If you've spent time on this here website, listened to the Redskins Talk podcast, watched Redskins 100 or followed the Redskins in any other manner over the past few months, you know this to be true: the Redskins' roster needs help in a lot of places.
The NFL Draft obviously offers up a massive opportunity for Washington to find that help, as they'll have nine selections to work with in April. And under Jay Gruden, they've done a solid job nailing their first-rounders.
Where they've been less than stellar, however, is in rounds 2-4.
In Brandon Scherff, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, the Redskins look to have found three major building blocks for years to come with recent first-round selections. Josh Doctson certainly hasn't panned out, but Scherff is a Pro Bowler while Allen and Payne are literally and figuratively huge parts of the team's D-line.
Gruden and Co.'s drafts, though, have been spotty in that middle portion of things. Here's whom they've landed in that area going back to 2014:
- 2014 - Trent Murphy (2nd), Morgan Moses (3rd), Spencer Long (3rd), Bashaud Breeland (4th)
- 2015 - Preston Smith (2nd), Matt Jones (3rd), Jamison Crowder (4th), Arie Kouandjio (4th)
- 2016 - Su'a Cravens (2nd), Kendall Fuller (3rd)
- 2017 - Ryan Anderson (2nd), Fabian Moreau (3rd), Samaje Perine (4th), Montae Nicholson (4th)
- 2018 - Derrius Guice (2nd), Geron Christian (3rd), Troy Apke (4th)
That list starts out strong, as 2014 netted four useful players and 2015 includes two guys who figure to receive pretty juicy contracts when free agency begins. But starting in 2016, the success tails off.
Neither Cravens or Fuller are still in D.C. Anderson, meanwhile, has just two sacks through two seasons, Moreau was a regular on defense last year but played inconsistently, Perine has a career YPC of 3.5 and Nicholson had a very difficult second campaign.
As for 2018, it's not exactly fair to evaluate, especially considering that Guice didn't even take the field and Christian and Apke also landed on I.R. With that being said, you sure would like to get much more from that key chunk of your rookie class.
This time around, the Redskins have one choice in the second round and two to use in the third. For an organization that's going to be limited in how much they can do in free agency, it's imperative that they do better in those slots than they've done lately. Finding skilled contributors on cheap deals matters more to them than most right now.
Of course, no franchise's draft record is perfect and the process gets significantly harder as the event rolls on. But a strong haul can transform the path of a team; the 2018 Colts are a perfect example.
As stated earlier, the Redskins' past few first-rounders have largely been immediate difference-makers. They've also found some talent late (Matt Ioannidis, Chase Roullier, and Tim Settle to name a few).
Yet where they can really change their future outlook and greatly improve their depth in a matter of hours is rounds 2-4. There will be plenty of quality prospects available when it's their turn to pick, but it's up to the 'Skins to identify those particular players at a more consistent rate.
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