Sunday, May 3, 2015

Grading the Redskins draft

The 2015 Draft is in the books, and early responses for Redskins' new GM Scot McLoughan are largely positive. My take is less so. While not an utter failure, I think a number of the team's picks managed to fall short on both need AND value, which is never promising. To take into account the way trades and multiple picks work, I will grade both by round, accounting for everything that happened in that round, and by pick, with a total grade at the end.

Round 1

Pick 5: Brandon Scherff, OL (6'5, 319 lbs.)
Pick grade: C+

I like Scherff a lot. He's a good blocker, and I have been pounding the table to get Polombus (and, for that matter, Chester) replaced for years, so it's hard for me to be too disappointed at a pick aimed at accomplishing just that. That said, I have to assume there were no good offers for trading down, because the value isn't great. Though he'll start at RT, a lot of people think he profiles better as a guard because of unimpressive arm length and first step, and a spotty track record against real speed edge rushers in college. Of course, guard or tackle, he gives the Redskins OL and offense a big boost, but it's a little hard to swallow any lineman but a LT that high, and this pick's grade particularly suffers because DL Leonard Williams was still on the board, and I think drafting him would have been a coup. Definitely fills a need, like the player, but you really need to get great value from either a positional value (read: drafting a QB) or a BPA standpoint when picking that high, and I'm not sure the Redskins did.

Round 1 Grade: C+

Round 2

Pick 38: Preston Smith, OLB/DE (6'5, 271)
Pick Grade: C

On its face, this seems like a really good pick. Preston Smith is a big, versatile player with NFL starter upside, and OLB is a need in the wake of Orakpo's departure for Tennessee. Looking more closely, however, what the Skins really need is a pure pass rusher. Kerrigan is well-rounded and last year's second-rounder Trent Murphy excels more at setting the edge against the run than getting to the QB. Smith's strength? Using his size to stop the run, rushing from the interior. Weakness? Middling first step, only okay as an edge rusher. The position may have been a need, but the role really isn't, particularly when Nate Orchard (51st overall to Houston), Randy Gregory (60th to Dallas), Owa Odighizuwa (74th to NYG), Eli Harold (79th to San Fransisco) were all still on the board as more accomplished or promising pass rushers. My guess is that Smith's selection might hint at a significant more from the 3-4 to a more hybrid 3-4/4-3 front because he makes sense as someone who can move between OLB and DE. Still, with the aforementioned pass rushers, ILB Eric Kendricks, CBs like Jalen Collins, Eric Rowe, and Ronald Darby, and NTs Jordan Phillips and Eddie Goldman available, I once again have a hard time giving great marks in value or need.

Round 2 Grade: C

Undrafted Free Agents

1 pm, 5/3
Update: 3:15 pm, 5/3

The draft is in the books, for better or worse, and a number of players who went undrafted could still compete in the NFL. Teams are working fervently to put to ink the guys they consider to be priority UDFAs, so here's a mid-day update on people I knew about that I thought could or should be drafted, or players I have since read about that sound like they could be good prospects for the Redskins to go after.

Players Redskins have supposedly signed that intrigue me:
DE Corey Crawford, OL Tacoby Cofield, LB Terrance Plummer

Seemingly(?) unsigned UDFA's that I am interested in:

CB Justin Coleman, CB Jacoby Glenn, QB Blake Sims, LB James Vaughers, LB literally actually Norkeithus Otis, DT Terry Williams, WR Cam Worthy, OL Eric Lefeld, OL Adam Shead, SS Anthony Harris (MIN), CB Justin Cox (KC), LB Taiwan Jones (NYJ), LB Zach Vigil (MIA), OL Josue Matias (TEN), OL Quenton Spain (TEN), HB Trey Williams (HOU), DT Joe Mbu (ATL)

Looks like the Texans, Bucs, and Titans have gotten a lot of promising UDFAs I would have liked.

Of course, reported signings often get backed out of or end up being inaccurate, but based on the available information, other interesting UDFAs (particularly, safeties Cody Prewitt and Kurtis Drummond) are already with other teams.

*To note, OT La'el Collins is also a UDFA who interests me, and indeed would easily top the list, but he won't be signing with anyone until his legal situation is cleared up, at which point he could suddenly be a hot item again and be offered a significant contract. Still, once(/if) his name is clear, I would love for the Redskins to go hard after him.