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Monday, May 12, 2014
Kiper gives Redskins a C-plus

By John Keim

The Redskins didn’t draft a "wow" player, which happens when you don’t have a first-round pick. They also didn’t receive a "wow" grade from ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. But, in his post-draft assessment , the issue wasn’t the lack of a first-round pick, it was in not addressing certain needs – topped by a possible reach or two.

Kiper gave the Redskins a C-plus, which was lower than 23 other teams – including all three NFC East foes. I don't have a problem with the grade and it's the highest you can go at this point; it suggests there are some intriguing picks yet no one you're sold on or some spots left unaddressed. Certainly, other analysts could hit them harder. But the real grade that matters on this class won't be handed out for another three years.

But I don’t agree with everything he said, starting with the top needs. He failed to list pass-rusher among them. The problem: Washington clearly wanted to upgrade its pass rush and, all along, I felt the Redskins would target this at 34. If not, then they’d go for a right tackle. Their pass rush has struggled the past two years and coaches labeled it a point of emphasis. They hired a pass-rush coach for the outside linebackers in Brian Baker. They signed Jason Hatcher. That would not be enough to generate the heat they want.

Plus, there was value at this position – more so than inside linebacker or safety, both of which were listed as priorities. At inside linebacker, in addition to incumbent starter Perry Riley, the Redskins signed three free agents (two of whom have started) and also like Keenan Robinson. See if someone from this group emerges and address next year if they don’t. While other teams liked Chris Borland, his speed was a concern in Washington. And anyone selected later would be longshots to make the roster, so I'm not shocked they did nothing here after passing up this spot in Round 2.

Kiper liked that Washington added more picks in a deep draft (tough not to like this). He considered Trent Murphy a slight reach because he was not the top-rated rusher left on his board when the Redskins selected him 47th overall (speed is a concern here, too). But I'd heard before this pick that Washington considered a better overall player than Jeremiah Attaochu so this wasn’t a surprise and, according to its board, not a reach. Time will reveal who was right.

I agree with Kiper that Morgan Moses represents good value in round three. Kiper wrote, “He needs work because the measurables are better than the player.” If they had selected him at 34 I would not have liked the pick. He’ll need plenty of coaching before he’s ready to take over at right tackle.

Kiper called guard Spencer Long “a bit of a puzzler” and I definitely think other analysts would agree because of his season-ending knee injury. All I know is a scout from another team loved him. This scout said he’d be a good center; the Redskins agree he can play all three interior spots but will definitely try him at guard. Maybe he’s a reach, but in the long run, which is how drafts should be measured, he might be considered something else. By the way, the same scout only liked Murphy; productive player, but no flash (a fair assessment).

Kiper liked the value represented by corner Bashaud Breeland and running back Lache Seastrunk. Breeland will help special teams – and the Redskins didn’t receive enough help from their secondary last year in this area. Seastrunk has skills, but will have to prove he can catch in a game. Baylor didn’t throw to its backs so it’s tough to judge him here (though he apparently had one more drops than catches). It’s good that he caught well on his pro day, but doing it in a game, with all that’s going on, is quite different than catching against no defenders. If he works out, the Redskins could have something.

Kiper wrote that he wishes the Redskins had addressed corner earlier. They liked Bradley Roby, but he was gone before they would have picked at 34. DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson and Tracy Porter aren’t a great corner group, but their presence meant Washington didn’t have to draft a corner early. But the Redskins absolutely needed more competition here and a guy who, in a year or so, could become much more than a special-teamer. Breeland has a shot.

Like Kiper, I’m surprised the Redskins didn’t draft a safety at some point. It wasn’t a deep draft at this position, however. Two safeties they visited with as later-round prospects – Dez Southward and Tre Boston – went in the third and fourth rounds, respectively. The physical Breeland could help at safety down the road, but for the most part they’ll roll with what they have now. I’m not sold what they have is nearly enough and, just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’ll develop. It would have been good for them to add a young player with good tackling skills if nothing else.

The Redskins didn’t have a draft that would demand instant attention. They added depth to their offensive line and special teams if nothing else. Now they have to do something they haven’t done enough of: develop their picks.