Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. The reality is we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2.0 to +2.0), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
Up next? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the Washington Redskins
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
No dice …
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
While there’s nothing to see here …
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Brian Orakpo, LB (13th overall pick in 2009): The team were determined to extend his stay by putting the franchise tag on him, well-earned considering his impact for the team. Initially starting out as an outside linebacker in the team’s 4-3, Orakpo made an immediate impact as a pass rusher before a switch to a 3-4 defense really got the best out of him. He has emerged as one of the most complete outside linebackers in the league with the only blight on his record an injury that cost him most of 2012. A pick that has worked out fantastically well.
Trent Williams, OT (4th overall pick in 2010): If you’re going to take a tackle at number four overall you better hope that guy isn’t just excellent in pass protection, but able to generate some movement in the run game. Williams has developed into exactly that guy, building on a horrific rookie year (he had the 14th lowest grade of all tackles) to become one of the best in the business. He finished 2013 as our top overall ranked tackle, having the athleticism and power to excel in any scheme.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Perry Riley, LB (104th overall pick in 2010): Is this a little generous? The Redskins certainly found a starter in their 2010 fourth-round selection, but his play in 2013 was of such a level he almost dropped down a grade. He was good enough when he first cracked the starting lineup in 2011, and then again a year later, that this is a win for the team.
Ryan Kerrigan, LB (16th overall pick in 2011): Kerrigan has never really developed into a top tier pass rusher, and his work in run defense has always been a disappointment. Still, you can’t argue that he’s been a productive pass rusher, with +26.4 grade over these past three years to show for it.
Aldrick Robinson, WR (178th overall pick in 2011): Robinson doesn’t have the most extensive background, but as a former sixth-round pick the team won’t be too disappointed with the return they’ve got from him. He’s already established himself as a big play receiver with his yards per reception mark above 20 for the past two years. Now if only he could become a little more rounded.
Maurice Hurt, OT (218th overall pick in 2011): The team figured it a good idea to get this rookie seventh-rounder on the field for 557 snaps. It did not go well with him woefully exposed in pass protection. He would get on the field again in 2012 and looked better in very limited action, but injury ruined his 2013 season. He’s given more (and lasted longer) than most guys taken with pick 218.
0.0: It could have been worse
Robert Henson, LB (186th overall pick in 2009): While Henson would never play a snap on defense, the former sixth-round pick did hang around the team for two years (missing one on injured reserve) while adding two special teams tackles. Nothing more or less than you’d expect for your average sixth-round pick.
Eddie Williams, TE (221st overall pick in 2009): As is the case with most seventh-rounders failed to do much. Spent a year on the practice squad before the team cut ties with him.
Marko Mitchell, WR (243rd overall pick in 2009): Would manage 67 snaps on offense where he would catch four-of-seven targets. That would be it for him in Washington though after the 2010 NFL draft.
Terrence Austin, WR (220th overall pick in 2010): Austin would last 250 snaps, making 15 receptions for Washington. Figured to latch on as a returner, but it never materialized. A little more than you might get from a typical seventh-rounder, but not so much the team would regard it as a good get.
Erik Cook, OL (230th overall pick in 2010): The younger brother of Ryan would start two games for the club in 2011 at center but was woefully out of his depth. His 182 snaps yielded a -5.2 grade before he was cut before the starter of the 2012 NFL season.
Selvish Capers, OT (232nd overall pick in 2010): Spent a year on the practice squad before the team parted ways. Never played a snap on offense for the team.
Leonard Hankerson, WR (79th overall pick in 2011): Up to 1,144 career snaps for the team, but their work in free agency lets you know he hasn’t convinced them he’s someone that will be around for the long haul. For better or worse he’s rarely stood out, and for a receiver selected in round three you just need to do a little more.
Roy Helu, HB (105th overall pick in 2011): Has been given plenty of opportunities to make a case for significant playing time, but has rarely done anything more than you’d expect out of a fourth-round running back. Needs a lot of space to operate and even catching the ball out of the backfield, a supposed strength, hasn’t seen him set himself apart from the rest.
Dejon Gomes, S (146th overall pick in 2011): A lack of safety depth meant this fifth-rounder would get 210 largely forgettable rookie snaps while adding four tackles on special teams. A year later he would start, but three poor performances saw him benched before the team finally gave up on him. Some return on where he was taken, but nowhere near enough.
Niles Paul, TE (155th overall pick in 2011): Paul made the switch to tight end in 2012, but has failed to use the position change as a means to getting more playing time. At this time the team can be thankful they’ve found some depth on their roster in the fifth-round, as well as a guy with 19 career special teams tackles to his name.
Evan Royster, HB (177th overall pick in 2011): The former sixth-rounder looked on his way to being far more than just a guy with a late cameo in the 2011 season. He ended the season impressing us with what few rushing attempts he got, turning 56 carries into 328 yards and a +3.7 rushing grade. Unfortunately that was the career highlight with the emergence of Alfred Morris limiting him to just 25 carries since.
Brandyn Thompson, CB (214th overall pick in 2011): Four career snaps on defense that yielded two tackles were all she wrote for his Redskins career. More famed for bouncing on and off the practice squad during the 2011 season.
Markus White, DE (225th overall pick in 2011): The former Florida State defensive end managed just 20 snaps on defense in a largely forgettable spell with the team that lasted until before the start of the 2012 season.
Chris Neild, DT (255th overall pick in 2011): Got onto the field as a rookie for 163 snaps but like a lot of seventh-rounders struggled to initially adjust to the increased levels of competition, getting moved about in the run game after a two sack debut. Before he had a chance to build on that, he tore his ACL and that was that.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Kevin Barnes, CB (80th overall pick in 2009): Was kept off the field for most of 2009 and 2010 before getting his big break at a slot corner in the 2011. Unfortunately year three is known as a make or break season for a reason, and not all can make it. His -8.4 grade tells you what happened to him and indicated a poor return on a third-rounder.
Cody Glenn, LB (158th overall pick in 2009): The sixth-rounder didn’t impress in camp and was cut before the start of the 2009 season. You like to see guys in that range hang onto the roster a little while.
Dennis Morris, TE (175th overall pick in 2010): Clearly not impressed with what he could offer the team traded him away before the start of his first year for a conditional pick that materialized into … well nothing.
Jarvis Jenkins, DE (41st overall pick in 2011): Maybe this would have been different if Jenkins hadn’t suffered a torn ACL during the 2011 preseason. Since he’s come back Jenkins has failed to set the world alight in a manner you’d expect from a second-round pick. Struggling to crack the starting lineup now.
-1.0: What a waste!
Jeremy Jarmon, DL (68th overall pick in 2010): Taken in the 2009 supplemental draft, Jarmon was a man big things were expected of. Unfortunately, with what would turn out to be the fourth pick of the third-round in 2010, that never materialized as he managed just 181 snaps before he was shipped off to Denver.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Phew, that’s a relief.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
And this an even bigger one.
Here are links to the teams that have been through the Draft Grader to date:
ARZ | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN | CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB
HOU | IND | JAX | KC | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | OAK | PHI
PIT | SL | SD | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WAS
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled