The 2011 NFL draft is over and the 2011 NFL lockout is back in full swing (sigh).
But before we dive back into the depressing world of Haves vs. Have Mores duking it out in the courtrooms trying to secure a larger slice of an already enormous pie, let's go ahead and enjoy what I believe has to have been the single best draft in the Dan Snyder era.
The Redskins started off the draft with the 10th pick in the first round. To be honest, I don't think anyone truly had a good idea what the 'Skins were going to do.
Some predicted that they would move up in the draft to pick up Blaine Gabbert, some predicted that they would maintain the 10th pick and draft the best available player, while others (wisely, I might add) foresaw that the Redskins would trade down in the draft in order to stockpile more picks.
Trading down from 10th to the 16th pick arguably could not have worked out better. The Redskins were able to grab another second-round pick while snagging a player who was great value at the pick and would fit well (allegedly) opposite Brian Orakpo.
Ryan Kerrigan was mentioned by a number of mock drafts as a possible Redskin and for good reason. He has an unbelievably high motor (I hate that saying), is a proven pass-rusher and has great intangibles. What makes this pick even better is that it draws some attention away from Brian Orakpo.
Last year, "Rak" started off absolutely on fire but as teams wised up to the fact that he was essentially the Redskins only pass-rush threat, his numbers dropped. Drastically. Kerrigan provides a threat from the other outside linebacker side and should allow Orakpo to jump back into double digits in the sack column next year.
Not only is Kerrigan a good fit, but the Redskins were able to add an additional second-round pick that was then turned into more picks. A solid, un-Redskins-like move.
The Redskins held onto their own second-round pick in 2011 and used it on Jarvis Jenkins, a 310-lb monster out of Clemson. This was a pick that I was really excited about.
Although some (Todd "Why Haven't I Been Fired Yet" McShay) thought that this pick was a reach given the way the draft was unfolding, this turned out to be a great pick for the Redskins.
The Redskins defensive front last year was abysmal. Out of all the starters at the end of the 2010 season, only Adam Carriker showed that he is a true NFL-level starter. The revolving door opposite him was one of the defining weaknesses in the Redskins roster and the pick of Jenkins helps to settle that situation immediately.
Another strength of this pick is Jenkin's versatility. He can be rotated around the defensive line, playing both tackle and end in the Redskins base 3-4, as well as tackle in a four-man front when the team plays nickle or dime packages.
The Redskins front seven just got a lot more formidable; look for their run defense to improve a lot in the upcoming years.
When the Redskins trade down from the 10th to 16th pick, it seems that Shanahan was possessed by the spirit of Bill Belichick, wheeling and dealing his way through day two of the draft amassing more and more picks for the 'Skins.
The Redskins first traded the Jaguars' second-round pick (No. 49) to the Colts for their second-round pick (No. 53), fifth-round pick (No. 152) and seventh-round pick (No. 224). They then sent that second-round pick (No. 53) to the Bears for their second-round pick (No. 62) and fourth-round pick (No. 127).
From there, they sent that second-round pick (No. 62) to the Dolphins in exchange for their third-round pick (No. 79), fifth-round pick (No. 146) and seventh-round pick (No. 217).
If you're lost, let me sum it up.
The Redskins essentially traded the 10th pick in the draft for the 16th, 79th, 105th, 146th, 155th, 178th, 217th and 224th picks. That is pretty darn good value if I do say so myself. Now that that's over, let's move on.
With the Dolphins' third-round pick, the Redskins were able to snag Leonard Hankerson, a large and physical receiver from the U. Some picked Hankerson to go as early as the second round after he tore up the Senior Bowl this winter; luckily for the Redskins, he remained available all the way into the third round.
A great value at the pick, Hankerson is a good fit in the Redskins offense. Assuming that the Redskins manage to bring back Santana Moss next year, both he and Anthony Armstrong are under six-feet tall. Both are certainly burners but the Redskins need a big, physical threat. Hankerson is exactly that.
Not only do the Redskins pick up a productive, big receiver, they managed to do it while grabbing an astounding number of extra draft picks. Shanahan and Co.—well done.
With the Bears' fourth-round pick, the Redskins picked up a much-needed running back with above-average speed to complement the punishing style of Ryan Torain.
Shanahan is considered by many to be one of the best run-offensive coaches in the NFL today if not all time. Using the zone-blocking scheme and one cut running back, Shanahan has managed to churn out 1000-yard rushers on a very consistent basis.
Don't look for Helu to become a feature back, instead forming a running-back committee with Ryan Torain and either Keiland Williams or Evan Royster.
A solid pick, Helu adds depth to the Redskins backfield but still doesn't give them the home-run threat that the team needs.
Shanahan clearly has a thing for picking Cornhuskers. Dejon Gomes is the second of three Nebraska players that Shanahan picked in a row.
Do not expect to see Gomes receive much—if any—playing time on defense this season. Instead, pay attention to how he plays in the preseason and look for him to make some plays on special teams.
I don't expect Gomes to ever develop into anything more than a dime back for the Redskins, but he lends depth and speed for the special-teams unit.
Redskins could have done better with this pick.
The Redskins used the Saints' fifth-round draft pick to grab Niles Paul out of Nebraska. Aside from having a cool first name, Paul reminds me of a poor-man's Hakeem Nicks. He's a solidly built, physical wide receiver, but lacks the type of speed necessary to be anything more than a solid possession kind of guy.
Known for having good hands and a solid head on his shoulders, he could become a solid third or fourth receiver for the 'Skins if he's given a couple seasons to develop.
Not a particularly great pick, but not bad either. Certainly doesn't generate much excitement.
Being a college star for one of the most nationally recognized programs has its perks. Some people are really high on the Redskins pick of Royster.
The all-time leading rusher at Penn State, Royster showed he could succeed at the college level. Doesn't matter.
This guy is not good. He will not be a good NFL running back. He lacks the speed necessary to hit gaps in a timely fashion and isn't particularly well rounded. A wasted pick.
Will not last in the league for more than two to three seasons. If you see him lined up in the Redskins backfield next year, throw in the towel on the 2011 season; it will simply be evidence that the Redskins have been decimated by injuries and relegated to playing practice-team-level players like Royster.
With the Texans' sixth-round pick, the 'Skins were able to grab a player that I have been high on since early in the 2010 season.
Robinson has good hands, good speed and that kind of jitterbug-quickness needed to succeed as a slot receiver. I would have preferred that the Redskins picked up Cecil Shorts III, but he was long gone by the sixth round.
A good value at the pick, Robinson has the physical abilities to develop into a good slot receiver, something that the Redskins have lacked for a number of years. That said, the Redskins can't carry a large number of receivers on their roster this season. Players will have to be cut.
Hopefully, Robinson shows enough this preseason to make the roster (and Malcolm Kelly doesn't. Bum).
The 'Skins used their seventh-round pick to grab Brandyn Thompson. He lacks the size (5'9", 190 lbs) to play safety and the speed (4.53 40) to play cornerback. A career special-teamer and practice-squad guy.
Not a bad pick, but most likely will end up on the practice squad or playing in the UFL next year.
With the Dolphins' seventh-round pick, the Redskins selected Florida offensive lineman Maurice Hurt. He can be seen here lifting a giant rubber tire with Florida Football God Tim Tebow. Awesome.
On a more serious note, Hurt provides young depth to the Redskins offensive line. A mauler at 6'3" 318 lbs, Hurt could develop nicely into a utility lineman and possible starting guard. The Redskins needed youth in their offensive line and they got it here.
Look for Hurt to bring the pain in a couple of years.
The Redskins used the Colts seventh-round pick to bring in Florida State defensive end Markus White.
White was a solid college player and should add depth and youth to the Redskins roster. Most likely will be a contributor on special teams with spot linebacker duty (a la H.B. Blades). A bit slow for linebacker, but too small for DE in the 3-4. May also see some time in his career as a defensive end in 4 man front sub packages.
A team captain at FSU, White is known for his top-shelf work ethic and leadership skills. Not bad for a seventh-round pick.
The Redskins used their seventh-round compensatory pick to grab West Virginia defensive lineman Chris Neild. He lacks the brute strength to start in the NFL as a 3-4 nose tackle and will most likely end up on the Redskins practice squad.
I was absolutely heartbroken that my favorite mid-round player in the draft, Kendrick Ellis, slipped past the 'Skins in the third round, going instead to one of my least favorite teams, the Jets. Don't expect Neild to step in and contribute for the Redskins in any significant manner.
Okay pick here, but would have preferred to have seen the Redskins pick up another offensive lineman rather than a guy like Neild who will almost certainly not be on the Redskins Opening Day roster.
Final Draft Grade: A-
The Redskins made some great moves in the draft, wheeling and dealing to get a ton of draft picks and in consequence, a ton of young players. Not every single one will be a hit, but some will definitely go on to develop into solid players for the Burgundy and Gold.
It was certainly refreshing to see the Redskins finally embrace the idea that teams are built through the draft, not free agency and flashy trades. Shanahan and Co., you may re-inspire hope in me yet. If Snyder doesn't get in the way, that is...
As I have said before, the Redskins are REBUILDING. This season will not be pretty. The quarterback situation remains very much in flux, but if the Redskins continue to draft like they did in years to come and give their players time to develop, look for them to be favorites in the NFC East possibly by the 2013 season.
I know it's a long time to wait but let's face the facts. This team isn't a few pieces away from a playoff run; it is in need of a complete overhaul. This past weekend was just the beginning.
Hail to the 'Skins.