The Redskins certainly didn’t care about making a splash.
Bruce Allen was telling no jokes when he said he was comfortable with the make-up of the roster. After working free agency magic, signing away big names from division rivals while keeping the cap situation manageable, Allen’s first draft in Washington without Mike Shanahan having the final say seemed decidedly all over the place.
The classic debate in the draft is upside and athleticism over technique and reliability. Usually teams go one way or the other. The Redskins somehow managed to both and yet neither. The team drafted LB Trent Murphy with their second round pick, after trading with Dallas no less to gain an extra third. The draft’s weird, uneven tone was set immediately; Murphy is a high motor technician who led the nation in sacks, but only two came from him straight up beating a tackle. He’s both a poor man’s Kerrigan with a skillset better than Kerrigan, if only because of how he uses his hands. He can’t cover anyone, but he’s versatile enough to be lined up all over the d-line.
OT Morgan Moses represents upside and solid footwork, but also maddening inconsistency. G Spencer Long is a no name, no hype guy selected when sexier linemen like Cyril Richardson and Gabe Jackson were on the board. They both represent upgrades over whomever they’re likely to replace, and somehow still seem like weird selections.
CB Bashaud Breeland and RB Lache Seastrunk have tremendous athletic upside; WR Ryan Grant and TE Ted Bolser are reliable but totally unspectacular pass catchers.
And then there’s the kicker in the 7th. Not a punter; Redskins Nation could’ve settled on a punter after watching Sav Rocca. A kicker. A kicker that’s not even a specialist. Just a kicker. Despite the Redskins seeming to finally nail the position down with Kai Forbath.
The Redskins also left the draft without addressing ILB and S, two major areas of concerns to Redskins fans.
This was not a “fan’s draft”. If one message comes across in this draft, it’s that Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen feel pretty damn good about the roster as is. Better than every fan does certainly.
This draft looks similar to the Seahawks latest drafts hodge podgey drafts since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over as coach and general manager; drafts that don’t look great on paper, but you’ll hope pay dividends down the line. They certainly addressed needs, but they also showed extreme faith in the make-up on the roster as is.
From day 1, it has seemed that Allen and Gruden have evaluated this roster far more highly than expected. It has been implied more than once that they feel that the previous regime’s primary issue was not coaching up the talent they had. The extra two weeks of prep and the start of minicamp likely solidified those thoughts.
In a way, this shows a new and different philosophy; draft and develop. It had always seemed as though the Redskins looked for more finished and ready prospects. Players sat on the bench for weeks until they “proved themselves” in practice, and then seemed to make the same mistakes over and over again, almost as though they hadn’t be taught anything. The practice squad essentially became a dumping ground for unused potential. “Special teams player” became a dirty word.
This wasn’t a draft for now; it was a draft for the future. Maybe. If they do a much better job of developing talent, in 2-3 years we’ll look back at this draft more fondly.
The powers that be feel like the team is closer to being good than needing to be totally rebuilt, and they drafted as such. They drafted a bunch of guys who will have no problem playing special teams, which was a severe problem last year. And unlike the somewhat lackadisial “they’ll figure it out” approach of the past, maybe there will be a more good faith effort to actually teach guys under the current draft.
So ignore the dumb, lame “immediately after the draft” grades that mean absolutely nothing. (Mike Mayock solidified his position as one of the few draft analyst who gets it when he openly showed comptempt for the process yesterday). Try to take a deep breath and let thing happen. At this time last year, I thought that David Amerson was a risky prospect and Bacarri Rambo was a sure thing. Embrace the fact that we as fans know nothing, the media knows nothing, and even the coaches know nothing until the pads go on and we get to see people live.
The draft wasn’t sexy, but maybe not being sexy is exactly what they needed.