Despite thinking the Redskins draft started out poor, I thought they did a really nice job and gave them a B in my draft grade. Here is how I see the Redskins getting the most out of their draft picks this season and going forward.
From a draft pick value standpoint I really thought the Redskins did quite well as I had them landing the 78th, 83rd, 93rd, 101st, 110th, 149th, 311th talents on my Final Big Board. Landing three top 100 talents, and six total top 150 talents is really impressive overall. Unfortunately I wasn't as high on some of these guys in how they would fit with the Redskins. Below though is how I can envision the Redskins utilizing these players to get them to live up to those talent rankings:
2nd Round Pick: CB David Amerson
-Don't Rush Him
Amerson despite being the Redskins top pick overall, really shouldn't be starting or getting significant playing time. He's got to work on a lot of flaws in his game, and if he's forced to go out there too soon they will likely never be corrected. Not to mention if he were to go out there early and struggle, it could shoot his confidence and set him back big time. The Redskins have DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, and E.J. Biggers to play in front of him. Amerson should only come in sparingly during games, to give him some exposure, but not force him to play a full game.
-Don't force him to play schemes he's not comfortable with
Amerson really didn't show much press coverage in college, and he didn't really play inside so the Redskins should avoid putting him in those situations at all as a rookie. Otherwise the Redskins are just asking for mistakes to occur.
-Ensure that he will have safety help
Amerson got burnt over the top quite a bit last year as he was notorious for getting beat on double moves. NFL teams are very likely to try to attack Amerson the same way he struggled in college so the Redskins should be proactive and ensure that he isn't left on an island.
3rd Round pick TEJordan Reed:
-Actually Use Him
Mike Shanahan hasn't really "utilized" two tight ends as pass catchers at the same time with the Washington Redskins. In 2010 despite a weak receiver corps, Fred Davis was really an afterthought to Chris Cooley. In 2011 and 2012 Fred Davis saw the vast majority of targets until he went out and then Logan Paulsen got those targets. It may mean taking targets from your primary tight end or receivers, but since you drafted Jordan Reed in the 3rd round, you should use him. He can't just average a target or two a game. He needs to have some sort of focus in this offense.
-Get Creative With Him
Reed could be an impressive weapon if the Redskins use him properly. One of the best things the Redskins can do is to line him up all over the field so opposing defenses can't get a read on him. Line him up split out wide, in the slot, coming off the line, in the backfield etc. Anywhere you can line him up, you should as it increases his value. Another thing they should do with him is run the football a couple times with him. Yes it might not always work, but it could set up some potential trick plays.
-Don't Ask Him To Block Inline
Reed is a not a good blocker at all, the best you can maybe hope for is him delaying a linebacker or making a block on a screen against a defensive back. The Redskins can't rely on him to really help block along the line. This might limit somewhat how much you can use him and where, but it is better than having more negative plays due too missed blocks.
4th Round S Phillip Thomas:
-Don't Count On Him As Your Longterm FS
As UK wrote the other day, Thomas is probably a better strong safety fit. While due to the current personnel, you may need Thomas playing some free safety this year, that shouldn't be how you envision him longterm.
-Rotate Him Early On
While Thomas has a lot of potential there are some things he needs to clean up in his game. Given some concerns about his free safety ability, the Redskins should rotate him early on. Not just with Brandon Meriweather playing some FS so Thomas can play strong, but sub him out as well. Asking him to be on the field a thousand plus plays is only going to give him more chances to get exposed. It might mean that Thomas isn't a true "starter", but that is probably for the best long term.
-Let Him Blitz
One thing that Thomas is very good with right now is his blitzing ability. The Redskins should try to take advantage of that and let him him attack the backfield. This can help lead to some big splash plays for the defense and help Thomas's confidence.
I'll highlight how the Redskins can get the most out of their 5th-7th round picks tomorrow!