- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 30, 2017

After three days of drafting, the Washington Redskins have 10 new players to work with. The Redskins radiated dysfunction when then-General Manager Scot McCloughan was fired in March but, when it came time to actually pick the players, were drama-free.

“Very smooth,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “No issues whatsoever. You know, we had our share of back-and-forth conversation. You know, you’ve got a lot of guys [with] same grades, and some guys, positions want this guy, we want that guy, but it was a smooth process led by Bruce [Allen] and [Director of College Scouting] Scott Campbell.”

Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (round 1), linebacker Ryan Anderson (round 2), cornerback Fabian Moreau (round 3), running back Samaje Perine and safety Montae Nicholson (round 4), tight end Jeremy Sprinkle (round 5), center Chase Roullier and wide receiver Robert Davis (round 6) and linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons and cornerback Joshua Holsey (round 7) are all Redskins, so here are five takeaways from their selections and what they mean.

Size was a big (literally) priority

Allen weighs 286 pounds and Anderson weighs 253, putting both of them at or near the 90th percentile at their respective positions according to the website MockDraftable, which tracks these sorts of things.

Perine completed 30 bench press reps at the Combine, putting him in the 98th percentile among running backs.

Sprinkle is 6-5, Harvey-Clemons is 6-4 and Davis is 6-3.

“We definitely sided towards the attitude and the size,” Gruden said.

Speed, too. Moreau ran a 4.35 40-yard dash, Davis ran 4.44 and Nicholson ran 4.42.

To get players with those desirable physical traits, the Redskins were willing to take on some injury risks. Allen has arthritic shoulders. Moreau is currently recovering from a torn pectoral muscle, Nicholson is currently recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Depth of defensive talent served Redskins well

The Redskins had a top-5 offense and a bottom-5 defense last season, so it was their good fortune that this year’s draft was considered particularly deep and talented on the defensive side of the ball.

The Redskins took advantage of that. Washington selected six players on defense and four on offense but, with their top three picks and four of their top-five used on defensive players, the vast majority of their draft capital was spent on that side of the ball.

One area of the defense The Redskins had the worst defense in the league on third downs, where they allowed opponents to convert 46.63 percent of the time in 2016.

Their top two picks? Defensive end Jonathan Allen and outside linebacker Ryan Anderson combined for 37 sacks over their last two seasons at Alabama. That should help.

The Redskins like the quarterbacks they have

Obviously, the Redskins didn’t trade Kirk Cousins despite some erroneous draft day reports suggesting Cleveland was trying to get them to. Washington was never going to bite on that, regardless, and Jay Gruden said they didn’t get a single call.

Beyond that, however, the fact that the Redskins didn’t use any of their 10 selections on a quarterback probably means the most to third-stringer Nate Sudfeld. Teams don’t typically carry four quarterbacks so, had the Redskins taken one, Sudfeld would suddenly have had competition for a roster spot. Pittsburgh QB Nathan Peterman, one of the most polished prospects, was still on the board in the fifth round when the Redskins chose Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle.

“I think just because we draft a guy at your position doesn’t mean we’re saying you’re bad at your position. I think it’s just that those are the best players available. But we obviously feel good about Kirk [Cousins], Colt [McCoy] and Nate [Sudfeld] moving forward,” Gruden said.

The Redskins could still bring in an undrafted rookie to compete with Sudfeld but, at the very least, they weren’t looking to spend draft capital in order to do so.

And for what it’s worth, Gruden said he’s out of the loop as far as Cousins’ situation.

“Not my cup of tea, nor do I want it to be,” Gruden said.

Does he say anything to Cousins regarding his future?

“Please sign,” Gruden said.

Nose tackle competition is on

It was at least mildly surprising that the Redskins didn’t draft a nose tackle, considering that defensive coordinator Greg Manusky had said that the team probably would. Instead, the Redskins stayed consistent in taking the best player on their board, regardless of position, and will see what they can get from players who were already on their roster.

Gruden said that Joey Mbu, A.J. Francis, Matt Ioannidis and Phil Taylor, a former first-rounder who has struggled with injuries but signed an offseason contract in January, will get to compete for the position.

“[Taylor] looks healthy and [he is] rolling so we feel good about those four guys competing for the nose guard spot,” Gruden said.

Jones could be odd running back out

The selection of Perine seems like a bad sign for running back Matt Jones, who was benched in Week 8 and inactive for the remainder of last season because of fumbling issues.

The Redskins were already shopping Jones before Day 2 of the draft, according to an NFL Media report and, though Gruden said Jones will have an opportunity to make the team it seems like the team is preparing for life without him.

“[Jones is] here just like everybody. I’ve mentioned it before, you sign a guy, it doesn’t mean the end of the world for a somebody who was his backup or what have you last year. Everybody has to come in here and compete,” Gruden said.

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