The Washington Redskins came into the 2018 NFL draft with seemingly one too many holes, or at least question marks, on their roster. There was a lack of depth amongst the front seven defensively as well as the secondary, no true two-down or all-purpose running back, and the offensive line was lacking depth as well. By the end of the draft, each question mark was addressed in some way.
One of the two most controversial picks came with the Redskins first-round selection. Da’Ron Payne was on the board, amongst other first round talents, more notably safety Derwin James. Knowing the interest the Redskins had in Minkah Fitzpatrick, the drop-off if at all from Minkah to Derwin was little to none. At 13, many were expecting to trade back if Washington thought of going the Payne route. Instead, they selected him at 13. It was the right move for a couple of reasons. The main one being if you are confident someone is your guy, and you can't afford to risk passing on him to gain additional assets, then you take him without hesitation. That is precisely what the Redskins did when they were on the clock. They knew the young and gifted defensive lineman was too good to pass up, and they took the less flashy pick and stayed true to building the trenches.
Although they did not take a chance with their first round selection by trading out of 13, they did, however, trade their second-round pick to collect a third rounder that was lost in the Alex Smith trade. Derrius Guice was their second round selection and undoubtedly an A grade value for where he was selected. Guice potentially fills the hole that was left by former running backs in Alfred Morris and even all the way back to Clinton Portis. Those were the Redskins last two reliable and consistent running backs before going into the abyss the last few seasons at the position. The hope is for Guice to be the dominant two-down back that Washington is in dire need of, with one of Semaje Perine or Robert Kelly (or another back) spelling Guice, and Chris Thompson handling all third-down duties and additional reps.
The second controversial pick of the draft came with third round pick Geron Christian. The offensive tackle out of Louisville is seemingly an undersized project player that is not necessarily filling the hole the Redskins have at left guard. Christian is not expected to play guard with the Redskins; he is more so expected to be a depth player and a quality back-up at some point to the offensive tackles on both the left and right side. After taking some time to analyze the pick, it is not as bad as many thought it was initially. The Redskins struggled with injuries all across the board on the offensive line. To be able to get one of the more capable swing tackles in the draft is a solid addition to a team who lacked the depth when their linemen went down. Christian will need some time before anyone decides to call him a reach or not.
Rounds four through seven provided more depth to a few positions that lacked it heading into the draft. The Redskins had a very detailed strategy when making their selections with a commitment to stopping the run, running the football effectively, acquiring more speed, and building familiarity on the defensive side of the football. Fifth round draft pick Tim Settle was drafted precisely to address the nose tackle position that Washington hasn't successfully addressed for some time now.
It is hard to get upset at the Redskins approach this draft knowing the specific positions addressed. Of course, everyone will not be happy with each draft pick, but down the road, if this draft class turns out to be consistent and valuable contributors to the roster, it will be a crucial reason why the Redskins are contending for NFC titles. Which should be the goal.