Despite an array of trade rumors, and plot twists that would rival a “Game of Thrones” episode, the Washington Redskins remained patient and were rewarded with the man they targeted all along.
With the 15th selection of the NFL Draft, the Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins from The Ohio State University.
The former Buckeye has a gleaming resume’ that he will be bringing to Ashburn. In his lone season leading Urban Meyer’s offense, he led the NCAA in touchdowns (50), passing yards (4,831), and total touchdowns (54).
He also led the Big Ten in passing attempts (533), pass completion percentage (70%) and passing yards per attempt (9.1).
All of these accomplishments led Haskins to be named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and third in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Despite all of these accolades, questions loom around where Haskins projects as a starter in the National Football League. Notably, critics will argue that Haskins has limited experience, with only one season of navigating an offense under his belt.
Others have argued that his lack of mobility, and in-effect his inability to create on his own, will limit his upside as a standout passer.
But it’s hard to argue this selection was a poor one. For a team with two journeyman quarterbacks over the age of 30, and expiring contracts at the end of the year, the Redskins needed to start building towards the future. Will Haskins ultimately pan out? That is yet to be seen.
But taking a shot at what you believe would be a franchise quarterback–at selection 15 without trading up–is well worth the risk. Especially for a team with a deteriorating fan-base and a low “Q Score” around the league. The team needed a jolt of excitement, and they got one.
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First Round, 26th Pick: Montez Sweat
What really set this draft apart was the selection of Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat with the 26th overall selection. Washington earned the right to select this defensive standout by trading away the 46th pick of this year’s draft, and a 2020 second round selection.
Sweat was highly regarded after the collegiate season, as he ran havoc in the SEC, which many consider the best conference of all of college football.
Over the last two seasons, Sweat has compiled 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss against stout competition. In fact, his 16 tackles for loss and 11 sacks led the SEC in 2017.
This year, he was fourth overall in the NCAA with 12 sacks.
Sweat was the talk of the combine with a 4.41 second 40-yard dash. This was the fastest of any edge rusher in this class.
He also has eye-popping measurables with a 6’6″ frame and unworldly arm-length of 35 3/4″ (97% percentile). His wingspan (98%), hand-size (92%) and broad jump (92%) also point to an explosive athlete worthy of a top-ten selection.
However, Sweat’s diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) of a heart condition put his draft projection in question. Many NFL front offices around the league supposedly removed Sweat from their draft board altogether.
From our NFL pre-draft coverage: #MSU pass-rusher Montez Sweat may have been misdiagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Two sources say the thickness of Sweat's heart wall is actually 1.5 cms, not nearly 2.0. I explain below why the risk could be much lower. pic.twitter.com/PUVsbO2tDw
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 25, 2019
However, the Redskins were willing to roll the dice on a prospect they were eyeing at pick 15. They now have a player who should start week 1, opposite of Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan.
Heading into 2019, the Redskins defensive front-seven will now boast five former first-round picks. Creating a formidable lineup to confront their opponents in the NFC East.
Altogether, the Redskins took a chance on two prospects who were highly touted heading into the 2019 draft class. Although questions linger about the prospects, it’s fair to say the team added two talented players with high upside. Not to mention, these selections added youth and affordable contracts to two of the most important positions on their side of the ball.
The Redskins still have remaining needs on the roster, but yesterday they knocked their selections out of the park.
First Round Overall Grade: A