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2018 Mock Drafts: Leighton Vander Esch To The Redskins?


In a mock draft released in his weekly scouting notebook piece,'s Matt Miller has the Redskins selecting Leighton Vander Esch with the No. 13 pick.

While the Washington Redskins have already re-signed Mason Foster this offseason, the team could still look to add additional players at the insider linebacker position this offseason.

Like Foster was before being brought back into the fold by Washington, Will Compton and Zach Brown are both currently set to become unrestricted free agents at the turn of the new league calendar.

Check out these photos of Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

With the understanding that either one or both may not be back with the Redskins,'s Matt Miller has Washington selecting Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with the No. 13-overall pick in his most recent mock draft.

In three seasons at Boise State, Vander Esch collected 178 tackles (10 for loss) along with five passes defensed, four sacks, four interceptions, three fumbles forced and one fumble recovered.

During his redshirt junior season in 2017, the Riggins, Idaho, native recorded career highs across the board as he totaled 129 tackles (81 solo) along with four passes defensed, three interceptions, three fumbles forced and three sacks.

The 2017 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year recorded at least 10 tackles in eight of the Broncos' 13 games during the season, including 16 against both Washington State and Fresno State, a personal best. In that game against Fresno State, Vander Esch recorded the game-sealing interception to give Boise State a 17-14 victory. He was named Mountain West Championship Game Defensive MVP.

The 6-foot-4, 240 pounder capped off his college career by recording 12 tackles and one sack in a Las Vegas Bowl victory over Oregon.

He was limited to just six games during the 2016 campaign, but still registered 27 tackles (3.5 for loss) along with one sack and one interception.

In his first collegiate action during the 2015 season, Vander Esch appeared in 12 games.

According to his draft profile, Vander Esch benefits from a background in basketball as he has "fluid hips and smooth movement around the field."

"Almost no delay in his change of direction. Has agility and quick-twitch for sudden lateral bursts in his slides to close out slashers. Triggers with compact burst to the ball. Works under climbing blockers to stay clean. Easy sideline-to-sideline range as tackler. Has athletic ability to recover and tackle despite over pursuit. Widens frame and opens arms to welcome his prey as a tackler. Generally wraps up. Very talented in coverage. Quick but smooth in his drops. Mirrors quarterback's eyes with ability to redirect from side to side as he follows. Uses active, catch-ready hands to breakup the pass or take it away. Shows real rush talent and instincts as a blitzer. May have enough ability to beat a tackle as edge rusher from time to time," his profile states.'s Lance Zierlein believes Vander Esch could pan out similarly to Karlos Dansby during his first few seasons as a professional.

"Vander Esch is a loose-hipped, instinctive linebacker who played in 2017 like he had a GPS tracker on the football," Zierlein writes. "His production totals against both the run and pass are rare for being a first-year starter and with a frame that is primed for more muscle, his NFL ceiling is high. Vander Esch might benefit from a reduced role his rookie season while he improves his play strength and becomes more skilled at taking on blocks. He's an every-down linebacker with very good starting potential and the talent to fill up a stat sheet."

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