Mike Fanelli | April 30th, 2019
The 2019 NFL draft was a blast and despite plenty of rumors of teams trading into the top-10, there was very little trade action till the last third of the first round. One of the teams rumored to jump into the top five to secure a quarterback was the Washington Redskins. However, they stayed patient and still managed to get their guy at pick 15 overall.
While the Redskins didn’t need to trade up to land their future franchise quarterback, they did swing a trade using next year’s second-round pick in order to make another first-round selection this year. I am not a fan of trading away future draft picks but the Redskins filled a major need with a very good player. With all that being said, the Redskins had a very good draft overall. Below I break down and give a grade for each pick.
Round 1, 15th Overall: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Sadly Alex Smith‘s career is likely over after suffering a gruesome leg injury last season. Unfortunately, the team can’t get him off their books till after the 2020 season without taking a massive dead cap penalty. The franchise made the right call in moving on and finding their next franchise quarterback. Haskins has a chip on his shoulder after sliding to pick 15 overall and will be extra motivated to succeed early in his career. The Redskins should allow Colt McCoy and Case Keenum battle for the starting role this season while giving Haskins a year to watch from the bench as the team aren’t real playoff contenders for 2019.
Round 1, 26th Overall: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Earlier this offseason Preston Smith signed with the Packers in free agency, leaving the Redskins with a big hole at outside linebacker opposite of Ryan Kerrigan. Former second-round pick Ryan Anderson has failed to live up to expectations, forcing the Redskins to be aggressive in trading up for Sweat. Rumor is the Oakland Raiders were going to take Sweat with their 27th overall pick had the Redskins not jumped in front of them. Much like Haskins, Sweat feels he should have gone earlier in the draft and has a chip on his shoulder. Giving up a second round pick in 2020 is a big price to pay, but worth it to get a first-round caliber pass rusher.
Round 3, 76th Overall: Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
At first, I wasn’t on board with this pick but after thinking it over I’ve warmed up to it. Josh Doctson has been a bust, Paul Richardson can’t stay healthy, and Jamison Crowder left in free agency. The bottom line is the Redskins don’t have any good wide receivers. Many draft experts loved McLaurin because of his speed and route running ability. Thanks to their time spent together at Ohio State, McLaurin and Haskins already some chemistry. It may take a year but come the 2020 season, Redskin fans should get used to hearing Haskins to McLaurin.
Round 4, 112th Overall: Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
Nothing about this pick makes sense to me unless the plan is for Love to replace Chris Thompson after this season. Rumors are the Redskins are worried that Derrius Guice won’t be ready to start the 2019 season because of his ACL injury but drafting Love makes no sense. Love is coming off his own torn ACL injury that will cause him to miss most, if not all, of his rookie season. If there is concern about Guice’s knee the Redskins should have drafted a healthy running back. If there aren’t any concerns, they had no need to draft a running back this early.
Round 4, 131st Overall: Wes Martin, iOL, Indiana
Earlier this offseason, the Redskins signed Ereck Flowers to play left guard even though he hasn’t played guard in the NFL. If this works out, that would be great but no one should hold their breath. Last season the Redskins suffered so many injuries to their offensive line, especially at the interior positions, that towards the end of the season they would sign free agents during the week and have them start on Sunday. The depth along the offensive line was very thin and between this pick and the Redskins’ next pick, that is no longer an issue.
Round 5, 153rd Overall: Ross Pierschbacher, iOL, Alabama
The Redskins have a history of taking players from Alabama. With the pick of Pierschbacher, the Redskins have selected at least one play from Alabama for the third straight draft. Pierschbacher had a pre-draft visit with the Redskins, where they talked about him playing left guard. However, he mostly started at center for the Crimson Tide. Pierschbacher will compete for the starting left guard spot but also will be the backup center behind Chase Roullier.
Round 5, 173rd Overall: Cole Holcomb, LB, North Carolina
All of the inside linebackers on the Redskins’ roster have some sort of concern. Reuben Foster has off the field and injury history, while Mason Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton are limited. Therefore, adding another linebacker was a smart move. Holcomb wasn’t invited to the combine and probably doesn’t have the upside to be a full-time starter. However, he ran a 4.48 40 time at his pro day and will be a special teams player from day one. Hopefully, by mid-season, Holcomb will be playing a role in sub packages.
Round 6, 206th Overall: Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
My favorite pick of the draft class given the value. I had Harmon graded out as a late second round pick so to get him at the end of the sixth round is an excellent value. The Redskins’ wide receivers have been below average at best the past few seasons and hopefully, McLaurin and Harmon can change that. At 6’2” 221 lbs, Harmon ran a 4.6 40 time at the combine. While he struggles to create separation at times, his ability to play ball in the air is excellent. The Redskins have lacked a big body physical receiver for years and finally, have one in Harmon.
Over the last couple of years, the Redskins have a history of drafting smaller cornerbacks late in the draft. However, Moreland is my favorite of the group but he will have to fight to earn a roster spot. During his time at James Madison, Moreland had 18 interceptions, including six he returned for a touchdown, so the ball skills are clearly there. He will struggle against bigger receivers and likely will be forced to slot corner duties, but if he makes the roster, he should make an impact as a rookie.
Round 7, 253rd Overall: Jordan Brailford, EDGE, Oklahoma State
Taking a raw but fast pass rusher is always a good idea late in the seventh round. Brailford ran a 4.65 40 time and is quick off the edge. He is on the lighter side for a pass rusher and doesn’t have great length. However, he has experience at inside linebacker and does a good job timing the snap count. Brailford likely won’t turn into anything more than a role player but his speed gives him a real shot to make the roster as a rookie.
Usually, the Redskins make a splashy move to make headlines in April instead of trying to build a strong draft class. This year, however, they did a good job of staying put and only moving up when it made sense. The class will be graded on if Haskins becomes the franchise quarterback the team has lacked for decades and if Sweat turns into an elite pass rusher. Should both happen, the Redskins will deserve an A+ grade. However, given their poor draft history and some questionable picks, I gave them a solid B+ and look forward to seeing what the class looks like in two or three years.
Final Grade: B+
Check out our other Team Draft Recaps and Grades: New York Giants | Indianapolis Colts | Los Angeles Chargers | Cleveland Browns | Buffalo Bills | Carolina Panthers | Pittsburgh Steelers | Minnesota Vikings | Jacksonville Jaguars | Cincinnati Bengals | Oakland Raiders
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