- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The 7-9 Washington Redskins’ 2018 accomplishments on the field are easy enough to evaluate: Not good enough.

Grading the team’s off-the-field moves, like last year’s draft picks, is tougher. Some rookies were injured, others were buried on the depth chart. It often takes a year or two for college athletes to adjust to the NFL, so early judgments can be tricky.

Still, there were a couple of rookies who moved to the head of the class (in a year when several other Redskins’ picks finished with grades of incomplete):

First round, pick No. 13: Daron Payne (Alabama)

Key stat: 77

What it means: Payne was an instant plug-and-play player along the interior of the defensive line. The 21-year-old played 77 percent of the defensive snaps and helped shore up what had been a glaring weakness for the Redskins at defensive tackle. While All-Pro safety Derwin James (17th) was still on the board, Payne was a fine pick. He even was a better pass rusher than some expected, recording five sacks.

Second round, pick No. 59: Derrius Guice (LSU)

Key stat: 6

What it means: Guice received just six carries in his first preseason game before he suffered a season-ending ACL tear. Guice’s return will be one of the most significant storylines next season, given the Redskins’ high hopes for him heading into 2018. Will the injury limit him moving forward? The Redskins are still bullish on Guice and Adrian Peterson invited the running back to train with him in Houston this offseason.

Third round, pick 74: Geron Christian (Louisville)

Key stat: 2

What it means: Christian was a curious pick at the time, given the Redskins had two starting tackles and a key backup in Ty Nsekhe. Christian appeared in just two games in 2018 and was shelved after he tore his MCL in Week 10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 22-year-old is still considered to be quite raw.

Fourth round, pick 109: Troy Apke (Penn State)

Key stat: 4.34

What it means: Apke was another pick whose season was cut short. Derailed by a nagging hamstring injury, Apke was finally placed on injured reserve in late October. Before then, he hardly saw the field. The Redskins took Apke because of his blazing speed — he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the scouting combine — but he’ll have to show more than that to make an impact in 2019.

Fifth round, pick 163: Tim Settle (Virginia Tech)

Key stat: 107

What it means: Settle was a late bloomer for the Redskins — playing 107 of his 134 total snaps during the second half of the season. But his development was an encouraging sign. “You know Settle has been one of our most exciting prospects,” coach Jay Gruden said in November, adding the defensive tackle developed the furthest out of the team’s youngest players.

Sixth round, pick 197: Shaun Dion Hamilton (Alabama)

Key stat: 27

What it means: Hamilton replaced Zach Brown in the starting lineup for the last four games of the year. He played well, finishing with 27 tackles, 1 ½ sacks and one forced fumble. Hamilton has durability concerns, but he’s worth keeping an eye on. He was a quality selection for that late in the draft.

Seventh round, pick 241: Greg Stroman (Virginia Tech)

Key stat: 3

What it means: It’s hard to ask a seventh-round rookie to replace a starting cornerback, but that’s exactly what happened to Stroman when Quinton Dunbar missed nine games with a nerve injury. The results weren’t pretty. Stroman started three games and the Redskins had Josh Norman follow No. 1 opposing receivers because Stroman and Fabian Moreau weren’t up to the task. Stroman played mostly on the outside last season, but the coaching staff moved him inside in Week 16.

Seventh round, pick 256: Trey Quinn (SMU)

Key stat: 8.3

What it means: Last year’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” Quinn was a pleasant surprise for the Redskins — when healthy. Quinn was a playmaker in the slot, averaging 8.3 yards per reception. But the 23-year-old missed 13 games with an ankle injury over two stints. Can he stay on the field in the long term? He could possibly replace Jamison Crowder in the slot next season if Crowder departs in free agency.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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