Steve Seufert | April 28th, 2020
One thing is for sure, Kyle Smith and Ron Rivera had a plan. A plan that was made public to the fans. The plan was to add versatility and what Rivera refers to as position-less football players. I love that they stuck to their plan, even if I thought there were better players on the board. They’re trying to instill a culture and attitude that this organization has lacked for almost three decades. I think it’s already working.
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Round 1, Pick 2: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
This was an easy decision for Smith, VP of Player Personnel for the Washington Redskins. Young joins Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matthew Ioannidis, and Montez Sweat to round out one of the better defensive fronts in all of football. The former Buckeye met with Allen, the captain of the Redskins defense, only one day after he was selected.
The Redskins are getting a pass rusher with a ridiculous first step. He shows extremely technical and heavy hands at the point of attack, allowing him to take offensive tackles for a ride. I would expect Young to play mostly on the strong-side of the formation allowing him to blow up the edge in the run game. By all accounts, Washington is getting a player that could provide double digit sacks per year from the moment he steps into the facility.
Full scouting report here.
Round 3, Pick 66: Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis
It was kind of a shocking pick, as Gibson is more of a running back prospect than wide receiver. On tape, he’s clearly a running back from my point of view. As a receiver, he struggles as a route runner and shows a ton of hip tightness when he is working through his stem, also disrupting his ability to get in and out of breaks.
Rivera and Scott Turner have mentioned how much they love versatility. Versatility shouldn’t be confused with the ability to play multiple positions. Versatility is being able to play multiple positions at a high level. Gibson can threaten you vertically, thanks to his 4.39 speed and he’s ridiculously smooth as a ball carrier. At running back, Gibson sports very good vision and elite contact balance to create explosive plays. The former Memphis Tiger had 14 career touchdowns on just 77 touches.
— Jordan (@washfootbaII) April 25, 2020
Round 4, Pick 108: Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU
Charles is a player that I had my eyes on since December. He combines his nimble feet and very good athleticism with heavy hands at the point of attack. Interestingly, Charles only has four years of experience at the offensive tackle position, mostly playing offensive guard in high school. With such little experience, Charles will need to continue to work on cleaning up his pass sets, as he often over-sets when trying to beat edge rushers to the spot.
Personally, I love the pick. There were rumors about immaturity that could’ve caused him to drop, but Rivera got the word from Ed Orgeron that Charles was well worth a fourth-round selection. Anytime you can get a prospect with starting left tackle potential in the fourth round, it’s an easy grade from me. Not to mention, Charles provides guard flexibility at the next level. Kudos to Smith and Rivera for sticking to the prospects that provide real versatility.
I've been thinking about this rep from Saahdiq Charles for like a week. Bakhtiari-esque rep. pic.twitter.com/Y5xcnbcJT9
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) January 19, 2020
Round 4, Pick 142: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
Washington gets a boundary receiver that possesses very good play speed, showing much faster than his 4.6 40-yard dash time. Personally, I thought there were better receivers on the board that would provide more versatility but Gandy-Golden checks out as a first-round individual. Gandy-Golden reportedly picks up new activities and tasks to master when he gets bored. He can bowl a perfect game, solve a Rubix’s cube in less than one minute, and play the guitar. He shouldn’t have difficulty picking up the playbook, right?
I was much cooler on Gandy-Golden in 2018 because the tape was littered with drops. However, when you turn on the 2019 tape, it’s a completely different player. I love his build up speed against off-coverage, keeping defenders honest on a lot of the underneath stuff. I think he will show some versatility by playing both the X and Z positions, but I would rather see him off the line of scrimmage, giving him the free releases downfield.
Round 5, Pick 156: Keith Ismael, IOL, San Diego State
Odd pick and I was honestly stumped for the first time in the 2020 draft. I thought the Redskins were pretty set on the interior, especially with Brandon Scherff being involved in the future plans. Again, Rivera sticking to his guns and vouched for another player with positional versatility as Ismael can play both center and guard.
I was able to get into some tape on Ismael and most of it was at the center position. I came away pleasantly surprised that I had never heard of this player before. He has a high motor in the run game, consistently moving opposing defenders. When he gets to the second level, he’s looking to take the head off smaller defenders. His hands pass as being very technical with accurate and heavy punches. He might struggle with bigger defenders because the projection and play strength aren’t there but he could start at left guard in year one for Washington.
Round 5, Pick 162: Khaleke Hudson, LB, Michigan
Hudson wasn’t athletic enough to play safety, so he moved to the Viper linebacker role at Michigan. His 2017 tape is fun to watch as he played multiple positions at a high level. Racked up a ton of stats behind the line of scrimmage and in coverage. He’s really quick to diagnosis in the run game and has the short area quickness to really help him excel in this area of the game. There’s definitely some bend around the edge and pairing that with his low center of gravity can cause occasional havoc as a pass rusher. Five career blocked punts at Michigan.
Round five was another surprising pick, but it follows a theme of Rivera and Smith picks. They are loading up on high character players with some versatility. I would expect Hudson to compete at the SAM linebacker spot, a spot that might currently be the weakest position on the team. At the very least, Hudson sticks thanks to his special teams experience and his ability to disrupt the punt game. With that being said you can find these players even later, hurting this overall grade.
He might not have a true position, but that's what the NFL is all about these days. I think Khaleke Hudson is going to stick. He's a Redskin. pic.twitter.com/GyGx7HdlLD
— Brandon Brown (@BSB_Wolverine) April 25, 2020
Round 7, Pick 216: Kamren Curl, S, Arkansas
Where could you go wrong in the seventh round with a three-year starter in the SEC? Curl is someone that I was able to identify earlier in the process while watching other SEC prospects. I love his ability to play both safety positions, and even in a nickel role when it’s needed. Somewhat of a labored athlete but athleticism plays up thanks to his natural instincts. You can almost tell he’s a film junkie by watching him attack route combinations as if he knew the play before the snap.
I had Curl graded as a sixth-rounder and didn’t really consider the Redskins as a possible destination. He’s probably a guaranteed special team player in year one, but he might push Sean Davis for his spot if Davis doesn’t become more reliable in the run game. At the very least, you have competition on the back end of the defense and a player that will be willing on special teams.
Round 7, Pick 229: James Smith-Williams, EDGE, N.C. State
Absolutely shocked that we drafted an edge prospect after Young. The defensive line is clearly the strength of this team. How’s that saying go? You make your strengths stronger, right? The Redskins received this pick from the Denver Broncos during the Case Keenum trade. Anytime you can get a 265 pounder that runs 4.6, you just do it.
James Smith-Williams with a 4.61 40-yard dash! 🐺💨💨 https://t.co/H5L71qUDve
— Pack Pride (@PackPride) February 29, 2020
I’m not sure Smith-Williams sticks, but he will surely provide competition. Especially for guys like former seventh-round pick Jordan Brailford and Nate Orchard. Rivera saw a high character edge prospect with an unbelievable work ethic. Smith Williams came into N.C. State at 196 pounds and put on nearly 100 pounds. All of it good weight, as he was able to maintain solid athleticism.
Draft grades are difficult but on paper, I think the Redskins did a fine job. The Redskinscame into the draft with a plan to add versatility and high character individuals. They drafted what many are calling a generational pass rusher. The Redskins coveted a left tackle in Charles that projects as a player who can play every position except center. Ismael also provides the offensive line versatility at both guard positions and center. And you can’t forget Gibson, who will play running back and receiver at the next level, similar to David Johnson of the Houston Texans. Develop a plan, and stick to it. That’s what Rivera and Smith did.
Overall Grade: B
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