A Look at the Eagles NFC Opponents’ Drafts: The Washington Redskins

by Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of Ohio State Dept. of Athletics | May 20, 2020
A Look at the Eagles NFC Opponents’ Drafts: The Washington Redskins
Second of four parts.

The Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are expected to battle it out for the NFC East, with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins continue to be in a rebuilding mode
Yet for the Redskins, the best way back to respectability is through the draft. With a first-year coach Ron Rivera who experienced great success in guiding the Carolina Panthers, there is optimism for Washington.
The offense, is considered still a major work in progress, but the defense, already impressive on paper, got a big boost from the draft.
Here is a look at the Redskins draft:
First round No. 2 overall, Chase Young, DE Ohio State
Third round: No. 66 overall Antonio Gibson, RB Memphis
Fourth round: No. 108 Saahdiq Charles, OT LSU
Fourth round No. 142 Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR Liberty
Fifth round No. 156 Keith Ismael, C San Diego State
Fifth round: No. 162 Khaleke Hudson, LB Michigan
Seventh round: No. 216, Kamren Curl, S Arkansas
Seventh round No 229 James Smith-Williams, DE North Carolina State
The Redskins did something that was applauded by all draft experts – they didn’t make a selection based on need. Washington took what many considered to be the best player in the draft in Ohio State’s Young. Even though Washington’s strength is its front seven on defense, Young is considered a future perennial All-Pro player.
He was measured at 6-foot-5 and 265-pounds at the NFL Combine. This past season he had 16.5 sacks in 12 games for the Buckeyes.  Young, who turned 21 in April, had 30.5 career sacks in 34 games.
While Young should be a starter from Day 1, the rest of the draft has questions, but also potential.
Third-rounder Antonio Gibson of Memphis, was mainly a receiver who played running back later in the season He only carried the ball 33 times last season, but averaged 11.4 yards. Besides being an obvious receiving threat, he averaged 28 yards per kickoff return.
Gibson could also line up as a slot receiver and gives the Redskins plenty of options with his versatility.
With a questionable passing game, the Redskins will be relying more on the run so Gibson should see plenty of time.
Fourth round tackle Saahdiq would likely have been drafted higher but he was suspended six games by LSU for violating team rules. He could be the Redskins future left tackle.
The Redskins need receiving help to pair with last year’s draft sensation Terry McLaurin, and hope that Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden will contribute. He had 79 receptions for 1,396 yards and 10 TDs as a senior.
At 6-foot-4 and 220-pounds he has the type of size that could make him a red zone factor. Gandy-Golden ran just a 4.6 at the NFL Combine, but for his size, that is fine, especially if he will play in the slot. He could become a rotation player in his first season.
Fifth round center Keith Ismael of San Diego State is a later-round pick who could eventually challenge for a starting spot, if not the first year then down the line.
The other three draft picks were all from Power Five schools. Michigan’s Hudson was a tackling machine with 225 in 44 career games.
Arkansas’ Curl was a three-year starter at safety, who made 76 tackles this past season. Smith-Williams was a two-year full-time starter at  defensive end for N.C. State
The Redskins also signed some intriguing undrafted free agents, led by LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss.
Receiver Isaiah Wright of Temple, is another undrafted rookie who would likely make the team based on his special teams ability. He had five return touchdowns in his career at Temple and is just as adept at returning kicks as punts.
Overall, the Redskins have some questions in this draft, but Young immediately puts the defense on another level and if Gibson and Gandy-Golden can develop, then this will be a truly successful draft.

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The Redskins still can’t compare to the Eagles, but in hiring Rivera and adding this draft class, Washington at least is moving in the right direction.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of Ohio State Dept. of Athletics


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