Well, that was fun.
The 2016 Draft has ended and the Redskins made seven selections under GM Scot McCloughan, a far cry from the 10 made last year and the 12 McCloughan hoped to acquire.
Additionally, to the consternation of Hogs Haven denizens, the Redskins did not draft a single center or offensive lineman, and didn't address the defensive line until the 5th round.
Although Scot didn't go after his "big uglies" as was expected, the team still addressed several needs, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where three out of the first four selections were defensive players. In total, Washington added a big-bodied receiving threat, a dynamic linebacker, a talented corner, a run-plugging lineman, and a developmental QB prospect in the first six rounds. In the seventh, the team nabbed an ultra-productive, hard-hitting linebacker and a running back with incredible upside.
It may not have been the perfect draft for everyone, but the Redskins and GM Scot McCloughan stuck to their board and avoided "reaching" for need when consensus picks fell to them. Who would have thought we would have had the chance to draft A'Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, Andrew Billings, Vernon Butler, Reggie Ragland, Mackensie Alexander or William Jackson III and passed on all of them?
In this article we'll take a brief look at each player the Redskins selected, their strengths and weaknesses, and an idea of where they might within the system. We'll finish with an all-too-soon draft grade, because everyone else is doing it, right?
Round 1, 22nd Overall: Josh Doctson, WR
The Redskins surprised many pundits when instead of taking a defensive lineman with the first pick, they instead added another weapon for Kirk Cousins. At 6'2" with a 41" vertical jump, Doctson automatically becomes the bigges receiving target on the roster. He's also all-around explosive; with a pSPARQ of 134, Doctson is in the 94th percentile of all NFL wide receivers athletically.
Doctson was ridiculously productive in college as well. In his two years as a full-time starter, he racked up 2,344 yards and 25 touchdowns. Those numbers include three games missed with a wrist injury. He's a great fit for the Redskins because of his versatility: he can stretch the field as a deep threat, be effective on slants and curls, and posterize smaller DBs in the red zone with leaping ability. His addition this year means he can grow and learn to be the #1 receiver in 2017 when DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Andre Roberts are all free agents.
He was absolutely beloved at TCU as their best player but has managed to stay humble throughout the entire process. Here are two clips that show Josh's ability to "climb the ladder" that no one on the roster can quite do:
Round 2, 53rd Overall: Su'a Cravens, LB/S
Cravens is probably our most intriguing pick in the entire draft, because he doesn't quite have a defined position, yet his skillset is fast-becoming a necessity in the modern NFL.
Cravens is a safety-linebacker hybrid. What does that mean? Ideally, it means a player with the ability to cover bigger receivers like a safety (think running backs and tight ends) combined with the tackling skills of a linebacker. The recent success of players like Deone Bucannon of the Cardinals, Shaq Thomspon of the Panthers and Mark Barron of the Rams have shown it's possible for "tweeners" to find an important role in the NFL. Names of this new position include "Moneybacker", "Starbacker", and "Land Shark". Cravens basically played that role at USC, accumulating 207 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, and 9 interceptions across a 3-year career.
He'll be able to get on the field as a rookie in sub packages (meaning 5 or more DBs on the field), which the Redskins are in 70% of defensive snaps. He's a subpar tester, running a 4.69 40-yard dash and 30.5" vertical jump, but still faster than pretty much any tight end. Cravens' plus instincts help him play faster in helmet and pads than in shorts. He's another hard-working football lover who was a fan-favorite at USC. Check out some of his highlight plays for a taste of what he brings, especially against the run:
Round 3, 84th Overall: Kendall Fuller, CB
Fuller is another football-loving grinder with impressive bloodlines. Sensing a trend? Kendall is the youngest of four brothers, all of whom play in the NFL. Less than 1% of college athletes make it to the NFL, but the Fullers are batting 1.000. That's pretty crazy. Like his brother Kyle, who was drafted 14th overall in the 2014 Draft by the Chicago Bears, Kendall plays cornerback. Scouts say he has the potential to be the best NFL player of any Fuller. So why wasn't he taken in the first round? Kendall tore his meniscus in last year's college preseason, and although playing three games on a bad knee, decided to end his college career by getting microfracture surgery. Doctors say it has healed well and he should be ready to go by training camp.
Fuller has solid NFL size for a corner at 5'11" and 187 lbs. He has natural twitch meaning his most natural position might be nickel corner at the NFL level, but he can also play outside. He's extremely competitive and tough -- playing all of 2014 with a fractured wrist and three games in 2015 with a torn meniscus (the same injury suffered by Myles Jack). While the cornerback depth chart is surprisingly stacked with Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Chris Culliver and Quinton Dunbar all currently ahead of him, Fuller could still play significantly in 2016 as a 3rd or 4th corner, and become an even larger role-player in 2017 after Culliver's likely departure.
Check out a couple of Fuller's highlight plays to get a sense of what he brings to the Redskins:
Round 5, 152nd Overall: Matt Ioannidis, DT
The Redskins finally addressed their need for young beef up front in the 5th round, and got a steal in Ioannidis. At 6'3", 300 lbs. he has the immediate size to play 3-4 DE, but Jay Gruden believes he can "easily" add 15 more pounds to his frame and play NT. A good adjective to describe Ioannidis' game: cranky. He's bull strong (32 reps on the bench press) and refuses to allow running lanes to develop. His big hands (10 1/8") are constantly fighting as he tries to disrupt and penetrate. Matt's anchor, motor, and strength are reminiscent on tape of Jarran Reed, who many thought would be the Redskins 1st-round selection. Instead, they selected a very similar player in the 5th round, and got a 2017 4th-rounder from the Jets. I love the value of this pick.
A couple of additional notes on Ioannidis: he was the "unquestioned leader" of a very good Temple defense in 2015 (ranked 28/128 in rushing defense in the country), as well as being elected a team captain. Ioannidis also has solid pass-rushing ability from the interior -- 7 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss in his last two seasons.
Matt Ioannidis earned a +24.6 pass rush grade, 7th-best in this interior defender class— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 30, 2016
Round 6, 187th Overall: Nate Sudfeld, QB
At 6'6" 235 lbs., the Redskins added a developmental quarterback with prototypical size to learn behind Kirk Cousins. Sudfeld surprisingly throws with touch and anticipation, in addition to releasing the ball quickly, all traits that are paramount for Jay Gruden's offense. However his feet and general mechanics need tons of work. He was a leader of an Indiana team that lacked one true weapon and was able to keep the offense in close games with both Michigan and Michigan State. Sudfeld had a sneaky-good senior season, throwing for 3,573 yards (60% completion rate, 8.7 YPA) to go with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
Ok I see you on this throw Nate Sudfeld https://t.co/skgXoXecTI— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) April 8, 2016
But he can also be maddeningly inconsistent ...
What I've learned about Nate Sudfeld https://t.co/76NMafAaHF— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) March 7, 2016
Round 7, 232nd Overall: Steven Daniels, ILB
An old-school thumper of a linebacker at 5'11" 243 lbs., Daniels is "built like a vending machine". While a pretty good football player -- team captain on nation's best defense in 2015, first-team All-ACC -- his stiff hips and slow straight-line speed (4.86 40-yard dash, 4.54 short shuttle) may put a low ceiling on his NFL prospects. Still, stats don't lie -- he had 82 tackles (51 solo, which is incredible), 16 TFLs and 6 sacks last year. For one of the NFL's worst rushing defenses, it's worth it for the Redskins to take a flier on Daniels in the hopes that he's able to stick in the linebacking rotation.
Here's some of Daniels' best plays:
Can't stop watching this https://t.co/GBMUtIzYc7— Not Robert Griffin (@Pseudo_RGIII) May 1, 2016
BC linebacker Steven Daniels on an island against the fullback. Could have been an easy TDhttps://t.co/ztU7EXyhlh— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) March 21, 2016
Round 7, 242nd Overall: Keith Marshall, RB
My favorite pick of the entire draft, taking Keith Marshall is a no-risk selection, while the payoff is that he could be the best running back in the 2016 class. I'm not exaggerating. Marshall is good friends with another Georgia running back, a fellow by the name of Todd Gurley, and in high school, Marshall actually encouraged Gurley to apply to Georgia and join the football team. The two became roommates and a fearsome freshman running back duo in 2012, earning the nickname "Gurshall". Keith ran for 781 yards (6.5 YPC) and 8 TDs as a freshman, but tore his ACL as a sophomore, which caused him to miss most of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In 2015, Marshall came back healthy, but was buried on the depth chart behind future NFL running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
At 5'11" 219 lbs., Marshall annihilated the Combine, running the fastest 40-yard dash at 4.31 second and pushing 225 pounds 25 times on the bench press. The medicals on his knee, most importantly, "went great" according to Marshall. He's a home-run hitter that could be a great compliment to Matt Jones if he can mentally adjust to the NFL game. Here are some of his best plays from college:
Big Keith Marshall fan, a sleeper in this draft due to missing time, and being backup. Potential is there. https://t.co/MTXjhmZ0vD— Conor Myles (@MylesSheet) March 24, 2016
Keith Marshall pic.twitter.com/E07uaUGYwA— meruem the savage (@Wavvy25) March 23, 2016
2016 Draft Grade: B+
While it's obviously way too early to tell, my initial response to the 2016 draft is a B+. We passed up adding a potentially dominant player to the trenches on either side of the ball, but continued to fortify impressive depth at several positions and didn't reach for need, staying true to Scot's board. The true impact of the class won't be felt for several years until Doctson and Fuller are able to grow into feature pieces as veterans like Garcon, Jackson, Culliver and Hall leave.
I believe the first four players selected in this year's class -- Doctson, Cravens, Fuller, and Ioannidis -- will see significant playing time as rookies and develop into quality starters. If one of the later round players -- Sudfeld or Marshall -- is able to contribute in a meaningful way, the grade would be even higher, but it's too early to tell. McCloughan also added an additional 4th, 5th, and 6th rounder for 2017's draft. In a worse-case scenario, the Redskins have plenty of ammunition next year to select additional talent.