When the Redskins used their newly acquired third round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft that they got from the San Francisco 49ers for moving back in the second round on an offensive tackle, many fans went, “what”. Now that we’ve had a few weeks to digest the pick of Geron Christian, many fans are now going “heck yeah”.
Offensive tackle was certainly not one of the team’s top needs heading into the offseason, and after watching the first two picks unfold, we could all see the team was certainly drafting for need. When we acquired that third round pick, many assumed that we would target a defensive back or interior offensive linemen...the staff had different ideas.
In a likely move that signifies a switch of veteran Ty Nsekhe to left guard, the Redskins are wisely preparing for their future with the selection of Christian. The former blindside protector of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Geron decided to forgo his final collegiate year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. He was viewed by many draft experts as a developmental offensive tackle with mammoth upside, and was projected as a top 100 prospect who could be selected as high as the second round. When he was available at pick 74 in the third, the Redskins pounced.
Christian was an accomplished basketball player in high school. The balance, agility and footwork you see on the gridiron was all honed from years of playing hoops. After committing to Louisville, he started every game as a true freshmen at left tackle, receiving honorable mention All-ACC. He would go on to start every game over his next two seasons at left tackle, receiving all conference third team and honorable mention respectively. Although he could have benefited from one final season of collegiate football, he decided to follow his quarterback, and take his talents to the NFL.
In Christian, the Redskins get a highly athletic, long offensive tackle prospect. His 35” arms and massive 10 3⁄4 inch mitts help him easily latch on to defenders and redirect them away from his quarterback. He has quick feet, and can sit low in his stance with his hips over the balls of his feet and fire his hands into his man. He’s not a mauler in the run game, but he does show the ability to roll his hips into his blocks and generate leverage.
Where Christian needs some work is with his technique and consistency. His great length is both an asset and a curse at times. He tends to rely too much on his length, which often causes his technique to get sloppy. Sometimes, he gets a bit lazy and lunges instead of bringing his lower body with him on blocks. These are all things that are correctable with good coaching. If these mistakes are fixed, while he continues to add some fundamental strength to his game, he can become a very good one down the line.
Christian should come in as a rookie and immediately begin working as a swing tackle under Bill Callahan. I fully assume he’ll be the team’s top swing tackle as a rookie, as we see Ty Nsekhe kick inside to left guard. Geron is a lock to make the 53-man roster, but if the team feels he still needs some work before he’s asked to contribute as a reserve, they could go with veteran T.J. Clemmings if Williams or Moses were to need replacing, or have Nsekhe kick back outside and insert a reserve at guard.
Overall, the future looks very bright for this young offensive tackle. If he continues to grow at the rate the experts expect, he could be the future replacement at left tackles for Trent Williams. Fans should be very excited to watch the growth and maturation of our newest offensive tackle this summer, and have some piece of mind that if injuries hit our unit like they did last year, offensive tackle should be in good hands.