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Can We Grade The 2015 Redskins Draft Now? Matt Jones Edition

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Hogs Haven takes a look at the hits and misses from the 2015 class.

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Two years have passed and I think it's safe for us to air our collective judgments about the successes and failures from the 2015 Redskins draft class. As many recall this was a highly anticipated draft as it was the first of Scot McCloughan's short tenure in Washington. The pre-draft excitement was at a high not just because of the players in the class but because for the first time in many years a well-known, well-respected, and proven talent evaluator was helping lead the team in what was the beginning of a rebuild for the team. McCloughan outlined a plan for the team and for the type of player and talent he wanted to fill the team with. By now we all know the what he was looking for. A football player. Size, talent, toughness, someone with innate instincts for their position and understands its not about the individual but about the sum of its parts.

The Redskins originally had the 5th pick of the third round (#69 overall) but traded that pick with the Seahawks for pick #95 (3rd round), #112 (4th round), #167 (5th round), #181 (5th round). Seattle selected Tyler Lockett with #69 and the Redskins selected Matt Jones with #95. If the selection of Preston Smith threw some people off in the round prior the selection of Jones hit a lot of us like a Mack truck. It was not that Jones was unknown per se, it was that Jones was projected to go 2 if not 3 whole rounds later across all major draft sites. Most of the major draft pundits from most of the major outlets lauded Jones for his size, footwork, forward burst, and his ability to pass protect. They also criticized his lack of versatility which included catching the ball in a limited capacity, not exploiting open running lanes and gaps, his impatience behind his blockers, and lack of elusiveness in the open field.

The pick was immediately met with criticism from some fans and the discussion around the pick generally fell into two buckets: McCloughan and the coaching staff must have seen something in Jones that everyone missed and he could be a diamond in the rough or that he was a player that was severely over drafted and that the Redskins really reached on the pick. The move was further questioned at the time because Alfred Morris was still on the team and had just come off a 1,074 yard 8 TD season.

Despite that, anticipation to see Jones play got to an all time high when McCloughan said that Jones’ running style reminded him of Marshawn Lynch.

Jones and Morris split time during the 2015 season and honestly, both backs put up lackluster rushing yardage with an embarrassing yards per carry average with neither getting into the end zone with any sort of regularity. I suppose the front office and staff thought Jones had the better potential as they let Morris leave in free agency the following year. Jones started last season as the clear lead back. Despite some flashes in his rookie and second season, Jones never played well for any consistent amount of time.

The criticisms of the pundit's pre-draft came to light and I think it's safe to say that most Redskins fans never saw the similarities to Marshawn Lynch that the GM saw. Jones promptly landed in the dog house because of a fumbling issue of which he had 8 in two seasons. He never improved upon his rookie rushing totals and didn't have the chance to because of his propensity to lose the ball. Seemingly the last straw was when Jones fumbled in or near the red zone in the Detroit matchup last season. Unfortunately, and most disappointing about Jones in my view is that he seemingly failed to recognize or at least improve upon his shortcomings.

I say that because of recent news in which via his agent Jones has asked to be traded or released from the team. It's hard to qualify character traits from just watching men on TV but through his actions and perhaps even words I would have liked to see Jones show a bit more self-reproach in regards to where he needed to improve and get better. Even though he was benched last season I would have expected Jones to be one of the first at Redskins Park working to get better and to fight to earn his carries back but now it seems as if Jones would just like to go to another team where he can get carries unchallenged.

In my opinion, Jones doesn’t lack physical talent, he lacks the drive to better himself and to compete. It's a damning quality for a football player. He is by far in my view the most disappointing and the biggest miss of the 2015 draft. It remains to be seen how and when Matt Jones’ time in D.C. will be done however for his career sake I hope he begins to put the pieces together.

Now for some speculation!

There are some interesting players that were taken at and after the Redskins original 3rd round pick including:

Tyler Lockett, WR (Seattle)
Tevin Coleman, RB (Atlanta)
John Miller, OG (Buffalo)
Jordan Hicks, LB (Philadelphia)
David Johnson (Arizona)
Danielle Hunter (Minnesota)

There are also a few players that could have been selected at #95 instead of Jones and they include:

Steven Nelson, CB (Kansas City)
Trey Flowers, OLB/DE (New England)
Jeremy Langford, RB (Chicago)
Clayton Geathers, S (Indianapolis)

From the pick trade (and a subsequent trade after) the Redskins received Matt Jones, Arie Koundijo, Kyshoen Jarrett, and Evan Spencer. Two of those guys are out of the league/retired.

Are you still pleased with the trade? Or would you have rather stood pat at #69 and taken one of the players I mentioned or one that wasn’t mentioned? Would you have rather the trade happened but just that another player was selected instead of Jones?

Say in the comments!

Poll

How Would Grade The Matt Jones Selection Today?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A (Excellent, home run quality)
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    B (Good, but would have rather had another player)
    (14 votes)
  • 27%
    C (Average, lots of better players could have been a Redskin with the pick)
    (141 votes)
  • 35%
    D (Below Average, selected a bad player at not a position of need)
    (181 votes)
  • 33%
    F (This pick might as well have been forfeit)
    (169 votes)
509 votes total Vote Now