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  1. #1

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    Default Looking Back: Assessing the 2015 Draft

    I know, I know...it's all about THIS YEAR'S draft

    But I think most of us would acknowledge, you can't really assess how good a given draft was for several years. So I'm going to take us back to 2015 and take an honest look at McLovin's first opportunity to shape our draft selections.

    I'll warn you - contrary to McCloughan's reputation as a draft demi-god and talent-spotting savant - it's not particularly pretty.

    Our 2015 NFL Draft acquisitions were as follows:

    Round 1 - Brandon Scherff, T
    Facing a fanbase screaming bloody murder for a rebuild in the trenches, Scherff fit the bill. He's a big, cornfed mover of men and he has not disappointed. Solid starter, perhaps a future pro bowler. No argument here. He was the safest pick of the draft.

    Round 2 - Preston Smith, OLB
    Physically gifted, motivationally challenged - Smith's been a major disappointment. A 2nd rounder should reasonably be expected to step right in and challenge for a starting spot. Smith, so far, is at best an underperforming backup. Some say Ryan Anderson will come in and light a fire under his ass - but color me skeptical. As it stands right now, I'd characterize this as a blown pick.

    Round 3 - Matt Jones, RB
    Although I've previously stated that I think the Redskins are giving up on him too quickly, Jones has undermined his career with a propensity for fumbling at the worst possible time, and also has durability questions due to his upright running style. Given that Jones appears to be in the doghouse permanently and will likely be cut in favor of UDFA starter Rob Kelley, you'd have to characterize this as another blown pick.

    Round 4 - Jamison Crowder, WR/PR
    Inarguably the gem of the 2015 draft, Crowder has overachieved at every level. This was the most critical pickup of 2015 given the eventual loss of Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Nothing but love for Crowder who still has lots of room to grow.

    Round 4 - Arie Kouandjio, G
    The verdict on Arie may still be out, but so far he's just an 'ok' player. He lacks versatility, with guard so far being the only position he appears capable of playing. He had only 2 starts in 2016, one a pretty disastrous one with 2 key penalties. At best, he's a decent backup at this point. Skins likely could've done better with this 4th round pick.

    Round 5 - Martrell Spaight, ILB
    I like Spaight. Although his concussion history is a concern, he has shown some promise and is a solid backup. Spaight stepped into the starting role several times as defensive signal caller when Will Compton was out and did a serviceable job. I think he was a pretty good find for a 5th round selection.

    Round 6 - Kysheon Jarrett, S
    Jarrett was placed on injured reserve in January of 2016 following a collision which left him with nerve issues in his arm. Redskins made the tough decision to waive him after he failed a physical. Can't characterize drafting the VT safety as a bad pick, he was just the victim of bad luck.

    Round 6 - Tevin Mitchel, CB
    More bad luck. Spaight's college teammate Mitchel tore his labrum and was waived by the Skins and picked up by the Colts. Mitchel had additional injuries and his future with the Colts as questionable.

    Round 6 - Evan Spencer, WR
    Other than his family ties to Redskins scouting staff, no idea why the Redskins selected Spencer. Little chance he would make an NFL roster and he has not. Wasted pick.

    Round 7 - Austin Reiter, C
    Drafted, released, became a Brown, tore his ACL. Any questions?


    So, what's the overall assessment of McCloughan's first draft in DC? Not great. With 10 total picks, we managed just 2 starters (Scherff and Crowder) and 3 serviceable backups (Smith, Kouandjio, and Spaight). With 6 picks in the first 5 rounds, that's a sub-par draft. Of our first 4 picks, 2 may well turn out to be total busts (Jones and Smith). And we found no hidden gems in the 6th or 7th rounds despite having two extra picks there (although Jarrett showed promise before his unfortunate injury).

    I don't know if the current rave reviews for the 2017 Redskins draft will prove warranted, and if/so, whether the credit should go to McCloughan or Bruce Allen and his front office. I am, however, quite confident this was a much better draft than 2015 turned out to be, regardless of McCloughan's sterling reputation.
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  2. #2
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    Yeah, that's how drafts go. Most, if not all teams, have many drafted players not make it for long. We're talking 200+ players. Where the real problem lies, is that most all of them make the team (since they are draft picks) which means veterans got to go. So you have a huge turnover but no guarantee of improvement. The thing to remember is that we are drafting for starters, not backups. Having late rounders make the team as backups doesn't get you to the playoffs. Its those "backups" that find their way onto the field, and can start when called upon.

    Nevertheless, since we were so weak on defense, going all in on D for this draft can only improve the team, so its a win as far as I'm concerned. They all have to make the team, and most have to contribute.
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  3. #3
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    This weekend it was interesting to hear there are more UDFA's on rosters than 1st and 2nd rounders combined. Not sure over what time period.
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    The more we can draft for the same coach/system, the better the odds for success. Regardless of who's in charge.
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    "Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and **** the prom queen"

  5. #5

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    As an interesting follow-up, Tandler made some guesses on which of the 2017 draft picks would most likely make this team. Of the 10 selections, he guesses that 7-8 of them have a solid chance of making the roster. 6 of them Tandler views as locks, with another few possible contingent on injury status. Even if that is a very rosy and generous estimation, it would mark a significant improvement over recent previous drafts.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boone View Post
    As an interesting follow-up, Tandler made some guesses on which of the 2017 draft picks would most likely make this team. Of the 10 selections, he guesses that 7-8 of them have a solid chance of making the roster. 6 of them Tandler views as locks, with another few possible contingent on injury status. Even if that is a very rosy and generous estimation, it would mark a significant improvement over recent previous drafts.
    For curiosity's sake, I thought it might be interesting to see how wall Tandler predicted who from the 2015 class would make the team. I couldn't find anything that was exactly like that, but did find a 2015 draft recap where depending on how you read it, one might think he thought most would be involved in same way. Grading the Redskins' 2015 draft | CSN Mid-Atlantic
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  7. #7

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    Good find. I think some of Tandler's (or for that matter Skins fans in general) assessment is colored by the assumption that McLovin is a talent-finding machine whereas experience has shown that he is as capable of major misses as any other talent evaluator.


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  8. #8
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    I think Scott even said you ideally want to pull 2 starters 3 reserves and 2 special teams players. Of course not everything works out that way some years you might pull 1 starter 4 reserve players other years maybe 3 starters. It's hard to determine motivation till you get them on the field. Another thing is you are not necessarily looking for starters for this season but future seasons also
    lets take Arie if he is valuable backup that knows the system. He is cheaper than bringing in a free agent and if he is progressing might be resigned at a backup for a few years with a chance to compete.
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  9. #9

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    That seems like a pretty low bar. Jury's still out on Smith - I may have been generous even calling him a serviceable backup. The other thing to keep in mind is that I have no problem rebuilding the trenches, drafting Scherff at pick #5 was a pretty big overreach. Selecting any guard/tackle there is nearly unheard of unless he's a game changer. And Scherff is not that.

    I chose to look back 2 years. Of course some of the guys selected in 2015 could still catch fire in year 3 and beyond. It does happen. My only point is that McCloughan was not a world beater in our first couple of drafts, at least looking at them from this point in time. My opinion.
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    What McCloughan prided himself on was his ability to determine through tape and interviews whether a guy was really a 'football' player who was going to make the sacrifices to win.

    It appears we went astray on Preston Smith. He is a plus athlete but evidently an indifferent worker. He just doesn't seem to have the fire to motivate himself to be a dominant performer at the NFL level.

    He seems happy to be collecting an NFL paycheck.

    And again that was EXACTLY the kind of player I thought McCloughan would keep us away from selecting.
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  11. #11
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    Maybe the only fair way to evaluate that draft in terms of where the Skins would be at today is to compare what the current brain trust (Bruce Allen, et al) would've done and how well those picks would've worked in Washington. A pick that succeeds with one team is no guarantee of the same level of production with a different team. Obviously can't be done unless the picks by Bruce & Scott were identical (doubtful). I believe part of the problem was how poor the 2013 draft class turned out to be by 2015. Outside of Reed and Thompson, Washington failed and gave up on Amerson too soon.

    Overall, I think you draft in the upper rounds (1-4) hoping to get starters or guys that can be starters\solid #2's relatively quickly. In the bottom half, guys who can give you some depth or enough skills to develop via the PS and that occasional 'surprise' guy that jumps up to the final roster. Not all are going to make it but that's the idea. As far as low round depth from 2015; Spraight fits and Jarrett we'll never know because of injuries.

    WRs, DBs & OL guys you give a couple of years to come up to speed unless they're taken in the 1st then he best be a Week 1 starter. Scherff will be improved as long as the Skins stop playing the shell game with the guys on either side of him. Last year a fairly stable line but 2015 was not. It's hard enough to get 5 OL to be cohesive let alone 10. Crowder obviously ahead of the curve and I'd say Arie is on target at least as a backup. The second and third rounders you expect to get more than one season of production out of especially a RB. Smith has a better shot at a return than does Jones but Murphy won't be around in the first 4 games to pick up part of the slack like Preston left behind in 2016. Anderson has a decided advantage at setting the edge against the run which Washington needs more than a part-time pass rusher.

    It'll be interesting to see how 2016 & 2017 draftees fare in a couple of years. Multiple choice; (A) 'shoulda got a real GM before the draft' (B) 'shoulda kept Scott' (C) 'Bruce nailed it' (D) 'none of the above'.
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  12. #12
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    there are two schools of thought about draft picks after the 3rd round, one is that you draft guys with talent comensurate with that position and hope they are system fits and overachievers or you swing for the fences on Boom or bust types who fell for one reason or another. when you have a roster as bare as this one was for so long you tend to go with the number 2 school of thought where teams with a great deal of success dont have to take risks and get good fits.
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