Washington Redskins Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State – Round 1
The Redskins got a lot of praise for their draft, which was well deserved. But the media hasn’t been paying attention to the fact that this was keeping in the tradition of recent years, with Washington putting together good drafts in 2018 and 2017 as well. The Redskins are building a talented team of pure football players who are big, tough and physical. Their new first-round picks, a quarterback and an edge rusher, are perfect fits.

In the first round, the Washington brain trust of President Bruce Allen, Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams and Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith did a great job of not panicking and trading away unnecessary picks. The organization stood pat and landed its young franchise quarterback in Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. Washington needed a quarterback of the future because Alex Smith may not comeback from a devastating knee injury and the franchise wisely didn’t overpay Kirk Cousins to remain with the team. Haskins is the future of the position, and with Jay Gruden coaching him, I think Haskins could turn into a solid starter for Washington.

There is no doubt that Haskins has the skill set to be an NFL starting quarterback. He has a powerful arm that can rifle the ball into tight windows to beat good coverage. He also has a serious fastball and can really spin the football. Along with throwing lasers, Haskins shows the ability to put air underneath the ball and throw touch passes. He is adept at throwing the deep ball and stretching the field vertically. Along with his good size, Haskins shows impressive pocket presence with patience and comfort despite the rush flowing around him. He possesses the potential to be an accurate passer, but he could stand to improve the consistency of his ball placement.

The Redskins are a great situation for Haskins as he is going to a team with good coaching, a strong offensive line, and an excellent defense that can get set him up with favorable situations. While I don’t know if Haskins will become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, I think he is going to become a solid starter for Washington.

2018: Da’Ron Payne, DT
2017: Ryan Anderson, LB
2016: Josh Doctson, WR
2015: Preston Smith, DE
2014: Trent Murphy, DE
2013: Phillip Thomas, S

Most Likely To Bust

Wes Martin, G, Indiana – Round 4
There aren’t any of Washington’s early-round picks who look like they had real bust potential to me, and it really isn’t a busted pick if a selection from Day 3 doesn’t work out. Less 50 percent of second-round picks pan out in the NFL, and the odds decrease each round after that. Thus, saying a fourth-round pick has bust potential is not much of a prediction, and it would not be a real criticism of Washington’s front office if a third-day pick doesn’t work out.

That being said, Martin looks to me like the player who could have the hardest time sticking. I could see him having problems with NFL speed rushers, and as a result, he may not stay on the roster. I could also see Martin having a hard time breaking into the lineup. His best fit would come at right guard, where Brandon Scherff has that position on lock down for a long time. The Redskins also have some veterans at center and left guard who Martin could struggle to beat out. I think Martin will probably end up being a solid backup for Washington, but not a starter. That really would not make him a bust as a fourth-rounder, but of the Redskins’ draft picks, he looks like the player who I think could have the most issues with sticking in the NFL.

2018: Troy Apke, S
2017: Monte Nicholson, S
2016: Su’a Cravens, S
2015: Matt Jones, RB
2014: Spencer Long, G
2013: Chris Thompson, RB

Potential Boom Pick

Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State – Round 1
The Redskins needed an edge rusher to finish off their talented front four, and their front office made a brilliant move in a trade up for Sweat. Sweat was one of the top edge rushers in the SEC over the past two years and possesses a dynamite skill set of speed, length, and some natural strength. He dominated the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, only sliding into the 20s because of some medical concerns. If it weren’t for the medical issues, Sweat would have been a top-10 pick. He is a great fit in the Redskins’ defense as a 3-4 outside linebacker and also can put his hand in the ground to be an end. Sweat could form a lethal defensive front with Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Ryan Kerrigan.

Sweat is a dangerous pass-rusher who shows good instincts and natural feel as an edge rusher. He has good play recognition and uses his instincts to get in the right position to affect the quarterback or disrupt plays. For a tall defender, Sweat has a nice ability to redirect, and he uses that to get after the quarterback or defend the perimeter.

As a pure pass-rusher, Sweat is quick off the edge with the speed to turn the corner and run around offensive tackles. One of his most impressive traits is his active hands to fight off blocks while using his feet at the same time. Sweat has some functional strength that he uses to get off blocks and shows impressive hand placement to get under the pads of blockers or rip them away from him. Sweat’s excellent length helps him to do that and also makes it harder for offensive tackles to get into his chest. Once he gets free, Sweat has burst to close on the quarterback. He also gives a second effort and will continue to fight if he’s initially blocked. For taking on NFL offensive tackles, Sweat could use more pass-rushing moves. He should add a spin and rip move to go with his speed or power rushes.

As a run defender, Sweat sets the edge better than one would expect for a 241-pound edge defender. He uses his functional strength to stand up offensive linemen and nice job of stringing out perimeter runs to the sideline.

Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams has done an amazing job of building up the Redskins’ defensive line with Allen, Payne and now Sweat. Washington could have the best young defensive line in the NFL with this trio alongside Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan, who can help bring the young defenders along. With those players around him, Sweat could be a boom pick for the Redskins with double-digit sack potential and become one of the top edge pass-rushers in the NFL. Sweat was a brilliant pick by the Redskins and could be a huge boom pick for them.

2018: Derrius Guice, RB
2017: Jonathan Allen, DT
2016: Kendall Fuller, CB
2015: Brandon Scherff, G
2014: Morgan Moses, OT
2013: David Amerson, CB

Future Depth Player

Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State – Round 3
The Redskins needed some help at wide receiver, so grabbing a young weapon for Dwayne Haskins made sense on the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft. In the third round, Washington got a steal with Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin. The speedster averaged over 20 yards per catch last year and then was excellent at the Senior Bowl and combine while ripping off a 40-yard dash in the 4.3s. On top of being a receiver with a ton of upside, McLaurin is superb on special teams, and some teams had him rated as the top special teams player in the 2019 NFL Draft. What makes the McLaurin pick even better is the comfort level and relationship he has with first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Having a friend will help one another make the transition from college to the NFL. They also have years of playing together in practice and games to lean on their experience in the passing game. McLaurin is a good player and will help Haskins to pan out as a pro on and off the field. McLaurin may end up topping out as a third receiver, but even if he isn’t a true No. 1 or starting No. 2 receiver, this was a brilliant pick on so many levels by Redskins Super Bowl XXII MVP quarterback Doug Williams. McLaurin should at least provide good depth for Washington.

2018: Tim Settle, DT
2017: Jeremy Sprinkle, TE
2016: Nate Sudfeld, QB
2015: Martrell Spaight, LB
2014: Lache Seastrunk, RB
2013: Brandon Jenkins, OLB

Walt’s 2019 NFL Draft Grades:

15. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State A- Grade
I’ve said all along that the Redskins trading up for Dwayne Haskins would be insanely stupid because there would be a good chance that he’d fall to the Redskins at No. 15 overall. Unlike the Giants, who needlessly reached for Daniel Jones, Washington smartly stood pat at its pick and landed Haskins after all. I’m not a huge fan of Haskins as a prospect, but I think he could end up being a solid quarterback in the NFL. At the very least, the Redskins had to make this move because they didn’t have anything at quarterback beyond the pedestrian Case Keenum. Credit them for not panicking as all of the bogus rumors surfaced.

26. Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State A+ Grade
I thought the Redskins would trade two second-round picks to move up to this spot for a receiver. They just drafted a quarterback, yet have nothing at wideout. That would’ve made more sense as far as the position is concerned. However, Montez Sweat is a far better player than any receiver on the board. The Redskins lost Preston Smith in free agency, so they needed a potent edge rusher. Sweat is even more than that. Had it not been for a potentially misdiagnosed heart condition, Sweat would’ve been a top-10 selection in this class. Given the misdiagnosis, there doesn’t appear to be any concern with Sweat, making this an absolute steal. Despite the Redskins trading a 2020 second-round choice, this is one of the best picks of the 2019 NFL Draft thus far.

76. Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State A- Grade
The Redskins were absolutely desperate for receiving help, so this pick makes a ton of sense from a needs perspective, and also as far as the range is concerned; Terry McLaurin was expected to be a third-round pick. McLaurin, who had a great Senior Bowl performance, has great character traits and will be able to be a big-time contributor on special teams at the very least.

111. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford B- Grade
Let this be a cautionary tale for any possible first-round prospect who decides to return to school. Bryce Love could’ve snuck into the opening frame last year. Now, he dropped to the fourth round because of his massive injury concerns. Love is a terrific talent, but I’m not convinced he can stay healthy. The upside is definitely there, but he has an extremely low floor as well.

131. Wes Martin, G, Indiana D- Grade
Cue the meme, “Who the fook is that guy?” I don’t have Wes Martin listed in my top 500, and he’s never appeared in a single mock draft of mine. I guess he potentially addresses a need, but this is a major reach for sure.

153. Ross Pierschbacher, C/G, Alabama B- Grade
Ross Pierschbacher isn’t athletic, and he needs to get stronger, but he’s a smart offensive lineman who played guard and center very well at Alabama. He figures to be a solid, versatile backup blocker in the NFL.

173. Cole Holcomb, LB, North Carolina B+ Grade
Cole Holcomb has immense upside, so I like this pick. Holcomb tested extremely well in pre-draft workouts, putting himself on the map. He needs to be developed, as his instincts and tackling aren’t ideal, but he certainly has potential.

206. Kevin Harmon, WR, N.C. State A+ Grade
The Redskins have a huge need at receiver, so picking Kelvin Harmon makes sense – in the second round! Harmon was a second-round prospect, and I had him mocked No. 61 overall. He’s not an explosive player, but he’s a big, productive receiver who has the potential to become a solid No. 2 possession receiver in the NFL. Harmon is an absolute steal here.

227. Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison A Grade
This is another steal in the seventh round, as I thought Jimmy Moreland would be chosen very early on Day 3. Moreland is shorter than 5-10, but projects as a tough slot receiver with his terrific ball skills. I love the value Washington is getting with Moreland at this juncture.

253. Jordan Brailford, DE/OLB, Oklahoma State A Grade
I mocked Jordan Brailford in the fourth round, but he slipped to the very end of the draft because of injury concerns. Brailford has a very lengthy injury history, so I can’t say I’m surprised he fell so far. However, Brailford was productive in 2018 and tested very well at the combine, so there’s definitely some good upside. This is the sort of pick teams should make in the seventh round.

2019 NFL Draft Team Grade: A . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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