I routinely visit the SB Nation fan sites for our division rivals, and I was surprised and pleased to see that all three of them had evaluated the Redskins draft rather favorably.
Of course, the obvious selection of Chase Young falls into the ‘no brainer’ category, but after that, the writers at Big Blue View, Blogging the Boys and Bleeding Green Nation had some interesting (and some less interesting) comments on the Redskins draft.
BIG BLUE VIEW
The writers at the Giants website put together a “Big Board” with draft projections in advance of the April Selection Meeting, so their Review article focused on comparing actual draft picks to their Big Board.
Washington Redskins - 8 Picks
On-Value Picks: 2
All told Washington had a solid draft. Their best pick will likely be Chase Young, who has the potential to be a steal despite being the second player selected, but is an “On-Value Pick” per our board as a “Top-5” player.
Their biggest value pick could be LSU OT Saahdiq Charles. We gave Charles a “Third Round” grade when putting the board together. That being said, we all recognize that he has solid “Second Round” talent, but none of us could find out what he was disciplined for at LSU. So with that in mind we couldn’t justify putting him in the “Second Round” tier. But even so, getting him in the fourth round after executing the trade of Trent Williams could wind up being a good move value-wise. Washington also got good value in Antonio Gandy-Golden, who they selected with the 36th pick in the fourth round and we gave a “Third Round” grade.
After that Washington departed from our board completely, and we didn’t have a grade on any of their last four picks.
BLOGGING THE BOYS
The writers at Blogging the Boys seemed as puzzled as their counterparts at BBV by the latter half of the Redskins draft. They liked what Kyle Smith did better than what Howie Roseman did, but graded the ‘Skins draft 3rd best out of four.
The Redskins went into this draft without a second-round pick but were able to take probably the best player in the draft in Chase Young in the first round. They came back in the third and were able to take the Memphis utility back Antonio Gibson to pair with Derrius Guice, and LSU offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles who fell to them due to off-the-field issues that scared teams. After those three picks, the Redskins didn’t really do anything that jumps out as outstanding.
You would think that with the second overall picks in each round the Redskins would find more players that can come in and help this team immediately, but they did find a few players to come in and give new head coach Ron Rivera’s something to build upon. What really hurts the Redskins in this draft is the way the situation was handled trading Pro-Bowler Trent Williams to the 49ers for a fifth-round pick and a third-round pick next year. They could have received more draft capital if they had moved Williams before the draft.
Draft Evaluation - Good
Overall the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants were able to add players that can come in and start along with players to add depth to their roster. The Washington Redskins were able to find a few good players early in the draft, but not enough in the later rounds to help the team win a lot more games next season. The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t really do much, speed is great but when you create a quarterback controversy for no reason that could hurt your team down the road, that is not good for business.
BLEEDING GREEN NATION
It’s interesting times over at BGN, where the writers seem to be alienating the readers with a stream of constant criticism of Howie Roseman and his off-season moves.
The BGN writers wrote the most in-depth post-draft analysis of what the Redskins front office did, and seemed to come away the most impressed of our three division rivals. They actually wrote a paragraph or more about each of the Redskins eight draft picks.
Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
Chase Young’s NFL projection is pretty simple. The freakishly athletic pass rusher is going to step on the field for Washington as soon as possible and proceed to be a problem for the next decade. I don’t need to write too much about this pick, because it makes me sad.
I take solace in the inevitability of Dan Snyder somehow boofing this.
Antonio Gibson, Offensive Weapon, Memphis
Antonio Gibson was one of the draft’s most unique players. The six foot, 230 pound offensive player put up a highlight reel during his last season in college. Gibson made huge plays on every touch; averaging 19.3 yards per catch (38 catches) and 11.2 yards per rush (33 rushes). Gibson scored 12 times on only 71 touches from scrimmage and scored once more on a kick return.
Gibson’s NFL projection is easy in the modern league; he can line up anywhere on the field for a creative offensive mind to create mismatches. He is too big for slot cornerbacks to cover, too fast for most linebackers to cover and his rushing ability makes his down to down usage unpredictable.
Scott Turner comes over from the Carolina Panthers to coordinate Washington’s offense and if Gibson’s role is even slightly similar to Christian McCaffrey; he should become a dangerous offensive role player.
Saahdiq Charles, Offensive Tackle, LSU
Saahdiq Charles’ college career feels like a big “What If?”
Charles sprung onto the scene as a freshman, earning All-SEC honors while playing all over the offensive line. In his second season, the talented lineman started 10 games at left tackle but couldn’t finish the year due to injury. In his final year, Charles was a key contributor to LSU’s record setting offense… when he was on the field. Charles missed six games due to disciplinary reasons over the course of the season.
Apparently concerns about Charles’ character had some teams taking him off their boards, but Washington took a big swing by drafting him in the fourth round.
Charles is gifted and likely would have been a top fifty pick if not for off-field concerns: He is a massive, athletic tackle who is an outstanding run blocker. At only 20 years old, it is clear he has some growing to do on and off the field. Washington, newly in need of a starting left tackle, could win big if Charles can grow under Ron Rivera’s tutelage.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, Wide Receiver, Liberty
When looking at small school prospects, it is important they are able to dominate week in, week out. Antonio Gandy-Golden was kicking ass when Liberty was in the FCS and kept kicking ass when they moved to the big leagues. The 6’4”, 225 pound receiver caught 10 touchdowns in each of his last three years and averaged almost 18 yards per catch in his final year.
Gandy-Golden is a big play threat because of size, strength and a “my ball” mentality when he’s targeted. He isn’t a burner by any means, but consistently made plays down the field due to outstanding ball skills.
It will be interesting to see him jump to the NFL from Liberty. He has the tools to start in the NFL, but certainly has to improve. You can’t consistently win in the NFL purely as a jump ball specialist, so it will be interesting to see if he can improve his route running ability.
Keith Ismael, Center, SDSU
This was a smart pick for Washington and indicative of their draft philosophy. Keith Ismael is a smart, high motor center who had guard experience.
It is obvious that Washington is interested in high motor players with positional versatility; especially on offense. Ismael is undersized and not a great athlete; but it’s clear he could make it into a starting position given his physicality and football IQ.
Khaleke Hudson, Linebacker, Michigan
Khaleke Hudson looked like a star after his sophomore year when he posted a wild 17.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. The safety/linebacker hybrid never really grew after that season, however, and ended up just being a steady contributor for Michigan instead of a year-to-year playmaker.
Hudson’s chances of being a starting NFL defender is tough projection because of his size. At 5’11”, 225 pounds; he is much too small to be an NFL linebacker, but he does make sense as a big nickel defender who can cover running backs and tight end.
What is most likely is Hudson being a difference maker on special teams. Hudson blocked five kicks during his career at Michigan. His hair-on-fire playing style fits well as a Specialist and that is probably what Washington is getting.
Kamren Curl, Safety, Arkansas
This is another depth pick for Washington. Kamren Curl is a hard hitting football player who was a three year starter at Arkansas. He is not a great athlete, nor is he a plus coverage defender. Curl is most likely going to end up as special teamer with a chance to be a third safety.
James Smith-Williams, Edge, NC State
This is a low-risk, high-reward pick for Washington. James Smith-Williams is a notably high character player who is also an excellent athlete. Smith-Williams never translated his talent into production at NC State however due to injuries throughout his career.
If Washington can get a healthy James Smith-Williams, they could end up with a possible rotational player for their deep defensive line; but that could be a long shot.