2015 Draft in Review: Washington Redskins

A look through the 2015 Draft picks for the Washington Redskins.

| 2 years ago

2015 Draft in Review: Washington Redskins

redskins-scherffThe Redskins were one of the ‘winners’ in free agency once again this year, but instead of doling out one or two enormous contracts like they have before, they spent lower-tier money on a handful of cheap yet productive guys. There were still a handful of positions of need after free agency though that they addressed in the draft. What kinds of players did they get at each position and how do they fit on their roster? Let’s take a look.

Round 1: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa

Grade: C-

A case of projection over production. We have stated on multiple occasions that Scherff struggled mightily in pass protection his senior year at Iowa. This is especially concerning considering the slate of pass rushers he went against. He missed Randy Gregory, Joey Bosa, Frank Clark, and Shillique Calhoun. The player with the highest pass rushing grade that he faced, Wisconsin’s Joe Schobert, ate him up for two hits and two pressures. Scherff has amazing physical tools, but I’m not sure they’ll translate to tackle in the NFL. So essentially they’ve drafted, in our eyes, a future guard project with the fifth overall pick. That seems far too high with the other talent at impact positions on the board at that point.

Depth Chart Fit: Likely day one starter at right tackle with the paucity of talent there.

Round 2: Preston Smith, ED, Mississippi State

Grade: C+

Smith is an extremely talented player and the grade of this pick would be considerably higher if he went to a 4-3 team. Smith was ultra-productive in only 590 snaps, finishing with the eighth highest grade in the draft class among edge defenders. The reason we went so low though is because we are unsure of the fit. At 6-foot-5, 271 pounds, Smith is quite a bit larger than a typical 3-4 outside linebacker and he wasn’t utilized in that role in college. Smith took 53 out of 590 snaps last season with his hand off the ground last season. The Redskins also have Trent Murphy, a second round pick from a year ago, entrenched at the right outside linebacker position. We could see Smith playing all over though for the Redskins like he did for Mississippi State last year. Smith took 15% of his snaps from the interior in 2014.

Depth Chart Fit: Will likely spell Trent Murphy and see the field as an interior rusher in obvious passing situations.

Round 3: Matt Jones, RB, Florida

Grade: F

An enormous surprise in the third round, we didn’t have Jones on our radar this early in the draft. The Florida back averaged 4.9 yards per carry a year ago and 2.7 yards after contact – both middling numbers. Jones is an enormous back at 6-foot-2, 231 pounds, but it didn’t necessarily lead to tackle breaking prowess. Jones broke 29 tackles on 165 carries, the 22nd best rate in the draft class. What makes the move odd is that Jones isn’t much of a change of pace from Alfred Morris or a third-down back. Jones was targeted 19 times on 113 pass routes and caught 11 for 65 yards last year.

Depth Chart Fit: Should compete with Silas Redd for carries to spell Alfred Morris and is unlikely to unseat Morris.

Round 4: Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke

At 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, Crowder projects as purely a slot receiver. Duke utilized him in that role on only 117 snaps last season though, as he lined up on 657 snaps at right wide receiver and 118 at left. Drops were an issue for Crowder; he flubbed 10 passes compared to 84 catches on the season. That 10.6 drop rate was 33rd out of 42 starters in class. Crowder average 2.82 yards per route run from the slot and 2.31 yards per route run overall last season.

Depth Chart Fit: Expect him to step in and be the number one slot receiver option from day one.

Round 4: Arie Kouandjio, OG, Alabama

Kouandjio is the anti-Brandon Scherff in that he doesn’t look like an athlete on the field, but he was extremely productive against the top level of college football. The Alabama left guard allowed six total pressures all season and finished behind only Laken Tomlinson in pass blocking efficiency. He has his limitations and looked labored when asked to move out into space, but he got the job done when called upon.

Depth Chart Fit: Could see him stealing a starting spot from either Shawn Lauvao or Chris Chester.

Round 5: Martrell Spaight, LB, Arkansas

Came on strong as a run defender at the end of the year with four straight highly graded positively graded games to finish the season. His 11.6 run stop percentage was the 11th best at inside linebacker in the class. Spaight likely fell this far because he was a liability at times in coverage. The Arkansas linebacker’s .99 yards per coverage snap was 34th out of 41 starting inside linebackers in the draft.

Depth Chart Fit: Will push for a starting job, but likely a backup year one and a special teams player.

Round 6: Kyshoen Jarrett, S, Virginia Tech

Graded out just around average against both the run and pass. More of a box safety at Virginia Tech where he spent 54% of his snaps within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage, 16% at corner, and 30% as a deep safety. Jarret’s 7.9 run stop percentage was the fourth best at the position in the draft.

Depth Chart Fit: With little talent at safety I could see him getting snaps with Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, and Jeron Johnson his competition at the position.

Round 6: Tevin Mitchel, CB, Arkansas

Solely a slot cornerback for Arkansas last season, Mitchel didn’t take a single snap as an edge corner last season. His .98 yards per coverage snap was 17th-best among slot corners a year ago. Even though he played the slot for Arkansas he didn’t add much in run support with a 1.1 run stop percentage, 86th at the corner position.

Depth Chart Fit: Unlikely to pass up Bashaud Breeland as slot corner, but could see time in dime packages.

Round 6: Evan Spencer, WR, Ohio State

Another surprising pick as Spencer had just 579 yards in his entire college career despite appearing in 50 games for the Buckeyes. The receiver took 209 of his 633 snaps last season from the slot and wasn’t very productive there at all. Spencer averaged .68 yards per route run from the slot and .54 overall.

Depth Chart Fit: Only way he is likely to make the team is if they keep six wide receivers.

Round 7: Austin Reiter, C, USF

Was one of the betterpass blocking centers in college football last season and allowed only eight pressures all season. He struggled against power five competition though as his pass blocking efficiency dropped from 99.3 in conference to 95.8 against power five teams. Even against the American Conference, Reiter graded around average as a run blocking.

Depth Chart Fit: Will likely have to cross train at guard to compete for a shot at making the roster.

The Undrafted

cff-value-badgeTakoby Cofield, OT, Duke: Left tackle had the 26th-ranked pass blocking efficiency in the class at 97.3.

Corey Crawford, ED, Clemson: Defensive end had only three positively graded games all season, with his best effort coming against N.C. State.

Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State: His 48-69, 727 yards, 6 touchdowns performance against California was one of our highest graded games all season. Unfortunately for the Washington State quarterback his outing against Arizona three weeks later was one of the lowest.  

Ty Long, K, UAB: Went 6-9 on kicks over 40 yards and 13-17 for the season. Not a kickoff specialist with a below average performance last year by NFL standards.

Terrance Plummer, LB, UCF: The middle linebacker earned the fifth-highest grade at the position in the draft outside of the power five.

Devin Mahina, TE, BYU: Mahina dropped five passes in 25 catchable targets for BYU last season.

Tyler Rutenbeck, WR, Dubuque: Didn’t play a snap against FBS competition.

Quinton Dunbar, WR, FLorida: Dropped six passes in 27 catchable targets last season and averaged 4.5 yards after the catch.

Brey Cook, OT, Arkansas: His 93.8 pass blocking efficiency last season was 89th in the draft class.

Dyshawn Davis, LB, Syracuse: Weak side linebacker had the fourth best pass rushing productivity at his position last season with a PRP of 17.1 on 98 rushing snaps.

Tony Jones, WR, Northwestern: Wide out dropped six balls in 41 catchable targets and averaged 2.2 yards after catch.


Follow Mike on Twitter: @PFF_Mike




| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Kyle

    Not sure if you watched any of Brandon’s 2013 season, but he was much, much better.

    • PFF_Neil

      It’s a fair point. We went back and graded all of Mariota and Winston for 2013 because they were so important but not Scherff. How much his injury affected him is difficult to judge.
      It’s a limitation of being our first season we won’t have next year though.

      • Kyle

        Even for someone like me, it was fairly obvious to see the difference between 2013 and 2014. Brandon not only looked more agile in pass protection and quicker off the snap but he “finished” blocks, which was one of you guy’s biggest criticisms of him. His game vs OSU in 2013 is as dominant a performance as I’ve ever seen from an OT.

  • wva88

    On Jones and how he will be used: I think it is important to point out that a smart organization would not draft for 2015, but rather for 2016 and 2017. “Smart” is not an adjective you would generally use to describe Washington, but it would fit for McCloughan.

    Remember Morris is a free agent after this season, and the trend has been for RB not to get large 2nd contracts. I think you have to view Jones as being drafted to replace Morris in 2016. Or, at the very least, to provide that option.

  • Shizzle Dawg

    On Preston Smith, I don’t think it matters that he was drafted to a 3-4 team, b/c we’re basically using a hybrid defense anyway. Last year we lined up in a 4-3 about 62% of the time IIRC

    • wva88

      Agree. This would actually be an interesting post for PFF. How often do teams actually play their base defense?

      Between TE who are WR in all but name, slot corners, OLB who play NT and S who play LB in the dime and quarter defenses, the traditional positions are losing their relevance. Shaq Thompson may be the best example. He might not start a game for the Panthers, but he may very well play more snaps than those who do.

      I think over the next few seasons we will see more players who really don’t fit a traditional position, but who are pieces than can be moved around as weapons both on offense and defense.

      • Dalen Erickson

        Very good point. I would love to see some stats on that. Defenses like the Pats, Raiders, jags and Falcons (going off of last year, Im not sure if all of these teams are running the same defense again this year) are quite confusing to most fans as the defense they claim to be their base, rarely is. The Raiders claim to have a 4-3 base but they used a 3 man front something like 75% of the time (not a real statistic by any means, just my rough estimate). Khalil Mack is listed as a 4-3 OLB but that is not at all the role he plays, lining up as an edge rusher almost every play. I think an article like that would be quite illuminating

  • Dalen Erickson

    Why didnt they try to find a 3rd down back to replace the vital role that Helu had for them? Honestly with their history of drafting more Huskers than anyone in the league, I was sure they would grab Abdullah who, coming from a die-hard Husker fan, is just a better version of Helu. Grabbing another 2 down hammer didnt make sense to me since they dont have a pass catching back on the roster. I think they may rethink this decision later and snag someone like Bradshaw to fill that void