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Redskins 2020 Draft Breakdown: Round 3

Notre Dame's Chase Claypool (83) runs from the pursuit of Louisville defensive back Cornelius Sturghill (6) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Louisville, Ky., Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Notre Dame won 35-17. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Notre Dame's Chase Claypool (83) runs from the pursuit of Louisville defensive back Cornelius Sturghill (6) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Louisville, Ky., Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Notre Dame won 35-17. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

The 2020 NFL Draft is inching closer every day, and head coach Ron Rivera will soon have his first opportunity to improve the Redskins' roster with seven new players.

In preparation for the three-day event, which begins Thursday, April 23, Redskins.com is breaking down the team's picks in each round with prospects fans should look out for.

After kicking things off with the No. 2 overall pick, it's time to delve into the Redskins' possibilities in the third round. Here are five players they could target 66th overall:

WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame

The Redskins need a pass-catcher more than anything, which is why there are three of them on this list. Let's start with Chase Claypool, the 6-foot-4, 238-pound wide receiver from Notre Dame.

Claypool improved every season with the Fighting Irish and became their No. 1 receiver in 2019, when he made 66 catches for 1,037 yards and finished tied for sixth in the nation with 13 receiving touchdowns. He further bolstered his stock at the NFL Scouting Combine by running the seventh-fastest 40-yard dash time among wide receivers (4.42 seconds) and doing 19 bench press repetitions, the fifth most at his position.

The Redskins already have a proven speedster in Terry McLaurin, but they could use a bigger, more physical option that Dwayne Haskins Jr. can throw the ball up to and target in the red zone. Claypool fits that mold. Plus, he excels at making contested catches and can create mismatches down the field.

There's a chance Claypool is gone by the time the Redskins are on the clock in the third round, but multiple draft experts believe he'll be available and end up in Washington.

If that's the case, he'll serve as a needed playmaker who should contribute right away.

WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC

Southern California wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (6) makes a catch against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Southern California wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (6) makes a catch against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Like Claypool, Michael Pittman Jr. is a sizable, strong wideout who was highly productive in college.

At 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, Pittman bulled opposing defenders throughout his career at USC. He was particularly dominant in 2019 (101 receptions for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns) and garnered several individual accolades, including first-team All-Pac 12 and second-team All-American. He was also a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to college football's best wide receiver.

"Big, smart and reliable, Pittman falls into the "possession receiver" bin but has top-notch ball skills that allow him to bully and best cornerbacks down the field," NFL analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his draft profile of Pittman.

What could set Pittman apart from the other Day 2 wide receivers is his intelligence and NFL pedigree. Pittman scored a 29 on the Wonderlic test, which is a 12-minute, 50-question assessment NFL teams use to measure intelligence. That's the highest of the all of the top wide receiver prospects and higher than any of the 2019 Pro Bowl wideouts.

Plus, Pittman's father played running back in the NFL for 11 seasons, so he understands what it takes to prosper at the professional level.

The Redskins need another starting receiver -- someone who can consistently produce behind McLaurin. If Pittman is available at this spot, he could provide precisely that.

"He lacks the speed and separation quickness teams covet from WR1 candidates, but he comes from NFL bloodlines and plays with a pro demeanor," Zierlein wrote of Pittman. "He should be a productive plug-and-play talent at WR2 early in his career."

TE Adam Trautman, Dayton

Dayton tight end Adam Trautman runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Dayton tight end Adam Trautman runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Initially, Cole Kmet out of Notre Dame was also on this list. But he's been the No. 1 tight end prospect throughout the draft process, and it's hard to see him slipping out of the second round.

Instead, the tight end to watch for in the third round is Dayton's Adam Trautman.

Trautman (6-foot-5, 255 pounds) finished as the Flyers' all-time leading receiver thanks in large part to his 2019 campaign, which included 70 receptions for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns. He capped his college career as a first-team FCS All-American and the Pioneer League Offensive Player of the Year.

Despite running slower than expected at the combine, Trautman performed well against top-notch competition at the Senior Bowl and is seen as a smart and physical all-around tight end.

The Redskins added Logan Thomas and Richard Rodgers during free agency, but neither have ever been No. 1 tight ends. Trautman could develop into one.

"Level of competition is a question mark, but Adam Trautman has nice size and good hands," wrote Walter Cherepinsky of Walterfootball.com, who has the Redskins selecting Trautman in his latest mock draft. "Some teams view him as the top tight end in this class."

T Matt Peart, Connecticut

Connecticut offensive lineman Matt Peart (65) sets up to block during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Central Florida Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Connecticut offensive lineman Matt Peart (65) sets up to block during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Central Florida Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Adding playmakers should be the Redskins' No. 1 priority entering the draft, but not far behind that is finding protection for Haskins. And the spot that seems most uncertain at the moment is left tackle.

Assuming Trent Williams is eventually traded, the Redskins could look to 2018 third-round pick Geron Christian or newcomer Cornelius Lucas to fill the void. However, neither player has experience as a full-time starter.

Enter Connecticut's Matt Peart, a versatile behemoth who started every game of his college career. He spent his first two years at left tackle and his final two on the right side, where he earned first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors in 2019.

Following a strong performance at the Senior Bowl, the 6-foot-7, 318-pound Peart had the eighth-fastest 40-yard dash time (5.06 seconds) among offensive lineman at the combine. According to Walter Cherepinsky of Walterfootball.com, some teams believe Peart could be a steal in the third round.

"Swing tackle prospect with outstanding length and athleticism," Zierlein wrote in his draft profile of Peart. "He has the physical traits that put him in position to get better and better as a pro."

CB Cameron Dantzler (Mississippi State)

Mississippi State defensive back Cameron Dantzler participates in a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Indianapolis. (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)
Mississippi State defensive back Cameron Dantzler participates in a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Indianapolis. (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)

While the Redskins retooled their secondary with proven starters such as Kendall Fuller, Ronald Darby and Sean Davis, they could use some more depth in the defensive backfield. Cameron Dantzler should provide at least that in his first NFL season.

"Very long, stringy cornerback with surprising strength and a competitive mindset that had quarterbacks looking for easier battles elsewhere," Zierlein wrote in his draft profile of Dantzler.

The 6-foot-2, 188-pound Dantzler appeared in 31 games for Mississippi State from 2017-19. His best season came in 2018, when he earned second-team All-SEC honors after making two interceptions, breaking up a team-high 11 passes. He was also one of four cornerbacks in the conference who did not allow a touchdown and ranked second among conference corners with a 41.1 passer rating allowed, according to Pro Football Focus.

For his career, Dantzler recorded 20 passes defended and five interceptions.

If Dantzler were thicker and ran faster at the combine -- his 4.64-second 40-yard dash ranked 28th among defensive backs -- he could have been a mid-to-late first rounder, according to Walter Cherepinsky of Walterfootball.com. Still, Dantzler is a physical, competitive corner with the length to disrupt NFL receivers.

"Dantzler can play in a variety of coverages but is a future starter as a confident press-man corner with early starting potential," Zierlein wrote.

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