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Re-Grading Washington Redskins' Past 5 Drafts

Marcel DavisCorrespondent IApril 22, 2014

Re-Grading Washington Redskins' Past 5 Drafts

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    Well known for his ill-fated splashes in free agency, Dan Snyder hasn't fared much better in the NFL draft.
    Well known for his ill-fated splashes in free agency, Dan Snyder hasn't fared much better in the NFL draft.Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    The Washington Redskins' failures in free agency gets most of the attention, but the team can attribute its seemingly annual absence from the postseason to a poor track record in the NFL draft.

    Of Washington's 22 projected starters—via ESPN.com—only eight were acquired through the draft.

    Considering that Robert Griffin III's team-friendly rookie contract is slated to expire in two seasons, this obsolete method of team building will soon be one the team can no longer afford. While the 'Skins have hit on their first-round picks—when they've had them—the past five seasons, the team's thin roster is a testament to the failures in the rounds thereafter.

    With that said, let's take a look at Washington's' past five drafts and regrade them.

    In evaluating each draft pick, a player's impact, in correlation with his draft position, will be used as grading criteria.

    Additionally, in composing a grade for an entire draft class, the marks for the prospects taken in the first four rounds will hold more weight than the players selected in the latter rounds.

2009 Draft Class

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Round 1, DE/LB Brian Orakpo: B

    Round 3, CB Kevin Barnes: F

    Round 5, LB Cody Glenn: D

    Round 6, LB Robert Henson: D

    Round 7, FB Eddie Williams: D

    Round 7, WR Marko Mitchell: D

     

    And you thought one-and-done just applied to basketball. A six-player draft class, Brian Orakpo is the lone player on an NFL roster.

    Orakpo hasn't yet emerged as an elite-level pass-rusher—hence, the lack of a long-term contract—but he's been a consistent performer in Washington when healthy, racking up 39.5 sacks in 62 career games.

    With Kevin Barnes, on the other hand, the Redskins weren't as fortunate.

    While he managed to start three games in three seasons in Washington, Barnes' failure at cornerback set back the development of the team's secondary.

    As the 2014 NFL draft approaches, the 'Skins have a pressing need at cornerback, one that Barnes was supposed to fill.

     

    Overall Grade: D+

     

2010 Draft Class

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    The Redskins hit on another first-round pick with the selection of Trent Williams.
    The Redskins hit on another first-round pick with the selection of Trent Williams.Tim Sharp

    Round 1, OT Trent Williams: A

    Round 4, LB Perry Riley: B

    Round 6, TE Dennis Morris: D

    Round 7, WR Terrence Austin: D

    Round 7, OT Erik Cook: D

    Round 7, OT Selvish Capers: D

     

    Another first-round pick, another hit for the Redskins—you'd think they'd keep them with this success rate—as Washington landed a Pro Bowl-caliber tackle in Trent Williams.

    While there was a long waiting period for its next draft pick, Perry Riley proved to be worth the wait. While he didn't snag a starting gig out the gate, Riley tallied over 100 tackles per season once he was inserted into the lineup.

    With London Fletcher retired, it's now the responsibility of Riley, whom the Redskins re-signed this offseason, responsibility to quarterback the defense and be a cornerstone of coordinator Jim Haslett's unit.

    In a repeat of 2009, the players selected in the latter rounds have been unable to stick with an NFL team.

     

    Overall Grade: B

2011 Draft Class

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    Ryan Kerrigan led a solid but unspectacular group of draftees in 2011.
    Ryan Kerrigan led a solid but unspectacular group of draftees in 2011.Nick Wass

    Round 1, DE/LB Ryan Kerrigan: B-

    Round 2, DL Jarvis Jenkins: D

    Round 3, WR Leonard Hankerson: C-

    Round 4, RB Roy Helu: C

    Round 5, S DeJon Gomes: D

    Round 5, WR/TE Niles Paul: C

    Round 6, RB Evan Royster: D+

    Round 6, WR Aldrick Robinson: C+

    Round 7, CB Brandyn Thompson: D

    Round 7, G Maurice Hurt: D

    Round 7, DE/LB Markus White: D

    Round 7, DL Christopher Neild: D

     

    After utilizing a quality-over-quantity approach the past two drafts, the Redskins stockpiled draft picks in the 2011 NFL draft.

    A 12-player class, Washington has retained the majority of this group, as nine players are still on the team's roster.

    The lone starter, though, is Ryan Kerrigan. An owner of 24.5 career sacks, Kerrigan forms a potent pass-rushing tandem with Orakpo.

    In Jarvis Jenkins, Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu, Niles Paul and Aldrick Robinson, the 'Skins have a group of players who've seen time in the starting lineup. But because of injuries and inconsistent play, most of these players have not been able to take advantage of their time on the field. 

    A group that's brought significant depth to Washington's roster, the lack of production from Jenkins is what brings down the grade for this class.

    Despite starting 19 games the past two seasons, Jenkins' lackluster play forced Washington to spend big on the aging Jason Hatcher in free agency.

     

    Overall Grade: C+

2012 Draft Class

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    An afterthought on draft day, Morris has been the most consistent performer of the 2012 draft class.
    An afterthought on draft day, Morris has been the most consistent performer of the 2012 draft class.Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Round 1, QB Robert Griffin III: A-

    Round 3, G Josh LeRibeus: D

    Round 4, QB Kirk Cousins: B

    Round 4, OLB Keenan Robinson: D

    Round 5, G Adam Gettis: D

    Round 6, RB Alfred Morris: A+

    Round 6, OT Tom Compton: D

    Round 7, CB Richard Crawford: D

    Round 7, CB Jordan Bernstine: D

     

    Something that can take a decade to do—just ask the Oakland Raiders—Washington did twice in 2012. With the selection of Griffin and Kirk Cousins, the 'Skins netted two starting-caliber quarterbacks.

    While Griffin did regress in his sophomore campaign, he's still a franchise quarterback, when healthy. But in glancing at the offensive lineman selected in this draft, Washington struggled to find the right players to keep Griffin that way.

    This a mistake that will be felt in the 2014 NFL draft.

    Instead of bolstering one of the NFL's worst defenses, the team will again have to address the offensive line. Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis and Tom Compton are still on the roster, but considering the beating Griffin and Cousins took in 2013, it's telling that they didn't garner more playing time. And with the signings of Mike McGlynn and Shawn Lauvao, it doesn't appear those additional snaps are on the horizon.

    What puts this class over the top, though, is the selection of Alfred Morris.

    Far and away the biggest steal of the 2012 NFL draft, Morris has been so productive that in a 2012 do-over draft, by Andrew Abramson of The Palm Beach Post, he was slotted to go No. 8 to the Miami Dolphins.

     

    Overall Grade: B+

2013 Draft Class

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    Despite missing significant time to injury, Reed turned in a productive rookie campaign.
    Despite missing significant time to injury, Reed turned in a productive rookie campaign.Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Round 2, CB David Amerson: C+

    Round 3, TE Jordan Reed: A-

    Round 4, S Phillip Thomas: C-

    Round 5, RB Chris Thompson: D

    Round 5, LB Brandon Jenkins: D

    Round 6, S Bacarri Rambo: D+

    Round 7, RB Jawan Jamison: D

     

    Without a first-round pick, courtesy of the trade for Griffin, the 'Skins still managed to net some immediate contributors in David Amerson and Jordan Reed.

    Despite only playing in nine games and starting in four, Reed managed to accumulate 45 receptions and 499 yards on the season.

    As the team's nickel corner, Amerson tallied two interceptions and 48 tackles. Projected to be starters in 2014, both Reed and Amerson should establish themselves as cornerstone players in their sophomore campaigns.

    Pegged as a potential starter prior to a season-ending injury, Phillip Thomas was supposed to be in this boat as well. But with the signing of Ryan Clark and the likely arrival of another rookie safety, Thomas faces an uphill battle to do so.

    After a poor showing in his rookie campaign, Bacarri Rambo will have to battle for a spot on next year's team.

    Known as a playmaker in his collegiate career at Georgia, Rambo didn't deliver any big plays in 2013—literally! Rambo finished with zero forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and interceptions last season.

    Yet another draft class in which Washington failed to hit on any of their late-round picks, the prospects of the team finding any contributors in the late rounds of the 2014 NFL draft aren't looking good.

     

    Overall Grade: B-

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