Grading the Redskins’ 2017 NFL Draft

WASHINGTON — Now that the dust has settled and free agents have signed, WTOP’s George Wallace and Rob Woodfork hand out early grades on the Washington Redskins’ 2017 draft class.

The consensus around the football world is that the Redskins had a pretty good draft. They filled some needs at positions and didn’t go for the big, flashy pick. The Redskins did a good job going off Scot McCloughan’s draft board and, in a lot of cases, went with the best available player.

The team went defense with their first three selections and added some depth in rounds 4-7. You can’t really judge a draft class for a few years, but early signs point to this being toward the top of the grading scale. But it seems premature to hand out specific letter grades at such an early date, so our rubric is as follows: ES (Exceptional), P (Proficient) and I (Incomplete).

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Round 1 (17th overall) — Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama

“Never in a million years,” said Jay Gruden when asked if he thought Allen would be there at 17 when the Redskins selected. It was a no-brainer to draft him, despite the injury concerns. It’s a position of need for the Redskins, he’s a local guy and a playmaker. He recorded 22.5 sacks his last two years in school. This was the best case scenario for the Redskins in round 1. — George Wallace

Grade: ES

He’s local, he’s productive, he’s talented and he’s a steal. I know his surgically-repaired shoulder scared some teams off, but this kid is everything you want in a first-round pick. If he lives up to his closest comp (Richard Seymour), this is the anchor of the Redskins defense for years to come. — Rob Woodfork

Grade: ES

(Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox)

Round 2 (49th overall) — Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama

An Alabama teammate of Allen’s, Anderson should provide immediate impact on a defensive unit that struggled last year. He’s the third outside rusher the Redskins have selected since 2014. This could be big because Trent Murphy is facing a four-game suspension, Junior Galette is coming back after missing two straight seasons and Preston Smith has been inconsistent. Anderson, along with Allen, should contribute from day one. — GW

Grade: P

The Redskins love taking OLBs here! For the third time in four years, they took an edge rusher and none of them have proved to be special yet. Anderson is by all accounts a total Scot McCloughan-type pick: He’s a “football player.” His combine numbers aren’t super impressive, but the hope is his numbers on the field will be.

Grade: P

(Getty Images/Brian Blanco)

Round 3 (81st overall) — Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA

Moreau made the switch from running back in college and is a pick for the future. The Redskins wanted to address the secondary, but he’s not taking Norman or Breeland’s spot anytime soon. Moreau is coming off a torn pec in college as well and may not be ready for the start of the season. — GW

Grade: I

If he’s healthy, this could be a steal — physical corners with speed (he ran a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash) that excel at press coverage aren’t growing on trees. However, he’s still recovering from a torn pectoral and the ‘Skins’ misadventures with Brian Orakpo (he suffered three torn pecs as a Redskin) should remind us that full recovery isn’t a given.

Grade: I

(Getty Images/Harry How)

Round 4 (114th overall) — Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

The Redskins definitely wanted to add another running back, especially with the uncertainty at the position. Rob Kelley is going to be pushed by Perine this summer for the starting spot, no question about that.

“He’s a physical runner, without a doubt,” Gruden said. “He’s also a leader-type player, but really when it comes down to it, he can get from here to there — physically.”

Perine is a very similar runner to Kelley, which might leave Matt Jones the odd man out. Chris Thompson’s still on board as the third-down back. — GW

Grade: ES

Good value. He’s basically the starter you already have (Rob Kelley), but with higher upside. He’ll be the starter coming out of the Redskins’ bye week. Book it. — RW

Grade: ES

(Getty Images/Sean Gardner)

Round 4 (123rd overall) — Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State

Safety was another position the Redskins needed to address, and Nicholson is a big guy at 6-foot-2, 212, but is coming off a torn labrum. He should be ready for training camp, but will be a project and someone they will try to develop. — GW

Grade: I

I’m not really thrilled by this pick. Nicholson’s another guy who slid due to injury and is best utilized as an in-the-box safety, a role that clearly belongs to Su’a Cravens. Perhaps Nicholson could develop into a quality backup, but I doubt he’s going to beat out Duke Ihenacho — a quality veteran with starting experience. — RW

Grade: I

(Getty Images/Dave Reginek)

Round 5 (154th overall) — Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas

The Redskins re-signed Vernon Davis this offseason, which was a must. And while Jordan Reed is signed long-term, injury concerns still linger. Niles Paul has missed 24 games over the last two years and Derek Carrier is coming off an injury as well. If Sprinkle is going to stick around, that might mean the end of the line for Paul or Carrier. He’s a guy that adds depth at that position for sure. — GW

Grade: ES

I love this pick. He gives good value as a special teamer, provides great TE depth and also provides an excellent excuse to dust off an E-40 classic. — RW

Grade: ES

(Getty Images/Ronald Martinez)

Round 6 (199th overall) — Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming

You can never have too many linemen, especially backing up Spencer Long at center. Roullier will benefit from Bill Callahan’s coaching along the offensive line. Along with playing center, Roullier can play guard as well. — GW

Grade: P

This is one of those guys the great Joe Gibbs would call “super smart” and possibly keep around to develop into a “core Redskin.” The ‘Skins need all the help they can get on the interior of the O-line. — RW

Grade: P

(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Round 6 (209th overall) — Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State

This position was not necessarily one of need, but when a guy with that size is there, you go ahead and take him. Davis checks in at 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds. More fade routes coming right up! — GW

Grade: P

Good pick. There’s really no downside to taking a 6-foot-3, 217-pound receiver with 4.44 speed in Round 6. — RW

Grade: P

(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Round 7 (230th overall) — Josh Harvey-Clemons, S/LB, Louisville

See Rob’s explanation below… — GW

Grade: I

Tweeners are such a dice roll … but at 6-foot-4, Harvey-Clemons has measurables comparable to Kam Chancellor. Even if he’s a poor man’s version of Kam, that’s great value for a seventh-round pick.  — RW

Grade: P

(Getty Images/Grant Halverson)

Round 7 (235th overall) — Josh Holsey, CB, Auburn

Another depth selection at the bottom of the draft. He can fly, running a 4.43 at Auburn’s Pro Day, but is only 5-foot-10. The other big question mark for Holsey is that he has torn his left ACL twice early in his college career.

Grade: I

A guy with 4.43 speed playing the slot? What’s not to like? Oh yeah … two ACL tears. A worthy gamble, though. Fingers crossed.

Grade: I

(Getty Images/Butch Dill)

Final thoughts

One other note to consider is that if wide receiver Josh Docston can get on the field this year, it will be like having two No. 1 picks. Doctson played in just two games last year catching two passes. — GW

Two names to watch from the remaining undrafted players: offensive lineman Mario Yakoo and safety Fish Smithson. Not only because they play positions that could allow them to make the roster, but look at those names! That’s potentially the most fun we’d have with names since Bacarri Rambo left.  — RW

(Getty Images/Rob Carr)

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