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Redskins getting strong contributions from five 2015 draft picks


Redskins getting strong contributions from five 2015 draft picks

The conventional wisdom says that you should wait about four years before judging a draft class. Perhaps today with most draft picks becoming free agents after four years we should compress the time for judgment to two or three years.

But these are the days of instant analysis so we constant judge draft picks week to week starting when they first put on the jersey and helmet for rookie camp. And the early reviews on the Redskins’ group of rookies are solid.

The Redskins are getting solid contributions out of five of the 10 players they took last spring:

G Brandon Scherff (1st round) was moved from right tackle to right guard and has played well there. Per Pro Football Focus he has not been responsible for the quarterback hitting the ground in four games—no sacks given up, no QB hits either. Just six pressures, the same as Trent Williams.

OLB Preston Smith (2nd) has two sacks, second most on the team. One sack forced a fumble, one of the Redskins’ few turnovers this year. The other one came in the red zone against the Eagles on Sunday. Although Trent Murphy is still the starter, Smith’s play is earning him more and more playing time each week. He played over half of the snaps for the first time against the Eagles (30 of 56)

RB Matt Jones (3rd) has cooled off some from his hot start to the season but he has already paid dividends and likely will continue to do so as the season goes on. His power and speed make him a unique weapon.

WR Jamison Crowder (4th) is now the team’s slot receiver, according to Jay Gruden. Since they line up with three wide receivers more than half of the time, that’s essentially a starting position. “The way he played in college is the way he’s playing now,” said Gruden. “He’s just a football player that you can see, loves it — tough, quick, explosive. We had a feeling about him and a good return guy. We had a penciled-in punt returner job for him, but for him to win the starting inside slot receiver is a testament to him and how quickly he picked it up and his production.”

S Kyshoen Jarrett, who will be the slot cornerback at least until DeAngelo Hall returns from his toe injury, is probably the most unexpected rookie contributor. “Jarrett, really, is a surprise to me because he’s not doing it at safety,” said Gruden. “He’s doing it at nickel. We had no idea that that would be the case. We had him penciled as competing for safety, being a special team player year one but he came in here and really surprised us with his versatility – being able to play nickel, being able to play safety, the smart football player that’s very tough.”

The only other 2015 draft pick who is on the roster is guard Arie Kouandjio. He was in the mix for the starting left guard job when Shawn Lauvao was put on injured reserve but he lost out to 2014 pick Spencer Long. The coaches are high on his future and we will see how he develops going forward. Fifth-round pick ILB Martrell Spaight is on injured reserve with a concussion.

If the five who are contributing now continue to do so at the same level or get better, the draft class would have to be considered a success. But we will have to wait and see on that, as much as we hate to do so. 

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price


Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 


Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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