The Redskins are holding their 2018 rookie minicamp Friday through Sunday (May 11-13) off announcing the signings of seven of the eight picks on Thursday. I continue to be amazed (and excited by) the near-universal high praise that the Redskins receive for their 2018 draft. I can’t think of any other offseason move since the return of Joe Gibbs in Jan. 2004 that has generated this kind of across-the-board good feeling.
What we hope is that this 2018 Redskins draft proves to be a true home-run draft. Not a good draft – a killer draft. By that I mean that at least four true impact players emerge from this draft for the Redskins. Because the truth is that the Redskins haven’t had that kind of draft for years.
Overall, Redskins drafts under Mike Shanahan, Bruce Allen and Scot McCloughan have been better. But better doesn’t mean great.
What’s interesting is that the Redskins’ first-round picks this decade have mostly been good. And there certainly have been some notable mid-to-late-round hits: Kirk Cousins (fourth round in 2012), Alfred Morris (sixth round in 2012), Jordan Reed (third round in 2013), Chris Thompson (fifth round in 2013), Morgan Moses (third round in 2014), Spencer Long (third round in 2014), Bashaud Breeland (fourth round in 2014), Jamison Crowder (fourth round in 2015), Kendall Fuller (third round in 2016), Matt Ionannidis (fifth round in 2016). A list like that dwarfs a comparable list from Redskins drafts from 2000-09.
But the problem with Redskins drafts this decade is that more hasn’t been gotten out of them. Consider each draft:
2010 Redskins draft – The only players of substance were Trent Williams with the no. 4 overall pick and Perry Riley Jr. in the fourth round. The Redskins’ roster was a mess at this time. They needed that first Mike Shanahan/Bruce Allen draft to be a great one. It wasn’t, though it’s not like the Redskins had a lot of picks to work with in this draft (just two over the first five rounds).
2011 Redskins draft – Looking back, this may well be the draft that hurt the Redskins the most. The Redskins got a major hit with Ryan Kerrigan with the no. 16 overall pick but then little else. Roy Helu Jr. (fourth round), Niles Paul (fifth round) and Evan Royster (sixth round) had their moments, and you could argue that Paul was a hit for his special-teams work. But Jarvis Jenkins (second round) was a miss. Leonard Hankerson (third round) was a miss. Guys like Dejon Gomes (fifth round) and Aldrick Robinson (sixth round) were not the diamonds in the rough people may have thought them to have the potential to be. Bottom line, the Redskins made 12 picks in this draft and generated just one hit.
2012 Redskins draft – Kirk Cousins as a fourth-round pick is legitimately one of the best Day 3 picks this decade. Alfred Morris as a sixth-round pick was a steal. Keenan Robinson as a fourth-round pick did give the Redskins a terrific 2014 season. But we all know the miss that was trading up to take Robert Griffin III with the no. 2 overall pick, though he did at least provide an elite-quarterbacking and NFC East-winning rookie season. And taking Josh LeRibeus in the third round with Russell Wilson still available is maybe the biggest Redskins-draft what-if of the decade.
2013 Redskins draft – Jordan Reed (third round) and Chris Thompson (fifth round) are two really nice hits, although the extent to which each is a hit is still to be determined. But those are the only two hits from this draft. David Amerson as a second-round pick was a big whiff. And trying to solve safety by taking Phillip Thomas in the fourth round and Bacarri Rambo in the sixth round didn’t work out so well.
2014 Redskins draft – This was the first of two Bruce Allen drafts for the Redskins this decade, and the draft has looked better as time has gone on. Morgan Moses (third round), Spencer Long (third round) and Bashaud Breeland (fourth round) were all hits. Ryan Grant (fifth round) became a Jay Gruden favorite and had a good 2017, but Grant wasn’t anything more than a modest hit. Trent Murphy as a second-round pick was a miss; he had one productive season (2016) out of four years.
2015 Redskins draft – This was the first of the two Scot McCloughan drafts. I disagree philosophically with taking a guard in Brandon Scherff with the no. 5 overall pick, but he has been a definite hit. Preston Smith (second round) and Jamison Crowder (fourth round) are hits. Kyshoen Jarrett (sixth round) was tracking toward being a hit but then suffered that career-ending neck injury in the Week 17 win at Dallas. Matt Jones (third round) was a miss, and the McCloughan comparisons of Jones to Marshawn Lynch now look laughable.
2016 Redskins draft – The second of the two McCloughan drafts was not as good as the first one. Kendall Fuller (third round) and Matt Ioannidis (fifth round) appear to have been hits. But the jury is very much out on spending the no. 22 overall pick on Josh Doctson, who you have to say has been more miss than hit over his first two seasons. And spending a second-round pick on Su’a Cravens turned out to be a disaster.
2017 Redskins draft – It is too early to pass any kind of definitive judgment on any of the picks from this draft, but Jonathan Allen (no. 17 overall), Montae Nicholson (fourth round) and Chase Roullier (sixth round) in particular look like potential significant hits. Ryan Anderson (second round), Fabian Moreau (third round) and Samaje Perine (fourth round) have work to do. Jeremy Sprinkle (fifth round) and Joshua Holsey (seventh round) offer promise.
The beauty of the Redskins’ 2018 draft is that all eight picks – Da’Ron Payne, Derrius Guice, Geron Christian, Troy Apke, Tim Settle, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Greg Stroman and Trey Quinn – offer major promise. Many of them are “value” picks – guys who were taken lower than where many felt they would/should be taken. The Redskins haven’t had a true home-run draft in decades. Here’s to hoping that that just changed.