Thoughts on the Redskins 2016 Draft Class

Washington Commanders Washington Redskins Draft

Before I get into the actual picks one thing that surprised me and to me is somewhat clear is the fact that Scot McCloughan probably wasn’t very high on the draft talent this year. While he stayed true to his word about only moving back and not forward, his trades were for future assets not extra picks this year. In fact McCloughan ended up essentially trading away a 4th round pick this year for a 4th and 5th next year (in addition to the extra 6th next year they picked up), reducing his number of selections in this class. Whether this was the right move or not remains to be seen, but it does strike me as a surprise.

Round 1, Pick 22- WR Josh Doctson, TCU:

-Doctson was one of the top 3-4 receivers in this draft class and some people definitely considered him the best long term receiver in this draft class. He combines size, speed, and leaping ability that allows him to become a dangerous weapon at the next level. He has all the tools to develop into a number one receiver and at worst he should be a good number two receiver.

With the Redskins potentially losing both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon next season, long term planning at the receiver position was a priority for the Redskins and they landed a very good option in Doctson. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out between he and Pierre Garcon for the number 2 role in this offense. The Redskins may look to develop him slower and not rush him, so he might not really impact the team until 2017 and beyond.

Round 2, Pick 53- LB Su’a Cravens, USC:

-Cravens was one of the top coverage linebackers in this draft class, and brought a strong record of leadership and toughness to the table. The only concern with Cravens was where would he play at the next level. He’s a bit of a tweener between safety and linebacker, and seemed to fit best in a 4-3 Will linebacker role. In the Redskins base 3-4 he might be undersized to play every down.

While there is some talk of a hybrid situation where he plays SS on early downs and then dime linebacker on passing downs, that is more speculation at this point. The Redskins have said he is viewed as a dime linebacker, and that is the early plan for him. Perhaps he can earn more of an every down role, but right now he looks to be more of a 40% player.

There should be some concern about the value of this pick if he can’t develop into an every down role, but those worries are down the road. In the meantime for when he’s on the field he offers really good coverage abilities as a dime LB, and some nice blitz potential. Situationally speaking he should boost the Redskins 3rd down stop percentage and hopefully limit opposing drives.

Round 3, Pick 84- CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech:

-Fuller was considered to be a top corner prospect entering this year and potentially a first round pick if he came out like his brother was in 2014. Fuller unfortunately tore his meniscus and needed surgery ending his season and clouding his draft prospects.

After the signing of Josh Norman it looked like corner was not a top priority for the Redskins entering the draft, but when they saw Fuller on the board in round 3 they still stuck to their board.

With Norman and Bashuad Breeland locked in as the starter corners and some combination of Chris Culliver (if healthy), Greg Toler, Will Blackmon and Quentin Dunbar behind them, Fuller will have his work cut out for him to jump up this depth chart in 2016.

What Fuller gives the Redskins though are options. If he’s not fully recovered from his surgery the Redskins can be patient with him since they do have corner depth. If he is recovered he gives the Redskins insurance in case Culliver who is coming back from a serious knee injury as well isn’t healthy. Also the Redskins could look to move either Culliver or Blackmon to free safety strengthening that position as well. Fuller might not play as much in 2016, but he gives the Redskins options and a long term quality 3rd corner.

Round 5, Pick 152- DT Matt Ioannidis, Temple:

-This is one of the deeper interior defensive line classes in recent years and that depth allowed Ioannidis to slide some in the draft. In other seasons he might have been a top 100 pick, and instead the Redskins were able to land him in the mid-5th round.

Ioannidis is a powerful run-stuffer, who is tough for teams to run right at. He’s good at diagnosing the play and getting off blocks to make a tackle. While he’s more limited as a pass rusher, he’s strong enough to push the pocket some and force the quarterback into a bad situation. He won’t get a lot of sacks, but he will help others get the job done.

For the Redskins Ioannnidis should have a nice impact as a rotational nose tackle/defensive end on early downs. He should help considerably versus the run, and won’t be a complete liability versus the pass. As a fifth rounder he won’t have a role handed to him, but given his skill set and the Redskins lack of quality run defenders, he could carve out a nice role as rookie.

Round 6, Pick 187- QB Nate Sudfeld, Indiana:

-Sudfeld is a big quarterback who displays a decent arm and solid accuracy. He had a strong senior season and looks to be at least a solid back-up with minimal development.

The Redskins were expected to take a quarterback at some point, and Sunfeld is a guy who was in the 6th-7th round mix. There were other options at quarterback, but it’s easy to see why the Redskins opted for Sudfeld given his development while at Indiana and his big frame and leadership.

He should be the 3rd quarterback this season and he may develop into a solid back-up which has some value.

Round 7, Pick 232- ILB Steven Daniels, Boston College:

-Daniels is a shorter linebacker who lacks speed, agility and explosion, but he makes up for it with strength, instincts and a high-motor. He’s an early down run thumper, and will likely be limited as a role player/back-up/special teamer.

From the Redskins perspective Daniels fits what they are looking for here late in the draft. Sure he’s not the most athletically gifted, but he fits the profile of a leader, hard worker, high motor player with strong instincts. Sure he might never develop into a starter, but its the 7th round a solid back-up/special teamer is good value for this round. Daniels may never be a full time player, but he might earn a role in certain run packages in the future.

Round 7, Pick 242- RB Keith Marshall, Georgia:

-Marshall was highly recruited to Georgia, and joined Todd Gurley as an elite 1-2 Freshman punch for the Bulldogs backfield in 2012. Unfortunately an ACL injury in 2013 robbed him basically of two seasons. By the time Marshall was fully healthy this past year he was passed on the depth chart by another pair of top backs. Marshall did get some work at the end of the season and showed some flashes of his former potential. He had a strong combine and began to get back into the late round consideration.

With the Redskins depth chart pretty thin at running back, Marshall has the chance to carve out a nice role and compete for the starting role this season if he’s healthy. Marshall has excellent speed and burst, and if his knee holds up he could be a good solid back at the NFL level. For a 7th round pick that is good value for the Redskins.


Overall thoughts:

-Overall I like this class for the Redskins and I like trading back and getting some future assets as well. I am a little shocked that they didn’t add more picks this year or spend more resources in some areas that are lacking, but overall this is a strong class.

There is some concern about how much immediate impact this class has, as none of there picks might be a full time starter this season, or even play over 50% of the snaps. Perhaps that is not the case and Doctson unseats Garcon as the starter, Cravens earns a full time role and Fuller is on the field 60% of the snaps in nickel, but all of those are probably the best case scenarios and not the expected outcomes. Drafts though aren’t always about immediate production though and all three of these players should have strong long term value.

The only other real concern is the fact that the Redskins didn’t spend much in the way of resources in fixing their two biggest problem areas: running the football and stopping the run. Late round picks like Ioannidis, Daniels and Marshall help in these areas, but even if they make the team they might max out as role players. Passing on more capable defensive linemen, every down linebackers, running backs, and centers may end up being a regret given the weakness on the depth chart at those spots.

Despite some concerns, Redskins fans should be very happy with this draft class as the front office found a well-rounded class that should improve their roster and have some nice long term impact. One thing that continually becomes clear with Scot McCloughan draft picks, is that he looks for hard working, high motor, football players with plus instincts and leadership ability.

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