The Redskins were very active during the 2019 NFL draft, wheeling and dealing their way to 10 picks, including two high profile first-rounders. But did they make their team better?
As is the case with every team in every draft, that question can’t be definitively answered until at least three years from now — which is why I absolutely hate the exercise of grading a team’s draft before any of these players have the chance to take the field for practice, let alone a game.
For example: Tom Brady didn’t look like anything special after his first season, yet he’s now the unquestioned GOAT. Robert Griffin III had perhaps the all-time greatest rookie season by a QB, but he’s a bust by any metric.
But we can still make a few snap judgments based on what we know today, because, hey, it’s fun for me and fun for you, so let’s just play around with it, shall we?
I’ll go pick-by-pick and grade each one, then sum it all up and give the Redskins an overall grade.
QB Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State): 1st round, 15th overall
As I said Thursday night, this pick was a dream come true for the Redskins: Local kid, big name player from a big football school and the kind of talent that can drum up interest at the box office — all without having to mortgage their future by trading up to get him. Instead, they get their QB of the future in the middle of the first round and kept enough capital to trade back into the first round…
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Edge Montez Sweat (Mississippi State): 1st Round, 26th overall)
…and get a top 10 talent the Redskins considered with the 15th overall pick at the low, low price of two second rounders to get him 26th overall. It appears that Sweat’s heart ailment was misdiagnosed, so the ‘Skins may finally have an every-down player on the edge to complement Ryan Kerrigan. Even if he’s just a solid starter, that’s a worthy investment at a position that’s very hard to fill adequately.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
(AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
WR Terry McLaurin (Ohio State): Round 3, 76th overall
It kind of felt like McLaurin was selected here for playing with Haskins at Ohio State as much as his actual track record on the field. McLaurin’s speed made him a terrific deep threat on offense and solid gunner on special teams, but I believe the ‘Skins could have found a potential starter here, like Oklahoma guard Dru Samia. It’s not a bad pick — it just feels like they could have done better.
(AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
RB Bryce Love (Stanford): 4th round, 112th overall
This was the only Redskins pick that left me scratching my head. Even if you don’t believe the ‘Skins are fairly deep at running back (which I do), why roll the dice on one coming off a late-season ACL tear? The aforementioned Samia was still on the board here, and that’s a player that could conceivably help immediately. Considering how proud the organization was to get a compensatory pick for Kirk Cousins — the 96th overall pick, which was traded to Buffalo for both fourth round picks — it feels like they needlessly gambled it.
(AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
G Wes Martin (Indiana): 4th round, 131st overall
Forget for a moment that Martin is so nondescript that between AP and Getty images, the only photo he appears in has him all but cropped out (that’s him in front of the ball to the far left). He’s physical, he’s durable and he allowed just two sacks in 1,469 snaps at left guard over the past two seasons. He should be at least a solid backup, if not a fringe starter on an offensive line desperate for depth.
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
(AP/Gene J. Puskar)
G/C Ross Pierschbacher (Alabama) — 5th round, 153rd overall
Did I mention I totally called this pick? We’ll have to see how he fares in training camp (and how the team fits his name on his jersey), but whatever Pierschbacher lacks in ideal size and strength he makes up for in experience (four-year starter at Alabama) and technique. Given how desperate the Redskins are for talent at this position — especially one with the versatility to play two positions — I’d be surprised if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster.
(AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)
LB Cole Holcomb (North Carolina): 5th round, 173rd overall
If he makes the roster, Holcomb is probably little more than a solid special teamer and a backup inside linebacker. For a fifth-round pick, that’s not the worst return on investment.
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
WR Kelvin Harmon (NC State): 6th round, 206th overall
The Redskins haven’t had a big receiver of note in years, and Harmon has the tools and the opportunity to be that for the ‘Skins. Harmon has the swagger and strength befitting his 6-foot-3 frame, and wins a lot of the 50-50 balls thrown his way. On a team without a true No. 1 receiver, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Harmon made some impact sooner rather than later.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Getty Images/Grant Halverson)
CB Jimmy Moreland (James Madison): 7th round, 227th overall
Even though seventh round picks have been passed around quite a bit and generally aren’t impactful, the Redskins may actually have something in the ballhawking Moreland. The first Duke drafted since 2013 returned a third of his 18 career interceptions for touchdowns, and the ‘Skins need corners more than most people realize — especially if 31-year-old Josh Norman’s performance suffers a steep decline in 2019. There’s really no downside to this pick.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Edge Jordan Brailford (Oklahoma State): 7th round, 253rd overall
Given the low expectations for the second-to-last pick in the draft, taking an undersized pass rusher with some special teams value isn’t bad. Simply making the 53-man roster would make this a good choice.
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
Overall Grade: A-
Best pick: Haskins
Worst pick: Love
The takeaway: If I calculated these grades based on general GPA, the Redskins would have a solid B. But I gave them some extra credit because they really did play this draft masterfully and it’s so unusual to see the ‘Skins appear so poised and in charge. They got their QB of the future without trading up, much-needed depth at receiver and guard, and save for the Love pick, got great value in every round. It actually feels like this is already a better football team in all three phases.
Even if none of the late rounders pan out, the ‘Skins have a chance to be special at two hard-to-fill positions: QB and pass rusher. And even if Haskins and Sweat aren’t special, they didn’t leave a gaping hole in the Redskins’ future draft capital. Given how disastrously the RG3 trade played out, that might be the biggest win of all.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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