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Washington Redskins: Three Early Targets in the 2014 NFL Draft

Yahoo Contributor Network
COMMENTARY | Courtesy of the Robert Griffin III trade, the Washington Redskins' potential top-five pick in the 2014 NFL Draft belongs to the St. Louis Rams.

Lacking the presence of a badly-needed first round selection in 2014, the Redskins' front office faces the pressure of coming through with some solid pickups in the remaining rounds of the draft in their efforts to improve the team's roster.

With the competitive aspect of the 2013 NFL season over for the franchise, it's just the right time to take an early look at some potential draftees who could be available when the Redskins are on the clock.

Here are three talented players the Redskins should target in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Wide Receiver: Brandin Cooks

Outside of Pierre Garcon, the Redskins lack a dynamic playmaker at the wide receiver position.

Leonard Hankerson has improved, but he's more along the lines of the big-bodied mold of receiver who isn't going to make too many plays downfield. Santana Moss is aging and Aldrick Robinson is a bit too inconsistent for my tastes.

The Redskins could use the presence of a dynamic receiver capable of taking it to the house on any given reception or opportunity to touch the football.

Oregon State's Brandin Cooks could be what the doctor ordered for the Redskins in their search for a playmaking wide out. A talented guy who's also produced on the college level, Cooks has the potential to provide the franchise with their own version of the Rams' Tavon Austin.

Right now, Cooks is projected to be available in the second round of the draft so he'll be around if the Redskins are interested. Hopefully they will be, due to their need for speed and production opposite of Pierre Garcon at the wide receiver spot.

Free Safety: Terrence Brooks

With Brandon Meriweather, Reed Doughty and Josh Wilson all set to become unrestricted free agents in 2014, the Redskins could easily be in the hunt for some young talent at the safety position. Current rookie safety Bacarri Rambo will still be around, but he hasn't distinguished himself as a player who should be exempt from some competition for a starting job next season.

Florida State's Terrence Brooks is a versatile safety who plays the pass and the run well. In addition to his supreme athletic skills, he's also a smart player who rarely makes mistakes. Although he wasn't a top recruit coming out of high school, Brooks worked his way to a starting spot and has emerged as a pivotal player on the defensive side of the football for the Seminoles.

Brooks could easily slip to the second or possibly even third round in the 2014 NFL Draft, so he's another guy that the Redskins will have an opportunity to select if they're interested in him.

Inside Linebacker: Christian Jones

Don't be surprised if the Redskins are searching for a new starting inside linebacker in 2014.

Veteran London Fletcher is an unrestricted free agent who also has the option of finally calling it quits on an outstanding NFL career. Fellow free agent Perry Riley Jr. is capable of taking Fletcher's place in the lineup, but there's a chance he'll get scooped up by another team offering more than the Redskins on the open market.

Therefore, securing the services of a future starter at inside linebacker will be one of the team's bigger priorities during the draft.

Florida State's Christian Jones is exactly the type of player the Redskins should covet. He's big and fast and on paper, has what it takes to become a pretty good inside linebacker in the NFL. Jones could be available when the Redskins are on the clock in the second round.

Losing a first-rounder hurts, but with the likes of Cooks, Brooks and Jones available, the Redskins will still have a shot at bringing in some premium talent outside of the first round in the 2014 NFL Draft.

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Drexel Perry's a freelance writer who covers the Washington Redskins and the Washington Wizards for Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @DrexelPerry.

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