2015 Draft in Review: Washington Redskins
The 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
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
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
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.
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.
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