This series asks a few more detailed questions about the newest Redskins. This year I had the pleasure of asking the writers at Gobbler Country about Redskins 7th round pick Greg Stroman. Jay Johnson and John Schneider gave us some great information regarding new Redskin CB Greg Stroman.
Cadillactica: The Redskins traded away Kendall Fuller this offseason and have an immediate need at nickel corner. Before the draft, it was assumed last years 7th round pick Josh Holsey would be first in line for the job. With Stroman getting selected in the 7th round this year he should be in direct competition with Holsey for the job. Do you think he can beat out Holsey? If so why?
John Schneider: Stroman is an underappreciated talent. He started Hokie life as a wideout, and ended as a solid, reliable cornerback who could man up, or play good zone. His hands benefited him greatly because he can ball hawk, and then do something with it on the return. He’s really smart and has a good attitude. BTW, in Bud Foster’s defensive backfield schemes if you are afraid of contact in the box or out, you don’t play for him long. He certainly has the talent to challenge for a roster slot.
Jay Johnson: I agree with John that Stroman was underappreciated. He played beyond his size, wasn’t afraid of contact, and was fantastic at playing the ball in the air. I do think he can compete because of that.
Cadillactica: I thought Stroman would have been selected sooner. I think he is a pretty technically sound corner. Do you think position depth or size contributed to his slide or were there other issues?
John Schneider: The draft game is pretty inscrutable most of the time. Teams do things for whatever reason, and there have been many more duds than gems in those vaunted higher rounds. I think the Skins selected him when they did because they could. Same for Settle. If they thought they needed to pick them earlier they would have, but delaying the picks also reduced the money involved in the contracts. His size will always be an issue, but those seemingly skinny legs propelled him into being a competent tough corner and a multi-touchdown punt returner.
Jay Johnson: I will tie my wagon to the size horse, regarding why he was selected in the sixth round. But, I agree that he is a sound corner and he is certainly an intelligent player, which is likely what kept him from falling into the undrafted rookie free agent world.
Cadillactica: If Stroman doesn't win the starting Nickel job one area he can help the Redskins is on punt and kick returns. Could you tell us a bit about him as a returner? What makes him effective?
John Schneider: I have a picture that says a thousand words… maybe two… I'd have to look them up.
Jay Johnson: Throughout his time as a returner, with the Hokies, I found myself often yelling at the television when Stroman was returning, particularly during his first two seasons. Mr. Stroman had a terrible habit of wanting to go backwards before he would go forward. He rectified this a bit during his final season, but such a technique will not play well at the speed of the NFL. I know he received an honorable mention for being a return specialist, but he is going to have to be careful not to fall into bad habits when return coverage breaks down early.
Cadillactica: One knock on Stroman is his size specifically how he carries weight on his frame. Do you think he can improve that in an NFL strength and conditioning program or do you think he will always be on the more slender side? Do you view it as a detriment?
John Schneider: See Answer 2.
Jay Johnson: I think he will improve with a professional strength and conditioning program, but I fear that the returns will be minimal. He will struggle with packing on weight. During the coverage game he will be fine, but it is a detriment when it comes time to start dropping folks. Stroman will struggle with solo tackles, particularly against large receivers and bulky RBs. Dudes like Leonard Fournette, moving with a full head of steam in the backfield, are going to run right through him and his contribution will be limited to slowing the runner down in hopes that backup gets there in time.
Cadillactica: The Redskins have some tough division rivals with tough slot receiving options. How do you think Stroman would stack up to a Nelson Aglohor, Sterling Shepard, or Cole Beasley? Where do you think he would struggle? Where might he succeed?
John Schneider: He’d be a serious pest for most NFL Slots. He's quick. He gets his hips turned pretty well and learned to get his head cranked around to be aware of where the ball was. Super fast receivers might run by him, but anything in traffic, he has absolutely no fear about getting in the mix.
Jay Johnson: Stroman is exactly what the doctor ordered against players like Aglohor, Shepard, and Beasley. I think in such matchups his size will be much less of an issue. His intelligent play and ball instincts will be a constant risk for anyone sending passes to slots.
Cadillactica: Could you tell us about his toughness and physicality? Can the team be confident in his ability to play the run or even blitz the QB?
John Schneider: Greg Stroman played 3 years for Bud Foster. In that three years, Foster deployed the Bear Front 4-2-5 as a base defense probably 40% of the time, and that was the latter season and a half. With linebacker issues plaguing the Hokies, Foster often managed a 4-1-6 or even a 4-0-7 configuration. Stroman was always in that mix. He made hits, covered receivers, grabbed picks, and then ran back punts. I think that he’s much tougher and better than the stereotypers know.
Jay Johnson: He is tough and physical and plays without fear. Even though the effort will be present, the team must account for his smaller stature. He will be a contributor to stopping ball carriers but should not be depended on as the sole means for ending a run or yards after catch. Blitzing the QB might be a bit much for him. Should he actually find himself through the O-line I fear that he would be the defender wrapped around the QB’s ankles while he still manages to get the ball away.
Cadillactica: If you had to describe him using a word or short phrase what would it be?
John Schneider: Beamer Ball in Motion.
Jay Johnson: Underrated.
Thanks to Jay and John again. I thought the Redskins got a real steal when they drafted Stroman in the 7th round. Not only did I think he was going to go earlier but I thought he was one of the better nickel corners in the draft. The competition between him and Holsey this offseason should be really fun to watch.