Redskins GM Scot McCloughan clearly intends to own the 2017 NFL draft, at least the latter stages of it.
For the second time today and for the third time since the draft started on Wednesday, the Redskins have made a deal that got them a 2017 draft pick.
The latest one was a deal with the New York Jets. With the Redskins on the clock with the 21st pick of the fifth round (No. 158 overall) the Jets gave them their 2017 fourth-round pick in exchange for that fifth rounder.
After getting 2017 picks on Thursday and today, the Redskins now have two picks in the fourth round next year and two in the sixth. They also now have a the Saints’ fifth-round pick after dealing their own pick in that round to the 49ers for tight end Derek Carrier.
And the Redskins now have three more picks in this year’s draft, one in the sixth and two in the seventh. If they use those picks they will have a total of seven, having already taken four players.
After trading down in the fourth round, the Redskins have chosen Temple defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis in the fifth round (No. 152 overall).
At 6-3, 299, Ioannidis is not huge but he is very powerful and able to stand up to double teams. He played both inside and outside with the Owls but it is likely that he will stick to the inside with the Redskins.
Ioannidis is known as a tough, muscular player who can succeed in a two-gap system. He is primarily a run stuffer but he showed some ability to rush the passer as well.
Don't blink watching the NFL or you will miss the evolution taking place in pro football. For decades stopping the run was the paramount defensive principle, but as offenses around the league transform into a pass-first scheme, changes must happen on both sides of the ball.
For many teams, that means new personnel. And that certainly is apparent with Redskins second round pick Su'a Cravens.
A 6 foot 1, 225 lbs. "football player" Cravens comes to Washington without a clear position. He's likely too small to regularly play linebacker, and with a 40 time of 4.69, lacks the high-end speed to be a true safety.
So, while Redskins coaches are excited about the addition of Cravens, the question lingers: Where will he play?
"They said they see me as a dime linebacker," Cravens told the media Friday night. "So, I’m going to come in and give it my all."
Undoubtedly, Cravens was a playmaker on the college level. Playing a hybrid linebacker/safety role at USC, Cravens took Pac-12 honors and logged 5.5 sacks and two interceptions last season.
"The fact that Washington called me – which I wasn’t expecting – and told me that’s what they wanted me to play, I feel like it’s a spot where I can fit right in the defense," Cravens said of the dime linebacker position.
It sounds like Cravens could be an impact player for the Redskins defense, however, one hurdle remains. Per Pro Football Focus' Rick Drummond, the Redskins only deployed their dime defense on 138 snaps out of 1,159 total defensive snaps, or about 12 percent of the time.
So did the Redskins just use a highly valued second-round pick on a player who will maybe play on 12 percent of defensive snaps?
"When you're talking about defensive football nowadays, you want to get people who can do multiple things and be versatile in what they do and figure out ways to get the ball back for your offense," Washington coach Jay Gruden said of Cravens. "He's one of the top guys at his position. He's got position flex. He's a ball hawk. He's a turnover machine and he's a great player."
Gruden alluded to the changing nature of the NFL, and what defenses must do to keep up. The coach's comments still don't address how much or how little Cravens will see the field.
"Once we get him in the building, we will figure out a way to get him on the field," Gruden said.
Drafted in part for his versatility, last year's second round pick Preston Smith emerged to be one of the Redskins best defenders. But unlike Cravens, Smith had the size to stay on the field in multiple packages and played on nearly 50 percent of the Redskins defensive snaps (577).
For Cravens to prove his draft position worthwhile, either he will need to make a tremendous amount of impact plays in the 12 percent of snaps he projects to be on the field, or his role will have to grow larger than just dime linebacker.
Known for his hard work and football acumen, Cravens seems the type of player fit to grow into a large role. For the Redskins, he better, because he's unlikley to grow large enough to be a full-time lnebacker, or fast enough to be a true safety.