The third day of the NFL Draft saw the Washington Redskins bring in seven new players, providing help at several different positions. Draft experts viewed the Redskins' 2019 class as one of the best, so let's take a deeper look at Saturday's haul.
Stanford RB Bryce Love (Round 4, 112th overall)
Fourth-round pick Bryce Love has proven himself as an explosive running back who has a knack for finding running lanes. In his junior season at Stanford, Love rushed for 2,118 yards -- good for an average of 8.1 yards per carry -- and scored 19 touchdowns, 10 of which were longer than 40 yards. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting and was seen as a possible first-round prospect.
Instead, Love returned to Stanford to play his senior year and complete his degree, and on the final play of his final college game, he suffered a torn ACL.
“Unfortunately, he had the injury," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said at his post-draft press conference Saturday, "but we thought when you go by the board he was ranked up there pretty high for us."
"Give him time to get better, No. 1, get him in the building, get his rehab going in the right path, which it already is," Gruden added. "The type of guy that he is, team captain, I think he’ll be ready in no time.”
Love said he does not regret returning to school and is excited for his NFL opportunity. He'll have a chance to work closely with 2018 second-round pick Derrius Guice as well as veteran Adrian Peterson -- both of whom have dealt with torn ACLs during their careers.
"[Adrian Peterson] is one of the greatest to play the position and one of the greatest players of all time," Love said, "So being able to come in and learn from him and learn from all the other backs in the room will definitely be big.”
Indiana G Wes Martin (Round 4, 131st overall)
The Washington Redskins needed offensive line depth entering the NFL Draft, especially following an injury-riddled 2018 campaign. They also needed players to compete with recently signed Ereck Flowers for the chance to start at left guard.
Drafting Wes Martin late in the fourth round satisfied both requirements.
“We're going to come in and battle everywhere really,” Gruden said. “We haven't had the chance to see these guys in pads yet or anything like that. We just had a nice draft, took a great guard, a very productive guard. Played a lot of snaps at left guard, which obviously we had some issues at that position.”
Martin possesses unique strength, evident by his 38 bench press reps at the NFL Combine and the 42 he put up during Indiana's pro day. He also flashed his intelligence during the draft process by scoring a 31 out of 50 on the Wonderlic Test, a group intelligence test popularly used to evaluate NFL prospects.
"I'm pretty sharp, I'd like to think, being able to ID things and make decisions quickly," Martin said. "I think my explosion, along with my strength, is a big thing, and my getting up on the second level, getting on backers, is something I've been doing a long time here at Indiana.”
Alabama C Ross Pierschbacher (Round 5, 153rd overall)
The Redskins further bolstered their offensive line with fifth-round pick Ross Pierschbacher, a versatile four-year starter at Alabama. He spent his first three years playing left guard, earning second-team All-SEC in 2016 and first-team in 2017, before becoming an All-American center as a senior.
"Versatility on that front, we've mentioned it many, many times how that comes in handy throughout the course of the season," Gruden said. "Ross has played some big-time games and has played both positions, so it's great to have that luxury of versatility.”
Pierschbacher becomes the eighth former Crimson Tide player on the Redskins' roster, and he relishes the opportunity to reconnect with some of his old teammates.
“Just being familiar with them and knowing the kind of the standard they have set, just their background and where they come from,” Pierschbacher said. “Also being a guy from Iowa, Brandon Scherff, I’ve met him before. He hosted one of my visits when I was getting recruited by Iowa there, so I know him. I’m just ready to get connected with those guys. I can’t wait.”
North Carolina LB Cole Holcomb (Round 5, 173rd overall)
Four years ago, Cole Holcomb walked on at North Carolina after receiving zero FBS scholarship offers. Now he'll compete for an NFL roster spot with the Redskins, who drafted him in the fifth round Saturday.
“I saw that game [against Army where he had 22 tackles] and watched a lot of him, and I just wondered why he wasn’t as highly touted as a lot of these other guys because he has the speed,” Gruden said. “He ran a 4.48 [40-yard dash] I think at his Pro Day, like a 38-inch vertical. He tested out of the moon, so you say, ‘oh, he’s just a tester.’ No, he had 100 tackles three years in a row. He’s had production, so I think it’s a great pick in that spot, and I’m excited to get him in here.”
Holcomb thrived with the Tar Heels thanks to his natural speed and tireless preparation, which allowed him to become the team's leading tackler in each of the past three seasons.
“When I was a walk-on starting, I didn’t necessarily have the intangibles,” Holcomb said. “But now that I have grown into my body, I have matured a lot through this process. I have always had to beat people through technique or through being smarter than them, but now I have the intangibles to go with it. So I really think if we put it all together, I will be a really good football player.”
N.C. State WR Kelvin Harmon (Round 6, 206th overall)
Wide receiver Kelvin Harmon shined during his three seasons at N.C. State using his strength, athleticism and aggressiveness. Harmon, a sixth-round pick by the Redskins, learned how to make tough receptions in traffic and acrobatic catches over defenders, mastered his route tree and delivered crushing blocks on running plays and screen passes.
“You see him make some plays on deep balls all the time," Gruden said. "He may not get great separation, but he’s got great leaping ability, he times it great, he’s got big, strong hands and he’s physical. He’s also a great blocker as well.”
Harmon's playing style is indicative of his attitude, which he described to reporters as "big-dog swagger" shortly after his selection.
“It’s just that alpha mentality – always competing hard, whether I'm blocking or catching the ball,” Harmon said. “It’s just always going hard and just wanting to get the ball away from my opponent.”
James Madison DB Jimmy Moreland (Round 7, 227th overall)
Underrecruited out of high school, Jimmy Moreland enrolled at James Madison University, an FCS program, and subsequently developed into a ball-hawking defensive back and an overall difference maker. Of his school-record 18 interceptions, he returned six of them for touchdowns. He also blocked his fair share of kicks.
“He's a playmaker,” Gruden said. “He's player of the year in his conference, he's a team captain, and I like the fact that he gets his hands on a lot of balls. He's very talented, he's quick, quick-twitched.”
“I had to prove what I’m worth,” added Moreland. “I had to fight for every step, every step I had to take. ... I’m just ready to go now."
Oklahoma State EDGE Jordan Brailford (Round 7, 253rd overall)
The Washington Redskins rounded out their 2019 draft class by adding another pass-rusher to come in and work with a young and talented defensive line. Seventh-round pick Jordan Brailford had a gift for getting after the quarterback while at Oklahoma State, using his size and speed to record double-digit sacks as a junior in 2018.
“Some of the draft picks that you mention, the young defensive line that we have,” Gruden said. “I think we're all very excited about the prospects of our defense being fast and physical."
Brailford, the second-to-last pick of the draft, grew increasingly nervous about the possibility of going undrafted as the seventh round wore on. But then the Redskins called, which Brailford described as an "amazing feeling." He cannot wait to begin his NFL journey in Washington.
“I had a whole bunch of teams calling me, but they weren't calling about the draft,” Brailford said. “They were just calling about free agency. Once you get that call and see your name flash across the screen, all of that went out the window. It doesn’t really matter. I'm just happy to be where I am at now.”