It was another year another disappointing season for Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. A 4-12 finish under first year head coach Jay Gruden cost the majority of the coaching staff and front office their jobs, but that may have been for the best — bringing in Scot McCloughan was the start of a solid overall offseason by the ‘Skins.
McCloughan is the kind of go-getter a team in the Redskins position needs. McCloughan immediately went to work trying to fix the franchise, resigning safety Duke Ihenacho and penning semi-big name free agents Stephen Paea, Terrance Knighton, and Jeron Johnson. Paea and Knighton bring huge value to the hybrid 3-4 defensive scheme the Redskins are trying to run successfully, and Johnson is a great pickup for their struggling secondary.
Unfortunately, McCloughan’s horrible draft overshadows a great start to the new league year. With Dan Snyder committed to RGIII, the Skins desperately needed to add as much offensive talent as possible and just hope that it would be enough to balance out Griffin’s terrible play. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the team has a very shallow defensive front seven and a putrid secondary to address.
Maybe McCloughan forgot about the defense. Preston Smith was a good second round pick, but the team didn’t call a safety or defensive back until Day 3. The team did make a sufficient attempt at bolstering the offensive line, however.
The team focused on the offense early and often, starting by taking Iowa guard Brandon Scherff with the 5th overall pick. Before getting into why this was a bad pick, Scherff is a great lineman and a very safe pick in the top five. Scherff will easily be an all-rookie team member this season, and he will be an instant value for RGIII’s pass protection—especially if they decide to convert him to one of the tackle positions.
That being said, both Leonard Williams and Vic Beasley were still on the board, and the Redskins took a guard? There was definitely a lot more potential value here. Even if the team was committed to Scherff, they could have easily traded down to No. 8 or 9, letting someone else jump in front of the New York Jets to steal Williams, and earning an extra second or third round draft pick.
McCloughan made up for the first round mishap by taking Mississippi State linebacker Preston Smith. Brian Orakpo joined the Tennessee Titans this offseason; and although Smith may not be as good as Orakpo he will be a solid member of the rotation. Overall, he was an underrated edge rushing outside linebacker who had a legitimate chance of sneaking into the first round.
Unfortunately, that was about it for the Redskins. Alabama guard Arie Kouandjio was a great pick in the fourth round and will most likely be starting on this offensive line come September; however, the remaining picks were subpar at best.
Example: Florida running back Matt Jones in the third round? With Alfred Morris on the team, Jones will be no more than a third-down back in 2015. The Redskins could have easily waited till the sixth round if that’s what they were looking for. On top of that, there were better backs available when the Redskins took him off the board at 95th overall.
More examples: safety Kyshoen Jarrett at 181 and cornerback Tevin Mitchel at 182. The Skins finally addressed their secondary issue, but it was too little and too late. Jarrett will be a good special teams player this season, but he is nothing but a liability in pass coverage. Mitchel on the other hand was hardly a draftable player. If Washington didn’t pick him up, he very likely would have never heard his name called.
When you factor in the bad draft, it was a decent offseason overall in the nation’s capital. The Redskins definitely tried their best, but at the end of the day they didn’t do enough to balance out the fact that Griffin is still their starting quarterback. Honestly, they’ll be lucky to improve on the 4-12 finish from last season.