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Grading the Redskins' 2017 draft

Grading the Redskins' 2017 draft

Since we don’t know how the careers of the players picked by the Redskins yesterday will turn out we must dig in a little more to come up with a grade for the draft headed up by Bruce Allen. Here’s my assessment, feel free to leave yours in the comments.

Strategy—B

There really isn’t enough to love or to hate here. They didn’t do much wheeling and dealing while on the clock, making only a minor deal with the Vikings to move up two spots in the sixth round in exchange for moving down 10 slots in the seventh.

For the record, the trade (picks 201 and 220 from Washington to Minnesota in exchange for picks 199 and 230) was just about a wash on the Jimmy Johnson trade chart, with the Redskins giving up a statistically insignificant one point of value.

Whether center Chase Roullier, the player they traded up to draft, makes the team and has an impact or not is not going to make or break the draft but it should be noted that they gave up something of value to get him so it was a player they wanted to make sure they got as his name was still on the board.

The deals that got them up to 10 picks had already been made by Scot McCloughan on draft day last year as he added picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds with various trades.

Perhaps they deserve the most credit for a potential deal they did not make. As their first-round pick got closer and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen remained on the board it had to be tempting for them to spend a mid-round pick to jump up and grab him before anyone else could. But Gruden said that they had a number of players to choose from as the pick approached and they decided to stay put. The gamble paid off as Allen fell into their laps at pick No. 17.

RELATED: Redskins roll the dice in the 7th round

Talent/fit/needs—A-

The Redskins needed to bolster their defense and they certainly gave it a go. Their first three picks were on defense as were four of their first five and six of 10 overall.

But the raw number of the picks doesn’t really tell the story; it’s the value of the picks that really matters. According to that Jimmy Johnson pick value chart, they spend 1,596 points on defense and 126 points on offense.

They hit on their biggest needs with their first two picks. They had not drafted a defensive lineman in the first round since 1997 and the neglect of the position was evident. In Allen they got a player with Pro Bowl potential in their biggest area of need.

Allen will help the pass rush from the inside and then in the second round they acquired some edge rushing ability with Ryan Anderson. It seems that this pick was strongly influenced by Scot McCloughan’s draft board. His height, weight, and combine numbers were not what a lot of teams are looking for in an edge rusher but his tough mentality and obvious love for the game are attributes that McCloughan valued.

Although Gruden expressed his confidence in Rob Kelley to be his running back it appeared to most outside observers that an upgrade was needed and they got that in Samaje Perine. You can’t have too many good corners and Bashaud Breeland is set to be a 2018 free agent so they took Fabian Moreau in the third round. They had no backup center Roullier could develop into that spot. Gruden said earlier this offseason that they needed a blocking tight end and that is what Jeremy Sprinkle is.

They didn’t hit on all their needs. With the top three inside linebackers set to be free agents next year many thought they would spend a top pick there. And although there were a few possible nose tackles on the board in the later rounds they bypassed that position. You can’t solve everything in one draft but the Redskins have now had eight drafts since converting to the 3-4 defense and they still haven’t found a solution at nose tackle.

As far as value goes, it doesn’t get much better than Allen, who was a consensus top-five talent who lasted until the 17th pick. Moreau may have been a first-round pick before tearing a pectoral muscle lifting weights during his pro day.

On the other end of the value scale, the fourth round seemed to be way too early to take safety Montae Nicholson. There is something to be said for taking a guy with good measurables who didn’t have good game tape and taking a shot at developing him. But the fourth round is too soon for taking such a chance.

READ MORE: Breaking down the Redskins late round picks

Overall—B+

After their first two picks, they didn’t shy away from red flags. Moreau and Nicholson both have injuries that will keep them out of action until sometime in training camp. Sprinkle had a highly-publicized shoplifting citation that got him suspended from Arkansas’ bowl game. Seventh-round pick Josh Harvey-Clemons failed multiple drug tests during college.

They did stay away from players with histories of high-profile violent incidents like Dede Westbrook, Joe Mixon, and Caleb Brantley.

How those red-flag players turn out will be the key to this draft. It’s fine to take some chances, especially when you go into the draft with 10 picks. But you have better win more than you lose.

There were enough players taken who seem to be sure bets to be productive, if there is such a thing in the draft, to make it unlikely that the draft will be a total bust. Allen, Anderson, and Perine are clean prospects who have very high floors. Allen and Anderson may have Pro Bowl ceilings.

Given that, they seem to be assured of having a least a productive draft (again, with the caveat that nothing in the draft is certain). If Sprinkle develops into a good third tight end who can block and be a threat to catch a pass, that’s a plus. If Moreau can develop into a starter, this could be a pretty good draft. If sixth-round WR Robert Davis can contribute on special teams and be a productive fourth or fifth wide receiver, that would be another plus.

In short, the Redskins did some good work towards giving this draft a chance to be a success. Now it’s up to the coaches, to luck, and seeing how players who are projected to play well at age 22 actually perform on the field when they get older and suddenly have a six-figure salary. 

MORE REDSKINS: Clear winner from Redskins 2017 Draft?

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How the Redskins survived Thanksgiving with the Giants

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How the Redskins survived Thanksgiving with the Giants

The Redskins' survived a Thanksgiving night scare from the New York Giants in Week 12 at FedEx Field.

Here are my observations during the Redskins’ “a win is a win” 20-10 victory.

— Jamison Crowder made a diving, reaching catch that gained all of two yards. But it got the Redskins their initial first down of the game after two three and outs so it is noteworthy.

— But the series ended when Josh Doctson went out of bounds just before converting a third and 15. It looks like he could have and the other yard. Then Doctson dropped the fourth and one pass and the Giants took over at their own 41. The mistakes continue to mount and the Redskins continue to allow the Giants to stick around.

Brian Mitchell does not like the flow of the Redskins’ offense.

RELATED: FedEx Field turf gets ripped by Internet

— The Giants used a third and 15 conversion and a fourth and one conversion to drive to the first points of the game. There really is no excuse for the third and long as the Giants are severely depleted at receiver and on the offensive line.

— Crowder got lost behind the Giants secondary on third and eight and hauled in a Kirk Cousins pass for 39 yards to the New York 38. It was the first Redskins’ offensive jolt of the day.

— Redskins get first offensive jolt of the day with Cousins to Crowder for 39 yards to the Giants 38, converting a third and eight. But then he dropped a potential third-down conversion and the Redskins had to punt. Again, someone needs to make a play or the season will be over before we eat the first leftover turkey sandwich.

— The Redskins do dent the scoreboard but it’s only a field goal, set up by a pass interference penalty. A sack led to a red zone failure and they settled for three. At least they got to the red zone.

— After catching a 33-yard pass from Cousins, Crowder scored for the first time this year. Kudos to Cousins on the play for scrambling on third down and keeping it alive long enough for Crowder to get open. Redskins 10, Giants 3

— The Redskins are playing some good defense but the Giants offense is making plenty of mistakes. Manning has missed several open receivers. Evan dropped a third-down pass that was on the money. They are showing why they are 2-8.

—  It looked like Cousins’ toe got caught in the turf as he tossed a pass in the direction of Byron Maxwell. The field is not looking too good and that good be responsible for Cousins’ footwork problems. In any case, the ball bounced off of Byron Marshall’s hands and Janoris Jenkins turned it into a game-tying pick six.

— The Redskins got a drive going and moved from their own 10 into Giants territory. But the Giants’ fifth sack of the game ended it and Tress Way came in and punted.

— The Redskins lined up to punt on fourth and one at the New York 40 with about 10 left in the fourth quarter. But apparently Jay Gruden reconsidered and they called timeout and sent the offense back out. But the play clock expired while they were lining up and they had to punt. This is known as not having your act together.

— The Redskins finally untied the game. A holding call bailed them out of a third-down sack and then Cousins converted the next third down on a pass to Crowder. The touchdown was a thing of beauty, a well-timed left-shoulder pass from Cousins to Doctson.

— A fourth-down sack by Junior Galette, his first of the year, gave the Redskins the ball deep in Giants territory. Nick Rose came in and nailed the field goal from 33 yards out.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Kirk Cousins threw an interception and people are blaming the field conditions

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Kirk Cousins threw an interception and people are blaming the field conditions

You may have noticed that the grass on Fedex Field looks ... different ... tonight. 

The area between the hash marks looks more yellow-brown compared to the outside green, and it's causing some issues. 

Specifically, this one:

It wasn't the wisest throw of the night from Cousins, but his foot clearly gets caught up under him. 

Noted Sports Fan and cook book author Chrissy Teigen summed it up best: