The Washington Redskins gave up a massive bounty in order to move up and take Robert Griffin III, a move that the jury is still out on. The 'Skins gave up first round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014, plus a second rounder in 2012. The Rams traded one of the picks to the Falcons for 3 more picks in the 2013 draft. They also sent a pick to Dallas for 2 more picks in the 2012 draft. St. Louis has parlayed their impressive haul into Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey, Zac Stacy, Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Isaiah Pead, Rokevious Watkins, and Greg Robinson. Even if RG3 develops into a consistent quality starter at QB, 8 players (many of whom have star potential) is an awful lot to surrender. Without a first round pick in the last 3 drafts, it's proven difficult for Washington to put a capable supporting cast around their young QB. Let's see how they did this year.
- 2nd round selection: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford Grade: C+
It's no secret that the Redskins had one of the NFL's worst defenses last season. While their yardage numbers were misleadingly good, the team gave up 20.9 points per game, good for 23rd in the league. Murphy led the NCAA in sacks in 2013 with 15 and projects to be a useful LB in the NFL due to his motor, instincts, and tough field demeanor. In a game now smitten with hand size, Murphy's measured the largest at the combine, at 11 1/8 inches. But for a team with no 1st round pick, they needed to hit a home run with this choice and did not. Even the most optimistic scouts believe it will take Murphy a few years to adjust to the speed of the pros. He struggles against power blockers, and has issues covering speedier running backs. There is no questioning his motivation or willingness to work hard, in time, he will develop into a starter. The Redskins needed to find someone who could impact their team in 2014, however.
- 3rd round selection: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia Grade: B+
One of the steals of the draft. For a team who gave up 43 sacks and let their prized young QB take a regular beating, offensive line was a huge need. To get a player of Moses' caliber in the 3rd round was a major coup. There have been questions about his technique and work ethic that allowed him to slide as far as he did and it will be on the Washington coaching staff to stay on top of him. But Moses started 43 games in 4 years in a premier conference, and at 6'6" and 314 pounds, has tremendous size. He's tough for defenders to get around and shows the ability to win the line of scrimmage with his hands.
- 3rd round selection: Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska Grade: B+
His ceiling is not as high as Moses', but he will more than likely be a plug and play selection in Washington. Long shows great toughness, playing through a torn meniscus in 2012, never missing a start. He shows equal skill in the run and pass blocking departments and is regarded as a gamer and warrior. Long plays with a mean streak, has huge hands, plus he possesses the versatility to play both inside and outside. The Redskins struggled mightily in protecting Griffin in 2013, but with Moses and Long aboard, they've taken a big step towards alleviating that problem.
- 4th round selection: Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson Grade: A
Washington makes another excellent value choice, getting a player to help a position of need. Breeland was a 2nd round value on many boards, and scouts felt that if he stayed in school one more season, he had a chance to go in the 1st. Josh Wilson became a popular whipping boy for fans last year, and the secondary gave up 29 passing TDs and 8 yards an attempt. It was clear changes needed to be made. Breeland is a guy who will make plays, he has no qualms about coming up and stuffing the run. He produced 4 interceptions, 5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and 2 sacks in 2013. It won't be surprising to see him immediately contribute as the nickel back this season and become an eventual starter.
- 5th round selection: Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane Grade: C- The WR position became far less of an urgent need with the additions of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, so the Redskins could afford to take a developmental project. There will be little pressure for Grant to play this season, but the selection is still a bit of a reach. A 6th or 7th round choice for most, Grant was considered an enigma by scouts. His toughness going over the middle came into question, his blocking skills are iffy, he's not a skilled route runner and he depends on his size (6', 199) to make plays. Grant routinely gets jammed at the line, in addition to being considered a lackadaisical player. On the bright side, he shows that he can make NFL catches, going up for passes and bringing them in with his hands, gaining yards after the catch. Perhaps in a couple of seasons, he'll be ready for game action.
- 6th round selection: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor Grade: A
It's hard to do much better with a 6th round choice. Seastrunk is an immediate home run threat out of the backfield, a player who scored numerous times from his own side of the 50. 5 of his 19 college TDs were 68 yards or longer. It's very easy to envision him becoming the lightning to Alfred Morris' thunder. He's not going to move the pile, but does have a knack for breaking arm tackles. Seastrunk will have to work on his patience, as the holes he saw at Baylor will not exist at the NFL level. He'll also have to improve his pass catching out of the backfield to see the field regularly. Character concerns are what dropped him so low, but he has no arrests or off field incidents to speak of.
- 7th round selection: Ted Bolser, TE, Indiana Grade: D-
Bolser wasn't even on the radar, grading out as a potential undrafted free agent. His size (6'5", 257) is what got him drafted. In this day and age, all teams envision plucking a behemoth TE from obscurity and turning him into their own Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski. Scouts criticized his ball skills, and his small hands will hamper him going forward. He's not considered a good blocker, despite his size. Bolser has limited foot speed, struggles going over the middle, and did not impress at the combine, benching 225 pounds only 19 times. He'll be battling for a roster spot, at best.
- 7th round selection: Zach Hocker, K, Arkansas Grade: D
You have to wonder why Washington burned a pick on Hocker when they likely could have signed him after the draft. When using picks on special teamers, you want them to be no brainers to make the team. While Hocker showed a nice leg in college, converting 3 kicks over 50 yards, he also missed 18 FGs over his 4 year college career. Unless he makes the team and becomes the starting kicker, this pick is a waste.
Overall draft grade: C+
The Redskins had a mediocre draft, with some great choices and some head scratchers. By pinpointing value in Moses, Breeland and Seastrunk, they saved themselves from a far lower grade. They started off well enough (although I'm not a huge Murphy believer), but then the wheels came off, as 3 of their last 4 picks will struggle to make the team. When you don't have a 1st rounder to fall back on, nailing your late round picks and emerging with starters becomes paramount. If the Redskins improve next season, it will be due to Dan Snyder's willingness to open the checkbook and bring in players like DeSean Jackson and Jason Hatcher, not the brain trust.