Washington Redskins Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty – Round 4
This is a gutsy pick to go with a fourth-runner, but I believe that Gandy-Golden was a sleeper steal who could end up being a fantastic value pick for Washington. In the summer of 2019, team sources mentioned Gandy-Golden as a player who jumped out at them over the past few years, and I think he is going to exceed expectations at the NFL level.

The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Gandy-Golden is a big receiver who presents a size-mismatch problem. He is a very impressive natural hands catcher with excellent size and is dangerous after the catch. Defensive backs really struggle with the size mismatch, and Gandy-Golden some physicality to him. He is calm with defenders closing in on him and does a superb job of playing the ball. While Gandy-Golden is not a burner and ran slow times at the combine, he plays faster ,and that could be seen at the Senior Bowl, where he had a good week of practice.

The Redskins are in need of some young receivers developing into starters to help second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. I think Gandy-Golden could become a solid starter across from Terry McLaurin, and Gandy-Golden will bring a size-mismatch element to the Washington offense. He is making a big jump in competition, so he could use some developmental time for taking on pro cornerbacks, but after some work, I think Gandy-Golden could become a solid starter similar to Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

2019: Dwayne Haskins, QB
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

Antonio Gibson, WR, Memphis – Round 3
Gibson played running back and wide receiver for Memphis as a senior after getting a late start in big-time college football. Gibson is a JUCO product who also was a track star, so one immediately has to project that he will need some developmental time to become comfortable at receiver in the NFL. Gibson should also contribute on special teams, as he was a dangerous returner in 2019.

Gibson looks like the riskiest pick of the Redskins’ early-rounders from the 2020 NFL Draft. He has a tweener running back/wide receiver build at 6-foot, 228 pounds. Coming late to big-time football could slow down his transition to the NFL, and he could end up being a jack-of-all-trades-/master-of-none-type player who has a hard time settling in as an every-down receiver. Third-round picks are expected to start out as backups and develop into starters. It would not surprise me if Gibson gets stuck as a backup receiver who also takes some carries as a backup running back and is mostly used on special teams. His tweener status makes me think he could be the most likely to be bust of Washington’s early-round picks from the 2020 NFL Draft.

2019: Wes Martin, G
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

Chase Young, DE, Ohio State – Round 1
The Redskins really didn’t need another edge rusher with veteran Ryan Kerrigan and 2019 first-rounder Montez Sweat, but Young was too good to pass up. Washington landed the best player in the 2020 NFL Draft and could have the makings of a legendary defensive line with this trio of edge rushers to go with Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne. Washington’s defensive line is going to be a force for new head coach Ron Rivera.

Young is truly dominant in the pass rush. He has an innate ability to get after the quarterback. Young possesses a quick first-step with a nice get-off that puts offensive tackles on their heels. Young has quickness around the edge and is able to close on the quarterback quickly. Young shows functional athleticism to sink his hips and dip under tackles to beat their blocks. He also is effective working to the inside, as he has some strength to execute a rip move to the inside and also is able to knock tackles off balance with a hard shove and then cut to the inside to collapse the pocket. As a pass rusher, Young shows nice vision to keep his eyes on the quarterback ,and that along with his athleticism allows him to redirect for chasing down scrambling signal-callers. Young is a balanced pass rusher and should continue to improve as he gains experience.

As a run defender, Young is not a star, but he is also not a liability. He could stand to fight through blocks more, and adding more strength to shed is necessary for him to take on pro offensive tackles. Young can lose his gap integrity at times by biting on play fakes, while on other plays, he stays in containment too long. Those issues could get ironed out with more experience and pro coaching.

Young looks like a potential franchise defensive player for Washington as an edge rusher capable of producing double-digit sack seasons on an annual basis. He could be a player who goes to multiple Pro Bowls and is one of the most dangerous pass rushers in the NFL. Young has definite boom-pick potential for the Redskins.

2019: Montez Sweat, DE
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

Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU – Round 4
The Redskins traded Trent Williams during the 2020 Draft, leaving them in need of adding more offensive tackle competition. Charles (6-4, 321) was a solid left tackle in college for LSU, but he has some limitations for the NFL. He definitely needs to get stronger and improve his overall technique to handle NFL edge rushers, but Charles has short arms and lacks length to block on the edge in a starting role. As a fourth-round pick, Charles had a backup grade, so he is not expected to be a franchise left tackle. I think he could top out as a solid swing tackle backup, or maybe he can move inside to compete at guard. Charles could end up being good depth for the Redskins.

2019: Terry McLaurin, WR
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 2020 NFL Draft Grades:

2. Chase Young, DE/OLB, Ohio State – A Grade
The Redskins received trade offers from the Falcons and perhaps other teams, but they were never moving out of this spot. Charlie Campbell reported prior to the combine that Washington was absolutely smitten with Young and didn’t want to trade the No. 2 pick. The Redskins believe Young can average double-digit sacks per season, and they might just be right about that. He’s a supreme talent, and Washington would’ve been foolish to pass up the opportunity of having him on its roster for the next decade.

66. Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis – D Grade
Antonio Gibson is a dynamic weapon who can go the distance any time he touches the ball. However, he has no true position, so it’s difficult to constantly have him on the field. I don’t really like the fit here, as the Redskins already had Steven Sims and some promising running backs. Plus, this is a tad too early to take an athlete who isn’t a natural football player.

108. Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU – A- Grade
This is another solid pick to kick off the fourth round. The Redskins need to replace Trent Williams, and they’re getting a talented offensive lineman who easily could’ve gone in the second round had it not been for character issues. Charles will be a great pick if he can stay clean and work hard.

142. Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty – A+ Grade
This is a steal. Antonio Gandy-Golden was projected to go in the first round once upon a time. That projection was obviously wrong, as concerns about separation arose with Gandy-Golden, but he’s a very good football player and could help the Redskins’ lackluster receiving corps.

156. Keith Ismael, C/G, San Diego State – C- Grade
Keith Ismael is someone I had in and out of my mock draft once I released my sixth and seventh rounds. He’s versatile, as he can play both guard and center, but he’s not ready for the NFL. His strength is lacking, but the athleticism is there for him to potentially make the roster eventually.

162. Khaleke Hudson, LB/S, Michigan – B Grade
Will Khaleke Hudson play linebacker or safety? Ask one team, and they may tell you something different than the next. Hudson is a good player, but he’s a tweener. Still, he’s a fine pick in the fifth round.

216. Kamren Curl, S, Arkansas – B+ Grade
Kamren Curl would’ve been a solid, mid-round prospect if it weren’t for speed concerns, but he’s a solid choice in the seventh frame. He might be able to provide nice depth in the secondary if he makes the roster.

229. James Smith-Williams, DE, N.C. State – A Grade
James Smith-Williams is a skilled and smart player, but injuries have wrecked his draft stock. He would’ve gone a few rounds earlier than this if health wasn’t a problem. It’s a shame, but maybe he’ll end up being a rotational edge rusher. I like taking a shot on him in the last round.

2020 NFL Draft Team Grade: B . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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