Washington Redskins 2012 Draft Grades

Scott FitzGerald@scott_iCorrespondent IMay 2, 2012

Washington Redskins 2012 Draft Grades

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    With the 2012 NFL Draft in the books, we can finally get past all of the suspense that surrounded the No. 2 overall pick.  

    Would the Redskins take Robert Griffin III or would they take...

    Wait, there was no suspense. RGIII all but had a contract before last Thursday night. 

    The real suspense rested within Rounds 3 through 7. Would the 'Skins package a player for more picks? Would they trade up or down? Would they draft a second quarterback?! They wouldn't do that,  right?

    For Redskins fans, we were treated to something we hadn't seen in almost 20 years. This year's draft marked the first time that Washington selected nine or more players in back-to-back drafts since 1993. 

    The only real reason the team was able to do it in the 1992 and 1993 drafts is because those were the last two drafts before adopting today's seven-round format. The 1992 draft was the last one with 12 rounds, while the 1993 draft was cut to eight rounds.

    Either way, the 'Skins hadn't made nine-plus picks in back-to-back drafts since then. 

    Now, let's take a look at each pick and assign a completely arbitrary grade that will have no bearing on the 2012 season. But heck, it sure is fun to do!

Round 1 (2): Robert Griffin III

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    This pick has been a long time coming. Regardless of how RGIII performs in his rookie season, the team has already come out ahead. Finally, we have an adept, qualified and talented quarterback under center. 

    For too many years, we've had to suffer with absolutely subpar and borderline bush-league excuses for quarterbacks. 

    I would list off the terrible QBs we've had to endure, but at this point it's too depressing.

    We ought to focus on the positives with what we have and move on from the embarrassments that consisted of Matthews, Banks, Wuer... there I go again.

    RGIII's play on the field may never live up to the hype that has been surrounding the Heisman Trophy winner for months now, but his presence alone gives Redskins fans something to celebrate. 

    This pick's grade is more about what RGIII represents to the fanbase and to the franchise moving forward. RGIII has become the face of the franchise and the toast of the town before ever putting on the uniform.

    Grade: A+

Round 3 (71): Josh LeRibeus

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    After coming down from the sugar high that was picking RGIII early Thursday night, Mike Shanahan decided to take care of another glaring need.

    I'm grateful that the team selected an offensive guard in the third round, but Josh LeRibues? Really?!

    You got an ''A'' for effort here, Shanahan and company, but an ''F'' in execution.

    First, let's look at LeRibeus. The former SMU star was deemed academically ineligible for the 2010 season. While he was unable to suit up with his teammates, LeRibeus decided he needed to take better care of himself, not just academically.

    He proceeded to lose 70 pounds and came into camp for the 2011 season at roughly 315 pounds. I'm hoping that LeRibeus' weight problems are behind him and that he doesn't eat himself out of the NFL.

    His lack of quickness and multiple gears, along with stiff hips, makes me question picking him so high. NFL.com gave Redskins' sixth-round pick Tom Compton a higher draft grade than LeRibeus.

    Then, you've got to take a look at who was still on the board at the 71st pick. Bobby Massie would go in the fourth round (112th overall), and the 'Skins could have taken him here or with the Kirk Cousins pick. Zebrie Sanders and Donald Stephenson were also available at LeRibesus' spot.

    This is not to say that I don't want LeRibeus on the roster. I just think he would have been available to the team at a later pick. There were too many red flags for him to be picked that high, considering what else was available.

    Grade: C 

Round 4 (102): Kirk Cousins

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    If the Washington Redskins were the New England Patriots, I would understand this pick better. 

    I know what the team was trying to accomplish here, but they're getting way too far ahead of themselves.

    When you're a really good team and you have a depth chart full of players who would be starters on any other team, you can afford to develop your bench and spin it for trade bait.

    We've all heard the comparisons so far: Matt Cassel, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Schaub, etc. But this isn't another Ryan Mallet coming off the board.

    This is a case of a 5-11 team confusing themselves with an 11-5 team. Good teams have the luxury of drafting future developmental prospects as opposed to need-filling role players. Great organizations have an excess of talent that they can flip into future value via trading for picks or players.

    The Redskins are not one of those organizations.

    You shouldn't plan your honeymoon after the first date.

    (That's not to say Kirk Cousins isn't a smooth talker. So far, he has said all the right things.)

    I understand the logic, though. Shanahan thinks he can flip Cousins to some desperate team in need of a quarterback for a first-round pick within the next few years. If this is to make up for the first-round picks we sent to the Rams in 2013 and 2014, the organization is being really optimistic.

    There is no way that Cousins turns into a first-round pick next year, unless RGIII is out all year and Cousins wins league MVP. The Redskins would really have to sell the league hard on Cousins, who also would have to have amazing preseasons and play well in late-season meaningless games for the team to offload him for a first-round pick in 2014.

    While I did recently write about the need for the team to prepare for life after ''RGIII and out'' (I take no credit for that nickname), you can't use a fourth-ound pick on Cousins when there was so much talent left on the board.

    Grade: D+

Round 4 (119): Keenan Robinson

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    I love this pick.

    Finally, the team woke up and realized that London Fletcher won't play until he's 60. Sure, the team signed Jonathan Goff after the draft. However, Robinson is the focal point and the future at the inside linebacker position.

    I've been out campaigning for the team to draft James-Michael Johnson out of Nevada for weeks now because I thought Robinson would be off the board by the third round. Actually, I was advocating taking Johnson in Cousins' spot.

    Thankfully, Robinson was still available at No. 119, and Johnson would go in the very next spot to Cleveland.

    Many experts had Robinson at a middle-to-late third-round grade, if not an early fourth-rounder. I hope that the 'Skins brass knew he would be available at 119, but my gut tells me Robinson fell into their lap.

    Robinson, who spent the last three season at Texas as an outside linebacker, will get a chance to shine in the 'Skins 3-4 defense with Fletcher's tutelage. He has good range, plays the run well and doesn't get lost between the tackles.

    Comparing Robinson and Johnson side-by-side leaves no doubt as to why the team went with Robinson: he's the superior athlete who played at a big-time program.

    Hopefully, Robinson can be brought up to speed at an even pace and isn't rushed prematurely onto the field due to injury.

    Grade: A- 

Round 5 (141): Adam Gettis

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    I have a love-hate relationship with this pick. First, LeRibeus could have slipped to this spot, theoretically. I would have been way more comfortable with him at this pick.

    Second, like LeRibeus, Adam Gettis has questions surrounding him. Most notably, how consistent can he be if he only started for one season at Iowa?

    Unlike others, I have no issue with his size. Shanahan loves guys with quick feet who hover around 300 pounds. Typically, the linemen have to lose weight to get closer to 300. Gettis was regarded by many scouts as being undersized at 293. 

    I've never met someone in my life who is that close to 300 pounds and is considered undersized.

    Then again, I don't hang out with offensive linemen all day.

    Gettis isn't a towering presence at 6'2" but he has quick feet and is pretty agile, which is a good fit for the zone-blocking scheme. Also, Shanahan is in love with Kory Lichtensteiger, who weighs almost exactly the same as Gettis, pre-lunch.

    One problem I have with this pick is the spot at which it was made. The Kirk Cousins pick really threw off Rounds 4 and 5. Omar Bolden was taken one spot ahead of Cousins, and he could have helped the 'Skins D tremendously. Also, if Keenan Robinson had been taken with the Cousins' pick, the team would have been one spot away from taking Baylor center/guard Philip Blake, who was drafted by the Denver Broncos right before the slot the Redskins traded to Pittsburgh.

    I know it's a lot of woulda-coulda-shoulda, but Blake would have been a great fit with the team. He could fill multiple spots on the depth chart, provide real competition to Will Montgomery and has a great chemistry with RGIII already. 

    I think Gettis has a good chance of making the squad, but it'll be a tougher fit for him since he won't easily slide around the line and play different spots.

    Grade: B-

Round 6 (173): Alfred Morris

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    If you're like me, when you saw this pick, you thought, "Should Mike Shanahan even be allowed to draft a running back?"

    Shanahan could pick up a high-school running back off the street and make him into a 1,000-yard runner. Sure, he's had a good history of drafting late-round running backs. But I'd argue that he's so good at plugging RBs into the zone-blocking scheme that he shouldn't draft one ever again.

    After every draft, Shanahan could sign three undrafted free agents and be set for the season. His system makes great running backs. It doesn't need great running backs. 

    I like Roy Helu and Evan Royster as a one-two punch, and I think Tim Hightower will be back because, after all, money is money, but you only have one home team. I don't think the team needed to go out and spend a sixth-round pick on a guy they could have just as easily signed after the draft.

    Morris was the 34th-best running back prospect, according to CBS Sports, and wasn't even projected to be drafted. He was also given a draft grade of 47.5 by NFL.com, which is the lowest among 'Skins draft picks who were graded (note that neither seventh-round selection received a draft grade from NFL.com).

    Morris is a good power running and will fit well into the 'Skins system, but the context surrounding the pick is what kills this selection's grade for me.

    WVU's Keith Tandy was taken right after Morris. For anyone who thought the team needed to add more safeties to the depth chart, Markelle Martin and Trent Robinson were still available at this point in the draft. Also, by drafting Morris, the team skipped over Chris Polk, the best available RB prospect who signed as an undrafted free agent with Philly.

    While Morris could be good, I think he could have still been a Redskin without being drafted in the sixth round.

    Grade: C-

Round 6 (193): Tom Compton

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    Taking a tackle this late in the draft tells me two things about Mike Shanahan. First, he thinks the team has significant depth already and it doesn't merit spending a higher pick.

    Second, it would appear as though he thinks Jammal Brown will return to the Pro Bowl form he had with the Saints.

    I hope he's right.

    Browns' surburban mom fitness routine consisting of Zumba or Pilates (yes, I realize he's doing yoga, but it's funny to imagine Brown doing Zumba) seems to be making a difference in his recovery for now. But who's to say he won't re-aggravate his hip in training camp or Week 1.

    Shanahan likes the current patchwork crop of tackles, consisting of James Lee, Willie Smith and Tyler Polumbus, and it looks as if he wanted to give Tom Crompton a look during training camp.

    Compton is a good athlete who suffered from going to South Dakota. He doesn't have tremendous lateral movement or speed, but he did start all four years splitting time at either tackle position. With that flexibility coming into camp, Compton could also fill in at guard if need be.

    The offseason will be crucial for Compton's development. Since many scouts questioned his ability,  having only played against sub-par competition, Compton's ability to hang-in against NFL competition will determine his fate when the 53-man roster is decided.

    What I like about this pick is the value the team got when waiting until No. 193 to select Compton. As a potential fourth- to fifth-round selection, Compton fell to the Redskins in the sixth round. There is a lot of upside to this pick, and with little invested, it should prove to be a good value.

    Grade: B 

Round 7 (213): Richard Crawford

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    My initial reaction to this pick was, "Oh well, since the scouts were at SMU checking out LeRibeus, they must have agreed to a package deal."

    I can't say that I've varied from that stance yet.

    Crawford wasn't graded by many experts or expected to be drafted. I have no doubt he would have been available to the 'Skins as an undrafted free agent.

    But the team likes his speed and punt-return abilities. He could potentially serve as a dual-threat: a deep depth-chart cornerback and return specialist. If he makes the team, this could spell the end for Brandon Banks. While Banks may be the better return man, with seven other wide receivers on the roster, Banks isn't contributing anywhere else.

    Crawford could see some time in the dime while handling return duties. He's only a two-year starter at SMU after coming out of community college. He's a prototypical defensive back for the 'Skins. He's a poor tackler who focuses more on big hits and tends to freelance. 

    Sounds a lot like DeAngelo Hall and LaRon Landry. 

    And I almost forgot to mention Chase Minnifield. As far as I'm concerned, the 'Skins could have used both seventh-round picks on Minnifield.  Thankfully, the team was able to sign him as an undrafted free agent, but I see Minnifield getting more playing time than Crawford.

    Grade: D

Round 7 (217): Jordan Bernstine

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    The 2012 Redskins defensive backfield is going to be a mixture of plug-and-play parts. A number of guys can play multiple positions, whether it's either safety position or cornerback. Jordan Bernstine is another example of that.

    Bernstine is a one-year starter at Iowa as a strong safety who may end up projecting better as a cornerback. I'm afraid with the signing of Minnifield that the backfield is too crowded for Bernstine.

    He must have gotten the same treatment by scouts as Crawford got: 'Skins brass were in attendance to see Adam Gettis play and wondered out-loud to one another who that strong safety was.

    Bernstine is an over-achiever athletically who could also contribute in the return game. What sets him apart is his willingness to tackle.

    With a pick this late in the draft, Washington could have afforded to take more of a gamble if it felt there weren't other positions of need. Corner Alfonzo Dennard went after Bernstine to the Patriots at No. 224. Dennard has a load of physical talent (thought at one time to be of first-round ability), but he fell in the draft due to some poor performances and off-field issues.

    Personally, I would have liked to have seen the team use this pick for insurance at tight end. With his frame, I'm not sold on Niles Paul transitioning to play tight end. He's a good blocker but a little undersized for the position.

    Still available at this spot in the draft was Deangelo Peterson out of LSU, Beau Reliford out of Florida State and, my sleeper, George Bryan out of N.C. State. With Davis' unsteady position, Cooley's injuries and Logan Paulsen, I'm surprised the team hasn't signed an undrafted free-agent tight end yet.

    Grade: C-



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