Speculation swirled around the Washington Redskins in the days and weeks leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft, held this weekend in Nashville, Tenn. Would the organization select a first-round quarterback, like Daniel Jones or Dwayne Haskins? Would it instead try and trade for Arizona Cardinals signal-caller Josh Rosen? Or would it work with its current quarterback situation and go in a different direction with the 15th-overall pick?
The Redskins answered all of these questions Thursday night, making moves that drew widespread praise from NFL Draft experts.
The franchise stayed put at No. 15 to draft Haskins -- a local product who broke multiple passing records in his one year starting at Ohio State -- and then swooped back into the first round, trading with the Indianapolis Colts to take edge Montez Sweat at 26th overall.
After entering the night with one pick, the Redskins addressed a pair of team needs with first-rounders. Here's a look at what several draft evaluators thought about these selections.
"I love this pick. Haskins is a prototypical pocket passer with size, toughness, and a big arm. The former Buckeye has just one year of starting experience under his belt, but was supremely productive during it, throwing for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns, and just eight picks. He’s most comfortable operating out of the pocket, and is a decisive passer who throws with accuracy and velocity downfield—but will need to prove he can operate both in the face of pressure and when forced to move off his spot. Haskins may need some time to acclimate to the speed of pro defenses, but he can recognize pre-snap coverages, set protections, and make changes at the line. I love Haskins’s long-term potential under head coach and play-caller Jay Gruden, and I love it even more that Washington didn’t have to move up to get him."
"Washington owner Dan Snyder got the player he wanted. And he did the right thing? That’s weird to say about Snyder. It was speculated that Washington would trade up for Haskins. That didn’t have to happen. In Haskins, Washington has its franchise quarterback of the future. When you can get that in the middle of the first round you’re doing something right. Haskins may be limited as a pocket passer only, but those players can still be plenty successful in the NFL."
"I think he's the best quarterback in this draft and it's a great pick for the Redskins. Getting a cheap quarterback to come in and push to start right away is a great move. Love this pick by the Redskins. Like Kyler Murray he's a one-year wonder, but there's a lot of potential here."
"After all the pre-draft hoopla that suggested the Redskins were going to pull a, well, Redskins and botch this draft, everything worked out for Washington: The Redskins didn’t have to trade up and still ended up with the second-best quarterback in the draft. Haskins is a prototypical pocket passer who diagnoses coverages in an instant. His deep-ball accuracy isn’t ideal and he isn’t very mobile, but Haskins has EVERYTHING else you want in a franchise quarterback."
"The fact that they did not have to move up to get Haskins was a major bonus. His arm is live and he has the the ability to distribute the football to all parts of the field. Given the murky future of Alex Smith, finding Haskins waiting for them at No. 15 could prove to be franchise-changing. Finally, Washington traded up to grab Sweat, who will be a fine pass rusher if his heart condition does not prevent him from reaching his potential. They really needed depth at outside linebacker, where Sweat fits quite well. I am generally not enamored with giving up future second-round picks, but this guy's talent is worthy of taking that sort of chance."
"Washington gets their QB, as Haskins becomes the third quarterback off the board. Big body, analytical, strong arm … Haskins seemingly has all the necessary tools. The Redskins would be wise to sit him for a year behind Case Keenum."
"Washington didn’t have to give up much to get back into the first round, sending No. 46 and a 2020 second-round pick to the Colts. Only giving up that much, it landed them Sweat, the best player available and a big need fill. This type of move is what the draft is all about."
"The fact that they did not have to move up to get Haskins was a major bonus. His arm is live and he has the ability to distribute the football to all parts of the field. Given the murky future of Alex Smith, finding Haskins waiting for them at No. 15 could prove to be franchise-changing. Finally, Washington traded up to grab Sweat, who will be a fine pass rusher if his heart condition does not prevent him from reaching his potential. They really needed depth at outside linebacker, where Sweat fits quite well. I am generally not enamored with giving up future second-round picks, but this guy's talent is worthy of taking that sort of chance."
"The Redskins just lost a pass rusher from Mississippi State (Preston Smith) and they replaced him with another one who has an even higher ceiling. Montez Sweat ran a faster 40 than Odell Beckham! He dropped after being apparently misdiagnosed with a heart issue at the combine, so Washington is getting a top-15 talent here after getting a top-10 talent in Dwayne Haskins. The Redskins are killing the draft, and I have no idea what’s real anymore."
"The Redskins grabbed two potential franchise pillars in the first round, selecting Haskins at No. 15 then trading two second-round picks to move up to No. 26 and take up a high-upside edge rusher. Sweat is an extraordinarily athletic pass rusher with a massive wingspan. The AP second-team All-American has an explosive first step, a nonstop motor, and the length to disrupt pockets even when he can’t get around his blocker. He uses a long-arm stab as his go-to rush move, but also shows flashes of a burgeoning hump move (rushing outside before pushing the tackle upfield and breaking inside). Against the run, Sweat’s length makes him tough to block at the point of attack. If he can bulk up, he’s got the potential to develop into a big-impact, three-down playmaker. As for value, Sweat ranked No. 12 on my board, so landing him at No. 26 helps cancel out the cost of the trade."
"Maybe the biggest question mark in this draft. Sweat's talent as a defensive playmaker isn't in question; his enlarged heart is. Some teams took him off their boards entirely. The Redskins clearly did not, trading up to get him. They paid a price (a second rounder this year and next), but they got a top-10 talent late in the first round."
"The Redskins traded up to address a position that was not of significant need, and in doing so, tacitly declared that they missed on 2017 second-round pick Ryan Anderson, who has been mostly nondescript in his first two seasons. Sweat is a “great on paper” guy who has also flashed on film. The hope is he will provide a raw edge-bending presence opposite Ryan Kerrigan, who remains solid, if not spectacular, off the left side. Worth noting is that Sweat will be taught by Jim Tomsula, who is one of the industry’s highest regarded position coaches."
"Yeah, there's issues. There were teams that took him off the board with concerns about the heart. The ability is there. The ability is phenomenal. He's fast, he made a lot of plays. Had a great senior year. Controversial pick to keep an eye on going forward after Redskins gave up picks to trade back into first round."