The NFL Draft is officially over, ending months of scouting and speculating and projecting. The only reasonable conclusion to this annual process is to hand out way-too-early grades to help sort out the chaos of 256 players being selected over three days.
Last year, the Redskins received superior marks for their 10 draft selections, which began with Jonathan Allen who dropped down the board to No. 17. A year later, the Redskins took another Alabama defensive lineman in the first round, Da’Ron Payne, with the 13th overall pick. From there, the Redskins made their first trade, moving back in the second round and acquiring a third-round pick they didn’t have entering the night, taking running back Derrius Guice and tackle Geron Christian.
The Redskins bulked up with more defense on the third day and added a wide receiver with the final pick of the draft. Here’s how several draft evaluators feel the team did.
*Grade: B *
“Payne wasn't overly productive in college, but his ability to stop the run was desperately needed for the league's worst run defense. If he continues to improve, he and former Tide teammate Jonathan Allen could be a great one-two punch. The Redskins took a chance on running back Derrius Guice, who was tough to tackle at the college level. They needed a true bellcow back in Washington, and now they have one who runs angry and will no doubt carry a large chip on his shoulder for dropping in the draft. Christian played both sides of the line in Bobby Petrino's offense at Louisville, and his athleticism made fans of scouts across the league. He'll have to up his game to handle the strength of pro defensive ends. Keep in mind that Washington included its third-round pick as part of the deal to acquire quarterback Alex Smith this off-season. Apke provides special-teams help and could become a starter in the back half in time. Settle bolsters that run defense with Payne. Stroman's a lean corner, but competitive. Quinn is not irrelevant in any way, even though he was the draft's final pick, and could be a factor in 2018.”
“Arguably no team had a better first two picks in the draft than Washington. It started with defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne with the 13th pick in the first round. He rejoins former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen in Washington and gives them a pair of excellent run stuffers. Payne is better than he’s getting credit for at creating pressure.
Derrius Guice was the storyline of the second round of the draft and a steal at No. 59. On pure talent, Guice is a first-round player. He runs with balance, vision and power. He’s also deceptively fast. If Guice is clean off the field, Washington has a star back.
Offensive tackle Geron Christian, taken 74th, is one of the draft’s more athletic pass blockers. He may not see the field for a while, but there’s a lot to work with in his game. Washington got another run stopper in the fifth round with Virginia Tech’s Tim Settle. He was by far by best player available when he was selected. He may not be an every down player, but he’s a good run stopper. If he can stay healthy, sixth-round pick Shaun Dion Hamilton could be a good player as a weak-side linebacker.”
ESPN (Need Insider Access)
*Grade: B *
“This is a good class, especially at the top. There was the biggest need filled with nose tackle Da’Ron Payne at No. 13. The Redskins had the worst rush defense in the league in 2017, surrendering 2,146 yards. And now Payne gets to partner up with a (hopefully) healthy Jonathan Allen, another Alabama defender who fell to Washington in Round 1 last year. Remember that Allen was looking like a Pro Bowl player before he got hurt. That D-line could be tough inside.
Then Washington upgraded its running game with Derrius Guice, my second-ranked back, who fell all the way to 59. Look, we don't know the exact reason why he dropped -- he has first-round talent -- but clearly teams were scared off by some questions. On the field, he's a really good player who can run over defenders with power and away from them with speed. When he replaced an injured Leonard Fournette in 2016, there was no drop-off, and he averaged 7.6 yards per carry. Also, fun note from my friends at ESPN Stats & Information: This is the eighth straight draft in which Washington has drafted a running back.
One of my favorite offensive tackles in this class is Geron Christian, who fell to Washington at 74 . He's raw, but he could be a starter at the next level. Safety Troy Apke (109) ran a blazing 4.34 40 at the combine, but he started only one season at Penn State. I graded him as a special-teamer and likely late Day 3 pick. Inside linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (197) has dealt with injuries, but he's a starting-caliber player if he can stay on the field. Defensive tackle Tim Settle (163) is a sleeper because the best version of him is a guy who goes much earlier. I had a fourth-round grade on Mr. Irrelevant, wide receiver Trey Quinn. That's a value pick at No. 256 for a slot receiver who caught 114 passes last season.
This isn't quite an "A," but it's close. I was surprised Washington waiting until the sixth round to grab a corner.”
*Grade: B *
“The Redskins' brass made a point to upgrade both the run defense and they power running game. Payne makes them stronger at the point of attack, while Guice is the workhorse they've needed with the right combination of hard running and explosiveness for Jay Gruden. The other picks are more for depth and development, but Washington essentially got two first round-caliber players built to be stars in its scheme.”
“The Redskins went after a run-stuffing monster in defensive tackle Daron Payne with their first pick. Running back Derrius Guice has game-breaking talent, but he dropped because of character questions. Fifth-round defensive tackle Tim Settle of Virginia Tech has shocking power in the middle of the defensive line.”