March 28, 2017

Washington Redskins: A look back at how Scot McCloughan’s rookie class performed

Washington Redskins rookie General Manager Scot McCloughan has a great talent of recognizing potential in players, especially rookies. With ten picks in his first draft as a part of the Burgundy and Gold, lets look back on the immediate payout D.C. got.

Starting from the bottom to the top, the Redskins never saw CB Tevin Mitchel, WR Evan Spencer, or C Austin Reiter take part as a member of the active roster once the regular season began.

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Washington Redskins: G Shawn Lauvao and CB Justin Rodgers Placed on Injured Reserve

REDSKINS CONTINUE TO LOSE KEY PIECES TO STARTING LINEUP, SEASON OVER FOR LAUVAO AND RODGERS 

The Washington Redskins have placed guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and reserve cornerback Justin Rodgers (foot) on the season ending injured reserve list today. In corresponding moves, the Redskins have promoted converted receiver CB Quinton Dunbar and signed ILB Mason Foster to the 53 man roster. Foster was part of the group of linebackers Washington worked out yesterday. To replace Dunbar on the practice squad will be this year’s seventh round pick center Austin Reiter.

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Washington Redskins: Analysis of Play of Rookies in Preseason Opener Win

Washington Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan stated prior to the 2015 NFL Draft that he would like to have 10 picks. McCloughan got his wish as the Redskins reached double digit selections.

Sixth round pick CB Tevin Mitchel is no longer on the team after he tore his labrum that will cost him his rookie season. The team hoped to have him clear waivers before placing him on IR but the Colts sniped him away.

WR Jamison Crowder did not play yesterday with a hamstring injury, while sixth round pick WR Evan Spencer seventh round pick C Austin Reiter played sparsely.

5th overall pick Brandon Scherff made his pro debut at right guard and did alright. There were no major coverage busts, which the former Hawkeye is somewhat insulated from at guard. At times Scherff was pushed back into the backfields, in one particular case Randy Starks (out of Maryland) won the battle. Scherff admitted that at guard he is learning to get his hands in quicker. Scherff appreciates the help from the other players and is still working to complete the trainsition not only to guard but also from college to pros where he admits the speed intensity is increased,

Second round pick Preston Smith saw a lot of playing time because the team was without Ryan Kerrigan and Junior Galette. The former Ole Miss pass rusher got his feet wet with a game high five tackles and a sack late in the game where he made a former seventh round pick in 2013 Michael Brown look foolish (see below). As long as Smith keeps this up, he will be a quality pass rusher in the rotation at outside linebacker and may be able to start in place of Galette come next season if the former Saint is not resigned.

Matt Jones is as advertised, a physical runner with underrated speed. The Florida product had runs of 23 and 12 yards that were highlighted by a spin move, speed to the outside, and impressive finishing of blocks. The rookie would come out of the game with a suspected concussion but quickly cleared the protocol. You can checkout how Jones’ night lines up with the rest of the Redskins backfield here.

Fourth round pick Arie Kouandjio has now been moved to the second reserve guard for the team behind Spencer Long once Scherff was moved to guard. It is a good think because the Alabama product is definitely not ready to start as he is still struggling against other backups. In the screen game, he was twice slow to block his man resulting in a total of 12 yards lost. Kouandjio is a big body to run behind but has to develop other tools to become a better player.

Martrell Spaight was the SEC’s leading tackler last year for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Along with Will Compton, Spaight hopes to backup the starting middle linebackers of Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley. The fifth round selection has nice form tackling and finished with 3 solo and 2 assist tackles. Spaight will likely earn a roster spot if he continues to play hard on special teams as we saw glimpses of yesterday when he stopped Shane Wynn in his tracks at the 14 yard line off of a kickoff.

Kyshoen Jarrett was drafted as a safety in the sixth round out of local Virigina Tech and was at times used at slot corner during practice because of his length and lack of bodies at the position. Because of this versatility, Jarrett could make the team. Last night he finished with just two tackles and a pass deflection with solid coverage in support of other reserve secondary players.

Evan Spencer was penciled in as some to be the sixth wide receiver on the roster prior to this game, but for some reason or another Spencer got very few reps even with the backups. In his lone target, the ball was thrown to far up field by Robert Griffin III on a third down attempt that could have been a result of Spencer running to shallow of a route, not beyond the sticks. Spencer has been noted to possibly help out on special teams, but in his one chance to make an impact he over pursed the returner who went on to return the kickoff 54 yards.

Austin Reiter was selected as a center out of the University of South Florida, possibly to provide a bit of depth behind starting center Kory Lichtensteiger. Reiter saw little playing time during the game and could not be thoroughly evaluated during his limited snaps late in the game. If Reiter were to make this football team, it will likely mean that the coaching staff feels more confident in his ability to backup Lichtensteiger than 2012 third rounder Josh LeRibeus.

The rookies performed well last night and the top four picks of Scherff, Smith, Jones, and Crowder should all be a big part of the Redskins team moving forward in the regular season.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Host the Detroit Lions for the second preseason game in 6 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 22 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 31 days.

Washington Redskins Activity on Day 3 of NFL Draft

The Washington Redskins drafted three players in the first two days of the NFL Draft: OT Brandon Scherff, OLB/DE Preston Smith, and RB Matt Jones. Scheduled to have a league high seven picks on the last day of the draft, the Redskins got things started off early.

With the sixth pick in the fourth round (105th overall) the Redskins selected WR Jamison Crowder of Duke. Crowder is a smaller receiver, standing at just 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds. He will primarily be a factor in the return game and could fight for a position as a slot receiver. Gruden mentioned that he could envision Crowder as the Redskins returner Week 1 as he is a natural punt returner, but will have to be evaluated on kickoffs.

Crowder had a solid senior season as a Blue Devil with 85 receptions for 1044 yards. Crowder’s playmaking ability is something that got Head Coach Jay Gruden excited. Scot McCloughan went against his usual motto of selecting big physical individuals and also had Crowder rated higher than a similar player from the local area in Stefon Diggs of Maryland. The most noticeable name who Crowder might push to the brink of playing time is the free agency disappointment from last year, Andre Roberts. It is also currently believed that Crowder does not necessarily take Santana Moss’s roster spot.

With the 13th pick in the fourth round (112th overall), a pick obtained through yesterday’s trade with the Seattle Seahawks, the Redskins drafted G Arie Kouandjio out of the Alabama powerhouse. Kouandjio is another big guy 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, but was only projected to be fifth/sixth round pick. Kouandjio is not the most athletic or versatile player. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan will have his work cut out for him the raw talent, but there should be some intense battle at right guard between Chris Chester, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long and now Kouandjio.

With the 5th pick in the fifth round (141st overall), the Redskins selected LB Martrell Spaight out of the University of Arkansas. Although he may have poor measurables and stands at just 6′ tall and 236 pounds, Spaight is an attacking playmaker and has the potential to help out on a much maligned special teams. Spaight played “Will” Linebacker in his most recent season and recorded a team high 128 tackles. Spaight will likely take a back seat to the likes of Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley.

Instead of making a selection at the 167th overall pick, the Redskins traded that pick to the New Orleans Saints in return for the 187th overall pick and the Saint’s sixth round pick in 2016.

The Redskins picked up defensive backs in back to back picks in the sixth round first grabbing SS Kyshoen Jarrett out of Virginia Tech and then going back to the University of Arkansas for CB Tevin Mitchel. Jarrett stands at just 5′ 10” and 200 pounds but has a nose for the football and physical play especially close to the line of scrimmage. Although he will be a liability of coverage, he can be developed into a better player and can contribute on special teams immediately. Mitchel is 6′ but only 183 pounds; he is athletic with solid coverage skills because of his ability to change directions fluidly. Injuries have plagued him in the past but this might be one of McCloughans sleepers to keep an eye out for for seasons to come. Jarrett and Mitchel might not push the current secondary members of Baushad Breeland, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, DaShon Goldson, or Jeron Johnson for playing time but could be developed into long term options to take over for Hall or Goldson.

Shortly after looking for defensive back gems, McCloughan and company looked at the counterpart of the position by drafting WR Evan Spencer out of the Ohio State University. Spencer has a big receivers body at 6′ 2” and 208 pounds, but was often overshadowed by Devin Smith and the power scheme he played in at Ohio St. Spencer’s brother, Cole, is a scout for the Redskins and was allowed to make the call of selectionto his brother. Spencer’s best traits include his willingness to block on the edge as well as his quick looks for the ball after coming out of breaks. Spencer has the potential to push Ryan Grant for a roster spot as no one is safe with a new general manager in town.

With most likely the last draft pick for the Washington Redskins in 2015, the team selected C Austin Reiter out of USF who stands at 6′ 3” and 296 pounds. Reiter was named to the Rimington Award Watch List, which goes to the most outstanding center, to start the college football season. Reiter is another big body that is not currently ready for playing time, but has a chance to develop through the coaching of Bill Callahan into a solid player down the line. Gruden stated that you can never have too many big guys who can move the pile.

Gruden said they considered taking more defensive linemen but thought they already had good players and addressed other needs in free agency. Although McCloughan was the lead dog in the draft process, Gruden expressed how everyone had input as everyone was fired up. Gruden also detailed how McCloughan easily adjusted to things on the fly. Gruden also acknowledged that the Redskins were drafting good people when asked about avoiding players with arrests and/or suspension. Such would explain the passing of names like Shane Ray, Dorial Green-Beckham, Randy Gregory, and La’el Collins to name a few.

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