Washington.


Mike Hughes
Although Mike Hughes played just one season at Central Florida after previous stops at North Carolina and Garden City Community College, the cornerback is expected to be an early pick in this year’s draft.

Why?

Because in his lone season with the Knights, Hughes was a lockdown corner (15 passes defensed and four interceptions) along with being a lethal return man (545 kickoff return yards with two touchdowns and 232 punt return yards with another score).

“He’s physical, he’s fast, he’s a return man. This guy can do it all,” Portis said. “He’s a ballhawk – you need a guy who can create turnovers, especially in this division where you’re going to face the Giants, you’re going to face the Eagles and you’re going to face the Cowboys. Not only is this guy a physical defender, he’s also a great returner.”  

Derwin James
The two most-touted safeties that are in this year’s draft are Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and Florida State’s Derwin James.

While Fitzpatrick was the more versatile player in college, James was more impactful when healthy.

During the 2017 season, James was named a first-team All-America selection by the Football Writers Association of America and was named to the All-ACC first-team, as he recorded 84 tackles with 11 passes defensed and two interceptions.

He was also an immediate contributor as a freshman, recording 91 tackles with five passes defensed and 4.5 sacks.

“This guy is everything that he’s made out to be,” Portis said. “He’s fast, he’s physical. He’s the type of player you want in your locker room. He’s dominant in the locker room, guys only sing high praise for him about his film study, about his work ethic. This is a guy who can blitz the quarterback, this is a guy who can cover the tight end.”

Marcus Allen
While Marcus Allen is projected to be a mid-round pick in this year’s draft according to NFL.com, Portis sees the former Penn State safety as a serious sleeper.

During his time at Penn State, Allen became one of only six players in school history to record 300 tackles while also picking up 11 passes defensed, five fumbles forced, three sacks, three fumbles recovered and one interception.

“This guy went to Penn State University and only made plays there,” Portis said. “He’s a physical guy, he’s a guy who can come down and do everything that you ask him to do. This guy plays the game with aggression and tenacity. You pair that with another guy with those same elite qualities in Zach Brown, you have something special on defense.”

Donte Jackson
If the Redskins want to add speed to their defensive backfield, Donte Jackson could fit the mold.  

Jackson was a two-sport athlete at LSU, participating in both football and track.

In his three seasons on the gridiron, Jackson recorded 114 tackles with 20 passes defensed and four picks. Along with his college numbers, Jackson ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, tied for the fastest time amongst defensive backs.

“He’s a blazer,” Portis said. “He can cover ground, he has ballhawking ability. Everyone talks about his seven reps at the Combine for bench pressing, but don’t worry. I only bench pressed seven times at the Combine. Look how I turned out to be. If he’s anything like me, seven is his lucky number.”

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