Breaking down the Redskins 2015 draft class
Round 1: OT/G Brandon Scherff:
Pro: Fills a major need along the offensive line and was probably the top offensive lineman in the draft.
Con: The Redskins had to pass on two potentially elite defensive players in Leonard Williams and Vic Beasley, who both could have filled major needs.
-This is a good pick and while there is of course concern that the Redskins took a RT or G over a potential right side edge rusher or elite DL prospect, teams need more than a top LT to succeed on the offensive line. Scherff is one of the safest picks in the draft because if he can’t make it at RT he can move inside to G. He also gives the Redskins a player who will contribute on every single snap next season (and going forward) on offense. Vic Beasley might be a situational player early in his career and Leonard Williams at the most would play 80-90% of the snaps and that is high for next year.
Round 2: OLB/DE Preston Smith:
Pro: Skins add one of the top edge rushers in the class and a guy who is very capable of getting after the quarterback from right side.
Con: His explosive athleticism didn’t always show up on film, meaning some refinement is needed. The Redskins passed on some other premier pass rushers in Gregory and Harold to take him, did they make the right call?
-Preston Smith has the ability and potential to be an very good right side pass rusher, and a complete every down player. He’s a little bigger than you expect for right side edge guys and he doesn’t always play with explosiveness (though he showed at the Combine that he has that ability), but he plays with nice bend and a lot of length. He’s a guy who many thought would sneak into the 1st round so landing him in the 2nd round is a plus. He should at least take over the pass rushing duties from Trent Murphy as a rookie, and may end up the full time starter.
Round 3: RB Matt Jones:
Pro: The Redskins traded back here and landed three extra picks in the process. Jones is a big physical runner, who has shown well in pass protection.
Con: Jones has had an inconsistent career, with some injuries in his past. With so many talented runners still on the board this feels like a reach pick, as many had more of a 5th-6th round grade on him.
-The Redskins needed to add a running back, and with their move to more of a power running team it isn’t too surprising they went with a more physical back, but drafting Jones this early is a bit of a risk. Jones can help in short yardage and possibly as a pass protector, but you have to be pretty sure he can be more than that to take him in the top 100. Given his injury history and inconsistent career this pick will be scrutinized.
Round 4: WR Jamison Crowder:
Pro: Excellent punt returner with good slot receiver skills. Crowder had 4 punt return TD’s for Duke over the past two seasons.
Con: Really small receiver, who lacks great speed. Given the Skins lack of height at the receiver position, is a bit redundant.
-This is a solid value pick for the Redskins as Crowder was generally considered a 4th-5th round talent. He immediately helps their return game as he has some kick-off return experience, but really excels as a put returner. Despite lacking elite speed, Crowder is an excellent route runner with quickness who finds ways to get open and pick up yards after the catch. He has the potential to be a Wes Welker type slot receiver (though that level of production shouldn’t be expected in this offense). He could put Andre Roberts on notice and make the veteran expendable in 2016.
Round 4: G Arie Kouandjio:
Pro: The Redskins get bigger and more physical on the offensive line with Kouandjio who projects well as a guard in a power running scheme.
Con: Was inconsistent in his career, was more hype than substance until his senior year. Lacks athleticism to be effective on the move.
-This is a good all-around pick. Though there are legit concerns about Kouandjio’s inconsistency and lack of athleticism, he was considered a solid 4th round value. With the Redskins moving to more of a power scheme his lack of athleticism shouldn’t be as much of a concern. Kouandjio is a power mover along the offensive line, who should open up some nice holes for Alfred Morris in the running game. Expect him to compete for a starting role as a rookie, and he has the ability to be a good long term starter for the Redskins.
Round 5: ILB Martell Spaight:
Pro: Good tackler, who has nice instincts in finding the football.
Con: Undersized and not very athletic. May be just a two down linebacker.
-This is solid value for Spaight, and inside linebacker is definitely a need going forward. Spaight isn’t an athletic player and is undersized so he needs to be protected with how he is used to be effective, but if used correctly he should bring positive value to the Redskins. He’s going to struggle in coverage so expect him to be off the field in passing situations, but he’s got great instincts and could be an effective weapon down the road in the running game. Given how Perry Riley struggles to diagnose running plays, Spaight could push for a role as a rookie and replace Riley (at least on early downs) next season. Spaight should also help on special teams.
Round 6: SS Kyshoen Jarrett:
Pro: Physical strong safety, who could be the Redskins next Reed Doughty (and that is a compliment) as an in the box safety who helps on special teams.
Con: Limited upside, Jarrett doesn’t really project to be a starter and is pretty limited to a strong safety role.
-This is okay value for the sixth round, Jarrett is a punishing in the box safety who excels at coming down hill and helping out in the run. He also should immediately help out as a core special teamer, so the Redskins should get positive value from this pick. The concern is he’s another strong safety at a position that already has a number of similar players in Duke Inheacho, Phillip Thomas, Jeron Johnson and Akeem Davis. So the competition will be tougher for him to make the squad (though obviously being a McCloughan pick he has an advantage). Jarrett struggles in coverage so if he’s ever forced into a starting role he will be a liability that will need to be protected.
Round 6: CB Tevin Mitchel:
Pro: He’s got solid size and athleticism, and can maybe fill the role of slot corner down the road.
Con: Project player, wasn’t widely considered to have a draftable grade. Inconsistent career at Arkansas, will need development time.
-This is the first pick that really feels off as Mitchel not only appears to be a reach over more talented corners on the board, but he might struggle to even make the team. Given the depth that was out there you have to hope the Redskins see something that wasn’t considered by the consensus and that they end up being right.
Round 6: WR Evan Spencer:
Pro: Has good size, strong work ethic, comes from a football family and is willing to do whatever he can to help a football team.
Con: Not a refined receiver, didn’t distinguish himself at Ohio State and was more of a blocker than a receiver.
-Spencer comes from a football family with his dad as a coach (and former NFL player) and his brother a scout with the Redskins. He has solid size (currently the best on the Redskins) and good speed, but really hasn’t shown himself to be a capable receiver. For him to be more than a special teamer/WR blocker he will need to make a big jump in his game. He feels like more of a free agent signing than a draft pick, and his ties to the Redskins would have meant he would have been likely to be sign with DC.
Round 7: C Austin Reiter:
Pro: Fills another position of need for the Redskins
Con: Not really considered a draftable prospect, and feels like a pretty limited player overall.
-This feels like a reach and another guy who really may have a tough time making the roster. There were other centers and offensive linemen out there so this is one the Redskins could regret if he can’t even make the roster.
This is a draft that the Redskins went with more certainty early in the draft and then looked at finding role players. Perhaps they passed on elite talents early on, but they did find two very good players, both of whom should contribute early in OL Brandon Scherff and OLB Preston Smith. Their next four picks should all be able to contribute as rookies and at least play a specific role on this team. Kouandjio may be the only one of that group who becomes a fulltime player (even if Spaight is a “starter” he is likely just a player on running downs). In the 6th and 7th round there were more reaches, with Jarrett the only one who seems likely to make the roster and contribute. Overall this feels like a good solid draft (which is a pretty big improvement in DC), but not the home run draft that some were hoping for.