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Draft: Coaches Will Have to Earn Their Money

Draft: Coaches Will Have to Earn Their Money

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

According to the scouting reports, Rocky McIntosh needs to play under control and not overpursue. Anthony Montgomery needs to work on his hand technique in order to shed blocks better. There are also issues with Reed Doughty’s backpedaling, Kedric Golston’s lateral movement, Kili Lefotu’s footwork and Kevin Simon’s tackling technique.

In evaluating these players, the Redskins undoubtedly saw those flaws and many more. And Joe Gibbs turned to the most expensive coaching staff in the history of mankind and told them that they would be the ones who will make or break this draft. Dale Lindsey, Greg Blache, Jerry Gray, and Joe Bugel will have to coach ‘em up, correct the flaws and turn them in to NFL players.

Bubba Tyer’s training and medical staff also may be taxed. McIntosh, Golston, and Simon all carry histories of significant injuries into the NFL and their success will be determined in large part by how well Tyer and company can help them overcome their past ailments.

Don’t think for a moment, though, that this draft class is a nothing more than a group of the undisciplined and the infirm. What they got in exchange for some rough edges and mended joints is athletic ability. Doughty is an excellent natural athlete. Golston, when healthy, amazed many observers with the agility he displayed for a man his size. Scouts were amazed at how light the 311-pound Montgomery is on his feet. McIntosh has excellent speed for someone his size.

They also got smarts—not just football smarts but book smarts. In particular there’s McIntosh, who has already graduated with a 3.0 GPA in Criminology. He won’t be waving his transcript in Doughty’s face, however. Doughty also has his degree, graduating with a perfect 4.0 average in kinesiology. (Yeah, I don’t know what that is, either, but I’m thinking that it’s harder than ballroom dancing.)

Add in a solid dose of versatility, too. Lefotu can play all three O-line positions, a hat trick that McIntosh can match with his experience in all three LB spots. Simon could play inside or outside and several teams talked to Montgomery about drafting him as an offensive lineman. That wouldn’t be the former Golden Gopher’s first foray on offense; in high school, he was a 295-pound quarterback.

The move that is drawing the most fire from the self-declared draft gurus out there is the spending of the 2007 second-round pick to move up 18 spots to draft McIntosh (there was a 2006 sixth involved also). As was discussed here before the draft, the Redskins way of doing things is to be aggressive and go after the players that they want rather than letting things come to them. True, it is not a move that such successful franchises as the Steelers would make. To them, a second-round pick is way too precious to part with a year early and their results validate their methods. However, it is also not a move that franchises such as the Detroit Lions or Arizona Cardinals would have made and their records of futility are testimony to the fact that sitting on your hands and taking whoever falls into your lap isn’t a guaranteed ticket to success either.

It’s not what you do, it’s how well you do it. Time will tell, just as it will with the rest of the draft. If you came here looking for a draft grade, you came to the wrong place. Check back in a couple of years. Golston and Simon are the keys. If they can shed their injury-ridden pasts and play to their potentials, they could be something that the Redskins have not had many of in recent years—late-round steals. That would, at least by this team’s standards, make the draft a smashing success.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game that the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://RedskinsGames.com

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.