One noted draft expert believes that the Redskins’ draft class of 2015 produced at a very high level. Now Scot McCloughan needs to go out and find another group of draft picks that will do just as well, if not better.
“They got as much impact from rookies as any team in the NFL,” said Mel Kiper of ESPN on a conference call with the media this week.
The original draft guru talked about the production of the following picks:
- G Brandon Scherff missed just one offensive snap all year and displayed the potential that persuaded the Redskins to take him with the fifth overall pick of the draft.
- OLB Preston Smith (2nd round) recorded five sacks in the Redskins’ last three games to boost his total for the season to eight. The strong finish reflected a season where he learned more and more as the year went on.
- RB Matt Jones (3rd round) had some opportunities to display his intriguing combination of speed and power as a backup to Alfred Morris. He took a handoff and rolled for 39 yards and a touchdown against the Rams and he took a screen pass 78 yards to the house against the Saints.
- WR Jamison Crowder (4th round) set the team rookie record with 59 receptions.
Kiper did not mention DB Kyshoen Jarrett (6th round), who played 616 snaps at safety and as the nickel cornerback. Undrafted rookie Quinton Dunbar, a converted wide receiver, also helped out on defense as the nickel cornerback in the latter stages of the season.
The conference call coincided with the release of Kiper’s first mock draft of 2016. He projects that the Redskins will take Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander. “Alexander has a ton of upside,” said Kiper. “He’s just a hair over 5-foot-10, so he’s not a jump-ball winner, but he’s powerful, and will make plays in coverage and attack the line of scrimmage.”
There isn’t a position on the field where the Redskins can say they are set throughout the depth chart so they could go just about anywhere with their draft picks. McCloughan will take the best available player (although it should be noted that need at a position does factor in to determining who the “best available” is).
The GM can’t rest on his laurels from a solid 2015. He wants to build the team through the draft and it is vital that the Redskins get contributions from a half a dozen rookies every year.