Read Option Blog – my draft review

So, Scot McCloughans first draft as Redskins GM has been and gone.
It wasn’t a flashy draft by any means, but it was easy to see that there was a definite tone to this draft for the Redskins – PHYSICALITY, BRUTALITY, PUNISH THE OPPONENT!
Going forward teams are going to know that they’ve played the Redskins as they will be feeling the after effects long after the game!
For too long our Redskins have been soft, the culture changed the moment the Redskins signed Scot McCloughan, he is now starting to mold this team into his vision and I for one can’t wait to watch these Redskins doling out some CAPITAL PUNISHMENT on Sundays!

When the first 4 picks fell as they did, count me in as one of the many who undoubtedly fist pumped the air, yelled “yeah, we got Leonard Williams”, only to have our jaws drop wide open when we selected Brandon Scherff!
But as Scot has since explained, he wanted his first pick to be a tone setter and the more I see/read/hear about Brandon Scherff the more I LOVE the pick!
I mean SERIOUSLY! – go check out YouTube videos of him – he absolutely MAULS opponents, I dare you to watch him and not get a smile on your face when you realise that guy will be in the burgundy and gold!
If you haven’t already seen, Redskins Capital Connection has a post with highlight videos of all our draft picks all in one convenient location!  Right here!
Back to Scherff!  The guy is an absolute MONSTER, he’s brutal.  He will block not only TO the whistle, but a little bit AFTER it as well – opponents will HATE playing against him, but fans and teammates will LOVE it!
He is a beast in the weight room and plays with a passion for the game – I particularly love his nasty streak, he’ll throw a player to the ground any chance he gets (I am sure this will result in a personal foul or two during the season, but will show opponents that these Redskins won’t be pushed around quite as easily as we have been recently).
There’s been a few fans saying “dumb pick, we could have traded back and gotten him later” – to them I say (1) to move back you need a team willing to move up, once Dante Fowler Jr was gone, so were the phone calls looking to move up and (2) you don’t know FOR SURE that he would have still been available had we traded back – any team could have traded between #5 and where we moved to and grabbed him.
Like both Scot and Jay have said, if you try to get too cute, it has the chance to backfire on you.
We got THE best offensive lineman in this years draft and could have bookend tackles for the first time since Jansen/Samuels!

Preston Smith by all accounts was a first round talent, so it was nice to have him fall to us in the 2nd!
He fills the edge pass rusher need after Brian Orakpo’s departure, though he seems more versatile and can be lined up in a number of spots, allowing us a lot of freedom for creative defensive packages.
I can see him being in a bit of a rotation with Trent Murphy for that OLB spot, switching in and out depending on the situation, unless one of them CLEARLY wins the job in training camp/preseason.
With his height/length Preston Smith can also help us on special teams, hopefully getting a blocked FG or two (I can dream! – I can’t remember the last time WE blocked a FG!).

As I thought they might, the Redskins spent as early-ish pick (3rd rounder) on RB Matt Jones.  He has been described as “Marshawn Lynch Lite”, which is probably due to his running style which could be described as physical, or even violent.  I don’t think he has the same tackle breaking abilities as Beast Mode, but he definitely has an appetite for contact!  This is evident in his pass protection where he prefers to do the hitting first, rather than be hit and so will willingly look for someone to block.  We haven’t had a back so willing to pass protect since Clinton Portis.
Alfred Morris and Matt Jones will provide a formidable 1-2 punch that, if we stick with the running game and don’t get too pass happy (you hear me Jay?) will wear down opposing defenses.  Jones will likely be the 3rd down back due to his pass pro and pass receiving ability.

Each year I get a sort of “man crush” on small/fast/shifty skill position players (in recent drafts it’s been Jawan Jamison and Lache Seastrunk) – the kind of players that I hope succeed and make it to our 53 man roster to provide an added “spark” to our offense.  I always hoped we would add a Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles type player, dynamic, exciting, able to take any play the distance.  Of course, last off season we signed DeSean Jackson and he has rapidly become one of my favourite players.  Neither Jawan Jamison or Lache Seastrunk stuck around for any great length of time – but this years draft provides another of those small, fast, shifty players to get excited about in the form of Jamison Crowder (and I think this time the player will stick around!).
At only 5’8 he is certainly no Megatron, but what he lacks in height he makes up for in just insane jitterbug moves!
He should provide an instant spark to an underwhelming return game, taking over from the ineffective Andre Roberts.
He probably won’t be a huge part of the passing game as he’ll likely be looking at 4th/5th/6th on the depth chart, but he will pop up from time to time and make big plays when called on.
THIS is the player I really want to see on the field in preseason!

Martrell Spaight is someone I think we could see quite a bit of this coming season, not only on special teams but I also think he could give Perry Riley a run for his money and compete for significant snaps at ILB alongside Keenan Robinson.
Instinctive, sure tackler, hard hitting player who is a hard worker both in the weight room and the film room, can diagnose plays extremely well – I just get the feeling that he will be someone who Joe Barry will LOVE!

Arie Kouandjio is the type of huge bodied guard that the Redskins are looking for, however he is not the finished product otherwise he would have been long gone at the point we picked him.  Given our RG situation though, he COULD be in the mix.  After all his competition is Chris Chester, Josh LeRibeus and Spencer Long (whom I would hope will take that next step this offseason).

Once you get into the 4th/5th round onwards you are generally looking at players who will do most of their work on special teams and Kyshoen Jarrett is exactly that.  He will be a force on coverage units, but I would expect limited action as a DB.  He is physical, hard hitting and plays with a lot of energy and intensity – exactly the type of player you want on a special teams unit that has been sorely lacking of late!

Tevin Mitchel joins former Arkansas teammate Martrell Spaight on the Redskins and could also join him on the special teams unit that Scot McCloughan in crafting.  This unit has definitely been a bit of a focal point this offseason and it would be great if we could get a core of special teamers that are around together for some time, rather than mix and matching as we go along.  Mitchel has played a lot of slot corner in college, so he could have some value there – he’ll be pretty far down the depth chart, but maybe, just MAYBE he can push Tracy Porter out the door!

Evan Spencer – by now most fans will know that he is the younger brother of Redskins scout Cole Spencer, but that connection alone won’t keep him on the team – his outstanding special teams play and willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team win will.  A very unselfish player who will do the dirty work necessary to allow others to shine, a mindset PERFECT for this new, improved special teams unit – can’t wait to see this guy be a special teams ace for us!

Our final pick in this years draft came in the form of Austin Reiter, a strong, agile center.  At under 300lbs he would seem to not be a fit for the “Hogs 2.0” theme that we seem to be going for.
Could be a bit of a project for Bill Callahan to work with, unless something crazy happens I can’t imagine him beating out Kory Lichtensteiger and is more than likely a practice squad player to begin with.

So there you have it, our 10 draft picks from this year and my initial thoughts on them.
What are your thoughts and do you have a favourite from this years draft class?
Let me know via twitter @ReadOptionBlog or by email
Many thanks to those of you who read, follow, retweet, share, comment and generally interact with me and the rest of the guys at Redskins Capital Connection – it’s great appreciated!

Till next time,
Hail To The Redskins!



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