Before I break down the Redskins’ draft, I will confess. I was once a Redskins fan, back when the Colts had packed their bags and left in the middle of the night for Indianapolis. I was a 19 year old Colt season ticket holder when the Mayflower vans pulled out on a cold snowy night, leaving a huge hole in my heart. As the years went by and the NFL made no attempt to give Baltimore a team, being a huge football fan I gravitated towards the Redskins. They were easy to like at the time. Under Joe Gibbs’ tenure, the team experienced nothing but success! To me Gibbs is in the conversation when it comes to discussing the greatest coaches of all time. Unlike others, he didn’t have a Montana, a Brady, or an Aikman under center. He had Theismann, Rypien and Williams. No disrespect to those guys, but none are Hall of Fame quarterbacks like the others. Three rings with three different quarterbacks is unheard of! His teams were hard-working and unselfish. The Hogs and the Fun Bunch and the Diesel and Art Monk and all that was good with the Redskins!
Fast forwarding to 2013, I really like what the team did in this year’s NFL draft. The Redskins had an obvious need at safety, and lucky for them this year’s class was the deepest I’ve ever seen. In fact, I can think of two great safeties that didn’t even get drafted, and they were Tony Jefferson from Oklahoma, and Robert Lester from Alabama. Here’s my analysis of the picks:
Round 2, 19 (51) North Carolina State CB David Amerson – I think he can be a real special player, but watching tape on him I believe that he projects better at safety than he does at cornerback. The team took two safeties later on in the draft, but in the pass happy NFL, these days you can’t have enough quality players on the back end of your defense. At 6’3″ 195 he is a lean athlete, and he has exceptional ball skills as evidenced by his 11 picks in his junior season. I like the fact that he came back for his senior season, although I could make the argument that he would have been picked higher last year. He is has a high football IQ, and he doesn’t bite on double moves, which is rare for a rookie. He is not a “buffet tackler”, so he will come up to deliver a nasty hit when the opportunity presents itself. I think the Redskins got themselves a steal, as Amerson could develop into a Pro Bowl type of player.
Round 3, 23 (85) Florida TE Jordan Reed – At 6’3″ 245 he projects as a TE/H back type of a player. He is a fluid runner who gets in and out of breaks quickly, and although he ran a pedestrian 4.72 40, because of his suddenness he is able to gain separation. He is also a willing runner once he’s caught the ball, who will not shy away from contact. The Redskins didn’t draft him for his blocking ability, and that is an area that he needs to be coached up in. He was a productive player in college who got open and made plays, and will be another weapon at RGIII’s disposal.
Round 4, 22 (119) Fresno State Phillip Thomas – I love this 6’1 215 pound senior! I had him ranked as a legitimate late second early third round pick, and the only reason he fell to this spot was due to the depth of this draft! The Redskins get yet another steal at this spot! He’s not the fastest guy in the world, as he ran a 4.65 40, but he has elite instincts that allow him to play center field, and play it well! He is a hawkish when the football is in the air, and has good hands to boot. He is a reliable tackler who doesn’t shy away from contact, and who particularly likes to bring down big receivers and backs.
Round 5, 21 (154) Florida State RB Chris Thompson – The Redskins were looking for a back up running back, so it wasn’t surprising that they picked this 5’8″ 190 pound senior. He’s coming off of a surgically repaired knee, as he tore his ACL back in October of last year. He runs about a 4.5 40, and is very compact and strong runner (he benched 225 pounds 21 times!). Gil Brandt said when Thompson is healthy, he reminds him of Darren Sproles. If he is anywhere near the player that Sproles has turned out to be, it’s good news for the Redskins!
Round 5, 29 (162) Florida State OLB Brandon Jenkins – I had Jenkins mocked to the Ravens in the 3rd or 4th round. He may have been a number one draft pick had he been healthy, as he had 21. 5 sacks in two years, prior to breaking his left foot in the season opener. I know I’ve said this a lot, but the Redskins got an absolute steal here as well! At 6’3″ 250 pounds, Jenkins will fit in real well as an OLB in the Redskins 3-4 defense. He has a great first step and a great burst upfield, and if he is 100% healthy, he will absolutely put pressure on the quarterback!
Round 6, 23 (191) Georgia FS Bacarri Rambo – Are you kidding me? I would have drafted this guy just to buy his jersey with the name “Rambo” in the back of it! But seriously, this was yet another stellar player that dropped way below where he should have been picked at, and the Redskins got great value here as a result. To be fair, he had some off field issues while at Georgia, and that probably had something to do with him dropping this far, but in my opinion it’s definitely worth the risk. He’s a little inconsistent on the field at times, and needs to focus on wrapping up ball carriers instead of going for the big hit. He has ok hands, but you wouldn’t know it because he picked off quite a few balls in his career.
Round 7, 22 (228) Rutgers RB Jawan Jamison – Listed at 5’7″ 205 pounds, this productive running back will fit in well with the Redskins’ zone blocking scheme. He is a complete back, as he not only excels in pass protection, but also in catching passes out of the backfield. He runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds, but he is a patient runner with good vision. He is short in stature, but he is by no means a small back.
Bottom line is that the Redskins took the best player available that also happened to be at a position of need. In my estimation, the team didn’t have many holes heading into the draft. Yes, I would have liked to have seen them take an offensive lineman (or two), but the truth is that there was an early run on linemen, and the bulk of them went a round or two higher than they should have. I am giddy about the potential that a lot of these guys have, especially the one’s coming off of injury. I would also at this point classify Amerson, Thomas, Jenkins and Rambo as “steals.”
As the franchise progresses with its young quarterback, hopefully one of these days we can have a beltway Super Bowl! Now wouldn’t THAT be something!