Washington Redskins Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU – Round 2
It shouldn’t be long before Doctson is starting for the Redskins. Late last season, their receiving options for Kirk Cousins were very limited. With a speed receiver like DeSean Jackson and a receiving tight end like Jordan Reed, Doctson fits perfectly as a big Z receiver (flanker) in Jay Gruden’s West Coast offense.

For the NFL, Doctson is a dependable possession receiver. He routinely used his size, leaping ability, body control and strength to make catches over defensive backs on 50-50 passes in college. That made Doctson very dangerous in the red zone. He has excellent hands and you didn’t see him dropping passes. He routinely made difficult and acrobatic receptions. Even when defenses had him covered, he made big plays for his quarterback.

Doctson could struggle to separate from NFL cornerbacks, who will be able to run with him. He won’t challenge NFL corners with his speed. It also will be harder to complete 50-50 passes against them because they’re bigger and much better than the corners Doctson typically faced in the Big XII. Doctson is also not explosive or sudden, thus separating will be a challenge in his route-running. He isn’t a deep threat to stretch a defense over the top.

Thus, I think Doctson will be a solid starting wide receiver in the NFL, but won’t be a devastating wideout who is among the league’s elite. For Jay Gruden, Doctson could be a wide receiver similar to Marvin Jones or Mohamed Sanu when Gruden was their offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. I don’t think Doctson will be a dominant No. 1 receiver like A.J. Green, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins or Dez Bryant, but Doctson will be a solid NFL starter.

Most Likely To Bust

Su’a Cravens, OLB/S, USC – Round 2
This was a tough choice for me because I liked Cravens as a prospect. He was a big presence for USC and was all over the field. However, Cravens isn’t a natural fit as a linebacker or safety in the pro game.

Cravens has a real presence on the field, and the reason for that is he is very instinctive. He is a smart defender who reads plays quickly and puts himself in position to make a lot of plays. Cravens darts into the backfield to make tackles, flies around the middle of the field to break up passes, and is very disruptive for an offense. He also is a good blitzer who has a nose for the quarterback. Cravens has good ball skills in terms of interceptions, passes broken up, and forced fumbles.

On the negative side, Cravens is a tweener. As a linebacker or safety, he could struggle to defend downhill runs straight at him. While Cravens is quick, he doesn’t have the speed to cover a lot of slot receivers or play the deep center field as a free safety. He will need to be protected from playing free safety.

With the Redskins, Cravens (6-1, 226) has been practicing at linebacker, and he could be a Will linebacker for Washington. Playing on the inside of a 3-4, Cravens could have problems in run defense. I think the tweener issue is the hurdle that could lead to Cravens not panning out in the NFL.

Potential Boom Pick

Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech – Round 3
The Redskins could have gotten a huge steal with Fuller in the third round. Entering the 2015 season, he was viewed as a potential top-20 talent. Fuller missed almost all of his junior year because of a knee injury that required micro fracture surgery. That is a scary injury for NFL teams, and it turned Fuller into a potential huge steal.

The 5-foot-11, 187-pound Fuller showed some serious ball skills in his first two seasons at Virginia Tech. In those two years, he totaled eight interceptions with 17 passes broken up in 2014. Fuller was a gritty corner who had a real physical presence. He was a tough tackler and a fighter with receivers to go along with having the ability to prevent separation.

From a skill-set perspective, some teams felt that Fuller was the best cover corner to prevent separation based off of his sophomore tape. They felt that Fuller was a true lock-down corner that season and had given him a first-round grade before the medical evaluation lowered him to the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft.

If Fuller can return to his pre-injury form, he could be a No. 1 corner in the NFL. That could be a huge boom for the Redskins as a third-round pick.

Future Depth Player

Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana – Round 6
This was a tough choice. I could see seventh-rounder Keith Marshall being a good backup for Matt Jones. I also think that Matt Ioannidis should at least be a quality backup on the defensive line, but he also could develop into a starter. However, I think Sudfeld is the prime third-day pick to turn into a quality depth player. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder has good size and a strong arm, but he needs to get faster in his delivery. Sudfeld also has to improve his accuracy, ball placement and field vision, plus play faster. He had a quality week at the East-West Shrine and showed upside to develop. It wouldn’t surprise me if he pushes Colt McCoy to be Washington’s No. 2 quarterback after a year of developing and learning Gruden’s offense.

Walt’s 2016 NFL Draft Grades:

22. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU B+ Grade
The wide receivers in this class were pretty much like ice cream flavors. Everyone seemed to have a favorite one. Laquon Treadwell was No. 1 according to the media, but some teams had Corey Coleman, or William Fuller, or Josh Doctson atop their positional rankings. Doctson may not be a logical choice in terms of need for the Redskins, given that they have DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, but the former happens to be an impending free agent following the 2016 campaign. Doctson will likely be Washington’s top receiver in 2017, so I have a feeling this pick will pan out.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

53. Su’a Cravens, S/LB, USC B+ Grade
It’ll be interesting to see where the Redskins use Su’a Cravens. He can fill both of their voids at safety and linebacker, and I’m sure the Redskins won’t be scared to use Cravens in both roles as a hybrid safety-linebacker to cover tight ends. I had Cravens in the first round of my mock a couple of months ago (I since moved him down to No. 62), so I think the range is right to take him at this spot.

84. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech A+ Grade
I’m about seven picks behind in my grades as of this writing, as the NFL once again has not learned how to air the NFL Draft correctly. I’ll delve into how it can fix this problem later, but I’ve been eager to get to this grade. That’s because there’s an absolute idiot troll who calls himself “Walter is Still a Moron” on the comment boards who gave me so much crap for repeatedly mocking Kendall Fuller to his Redskins, constantly citing that I was stupid for giving Washington a “small” corner (even though Fuller is 6-0). We actually heard that the Redskins liked Fuller a lot and were going to consider him in Round 2 before the Josh Norman signing. Washington still liked him enough to pass on him at this juncture, though. The team is making a great pick, as Fuller would’ve been a first-round choice if it wasn’t for his injury concerns.

152. Matt Ioannidis, DE/DT, Temple B Grade
It took a while for the Redskins to address their defensive line, as they considered doing so in the first round. They’re getting a solid player in Matt Ioannidis who was productive at Temple. He tested poorly at the Combine, but he should emerge as a quality rotational lineman for Washington.

187. Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana B- Grade
Vernon Adams probably would’ve been a better option, but I don’t hate this pick. Nate Sudfeld has the size (6-6, 234) to perhaps give him a chance to be a No. 2 at some point, but accuracy and inconsistency issues are things he’ll have to overcome.

232. Steven Daniels, ILB, Boston College B Grade
Steven Daniels makes sense at this juncture, and it wouldn’t have been the worst idea had a team picked him a round earlier. Daniels was very productive at Boston College, but dropped because of a severe lack of athleticism. However, Daniels can be a two-down run-stuffer, and the Redskins needed depth in the middle of their defense.

242. Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia B+ Grade
I’m all for picking players with immense upside in the seventh round, and that certainly happens to be the case with Keith Marshall. The Georgia product began his collegiate career with a bang, but he never recovered from a torn ACL he sustained a couple of years ago. Marshall, however, possesses quality talent, so perhaps he’ll eventually become 100 percent and contribute for the Redskins, who needed running back depth in the wake of Alfred Morris’ departure.

2016 NFL Draft Team Grade: A- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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