SNIDER: Redskins draft exceeds expectations

Rick Snider
April 29, 2018 - 9:04 pm
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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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The Washington Redskins stole the draft.

It was a certified 'A' at first blush. Maybe in three years that grade will change, but what more could Doug Williams and his scouts do over 48 hours?

Washington drafted for need and there’s nothing wrong with doing so despite the mantra personnel directors like to deceivingly use about taking the best player available. That’s really a smokescreen for hiding mistakes.

ALSO READ: Redskins pick perfect blend of need and top player

The Redskins found the nose tackle desperately needed in Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne. Think they should have gone with a cornerback? Listen, cornerbacks don’t do any good when teams are mauling you on runs. If corners and safeties are leading tackles, you’ve given up 30 points and lost. Payne and a talented young line can seal the middle for the first time in memory. And, if you haven’t noticed, offenses are swinging slightly back on running backs being a factor. Thus, Payne was the right choice.

Getting running back Derrius Guice late in the second round by trading back and picking up a third-rounder, too, was a steal. Now whether Guice has demons that were whispered during his fall from the first round is something we’ll see. Most likely, it was a sobering wake-up to the rookie and he’ll hopefully be professional. We’ll see. Meanwhile, we’ll see Guice finally give the Redskins a running game they also desperately needed for the first time in three years.

Payne and Guice alone were better than most recent Redskins drafts. But let’s keep going.

Third-rounder Geron Christian is a backup offensive tackle, but he plays on both sides. Who knows, Christian may be a long-term replacement for Trent Williams, who turns 30 before training camp. Remember last season when the Redskins were playing street agents because of massive offensive line injuries? Taking Christian was a need. And given it was a free pick, a good one.

Fourth-rounder Troy Apke might seem a reach, but the Redskins need fast special teamers. Fifth-rounder Tim Settle was supposed to be a second-rounder and should bolster defensive line depth. Sixth-rounder Shaun Dion Hamilton is another Alabama alumn that helps linebacker depth. Can have enough guys with college championship rings on your roster. Seventh-rounders Greg Stoman and Trey Quinn might be pushed to make the roster, but seventh-rounders are always a risk anyway.

Basement general managers love to argue on Twitter over picks. We won’t know for a while, but the Redskins exit this draft stronger than past ones.

 

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks