Though filled with potential and some positive flashes the Redskins 2017 made little overall impact during their rookie season. That potential though and building on it is a big reason why the Redskins could be in contention this year. Last season saw breakout sophomore years from Kendall Fuller and Matt Ioannidis, and a good 2nd campaign for Josh Doctson. If the Redskins have similar breakout seasons and positive development they could be looking stronger at a number of positions. Here’s a look at every pick from the 2017 draft class and what the Redskins might expect from them in year two.
1st Rd Jonathan Allen, DL-
-Allen quickly showed why the Redskins chose him in the 1st round with a strong start to the year. Unfortunately Allen got injured in the 5th game of the season and only managed to be on the field for 14.5% of the defensive snaps last season. While his counting stats didn’t wow you with 1 sack and 10 tackles, it was clear he was making his presence known when watching him on tape. Allen had a good number of pressures and was stout versus the run. If he can stay healthy and become a 70% snap guy with his potential the Redskins front line could be pretty strong this year.
2nd Rd Ryan Anderson, OLB-
-Anderson was a 2nd round pick, but despite Trent Murphy’s suspension and subsequent injury, he wasn’t able to earn much playing time or do much when he did get the opportunity. Anderson was active for 14 games and saw 30% of the special teams snaps on the year, on defense though he only managed 17.6% of the snaps and in that time he struggled to make an impact. Despite being drafted as a pass rusher he failed to record a sack, and only got a couple pressures. He enters the year firmly behind starters Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith and veteran Pernell McPhee should be ahead of him as well. Even if everyone stays healthy he should still see a fair chunk of snaps this season, if he doesn’t show improvement as a pass rusher he could quickly find his spot in jeopardy.
3rd Rd Fabian Moreau, CB-
-Moreau slid down the draft due to an injury, but he ended up being healthy all year for the Redskins and was one of just two rookies who were active for all 16 weeks. On defense Moreau only managed to be on the field for just 5.4% of the snaps (59 total), as the breakout of Kendall Fuller and development of Quinton Dunbar meant that Moreau was no better than the 5th corner on the team. Corner was also one of the few position groups that was actually healthy last season as the top 4 corners missed just a combined 4 games (and never the same week). That left Moreau to mainly special teams work where he played on over 73% of the ST snaps, which was the highest percentage on the team. This year though plenty more will be expected out of Moreau as the Redskins let Breeland walk in free agency and traded away Fuller. Moreau will battle with Dunbar and veteran Orlando Scandrick for the number 2 and 3 roles on the team. Even if he can’t crack the starting three, his snap count should jump considerably next year so the Redskins will need to see some positive development. The potential is high for a big jump in production here and a possible breakout season, but it’s far from a sure thing.
4th Rd Samaje Perine, RB-
-Perine was the other Redskins rookie to be active for all 16 weeks, leading all Redskins running backs with 35.5% of the offensive snaps. Perine was underwhelming throughout the season and only had that high of a snap count due to injuries to the rest of the backfield. His production throughout the year was subpar, but he did manage a pair of 100 yard games with decent yards per carry numbers in the middle of the season. He’s clearly behind Derrius Guice for early down work and Chris Thompson will return for the passing down work, but there is still an open spot for the number two back. Perine will battle Robert Kelley for that role with the loser potentially out of a job depending on how many backs the Redskins keep (or if they want an extra pass catching back behind Thompson). If Perine wins the back-up role he will need to show more this season even if it’s just to give Guice a break from time to time. Unfortunately due to the nature of the position, the back-up could have to take on a bigger role so the Redskins will need a back they can rely on. Perine didn’t show much as a rookie, but hopefully he can do more this season.
4th Rd Monte Nicholson, S-
-Nicholson was perhaps the brightest spot from the Redskins rookie class last season, as he wasn’t expected to make a positive impact as a rookie, but he did when he was healthy. Nicholson earned a starting safety role last season in 6 games last year and playing in a total of 8. Unfortunately injuries limited him to just 29% of the defensive snaps, but in that time he showed plenty of flashes making him one of the most interesting players to watch this year. If he can stay healthy he could be in line for a big breakout year and really solidify the back-end of the Redskins defense.
5th Rd Jeremy Sprinkle, TE-
-Sprinkle was active for 11 games last season due to injuries to Jordan Reed and Niles Paul, and managed 12.5% of the offensive snaps to go along with his special teams work. He was primarily used as a blocker with just 2 catches for 13 yards and a touchdown. This year he could see more work as Paul was allowed to leave in free agency and the Redskins didn’t address the position at all in free agency or the draft. While the Redskins hope that Reed will play more this season, his injury track record is extensive so they are definitely counting on Sprinkle to do more this season. Sprinkle will likely be primarily used as a blocker when he is on the field, but he could take on a bigger role in that department with Paul leaving.
6th Rd Chase Roullier, C-
-Roullier was a 6th round pick from Wyoming last season, but he ended up being the rookie who played the highest number of snaps on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball, with a total 457 offensive snaps (45.2%). Roullier was forced into a starting role midway through the 6th game of the year when Spencer Long got injured. Roullier himself missed three games later in the season, but came back for the final weeks of the year. Overall Roullier handled himself well for a 6th round rookie, especially considering that the rest of the line was banged up as well. Roullier is all but guaranteed the starting center job this season, and the Redskins are hoping that his play will step up this season as well. Though he was passable last year, he had his share of rookie struggles that he will need to cut down if he wants to be the long term option at the position.
6th Rd Robert Davis, WR-
-Davis spent most of the year on the practice squad and was only active for one game. He’s got a bit of an uphill climb this season as the top three receiver spots are locked, leaving him to battle it out with Brian Quick, Maurice Harris, rookie Trey Quinn and a number of undrafted free agents for the final three spots. Davis might be in line for another year on the practice squad this season, and expectations are likely low. He does have some interesting size/speed combination, but he’s probably not ready to make an impact.
7th Rd Josh Harvey-Clemons, ILB-
Josh Harvey-Clemons was a safety in college, but is making the transition to be more of a dime linebacker type of defender. He was active for 10 weeks last season and saw 8.5% of the defensive snaps and 43% of the special teams snaps. He showed well on special teams last year, but he might need to show he can have a bigger role on defense (or at least the potential for a bigger role) for him to keep his job. Behind starters Brown and Foster the Redskins have Zach Vigil and Martell Spaight as back-ups with 6th round rookie Shaun Dion Hamilton in the mix as well. There’s no guarantee the Redskins keep more than 4 ILBs as well, so Harvey-Clemons might need to beat out two players for a spot on the team. One way to do that is to show he can actually fill a dime linebacker role. the Coverage talents of the inside linebackers is not their strong suit, so if he can show he can handle that role he could lock up a spot on the roster.
7th Rd Joshua Hosley, CB-
-Hosley showed some flashes in the preseason, but due to the talent in front of him he had no chance of getting defensive snaps during the season as he managed just 9 snaps. Hosley did show enough to be active 12 weeks and carved out a special teams role enough to be on the field for 47.7% of the snaps. This year he could at least get a shot of impressing for a bigger role on defense, though it’s likely he’ll be no higher than 5th among the teams corners. He’s not locked into a roster spot as the team drafted Greg Stroman in the 7th round and added a couple solid undrafted guys to compete with him for the bottom of the depth chart. The key will be which corners can help the most on special teams which should give Hosley an advantage.
What do you think? What can we expect from the 2017 in their 2nd year and will they live up to the hype? Also how many of the class end up on the 53 man roster to start the year?