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.