The Redskins just got done having one of the best drafts they’ve had in quite some time... at least initially. Judging a draft literally the same day it ended is always an exercise in futility. No one knows. But plenty of people have an idea. And just about all of them have the same idea... that the Redskins just killed it.
The team was setup by having 10 picks coming into the draft and they chose to use every pick and add 10 rookies to the 2017 squad. That was a good thing because this is a team with quite a few significant holes to fill. They had needs at RB after having an UDFA rookie as their lead back last year and shopping Matt Jones this year. They had needs at safety. They had needs all along the defensive front seven. They found what appears at this point anyway to be great value with most of their picks. Grade it for yourself, but in my eyes, the team just brought home a big A+ to hand on the fridge...
Let’s take a look:
Round 1, Pick 17 - Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama (6’3”, 286 lbs.)
This may end up being the steal of the draft. Allen was a guy that was universally thought of as one of the five best players entering this draft and he fell due to some shoulder tendinitis/arthritis concerns. Dr. James Andrews basically said that’s some nonsense and Allen himself said he was cleared by every team. Obviously that wasn’t the case because there’s no way 16 teams would pass on a top-five prospect if they didn’t have some injury reservations, but either way, that kind of thing wouldn’t really catch up with him for 6-7 years, anyway.
It honestly couldn’t have gone any better for the ‘Skins early in the first round as teams made a huge run on offensive players in a defensive draft and top prospects slid, and slid, and slid until quite a few great ones were staring the ‘Skins in the face at 17. Allen’s the cream of the crop, though. The Redskins have needed DL in the worst way. It was their #1 need and also the BPA (best player available). When that happens, you just know the FO guys were jumping for joy. It had to have been so easy. Add Allen to McClain and McGee and the Redskins have really started building themselves a DL (something that pretty much completely didn’t have last year).
Allen can push the pocket and create havoc. You can’t run on him. He gets sacks. QBs are tortured by him. There’s really nothing this guy can’t do on the defensive front and he’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Redskins as currently constructed. He’s versatile and can play anywhere on the line. He’ll probably play DE in the base 3-4 and then move inside to DT during nickel and dime (pass-rushing situations). He’s an every-down DL and the Redskins must be tickled pink. On top of all that, he’s a local guy who went to HS in the area. The only grade for this pick is an A+.
Round 2, Pick 17 (49th Overall) - Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama (6’2”, 253 lbs.)
The Redskins were looking for help rushing the passer and they got just that in the first two rounds. Anderson is explosive off the edge and really completes an outstanding OLB unit with Kerrigan, Smith, Murphy, and Galette (though Murphy could possibly move back inside to DE now... after his four-game suspension).
What’s even more impressive about Anderson is the way he sets the edge in the run game. The Redskins struggled mightily against the run last year and Anderson helps a ton there. He’s fast and powerful, albeit a bit undersized. He’s an Elvis Dumervil type that plays low and wins low.
Beyond just that same old football talk, Anderson is a personality. He has a ton of energy and it shows on and off the field. He’s a winner and a guy that other players like having in the locker-room. He’s funny and a great interview. He never quits on the field and has the potential as a guy who can contribute to special teams, as well. He may not win with every pass-rush move initially, but his energy, attitude, and no-quit attitude usually allows him to win eventually. There’s simply no quit in Ryan Anderson. He’s as passionate as they come... and it shows... all the time. He could quickly become a leader on this defense. Another outstanding pick.
Round 3, Pick 17 (81st Overall) - Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA (6’, 206 lbs.)
Prior to injuring his pec as his Pro Day, Moreau likely would have been a first-round pick. Much like the Kendall Fuller pick in the third last year, Moreau represents great value here. Another CB with first-round talent and an injury to get past. Moreau is fast. He’s long. But he’s also relatively inexperienced. He’ll need a little time to get over the injury and a little more time to get some seasoning... but the Redskins likely got a starting CB in the third round. How can you knock that?
While he may not help a ton this year, he really doesn’t need to. With guys like Norman, Breeland, Fuller, and Dunbar already manning the position, there’s no rush for Moreau. He’s just what the ‘Skins like though in that he’s aggressive, physical, and likes to play press man coverage. Oh, and he ran a 4.35 40. The Redskins defense got a MAJOR boost in the first three rounds of this draft.
Round 4, Pick 7 (114th Overall) - Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma (5’11”, 233 lbs.)
This was a pick made for the offense’s #1 deficiency... red-zone offense. He’s a guy built for short-yardage and goal-line situations. But Perine is even more than that. He’ll have a very real chance at earning the Redskins RB1 job. He has the talent to take the job as a rookie.
Perine’s not that dynamic guy who’s going to give you lightning quick speed and catch a ton of passes out of the backfield. Chris Thompson’s job is safe. But what he does give is incredible size and strength and should immediately help that third-down and TD conversion rates go way up. He ALWAYS falls forward and gets yards after contact. Perine makes Matt Jones expendable.
Round 4, Pick 17 (123rd Overall) - Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan St. (6’2”, 212 lbs.)
Nicholson is your typical boom-or-bust guy that gets taken at this point in every draft. Physically, he’s an elite safety prospect. Mentally, he has some work to do. Oh, and he’s coming off of a shoulder injury. But when you can find a guy with his size and strength who runs a 4.42 40... how do you pass on that at #123?
Still, he wasn’t all that productive in college and will definitely need some coaching. This will be new DB Coach Torrian Gray’s project.
For all of you folks who are super into the, “Is he a TRUE FS or a SS,” the answer is both or neither. He’s been better so far near the LoS as a SS. Yet he has the measurables of a FS. I expect they’ll coach him up as a FS with SS being a fall-back option. He has all the traits you want in a safety prospect. Behind Cravens and Swearinger, every other “safety” on the roster is old. This was a good pick.
Round 5, Pick 10 (154th Overall) - Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas (6’5”, 252 lbs.)
Sprinkle is your big, inline TE option. He’s a guy that would be out there in two-TE sets along with Jordan Reed. At the same time, he’s a guy who makes sense given Reed’s injury history.
He’ll be a developmental guy given the ‘Skins are pretty set at TE with Reed and Vernon Davis. He was a great special teams player at Arkansas and should contribute right away there in Washington, as well. While has the big size and inline TE specs, he was actually, probably a better receiver than blocker in college. With his height and size, he’s a particularly useful red-zone threat and caught 6 TDs last year. With his size and some good coaching, he could become a great blocker and a true, complete TE. He’ll be competing with Niles Paul and Derek Carrier behind Reed and Davis.
Round 6, Pick 15 (199th Overall) - Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming (6’4”, 312 lbs.)
Roullier isn’t a guy who’s going to come in and compete with Spencer Long for the starting spot, but he is a great value thanks to his versatility (can definitely play G in addition to C). He has the skills both as a run blocker and as a pass protector to potentially become a starter one day, but it’s pretty safe to say that he’ll be a solid reserve interior OL with versatility.
He’s known as a very smart player (and just person in general) and was a good pick to fill a need as the reserve C as the Redskins didn’t really have a backup for Long before this pick. In college, Coullier player all of the OL spots and played them all well (yes, even OT). He’s a physical specimen of an OL with great size. His big knock is short arms. However, short arms don’t really matter much on the interior and that’s why he won’t be playing OT for the ‘Skins.
Round 6, Pick 25 (209th Overall) - Robert Davis, WR, Georgia St. (6’3, 219 lbs.)
Similar to Nicholson, Davis checks all the height, weight, and speed boxes for the Redskins. He’s an athlete who kills the drills and workouts. He won’t be contributing much at WR for the ‘Skins this year, but he’s an ideal project at the position. He’s big with good speed (ran a 4.44 40).
Where Davis struggles is with his route running. He’s a former basketball player and a great athlete, but is raw and definitely needs coaching.
Round 7, Pick 12 (230th Overall) - Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville (6’4”, 217 lbs.)
He’s a guy who was built to cover TEs.
JHC is a FS who’s tall, fast, and has good coverage ability. He could definitely move to ILB in nickel and dime situations and help the overall coverage ability of our defense. If the Redskins go that route, he’ll need to add some weight and strength. He was kicked out of Georgia for smoking pot (two suspensions). Still, he could grow into the role that Su’a Cravens occupied last year. He’ll be a special-teamer as a rookie.
Round 7, Pick 17 (235th Overall) - Joshua Holsey, DB, Auburn (5’11”, 195 lbs.)
A four-year SEC starter in the 7th round? Yes, please. Holsey is a guy who played both CB and S at Auburn. He has a bit of an injury history, but everyone has their faults in the 7th round.
At the pro level, Holsey is a probably a slot/nickel CB. He tore his left ACL twice in college. However, he ran a 4.43 40 at his Pro Day. While most of the CBs currently on the Redskins roster are outside guys, Holsey could become that prototypical slot CB that they’ve been looking for.
It typically takes a couple years to really judge a draft class, and having 10 picks certainly helped, but the Redskins appear to have really bolstered their front seven while giving themselves plenty of developmental/future help in their secondary. It was clearly a draft aimed a fixing the defense. The fact that they were able to find a possible starting RB is icing on the cake. Time will tell.
What grade do you give the Redskins 2017 draft?
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