The Redskins entered the 2019 NFL Draft with a lot of holes on the current roster, and a nice array of top 100 picks to attempt to fill some of those holes. What they did to fill those needs, and how they did it was an absolute thing of beauty!
Despite rumors of the Redskins being in on every top quarterback in the draft, and even being mentioned as a team looking to trade into the top 3 to get a future franchise signal caller, the Skins played it smart, and by all accounts, followed the draft board that Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith and his team put together - and let me just say, it was a DAMN good board!
Credit also goes out to Daniel Synder for going against what many thought would be his desire to move up in the draft to secure a player like Dwayne Haskins, and even Bruce Allen for calling in the names of the players they had selected to his representatives who were present in Nashville.
Overall, this was one of the best drafts I’ve ever seen this team have - and most of you who know me, know that I am not very easy to please when it comes to this type of thing.
Below, I will give you my analysis and grades on our 2019 draft picks.
Round 1, Pick 15: Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio St. - Staying tight, and letting Dwayne Haskins fall to them at pick 15 was the definition of brilliant. A franchise quarterback on a rookie deal was arguably the Redskins top need, and this was an incredible value vs need pick. I had Haskins ranked as my top quarterback in the draft, and to get him where we did, without having to give up any draft capital, was simply amazing.
Early in the draft process, shortly after the record-setting Ohio St. signal caller declared his intentions to enter the NFL Draft, I figured there was no way we’d even sniff him at number 15. He has the entire package as a passer, with plus size, a cannon for an arm, accuracy, the ability to throw from different arm angles and incredible football knowledge. He’s a leader by example, and a guy who makes those around him better. Being that he was passed over by three other quarterback-needy teams within the top half of the draft, Haskins will come into the league with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove to those teams that they made a mistake passing on him - especially the NFC East rival New York Giants.
Tyler’s Take: Absolutely outstanding pick at #15 overall! Quarterback is the most important player on a football team, and the Redskins got a heck of a talent here. Not having to move up in the draft to get him makes this pick even better.
NFL Comparison: Philip Rivers
Round 1, Pick 26: Montez Sweat EDGE Miss. St. - Sweat was one of my favorite players in this entire draft, and he happened to fall at a great position of need for the Redskins. Leading up to the draft, I had him ranked as a top 10 pick, and had recently mocked him to the Giants at number six overall. During the Combine, it was discovered that he had a heart condition, and although it was relatively benign, it may have scared a few teams. As the draft process wore on, there were rumors that the diagnosis was inaccurate, and that his condition may have been slightly over-blown. Whatever the case, Sweat slipped on day one into the mid twenties - and this is where the Redskins made a move.
Giving up their second round pick(number 46 overall) in the 2019 draft, and a 2020 second rounder, the Redskins moved back into the first round and selected Sweat at number 26 overall. Tears of joy(Yes, you can hear tears!) were heard all over New England coming from the Tyler household when that pick was announced!
In Sweat, the Redskins get a pure EDGE rusher known for being able to convert speed to power. He broke a combine record for defensive linemen by running a 4.41 40 at 6’6” 260 pounds. His length(35 3/4” arms), frame and athleticism will make him and immediate impact player opposite Ryan Kerrigan, and will give the Redskins something they have not had at OLB since switching to the 3-4 defense years ago - pure speed!
Tyler’s Take: My favorite pick of the draft for us! Talk about value vs need - this pick defines it! I had Sweat as a top 10 overall talent in this entire draft class, and to get him at pick 24, and give up as little as we did to do so, was outstanding!
NFL Comparison: Marcus Davenport
Round 3, Pick 12: Terry McLaurin WR Ohio St. - McLaurin’s teammate Parris Campbell may have stolen some of the headlines at Ohio St., but many draft experts thought McLaurin was the best draftable wide receiver on the Buckeyes. At almost 6’1” and 208 pounds, McLaurin showcased his talents as one of the top pass catchers in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He followed that up with a combine performance that saw him clock a 4.35 40, vertical jump 37.5 inches, and put up 18 reps at 225 pounds. His on-field work was stellar, and his draft stock began to rise.
Some draft experts had McLaurin going in the later part of round two, but when he was on the clock for the Redskins in round three, it was a very easy decision. Not only is McLaurin fast, but he’s a very advanced route runner, physical after the catch, an excellent blocker, and a special teams demon. He is a lead-by-example type player who by all accounts is a consummate professional on and off the field.
Tyler’s Take: Very solid pick! This is a guy who has the chance to develop into a very good all-around receiver, and special teams ace. He’s a do-it-all type of guy who should be a great leader on this team for years to come. Plus, he and Haskins already have chemistry.
NFL Comparison: Pierre Garcon
Round 4, Pick 10: Bryce Love RB Stanford - Love began his career at Stanford as a backup to former first round pick Christian McCaffrey. In reserve duty as a sophomore, he had 783 yards rushing and three scores. The following year, after McCaffrey left for the NFL, Love ran for 2118 yards and scored 19 touchdowns finishing second in the Heisman voting. He didn’t have the same impact in 2018 as teams schemed to stop the dynamic runner by stacking eight men in the box. He had ankle issues that hampered his ability to plant, cut and accelerate, and in the team’s final game on December 1st, he ended up tearing his ACL.
Had Love entered the draft in 2018 as a Junior, he’d have been a first or high second round pick. Instead, he chose to come back and finish his degree(he has hopes of becoming a pediatrician when he’s done playing football). The injuries were extremely unfortunate, but with the advancements made in ACL reconstructive surgery today, he’s expected to make a full comeback. When healthy, Love possesses sub 4.4 speed and amazing acceleration. He’s an underrated pass catcher out of the backfield, and he could be an eventual replacement for Chris Thompson, who is set to become a free agent in 2020.
Tyler’s Take: I LOVED this pick! Some may say this was not a need pick, and Love was picked about a round too high, but I was told on my pre-draft conference call by Mark Dominik that Love was someone to watch, and that he’d go higher than most thought. Dominik was spot-on.
NFL Comparison: Jamaal Charles
Round 4, Pick 29: Wes Martin OG Indiana - I will admit, I didn’t watch any film on Martin, so I can only go by what others have reported on him.
At 6’3” 311, he’s know for his brute strength(said to have done 42 reps at 225 pounds at Indiana) and is a mauler inside. He was a three year starter and team captain at Indiana. He’s solid in the run game, but may struggle a bit with quicker 3-techniques in the NFL. He should be able to come into camp and compete for the starting left guard spot with fellow rookie Ross Pierschbacher and Ereck Flowers.
Tyler’s Take: Not a sexy pick, but should provide solid depth with future starting potential.
NFL Comparison(from Lance Zierlein): Shawn Lauvao
Round 5, Pick 15: Ross Pierschbacher G/C Alabama - What would a Redskins draft be without a player taken from Alabama? Well, the Redskins didn’t disappoint in this area, selecting Alabama interior offensive linemen Ross Pierschbacher.
In my opinion, the Redskins got tremendous value at this selection, as I had Pierschbacher as a late third round-fourth round prospect. He’s a tad bit undersized at just 307 pounds, but he’s a technician who has great footwork and understands angles. He was a four year starter at Alabama who has the ability to play either guard or center. He may need to add some functional strength, but once he does so, he has the potential to be a very good pro. I see him competing in training camp to earn the starting left guard spot, and being the team’s back-up center.
Tyler’s Take: I really like this pick, and I think Pierschbacher is really under-rated at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes in and wins the starting left guard spot outright this summer.
NFL Comparison: Ben Jones
Round 5, Pick 35: Cole Holcomb LB North Carolina - Holcomb is another prospect I did not study during the draft process, so my evaluation on him is solely on what I’ve heard and read.
What stood out most when I watched some highlights post-draft of Holcomb was his speed. He was quick to diagnose plays, and got there in a hurry. He seemed to be more of a wrap-up tackler, than a guy who was there to deliver a big blow, but that got the job done.
The former walk-on is a bit under-sized at just 231 pounds, but lead his team in tackles three years straight at UNC, and was a special teams standout early in his college career. He ran his 40 in 4.48 at his Pro Day.
Tyler’s Take: I’m fine with this pick at this spot in the draft as depth and special teams ability. We needed more speed at linebacker, and Holcomb gives us just that.
NFL Comparison: Tim Shaw
Round 6, Pick 34: Kelvin Harmon WR NC State - Coming into the draft, I had Harmon squarely planted in round two. He didn’t run very well at the combine, posting a 4.6 40, but his tape was outstanding. He had back-to-back 1000 yard receiving years at NC State before deciding to leave early as a junior.
This kid is a big, physical possession receiver with an alpha mentality. At almost 6’3” and 221 pounds, he’s a bully. He may not have the quickest feet, but he does a nice job as setting his defender up at his stem, and he uses double-moves as well as any receiver in this class. He is able to use his body to shield smaller defenders from the ball, and he tracks over-the-shoulder throws very well. He’s a true red-zone threat - something the Redskins have not had here in years.
Tyler’s Take: I was championing for Harmon when he was on the board with our first third round pick, and to get him in round six was absolutely amazing value that matched a great need. I feel Harmon can come in with a chip on his shoulder and be a starter as a rookie. He will be a great go-to guy for rookie Dwayne Haskins. If these two can build chemistry over the years; watch out!
NFL Comparison: Michael Thomas
Round 7, Pick 13: Jimmy Moreland DB JMU - Morland is a local product from JMU, who I was really pretty unaware of throughout the draft process. I did some film study on him after the selection, and I came away very impressed.
First, he has excellent speed, reaction and awareness. He plays the ball very well in the air, often going up and high-pointing the football over taller receivers. He’s great in press coverage, and can really tackle.
Tyler’s Take: Excellent athlete with exceptional ball skills(18 career interceptions), who some feel may be able to transition to free safety even though he’s undersized at just 5’10” 185.
NFL Comparison: Lamarcus Joyner
Round 7, Pick 39: Jordan Brailford EDGE Oklahoma St. - Brailford put up some impressive numbers at the combine including a 4.65 40, 37.5 inch vertical and 22 reps of 225 pounds. Injuries hindered him early on during his college career, but he came on strong in 2018, collecting 55 tackles, 17 for a loss, 10 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Tyler’s Take: Brailford could fight for a spot on the roster as a reserve outside linebacker and special teamer.
Overall, this was one of the best drafts I’ve seen the Redskins have since I began following the team as a youngster. Our picks filled big team needs, and the value of these picks were, for the most part, outstanding.
Favorite Pick: Montez Sweat
Best Value Pick: Kelvin Harmon
Biggest Head Scratcher: Cole Holcomb
Overall Draft Grade: A