Redskins 2019 Draft class: What should they expect? Rounds 1-4
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Here is a look at what the Redskins can expect from their draft class in both the short and long term.
QB Dwayne Haskins:
-It looks as though Haskins will be given the chance to win the starting job as a rookie, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Redskins take it a little slow with him. By having Case Keenum and Colt McCoy the Redskins have two options to hold down the job for at least an early portion of the season, before handing the reins off to the future. Over the last three seasons of the 11 first round rookie QBs only Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold were the starting QB entering week 1. So if Haskins doesn’t have the job for the Redskins first game that shouldn’t be unexpected. Whenever Haskins does assume the job, it’s likely he will have to deal with plenty of growing pains, so his production is likely to suffer. Even if he does down right struggle as a rookie that shouldn’t be a concern either for his long term production. I do think while overall struggles should be expected, Haskins talent will shine through a fair amount as well.
-Haskins long term has the upside and football IQ to be a top 10 QB in this league for years to come. For a guy who is so young and inexperienced, it’s extremely impressive how advanced he is in terms of reads and protection calls. His accuracy in the intermediate area is really his calling card right now, and that is where most top QBs thrive. Haskins does have some inconsistencies with his deep ball accuracy and footwork at times, but those are fixable. After a couple years of growing pains (which is expected with young QBs) Haskins should be ready to be a top 10 QB by 2021. He has the ability to be the best QB the Redskins have had since the first Joe Gibbs era. The Redskins will need some patience and will need to build around him going forward, but in a couple years time this is the type of pick that can change a franchise around.
EDGE Montez Sweat:
-Sweat will immediately take over the starting ROLB EDGE spot left by Preston Smith’s departure in free agency. Ryan Anderson doesn’t offer near the pass rush potential Sweat does, though I’d expect they give Anderson some reps to not overburden their rookie. Sweat has the skill set to not only fill Smith’s shoes, but to exceed them. Smith had been a solid-to-good pass rusher and run defender while with the Redskins these past four years, but Smith has the potential to be special in both areas. He’s a very smart run defender, who uses his size and speed to clog holes and chase down ball carriers. Sweat has the athletic profile and fast first step to make him a pass rush demon as well. He needs to work on some counter moves to grow as a pass rusher, but he can make a major impact as a rookie.
-Sweat has the first step, size and athletic tools to become an elite pass rusher in the NFL. He should routinely be posting sack numbers of 10+ with a high number of pressures as well. He and Kerrigan should be one of the better group of bookends for the next couple of years. Right now Kerrigan is probably the best pass rusher for the first 3 years, but afterwards Sweat should take that mantle and become the star of the Redskins defense. In addition to developing into a premier pass rusher, Sweat should remain an excellent run defender and an everydown force for the Redskins. Down the road he can become a perennial Pro Bowl and even All-Pro type of player.
WR Terry McLaurin:
-This will be a very interesting position battle to watch in camp as McLaurin could push for a starting role at any of the 3 WR positions. It is unclear if the Redskins will try to get McLaurin comfortable with one role in the offense as a rookie, or if they will embrace his versatility and allow him to contribute at all three positions. I expect McLaurin to earn a fair amount of playing time one way or another, but he might not be a true “starter” as a rookie. His production will be tied to his opportunity, but he should be in the mix for 450-700 yards as a rookie. If Haskins takes the starting role from week 1 it could go a long way to helping McLaurin reach or exceed the high end of that estimate. Regardless of his offensive playing time, it’s likely we will see McLaurin play on special teams as a rookie where he was a standout in college.
-Though known as a special teams ace, I don’t know if he will be utilized in that capacity much beyond his rookie season. If he can secure a top 3 WR role on this team going forward, that will likely keep him off special teams. McLaurin’s speed, route running and intelligence allow him to fit into any role the Redskins need him to fit in going forward. He can play either outside position or in the slot, and I expect the Redskins will move him around the offense. I don’t think he will ever be a true number 1 receiver, but he can be a very effective number 2 option.
RB Bryce Love:
-An ACL injury in the final game of his college football season, puts Love’s “short term” likely on hold. It’s still too early to know for sure, but it’s likely that Love will start the year on the PUP list and miss between half the year, and up to the full season. Even when he’s medically cleared, the Redskins likely don’t want to rush him back and could even opt to sit him the whole season regardless. So much is up in the air that it’s tough to have an accurate projection for him this season. The expectation though should be that any contribution he makes in 2019 will be very limited.
-Going forward Love brings a lot to the table. From a talent perspective he very well could have been the 2nd or 3rd back drafted this year if not for the injury. If Love can come back fully healthy he offers the Redskins a speed back with impressive agility out of the backfield. He can be a weapon both as a runner and as a receiver at the next level. With Chris Thompson’s status going forward uncertain, Love could take over his role in 2020. The ideal for the Redskins would be the ability to deploy Guice and Love in a similar way to how the Saints have used Kamara and Ingram the past two years.
G Wes Martin:
-Martin wasn’t on a lot of scouting sites radar as a draftable talent and reports are few teams had him in that area as well. Despite ignoring the consensus the Redskins shouldn’t feel like they reached here as, in limited tape review Martin does have NFL traits and talent. He’s also very experienced and should be capable of pushing for the left guard role as a rookie. With Ereck Flowers (the nominal starter at this point) lacking experience playing inside, Martin could quickly establish himself atop the depth chart. I would expect some struggles for Martin as a rookie as there are inconsistencies to his game, but he could end up the starter this year.
-Martin in the long term has a good chance to become the team’s long term starting left guard. While there are some concerns about his upside and staying power, the position is wide open right now with probably his biggest long term competition coming from Pierschbacher. Martin does show enough tools to be at least a back-up interior player in this league, given his strength and football IQ. Martin might not have the All-pro pedigree like Brandon Scherff, but he offers solid value here and can help this team going forward.