Lacking a first-round pick thanks to last year’s blockbuster trade for Robert Griffin III, the Redskins didn’t have any picks in the top 50 this year. While that move was well worth it and brought Washington back to the playoffs, it left them with little opportunity to improve their team through the draft this season. Chris Tripodi breaks down the picks the team kept in 2013.
David Amerson/CB/N.C. State (Round 2/Pick #51): After an All-American sophomore season that saw him intercept 13 passes, Amerson was in the first-round discussion until a disappointing senior season dropped him to a third-round grade on most boards, including ours. His lack of deep speed was exposed last season by opposing offenses and while he still had 5 interceptions, Amerson takes unnecessary risks with the ball in the air which leads to big plays against him. A reach in our opinion in the middle of round two, there were better cornerbacks available and while Washington is in desperate need of secondary help, we’re not sure Amerson is the answer.
Jordan Reed/TE/Florida (Round 3/Pick #85): Reed has drawn comparisons to former Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez and while he’s similar in style as a pass-catching tight end who likes to line up in the slot, Reed lacks the elite vision and open-field ability Hernandez shows after the catch. Fred Davis is back on a one-year deal and if he can’t prove fully healthy after a season-ending Achilles injury, Reed may have the inside track to a starting job in 2014. His lack of size (6-2, 236) and blocking ability limits him to an H-back type of role but if the Redskins put him in motion before the snap and get creative with his route tree, Reed is a solid athlete who plays fast and can be a nice weapon for Robert Griffin III.
Phillip Thomas/S/Fresno State (Round 4/Pick #119): Despite being taken in the fourth round, we had a second-round grade on Thomas and feel he is the best player the Redskins drafted. A complete free safety prospect who won the Mountain West Player of the Year award last season, Thomas is a ballhawk with good hands and solid closing burst. He has great speed and the ability to easily get to the sideline, showing good timing and anticipation in pass defense and a willingness to come up the field to stop the run. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Thomas overtake Reed Doughty for the starting free safety job at some point this season, if not by Week 1.
Chris Thompson/RB/Florida State (Round 5/Pick #154): Mike Shanahan has great pedigree with late-round running backs starting with Terrell Davis in Denver and continuing with Alfred Morris last season, but we pegged Thompson with a free-agent grade thanks to an extensive injury history and lack of size at 5-7, 192 pounds. On the plus side, he has great versatility as a runner and receiver and is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. If he can stay healthy at the NFL level, Thompson has a chance to be a nice third-down complement to Morris, who caught just 11 passes last season. He’ll need to beat out Evan Royster, Roy Helu and seventh-rounder Jawan Jamison to see the field though.
Brandon Jenkins/LB/Florida State (Round 5/Pick #162): With an extra fifth-round pick this year from the Albert Haynesworth trade in 2011, the Redskins gambled on Jenkins after he missed all but one game last year due to a foot injury. Jenkins was rated as an early-round pick before the season after recording 21.5 sacks as a sophomore and junior and if he can regain his explosiveness, this could be a great pick for Washington. Jenkins will back up Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan at outside linebacker and could be a good situational pass rusher, as he displayed great speed off the edge before his injury.
Bacarri Rambo/S/Georgia (Round 6/Pick #191): Washington’s two best value picks of the 2013 draft may be safeties, which is a good thing considering Reed Doughty will be a free agent next offseason and Brandon Meriweather is coming off a season-ending ACL injury. Rambo has a good size (6-0, 211) and speed (4.58) profile as a hard-hitting strong safety prospect with good range and solid ball skills. Rambo has the ability to be a complete player but is inconsistent, lacks great instincts and needs to focus on wrapping up to finish tackles rather than laying the big hit. If he can improve his decision making and cut down on mental mistakes, he and Thomas are perfect complements and could find themselves as a big part of Washington’s secondary by 2014.
Jawan Jamison/RB/Rutgers (Round 7/Pick #228): Jamison has similar size limitations to Chris Thompson at just 5-7, 203 pounds but less durability concerns despite some injury struggles at the end of last season. Ray Rice comparisons were inevitable for Jamison as a short back out of Rutgers but they aren’t that off base. Like Rice, Jamison is a tough runner with great vision and instincts, more quickness than straight-line speed and the ability to be a dangerous receiver out of the backfield. Jamison isn’t a tackle breaker or an effective short-yardage runner, but those roles belong to Alfred Morris in Washington anyway. It will be interesting to see if both rookie running backs drafted by the Redskins can stick on the roster but if the choice comes down to only one, our money is on Jamison.
Grade: C. The Redskins made a few good value picks on Day 3 but in the end, their lack of a first-round pick and a questionable selection in the second round doomed their draft grade. They needed to focus on improving one of the league’s worst pass defenses and certainly did that with three of their seven picks, but drafting two running backs was interesting considering their solid depth behind Alfred Morris. Following up a draft like 2012’s that netted the team a franchise passer and rusher is next to impossible, but the Redskins could have done a better job with a few of their picks.