Quick Links

Was Brandon Scherff really a "safe" pick for the Redskins?

scherff-at-draft.png

Was Brandon Scherff really a "safe" pick for the Redskins?

After the draft, the conventional wisdom was that the Redskins made a very safe pick in tackle Brandon Scherff, perhaps the safest pick in the draft. That’s because, well, nobody is exactly sure. Maybe because we always say that offensive linemen taken at the top of the draft are bust proof.

But a look at the record reveals that linemen taken near the top of the draft are anything but safe picks. The guys at Football Perspective took a look at the performances of O-linemen who were taken early in the drafts from 2009-2014. The record is spotty at best.

—Last year three tackles were taken in the top 11 picks. Greg Robinson (2 overall, Rams) was the one of the worst starting tackles in the game while Jake Matthews (6-Falcons) was THE worst according to Pro Football Focus. Taylor Lewan (11-Titans) started the season on the bench and then was mediocre for six games before an ankle injury ended his season early.

—Do you want to go back a little further to see someone who has had a chance to establish himself? Matt Kalil (4-Vikings) had a good rookie season in 2012 but he has not played well since; he gave up a league-high 12 sacks last year.

—Let’s go back to 2009. Jason Smith (2-Rams) has been out of football since 2012. Eugene Monroe (8-Jaguars) was up and down for Jacksonville before they dealt him to the Ravens for a couple of late draft picks. Taken in between them was Andre Smith (6-Bengals), who was thought to be a risky pick due to weight issues but he has turned out to be a good pick for Cincinnati after a couple of tough years to start out.

—How about guards? In 2013 Chance Warmack (10-Titans) and Jonathan Cooper (7-Cardinals) were top-10 picks. Warmack has started 32 games but has been nondescript while Cooper has battled injuries and has taken just 182 snaps in two seasons.

All of this doesn’t mean that Scherff is destined to fail. There have been some successes near the top of the draft. The Redskins got a good one in 2010 in Trent Williams (4) and the Cowboys started to build one of the best lines in the game in 2011 when they took Tyron Smith (9).

Each draft is different and each player is different. Scherff could turn out to be an All-Pro or at least a solid player. But it's likely that the same was said about Robinson, Kalil, Jason Smith, and Cooper. I don’t even have to go look that up because it’s said about virtually every lineman that is taken early in the first round.

Like every edge rusher, every quarterback, every wide receiver, every player at every position taken in the draft, Scherff will have to work every day and prove himself. He has been given a good chance, with a team that desperately needs his services and one of the best offensive line coaches in the game in Bill Callahan. Scherff might become a success but, as a look at history reveals, he might not.

Quick Links

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

Quick Links

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back