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15th overall pick in NFL Draft doesn't have great history of success for Redskins

15th overall pick in NFL Draft doesn't have great history of success for Redskins

If you expect the Redskins to select a Hall of Fame caliber player at No. 15 in the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25, don't hold your breath.

Only one player in NFL history that was taken at the No. 15 slot in the draft has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That would be defensive tackle Alan Page, who was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in 1967. Page enjoyed a 15-year career, the first dozen with the Vikings and the remaining few with NFC North rival Chicago Bears. He was the 1971 NFL MVP, a six-time first-team All-Pro selection, and a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, before being enshrined in Canton in 1988.

However, that does not mean that the No. 15 selection has not produced quality players.

Longtime Kansas City Chiefs and current Oakland Raiders linebacker Derrick Johnson was selected by Kansas City at No. 15 in 2002, and could find his way to Canton one day, although it is no guarantee. Johnson is a four-time Pro Bowler and was selected to first-team All-Pro in 2011.

Jason Pierre-Paul, who gave the Redskins plenty of trouble during his tenure with the Giants, was selected by New York at the No. 15 spot in 2010. JPP is only 29 years old, and still has football ahead of him.

The Redskins have selected at the No. 15 position just three times in franchise history, with the most recent being 18 years ago. That 2001 selection was used on wide receiver Rod Gardner. The Clemson product lasted just four seasons in Washington, producing only one 1,000-yard season in 2002. After his tenure ended with the Redskins in 2004, Gardner bounced around with the Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs over the next two seasons before he hung up the cleats.

The other two Redskins selections at No. 15 came before the Super Bowl era in the 1951 and 1962 drafts, where they selected Alabama defensive back Ed Salem and Arizona wide receiver Joe Hernandez, respectively.

While no player drafted by the Redskins at No. 15 provided a significant impact, there's one player that was drafted at No. 15 that impacted the Redskins franchise for years. That would be defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who the Tennessee Titans drafted at No. 15 in 2002. Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins in 2009 with $41 million guaranteed. We all know how this story ended, as Haynesworth only appeared in 20 games for the Redskins, totaling just 6.5 sacks over the two-year span.

In the past decade, players that were selected with the No. 15 pick have trended in all sorts of different directions. But for the most part, many of the recent No. 15 selections have panned out well.

Center Mike Pouncey was selected by the Miami Dolphins at No. 15 in 2011, and made the Pro Bowl three times during his first seven seasons with the team. He signed with the Los Angeles Chargers this past offseason, and was a vital piece on the Chargers offense that finished tied for sixth in points-per-game. Pouncey earned his fourth Pro Bowl nod this year.

Running behind Pouncey was Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, who was also selected at the No. 15 pick. Gordon has faced injury issues throughout his brief four-year career, but has proven he is one of the NFL's top running backs when on the field.

In 2012, the Seattle Seahawks selected linebacker Bruce Irvin, who was a solid contributor on a Super Bowl winning team. In 2013, the New Orleans Saints took safety Kenny Vaccaro at No. 15, who was an above-average starter for the Saints for six seasons before signing with the Tennessee Titans this past offseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier with the No. 15 pick in the 2014 draft. Unfortunately, Shazier suffered a potentially career-ending injury in 2017, right as he was establishing himself as one of the best linebackers in the sport. 

While the No. 15 pick from 2010-2015 provided quality starters and Pro Bowlers, that same slot has not produced nearly as much success in the past three years. The Cleveland Browns selected Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman at No. 15 in 2016, but Coleman was never able to establish himself. The Browns shipped him to New England in the middle of training camp last season, and the Patriots released him about a month after the trade. Coleman was signed by the Giants midway through 2018 after their unit was depleted by injuries. Coleman is now a restricted free agent.

The Indianapolis Colts selected Ohio State safety Malik Hooker at No. 15 in 2017, and so far he's given mixed reviews. Hooker showed promise his rookie season before tearing his ACL, causing him to miss nine games. This season, the Colts switched to a two-safety deep defense, similar to the Tampa-2 defense that the Buccaneers made famous in the early 2000s. With Hooker responsible for just half the field, many teams respected his ball-hawking skills and did not target his side, limiting his ability to make a big play.

The most recent No. 15 selection, Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller, had a very rough rookie year. PFF graded him at 48.2 for the year, which ranked 67th among the 70 offensive tackles with 400-plus offensive snaps. Miller was selected as a project but has a lot to improve on in order to become even an average NFL tackle.

Here are the No. 15 overall picks from the last 10 drafts:

2018: Colton Miller, OT, UCLA -- selected by the Oakland Raiders
2017: Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State -- selected by the Indianapolis Colts
2016: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor -- selected by the Cleveland Browns
2015: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin -- selected by the Los Angeles (then-San Diego) Chargers
2014: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State -- selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers
2013: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas -- selected by the New Orleans Saints
2012: Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia -- selected by the Seattle Seahawks
2011: Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida -- selected by the Miami Dolphins
2010: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida -- selected by the New York Giants
2009: Brian Cushing, LB, USC -- selected by the Houston Texans

So who will the Redskins take at No. 15? In his latest mock draft, NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig has Washington selecting Florida State edge rusher/defensive end Brian Burns.

The Redskins have needs at many different positions, so the direction they choose to go with No. 15 is still plenty in question. 

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There's a competition brewing among the Redskins defensive linemen, per Daron Payne

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There's a competition brewing among the Redskins defensive linemen, per Daron Payne

If you find yourself looking for Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Matt Ioannidis, you really just need to find one of them. Odds are, if you locate one, the other two will be close by.

The second-year pro, third-year pro, and fourth-year pro have forged quite a bond on the Redskins' defensive line, which is easily the team's most promising unit going into 2019. The three guys share an appreciation for lifting really heavy weights and dropping opposing quarterbacks. 

As it turns out, that latter love is actually part of the inspiration behind a bet Payne, Allen and Ioannidis have queued up for the 2019 campaign. Payne revealed that while with Larry Michael on a recent episode of Redskins Nation.

"Me and Jon and Matt got a little competition right now on sacks and tackles," he said with a smile, but he ultimately didn't shed any light on what the competition's compensation will be.

Whatever the trio is playing for, it should be a close race.

Ryan Kerrigan led the 'Skins in sacks in 2018, but Allen (8), Ioannidis (7.5) and Payne (5) were second, third and fourth respectively. In terms of tackles, meanwhile, it went Allen (61), Payne (56) and then Ioannidis (31). 

Allen and Payne saw a ton of snaps last year while Ioannidis was used more in a rotational role, which limited his tackles. He's an insanely productive pass rusher, though, so he can make up some ground in the sacks/tackles bet by keeping that trend going. Any of them are a solid pick if you're trying to project who'll capture their title.

Payne, for one, expects to generate better numbers in his second go-round in the league.

"Of course," he responded when Michael asked if he left some sacks out there as a rookie. "Definitely did. I want to get a couple more."

In the team's offseason practices, he's already noticed that things are "coming easier," so perhaps he'll be able to record those extra takedowns he's looking for.

As mentioned earlier, you can make an easy case for Payne, Allen or Ioannidis to win their competition, but you won't know who that winner is until late December.

One thing you can already say, however? That the QBs and running backs they'll be chasing down are the losers in this thing. That much is already known.

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Three little-known Redskins who could make things interesting at training camp

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Three little-known Redskins who could make things interesting at training camp

Ah, NFL training camps. They're where every handoff always results in a first down, safe from refs who can ruin things with one piece of yellow cloth and home to roster sleepers.

This story, though, is devoted solely to the third item on that list.

JP Finlay came up with his post-minicamp Redskins roster projection earlier this week and has said he's already extremely confident in roughly 49 of his 53 picks. What can really throw off those kinds of projections, though, is the emergence of little-known players at training camp.

Now, trying to find the next Rob Kelley or Quinton Dunbar or Cam Sims can come off as foolish, considering Washington will bring 90 players to Richmond in late July. However, using observations from offseason practices so far and clues from what coaches are saying can narrow the list of potential preseason difference makers.

So, here are three Redskins who seem like they could seriously shake things up when the Burgundy and Gold reconvene for the summer grind.

Jeremy Reaves

When he's asked to critique a certain position group, Jay Gruden often does this thing where he lists every player in that group, from starter to backup to fringe option. It's hard to discern the times when he's doing that just to be polite from the times when he's doing that because each name truly is relevant.

Jeremy Reaves' name, however, has come up twice at two very different points of the spring and early summer.

Here's Gruden from after the draft, when he was asked about what the Redskins have at safety.

"We still have Montae [Nicholson]. We obviously drafted [Troy] Apke last year, which is a pretty good option. We have [Jeremy] Reaves here in the building. He's doing some good things, did some great things at the end of the year on practice squad. And Deshazor [Everett] and Landon [Collins]. So, we have five pretty good safeties."

Here's Gruden a month and a half later, after the team's last open OTA session, again addressing that secondary spot.

"Apke is doing well. It has been good to see him get a lot of these reps and work. Obviously, last year he did not get a whole lot with his hamstring, so he is progressing nicely. Everett also has picked up the slack. He has done a very good job. Reaves, he made some big plays out there today. So, those guys are taking advantage of their time."

With Collins, Nicholson, Everett and Apke, the defense should be set on the back end. Those four all feel quite locked in.

Yet Nicholson is coming off of an unpredictable second year as a pro, while Apke couldn't get healthy at all in 2018 after a hamstring issue. Perhaps Reaves, who Gruden also called an "upcoming talent" last December, can pick up the slack if either of those DBs drop off.

Sure, the path won't be easy for Reaves, but one thing's for sure: It's better to be brought up by the head coach than not, and he's being brought up relatively frequently.

Craig Reynolds

Craig Reynolds is an undrafted rookie running back who played for the Golden Bears in college.

No, not the California Golden Bears. The Kutztown Golden Bears. Yes, that's a real school, and yes, it's fine if you've never heard of it.

Reynolds could be the longest longshot of the three players on this list, but guys like Kelley, Mack Brown and Marcus Mason have come from a similar level of anonymity to take fall snaps in the 'Skins backfield.

If you look at the RB depth chart, Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson are making the 53 barring anything crazy. Bryce Love will probably hit the PUP, but he's in the franchise's plans, too.

That means Reynolds will have to compete with the likes of the quite popular Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall, but he should see plenty of action late in preseason games. He averaged more than 150 total yards per game last year at school — indeed, it was Division II, that's a very fair counterpoint — but it feels like the chances to make impressions on Gruden and Randy Jordan in precious live action will be there. It's not like Peterson or Thompson will be used that much, anyway.

Plus, if Perine starts fumbling again or Marshall gets injured as he did in 2018, Reynolds could see those chances grow. He just has to seize every one that comes his way.

Donald Parham

Tight end feels like another position that should be simple. Jordan Reed is the star, Vernon Davis is still around despite a somewhat heavy contract and Jeremy Sprinkle is entering Year 3. If Davis or Sprinkle face any competition, you'd expect it to come from the likes of Matt Flanagan or JP Holtz.

You shouldn't ignore Daniel Parham, however. In fact, it's pretty much impossible to.

Parham signed with the 'Skins on June 7, and the 6-foot-8(!) pass catcher was on the receiving end of more than a few passes once he got going. Not surprisingly, he made the most plays in red zone situations, giving QBs like Dwayne Haskins a very appealing target to throw to. 

The Stetson product probably won't add much of anything as a blocker. Remember that Gruden doesn't like using one-dimensional tight ends, so that could hurt him. Going off that, some scouting services even think he'd be best served lining up consistently in the slot. 

Regardless, you just don't see many people at his size running downfield routes, and his potential is noticeable. A few preseason highlights on jump balls could help him stick around past August. 

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