May 4, 2015, 9:12 AM EDT
Yesterday I graded the Redskins’ 2015 draft. Now let’s take a look around and see how others viewed what Scot McCloughan and company did last week.
Before we dive in to the analysts’ specific comments, here are a few of the general themes from their evaluations:
—The main concern was that taking Brandon Scherff in the first round may have been a reach, especially with defensive lineman Leonard Williams on the board. That’s understandable and it’s now up to Scherff, Jay Gruden, and Bill Callahan to prove them wrong.
—Preston Smith was a widely praised pick, showing that some analysts can look beyond the players who receive the hype and look at the players who are good fits for the team that drafted them. Smith fits the big, tough guy mold that McCloughan has established.
—The most astute observation came from Evan Silva of Rotoworld. He noted that McCloughan didn’t try to hit home runs in the later rounds of the draft, he focused on building up the back end of the roster. Even if players like Martrell Spaight, Kyshoen Jarrett, and Evan Spencer may never end up contributing much from scrimmage they have a chance to be valuable as reserves and as solid special teams contributors.
—You don’t have to be a math major to figure out that the average grade given from this group was B-. That’s a little lower than I had. I was more impressed by McCloughan having a philosophy of big men win (and if you’re not big, you need to play big) than others were, perhaps due to the helter-skelter shifts in the type of players the Redskins have coveted over the last 15 years.
Note: Only partial comments are quoted here, click on the links for the writer’s full analysis.
The skinny: GM Scot McCloughan is one of the best evaluators in the league, but Brandon Scherff was a big reach, even if he lives up to his potential. Failing to trade down and passing on the best player in the draft (Leonard Williams) is going to be something the team might regret, even if Scherff becomes a top-flight tackle or guard.
New general manager Scot McCloughan made it clear in his first Washington draft that he’s going to do with the Redskins what he did in his stints with the 49ers and Seahawks: fill the roster with height/weight/speed monsters who can play the game. Some may question taking Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff with the fifth pick, but he’s a perfect right tackle or guard who could fill in should left tackle Trent Williams get hurt. Second-round end Preston Smith from Mississippi State can play all over the formation. He’s not a speed-rusher, but he can do just about everything else.
. . . He attacked special teams and was willing to use picks on role players. I absolutely loved his first- and second-round haul; both Scherff and Smith project as high-level NFL starters. Beyond rounds one and two, however, I don’t think McCloughan was trying to hit home runs. He’s got a 53-man roster to build and he wanted to stockpile useful football players, even if they’re unlikely to become NFL stars.
Best pick: Preston Smith – For Washington Smith will be able to come in and do a variety of things. He can play down in four-man fronts and is athletic enough to be a linebacker.
Questionable pick: Matt Jones – Washington had a need at running back, but I had a low grade on Jones.
With players like Scherff, Kouandjio and Smith, Washington did a really nice job of starting a culture to one that is more gritty and tough.
Brandon Scherff is a good player and if he becomes a reliable starter at right tackle, all is well. But if he ends up playing guard, he might not have been worth the No. 5 overall pick. Will the Redskins regret passing up DE Leonard Williams, perhaps the draft’s top defensive player?
Best Pick: Second-round pick Preston Smith played defensive end in college, but will move to linebacker for the Redskins. It will be a transition, but he has the tools to make it work . . .
Analysis: They added some solid pieces, and ended up with a solid haul. Scot McCloughan does a nice job with the draft. Scherff is a good player, but that seems high to me. Even so, it was a nice draft.
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