Redskins build up defense with 2018 draft haul

Chris Lingebach
April 28, 2018 - 8:55 pm

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins sorely needed to beef up on defensive line, and that's exactly what they did, allocating their first- and fifth-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft to big-bodied interior defenders.

Da'Ron Payne, the 13th overall selection, is one of two Alabama defenders drafted by the Redskins. Shaun dion Hamilton, his college teammate, was taken in the sixth round. The Redskins have found comfort in Crimson Tide players. As a junior, Payne earned second-team All-SEC honors with 53 tackles, one sack, one interception and three pass break-ups while taking over for Jonathan Allen, Washington's first-round pick in 2017.

As they did with Allen, the Redskins struck gold by waiting, forgoing their first opportunity to draft LSU running back Derrius Guice in the second round by moving back 15 spots, in a trade with San Francisco which netted Washington a third-round pick, which they didn't previously own.

The Redskins still got Guice at 59, a first-round talent who led the SEC in rushing (1,387 yards) while filling in for injured Leonard Fournette his sophomore season. A first-team All-SEC pick in 2016 and second-teamer in 2017, many clubs were scared off from taking Guice due to shaky draft-day warnings of forthcoming reports maligning Guice's character, reports which never materialized with any veracity.

The Redskins took an offensive tackle, 6-foot-5, 298-pound Geron Christian, with the third-round pick they acquired from the 49ers. Christian was tasked with protecting standout quarterback Lamar Jackson at Louisville and projects as a fringe-starter at the NFL level.

Washington filled needs at linebacker (Hamilton) and in the secondary in the later rounds, grabbing 6-foot-1, 200-pound safety Troy Apke from Penn State in the fourth round. The 109th overall selection, Apke is the highest the Redskins have selected a safety since LaRon Landry was drafted sixth overall in 2007.

Su'a Cravens, the 53rd overall pick in 2016, was initially drafted as a linebacker. Montae Nicholson, drafted by Washington in 2017, was the 123rd overall selection. Apke's the first Penn State product the Redskins have drafted since running back Evan Royster in 2011, and the first Penn State defender taken by the Redskins since linebacker LaVar Arrington in 2000.

Tim Settle, selected in the fifth round, is the second massive body along with Payne the Redskins added to their interior defensive line. The 6-foot-3, 329-pound tackle from Virginia Tech is a local product, playing high school ball at Stonewall Jackson in Manassas. A redshirt in his first year in Blacksburg, Settle developed into a dominant run-stuffer by his sophomore season, tallying 36 tackles, 12.5 for loss, and four sacks in 2017. He combined for 53 total tackles, 19.5 for loss, and four sacks over his two college seasons.

The addition of Hamilton gives Washington a fearsome quartet of young Alabama defenders selected in the last two years. Between Hamilton and Payne, and Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson, the Redskins have drafted an Alabama linebacker-defensive lineman duo in consecutive drafts, a ringing endorsement for the NFL-caliber defenders Nick Saban churns out of Tuscaloosa.

When healthy, Hamilton was an impact player on defense at Alabama. Paired alongside Reuben Foster in 2016, Hamilton recorded 64 tackles, nine for loss, two sacks and two interceptions his junior season before tearing his right ACL in the SEC Championship Game. He was on his way to another brilliant season his senior year, with 40 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks, before fracturing his right kneecap nine games into the 2017 season. 

The Redskins added a pair of picks in the seventh round, Virginia Tech cornerback Greg Stroman 241st overall, and Southern Methodist wide receiver Trey Quinn, this year's Mr. Irrelevant as the final pick in the 2018 draft. But don't tell Quinn he's irrelevant. In 2017, he racked up 1,236 yards and 13 touchdowns, and led the nation with 114 receptions. Oh, and Quinn once threw a no-hitter in the opening round of the 2008 Little League World Series. All relevant.

Round 1

Da'Ron Payne DT Alabama (13)

6-3, 311 pounds, 4.95 40-yard dash

NFL Grade: 6.51 - Chance To Become Pro Bowl-Caliber Player


Round 2

Derrius Guice RB LSU (59)

5-11, 224 pounds, 4.49 40-yard dash

NFL Grade: 6.14 - Should Become Instant Starter


Round 3

Geron Christian OT Louisville (74)

6-5, 298 pounds, 5.33 40-yard dash

NFL Grade: 5.61 - Chance To Become NFL Starter


Round 4

Troy Apke S Penn St. (109)

6-1, 200 pounds, 4.34 40-yard dash

NFL Grade: 5.14 - Better-Than-Average Chance To Make NFL Roster


Round 5 

Tim Settle DT Virginia Tech (163)

6-3, 329 pounds, 5.37 40-yard dash

NFL Grade: 5.86 - Chance To Become NFL Starter


Round 6

Shaun dion Hamilton ILB Alabama (197)

6-0, 228 pounds

NFL Grade: 5.04 - Better-Than-Average Chance To Make NFL Roster


Round 7

Greg Stroman CB Virginia Tech (241)

5-11, 182 pounds, 4.48 40-yard dash

NFL Grade: 5.25 - Backup Or Special Teams Potential


Trey Quinn WR SMU (256)

6-0, 203 pounds, 4.55 40-yard dash

NFL Grade: 5.25 - Backup Or Special Teams Potential


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