The Washington Redskins started the official rebuilding of their roster with the recently completed 2011 NFL draft. The Skins entered the day with numerous needs but only eight picks to address them. The Redskins turned their number 10 pick overall into six picks in this draft. That is incredible wheeling and dealing. As the draft came to a close, the team had used 12 picks to add new blood to the team.
The decision makers seem to have addressed many of the holes that littered this roster last season. I really like the direction they went with the choices. They added quality and character to their locker room. They did not reach for anyone throughout the draft. Looking at the scouting services, the Skins picked players in the rounds they were projected to go in or got bargains on all but one selection, and that was only one round higher than the projection.
This front office seems to have a plan and knows how to implement it. I like the policy of the team under Shanahan in which they do not let their plans become public. Many fans feel they are entitled to know everything the team is thinking but they don't. It is refreshing to see a front office that does not care what the fans would like them to do in player personnel moves. Fans may think they know what is best for the team but these guys are professionals.
An evaluation of the picks shows that the Redskins may have found up to five starters in this draft class. That is an amazing haul if everything works out with health and player progressions. They also added depth in areas of need such as receiver and running back. They replenished the defense with linemen, a linebacker and some help for the secondary. It was a great weekend for the Redskins.
First round selection Ryan Kerrigan out of Purdue was a great selection at a position of need, outside linebacker. He will play opposite of Brian Orakpo to form one of the best outside linebacker duos in the league. This tandem will cause quite a few sleepless night for opposing quarterbacks.
In the second round they drafted Jarvis Jenkins out of Clemson to bolster the defensive line. He can play both nose tackle and end in the 3-4 defense and looks to be an immediate starter. I predict he will start at end opposite of Adam Carriker. He also paves the way for a gigantic u-haul truck to arrive at Redskins Park to remove Fat Albert Haynesworth.
The Skins steal of the draft may be their third round pick, Leonard Hankerson out of the U. The former Miami Hurricane is the big receiver the Redskins have coveted for quite a while. He has great hands, adequate speed and will provide a huge target for the quarterbacks. He will start from day one.
Another starter was added in the fourth round when the team selected running back Roy Helu. The Former Cornhusker gives the Redskins what they have missed since Clinton Portis was hobbled with injuries, speed. He has good size at 6'0" and 210 pounds. He should help limit the role of Ryan Torrain, which hopefully will keep him healthy all year.
The fifth round sent the Skins some more threats on both sides of the ball with former Huskers Niles Paul and DeJon Gomes. Both should contribute on special teams and provide depth at receiver and at safety/cornerback respectively.
In the sixth round the Skins added depth at running back with local high school product Evan Royster from Penn State. He should give the team another option as a third down back. The other selection was receiver Aldrick Robinson from SMU. His incredible speed could make him an option to replace Brandon Banks in the return game. Robinson would also serve as a legitimate receiver as opposed to Banks, who is a one trick pony.
The Redskins had four selections in the seventh round and used them in a variety of ways. They gained possible depth at corner with Brandyn Thompson from Boise State. The much maligned offensive line got some depth help at guard with the selection of former Florida Gator Maurice Hurt.
I feel the Skins found two steals with their last selections. Defensive End Markus White from Florida State could be a pleasant surprise. He add much needed depth at defensive end. Nose tackle Chris Neild from West Virginia was the next to last pick in the draft. I will make a bold prediction and say that Nield will win the starting spot at nose tackle, making him the steal of the third day of the draft.
The Redskins did an amazing job of collecting picks and making quality choices in the 2011 NFL draft. This is most certainly the dawn of a new day at Redskins Park They steered away from the flashy pick of Blaine Gabbert and filled multiple holes with shrewd moves over the three days of the draft. Watch out next year however, as the Redskins will give up whatever it takes to get the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft in order to select their next franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck from Stanford. As for the Redskins selections this year, I give the Washington Redskins an A- grade for their 2011 draft class.