A COMBINE REFRESHER COURSE; WHAT ARE THE REDSKINS LOOKING FOR IN DRAFT PROSPECTS?

Day 1 of the NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, and we can officially begin the season of buzzing about 40-yard dash times and who will go where. The offensive linemen and the tight ends had their day in the sun today; tomorrow, quarterback, wide receivers and running backs will have their day; on Monday, the defensive linemen and linebackers have their time, and on Tuesday, we’ll see the defensive backs.

This also is the unofficial start of mock draft season, where the draftniks (professional and otherwise) begin trying to nail down who goes where in the 2013 NFL Draft. There are a lot of opinions on who the Redskins can and will take, but it would certainly help if they we nailed down exactly what kind of players we were trying to draft, as some of the more out there mock drafts seem to miss the point. So let’s take a look at what the last three drafts have told us what the Washington Redskins will be looking at going forward.

1.) Senior Classmen

Question: How many true juniors have the Washington Redskins drafted since Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen came aboard?

Go ahead, think on it. I’ll wait. Here, watch this JMU edition of the Harlem Shake while you do.

Answer? ZERO.

Beware of any junior laden mock drafts out there; they are almost assured to be wrong in some way shape of form. The Redskins have not taken a single under classmen in the past three drafts.

Robert Griffin III was technically a junior, but that was only because he medically red-shirted in his sophomore year. He still started all four years. Trent Williams was only a starter for two years, but he was still a senior.

Furthermore, Mike Shanahan has drafted only one underclassmen for either the Broncos or the Redskins since 2005. Shanahan began drafting seniors in 2006, drafting junior Jarvis Moss in the first round in 2007, and hasn’t drafted an underclassmen since.

This isn’t to say that, if presented the opportunity, we’d never draft a junior. But they’d have to a very talented player to do so.

2.) Award and Honors

2010

Trent Williams

2009 Consensus All-American

2011

Ryan Kerrigan

2010 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
2010 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year
2010 First Team All-Big Ten
2010 Bill Willis Trophy
2010 Consensus All-American

Leonard Hankerson

2010 First-Team All ACC

Roy Helu, Jr.

2009 Second-Team All Big-12
2010 Second-Team All Big 12
2010 Second-Team All-Academic Big 12

Niles Paul

2010 Second-Team All Big 12 Kick/Punter Returner
2010 Second Team All-Big 12 Wide Receiver
2009 Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP

Evan Royster

All-Time Leading Rusher at Penn State University

Aldrick Robinson

2008 Honorable Mention All-Conference USA

2012

Robert Griffin III

Heisman Trophy Winner
2011 Consensus All-American
2011 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year
2011 Davey O’Brien Award
2011 Manning Award
2011 First Team All Big 12

Kirk Cousins

2011 Second-Team All Big Ten

Tom Compton

2011 FCS All-American Team
2011 GWC Offensive Lineman of the Year
2010 and 2011 All-GWC First Team

Every player the Redskins have drafted may not have one major awards, but adding awards and honors to your resume certainly doesn’t hurt.

3.) Team Captains

Kirk Cousins, Ryan Kerrigan, Jarvis Jenkins, Tom Compton, Keenan Robinson, Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu, Markus White, Maurice Hurt, and, naturally, Robert Griffin III were all team captains as seniors. Again, every player you draft is not a team captain, but it’s still another check mark that improves a prospects chances. Having natural leaders in your locker room also ensures you have a calming presence during tough times.

4.) All-Star Games

16 of the 27 players the Washington Redskins have drafted since 2010 have appeared in either the East-West Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl; both considered the premiere college All-Star games in the country. A big part of what led the Redskins to drafting Alfred Morris was a solid week of work at the East-West Shrine game, and his performance in practice and in the game earned him a Senior Bowl invite where Redskins coaches got to see and talk to him up close.

These aren’t hard and fast rules, but they are solid guidelines as we move down to the real meat of the Draft season. The more checkmarks a prospect can tick off on the list above, the more likely he is to get drafted. If he’s missing one or two, it don’t guarantee he won’t get drafted, but if he’s missing all four, the chances seem slim.

Happy scouting, folks.

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