- The combination of NFL programming and primetime has always been a winner for me. There are very few things that would preempt the NFL in primetime at my house, and the draft is no exception. It is aided by the fact that it is essentially an oasis in the desert of the offseason, providing essential football nourishment at a point in time that is roughly equidistant from the Super Bowl and the upcoming season. That said, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the production that has grown around the event itself. Like most things, it started off okay and is slowly becoming...too much. It made perfect sense to put the first rounds of the NFL Draft on primetime, but does every...single...pick (it seems) have to be its own little sideshow? The parrot...Nate Burleson...David Akers...Deuce Lutui...I am not sure all of that made the draft better. (Maybe it did...I am just not yet sure it did.)
- I know I come off as old and curmudgeonly when I say this, but there was something poetic about waking up early on a Saturday morning, chain-drinking bloody mary’s and watching Mel Kiper hate-bash general managers for an entire day. IN STANDARD DEFINITION!!! I mean, it took me three years just to be able to look Todd McShay in the eyes and take him seriously. Who the hell did he think he was telling the guy with the quaffed hair and the tinted glasses (indoors) that he was wrong about the fifth-round grade on a particular player? HE’S MEL F’ING KIPER!! Now I have to flip back and forth between ESPN and NFL Network because Mike Mayock is the king. I can’t turn my back on Mel (you would be unwise to ever do such a thing, as it is not only disrespectful but is similar to turning your back on a bengal tiger—you’ll have your head ripped off, man), but Mayock is worth the price of admission every time. Either way, I think we have a new tradition brewing where we actually get folks to turn down their televisions and turn on 1st Amendment Sports. We were live for most of the second and third rounds, thanks to the Redskins trade down in the second round. Our camera ran out of juice a few picks before it ended, so we will have to work that out for next season. You might not learn everything you need to know about why you should love whomever the Buffalo Bills pick, but you DEFINITELY will learn everything you need to know to properly hate anyone drafted by Dallas, Philly or New York. You’re welcome.
- Let’s move on to the action of the day(s), with a top-heavy focus (this time NOT a reference to the hat size of anyone who might do a podcast with me). I said it before and I think it remains true: Derwin James was the “best player available” when the Redskins drafted. Still...Da’Ron Payne was close enough to being in that conversation that you can’t really get too apoplectic about not taking James. The fact that Payne fills a bigger need for the Redskins than James would have (disagreement is okay on this, just please be sure to show your work) makes the pick feel just fine. The Cowboys have Ezekiel Elliott. The Eagles have Jay Ajayi, among others. Now the New York Giants have Saquon Barkley, which sucks so hard I still can’t even talk about it. The defensive line in Washington will be tested early and often and by increasing the talent there, we at least have a better chance going into these seemingly weekly tests. I think Payne has the ability to lead, in a different way than his former Alabama teammate, Jonathan Allen. Payne strikes me as more of a vocal leader, in the way that Ryan Anderson was at Alabama. It remains to be seen how he will fit into the locker room, but our defense now has a lot of leadership DNA from one of the preeminent defensive units in all of college football. Despite his baby face, “Major Payne” is no project—he is a plug-and-play starter. I was initially floored when they din’t announce that the Redskins had taken Derwin, but I got over it.
- The selection of Payne is a real testament to the direction the Redskins are deliberately choosing to go in with their defense. Two straight top picks used on defensive linemen in back-to-back drafts is EXACTLY what many people on this site, in the stands and at the tailgates have been demanding. These are blue-chip monsters that are worth the resources used to grab them, and it signals that the Redskins are committed to getting Jim Tomsula what he needs to build a nasty defensive line. I don’t think we can undersell this point. It’s a big deal. Going big and nasty in the trenches is what separates winning from losing in this league, and the Redskins are bigger and nastier today than they were a week ago.
- When the Redskins neared their second round pick, we had our top five, and then our top four, and then our—you get it. We were ready with our top guy when Washington went on the clock. I can’t recall 100%, but I think I was pushing hard for Connor Williams, the offensive lineman out of Texas. I thought he was our next starting left guard, and he also satisfied my “600 pounds of Redskins in the first two rounds” rule. As we read through the allegations surrounding Derrius Guice on the air Friday night between picks #44 and #59, I still never thought Guice would slide that far. I mean, if he was still there at the bottom of the second, I figured he could slide right out of the draft. It was weird, and then, it was GLORIOUS! Kevin talked himself right out of the Guice market in that timeframe and I talked myself into it. I still have no idea what’s real or fake in terms of the stories out there, but I know his highlight montage is real. I know that the fact he looks like he was carved out of the side of a mountain is real. I know his speed and nasty running style are both real. I know we won’t be breaking the bank on what looks to be our starting running back! Drafting Guice is as exciting as it was going to get for the Redskins on Friday, because it pretty much locks up who gets the ball on first down against the Arizona Cardinals in September. If he is healthy, Guice is getting the ball. As much as I have enjoyed watching mid-round running backs compete for jobs in Washington, getting a player like Guice is special because he has the pedigree and a full bundle of talent that you don’t find in the middle rounds of drafts. Two sure-fire starters at positions of need and with undeniable ability out of the first two rounds is a good thing, and I think we spent a good deal of time on Friday night patting DOUG WILLIAMS on the back (and not the “other guy”).
- We will spend more time going over the full haul on tomorrow night’s show, but I thought I would add that I am pretty excited at how excited OTHER people are about Geron Christian, the offensive tackle out of Louisville. I was thrown a bit by the pick, as I didn’t see him as a guy that would kick inside to guard, meaning he would not be a starter for us right away. I think the selection is yet another indication of the possibility that Ty Nsekhe moves inside to guard, though that is certainly not anywhere close to a foregone conclusion. What I love about drafting Christian is that it further cements the commitment to the trenches the Redskins have established in recent drafts. The guy is, as Mike Mayock said, “a starting left tackle in the NFL.” Not today, and likely not in the immediate future, but his measurables make him a player that provides depth at an important position and gives Bill Callahan someone to work with if and when the team has to plug in an offensive tackle. As we have run out of room to go through the rest of the picks here today, I might just say that Trey Quinn, aka Mr. Irrelevant, is a wide receiver who will be given a very real chance to make this roster. Jay Gruden supposedly wanted him earlier than the seventh round, and if Jay thinks Trey can plug into his offense somehow, I feel like that is a strong signal that he may very well be part of this organization in the fall (practice squad counts!).
Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays
The Redskins are feeling pretty good about their 2018 draft haul. How are you feeling after the weekend? (Let’s focus on the draft...haha.)