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Blog: Why Al Galdi Loves The Redskins’ 2018 Draft

Galdi provides his thoughts on a widely-praised 2018 Redskins draft

 

1. Only time, of course, will tell whether the Redskins actually picked the right players in this draft.  But one thing we can say with certainty is that the Redskins did a great job of generating value in this draft.  Consider the following:

The Redskins on Friday night traded their second-round pick (no. 44 overall) and a fifth-round pick (no. 142 overall) to San Francisco for a 49ers second-round pick (no. 59 overall) and a Niners third-round pick (no. 74 overall).  I loved the wheeling and dealing to get back a third-round pick, which, of course, the Redskins lost in the trade for Alex Smith.  The third-round pick that the Skins got from the 49ers (no. 74 overall) was actually better than the third-round pick that the Skins gave to the Chiefs (no. 78 overall).

The Redskins with that no. 59 overall pick got a first-round talent in LSU running back Derrius Guice.

The Redskins with their newly-acquired third-round pick got an offensive tackle in Louisville’s Geron (jer-AHN) Christian, who ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay raved about and said could be a quality starting tackle.

The biggest reach pick by the Redskins, safety Troy Apke out of Penn State in the fourth round, ran the fasted 40-yard dash at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine at 4.34 seconds and should at least help a Redskins special-teams unit that was really bad last season.

The Redskins got Virginia Tech defensive tackle Tim Settle in the fifth round off him having been viewed by some as a third-rounder.  Doug Williams said on The Team 980 on Monday that the Redskins actually had a second-round grade on Settle.

The Redskins did as they did with Kendall Fuller in the third round in 2016 and Fabian Moreau in the third round in 2017 in taking a high-level player who had fallen due to injury in Alabama linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton in the sixth round.  He tore his right ACL in Dec. 2016 and then suffered a broken right kneecap in Nov. 2017.  But Hamilton is viewed as a smart player who can call signals, and he was third on the Crimson Tide with 5.5 tackles for a loss when his season ended last year.  The Redskins traded up in the sixth round to get Hamilton, as they dealt sixth- and seventh-round picks to the Rams for a higher sixth-round pick (which was used on Hamilton) and a lower seventh-round pick.  ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper called Hamilton “a starting-caliber player if he can stay on the field.”

The Redskins used a seventh-round pick acquired from the Rams for Derek Carrier in Sept. 2017 on Virginia Tech corner Greg Stroman, who played for Redskins defensive backs coach Torrian Gray at Tech and who excelled as a punt returner for the Hokies.  Jamison Crowder has struggled mightily on punt returns in two of the last three seasons.  And know this about Stroman: he had the second-best passer-rating-allowed among draft-eligible corners last season per Pro Football Focus.

And the Redskins used the final pick of the draft – pick no. 256 overall – on SMU receiver Trey Quinn, who is a slot receiver who had 114 receptions last season.  Per Pro Football Focus, Quinn averaged 4.36 yards per route run when lined up in the slot last season; that ranked no. 1 among receivers in the 2018 draft.  Kiper had a fourth-round grade on Quinn and called this a “value pick.”  Quinn also can return punts.

2. We heard for weeks that the Redskins really liked Derrius Guice, so much so that they were discusses as potentially taking him with the no. 13 overall pick.  That would have been a huge mistake.  But Guice as a second-round pick that you traded back for is something I’m fine with.  The big issue, obviously, is why his stock dropped, and why he ultimately was the seventh running back taken in this draft.  Numerous off-the-field concerns emerged with Guice in the days leading up the NFL Draft.  Among those concerns:

Guice claimed that multiple NFL teams asked him about his sexual identity and whether his mother was a prostitute at the NFL scouting combine earlier this year.  According to USA TODAY Sports, he was interviewed at least three times by NFL investigators and gave a different account in each.  Guice never admitted he made up the allegations, although the NFL released its findings on April 25, stating that its investigation could not find evidence such questions were asked.

There were rumors that Guice got into some kind of altercation with the Philadelphia Eagles at the at the NFL Scouting Combine.  Benjamin Albright of 104.7 FM in Denver tweeted the following on Friday night: “From a league source on Guice: ‘He got into an altercation at a meeting with the Eagles. He had several meetings where he came across lazy only wants to play video games. We caught a direct dishonesty from him in our meeting.’ “

NFL insider Ian Rappoport tweeted the following on Friday: “Why is #LSU RB Derrius Guice sliding? Sources describe him as immature, high-maintenance. His visits did not go well. Some incidents in college teams found out about that were not reported.”

There even was a rumor on Friday that TMZ has a story about Guice that would be published once he was drafted.  TMZ executive editor Evan Rosenblum actually tweeted the following: “NO, TMZ IS NOT HOLDING SOME CRAZY BOMBSHELL STORY ON DERRIUS GUICE.”

For what it’s worth, Guice downplayed and dismissed all of this in an interview on The Team 980 with Scott Jasckson and Fred Smoot on Friday night.  Jay Gruden also downplayed the concerns in a press conference late Friday night.

I have no idea what’s true and what isn’t with Guice.  I don’t know how anyone other than Guice himself truly could.  Here’s what I do know: the Redskins made a terrible second-round pick two years ago in taking Su’a Cravens off not having done nearly enough due diligence, as ESPN Redskins insider John Keim has reported that the Redskins took Cravens without knowing that he had once gone missing from USC for three days while dealing with injury.  Boy have the Redskins better have done proper due diligence on Guice, because this team can not afford another blown second-round pick.

The Redskins by my count are 1-4-1 on second-round picks this decade.  The lone hit is Preston Smith (2015).  The whiffs are Jarvis Jenkins (2011), David Amerson (2012), Trent Murphy (2014) and Su’a Cravens (2016).  Ryan Anderson (2017) is to be determined, though he’s not off to a great start having played on just 17.61 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps last season.

3. As for Derrius Guice the running back, he was outstanding at LSU.  His 3,074 career rushing yards rank fifth in school history.  His 6.53 yards-per-carry ranks second all-time in SEC history behind Auburn’s Bo Jackson (6.62).  Guice is the only player in SEC history with three 250-yard rushing games.  And he did all of this despite major quarterback struggles for LSU in recent years, so Guice produced despite playing against stacked boxes and defenses that were keying on him.  Guice is listed as being 5-11 and 224 pounds and runs angry.  It is that last trait that is perhaps most enticing.  The Redskins have had major run-blocking problems in recent years, especially with tight ends.  A back in Guice is runs with violence and breaks tackles is so needed.  The Redskins thought that they were getting a good yardage-after-contact back in Samaje Perine in last year’s fourth round.  That wasn’t the case, at least last season.  Hopefully Guice proves to be different.

The Redskins have drafted one running back in each of their four drafts in the Jay Gruden Era: Lache Seastrunk (sixth round in 2014), Matt Jones (third round in 2015), Keith Marshall (seventh round in 2016) and Samaje Perine (fourth round in 2017).  The Redskins have signed undrafted free agents like Silas Redd (May 2014), Trey Williams (May 2015) and Rob Kelley (May 2016).  Not a single one of these guys has truly panned out.  Guice has a great chance to break this trend.

Running back Derrius Guice/photo courtesy of LSU Tigers Athletics

4. One more nugget on the Redskins taking Derrius Guice: did you see what ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted on Saturday morning?  He said that the Redskins wanted to take Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson at no. 44 but that Detroit beat the Redskins to the punch.  Tweeted Schefter, “Lions keep picking players before other teams can. Detroit drafted Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson at No. 43 with Washington preparing to take him at No. 44. Then Detroit drafted UL Laf CB Tracy Walker at No. 82 before Carolina could get him at No. 85. Always stories behind each pick.”

5. The Redskins spent their newly-acquired third-round pick on Friday night on Geron (jer-AHN) Christian, a tackle out of Lousiville.  This is a big dude – 6-5, 298 pounds.  He started every game for the Cardinals over the last three seasons, proving to be an integral part of a Bobby Petrino-coached and Lamar Jackson-quarterbacked Louisville attack that finished third in the nation in total offense (544.9 yards per game) and no. 11 in the nation in scoring offense (38.1 points per game).

The big question with Christian is what position has he been drafted to play?  The Redskins have an obvious hole at left guard.  Jay Gruden on Friday night and Doug Williams on The Team 980 on Monday both said that the more likely scenario was Christian remaining at tackle and Ty Nsekhe moving to guard.  Christian said in an interview on The Team 980 on Friday night that he never played guard at Louisville, though he did practice at guard and center at times.  But the Redskins, remember, took Brandon Scherff with the no. 5 overall pick in the 2015 draft as a tackle and then moved him to right guard about a week into training camp that summer.  Could Bill Callahan be about to work similar magic?

There would be some logic behind keeping Christian at tackle.  Trent Williams played in just 10 games last season, during which he was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 22 off having been inactive for four of the previous eight games due to an ailing right kneecap on which he underwent surgery on Dec. 29th.  Morgan Moses is coming off surgery, as he heroically played in all 16 games last season despite having two bad ankles for much of the season.  And the Redskins’ top backup tackle, Ty Nsekhe, played in just 11 games last season due to a core-muscle injury suffered in the win over Oakland on Sunday Night Football in Week 3.  As frightening as it is to think about Trent, Morgan and Ty all being hurt again this coming season, you can’t discount that possibility.  These are big men coming off serious ailments.

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