Washington takes Tuitt. #KRM
I’m going to take my second at bat here with the Skins. What I’m not going to do is project their pick because they’re a tough organization to figure. So this is more how I would approach it, let’s dig in.
Armed with advantages such as longevity (been in DC since the 30s), huge fan base (bet you can still find Skins fans in Atlanta and for sure in Charlotte), an affluent home market (if you own a home in Lorain or Stark county you can only wish you had bought the same home at the time in Fairfax or Montgomery), in a spiffy new stadium, and playing in the pre-eminent NFL division with terrific rivalries (Cowboys/Skins has somehow weathered peaks and troughs unlike Browns/Steelers) … the Redskins have had a spotty record recently.
And yet they have a sneakily strong core and I’m not speaking of Robert Griffin just yet. Check out how they’ve nailed their first rounders:
- Brian Orakpo (27, first round 2009)
- Trent Williams (25, first round 2010)
- Ryan Kerrigan (24, first round 2011)
Throw in Pierre Garçon (27), rookie Jordan Reed (22, third round 2013), and Alfred Morris (25, sixth round, 2012) and you’ve got a good young core (in spite of trading away Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey, Zac Stacy, and Clowney or Robinson or Matthews).
Life is good when you hit on your top picks. Throw in Griffin in 2012 and that’s four first rounders in row who are not just starting, they are dominant impactful players. I hated the Griffin trade but, hell, if the trade nets out to Richardson, Weeden, Mingo, and, say, Manziel for Griffin, then yeah I guess framed like that the price the Skins paid for Griffin makes sense.
Without making a value judgement here, let’s agree the acquisition cost for Robert Griffin was expensive. It’s the Skins’ biggest player investment and in fact no player cost their team more to acquire. Given the investment, you have to think this draft and off-season will focus on supporting him.
Free agent adds/losses/pending.
- DeSean Jackson WR (16M guaranteed, through 2017);
- Jason Hatcher DT (10.5M gtd, 2018);
- Shawn Lauvao OG (5M/2018);
- Andre Roberts WR (8M/2018);
- Tracy Porter CB (2M/2016);
- Clifton Geathers DE (750K/2015);
- Darryl Sharpton ILB (one year, 820K);
- Ryan Clark S (1M, one year);
- Brandon Meriweather S (145K, one year);
- Colt McCoy (one year, 65K gtd.).
- London Fletcher ILB
- Fred Davis TE
- Rex Grossman QB
- JD Walton C
PENDING (UFA in 2015)
- Ryan Kerrigan OLB
- Jarvis Jenkins DE
- Tyler Polumbus RT
- Daryl Sharpton ILB
- Ryan Clark S
- Brandon Meriweather S
- Santana Moss WR
Skins have roughly $2MM is cap space, third least in the league. This is a sign they’re in it to win it, now. Can’t let Kerrigan get away. Optimal pick would address one of the openings left by some other 2015 UFA departure.
Candidates and my strange not-so-erotic journey from Milan to Minsk before arriving at my pick.
Morgan Moses OT UVA
Here is where I thought I would draft. “Let’s beef up the line and protect The Investment.” But LT is set with Williams, RT is actually in good hands with Polumbus. Even though he’ll be a free agent in 2015, we’re in win-now mode and will worry about our 2015 UFAs in 2015. Moses has nice long arms and the local UVA flavor is bonus. But, to me, he looked like a crotchety old man at the combine and there should be good options at tackle at the top of the third (Mewhort – OSU, Richardson – Tenn, Turner -NDSt) and maybe even in the later rounds (Schofield – UM, Duvernay-Tardif – McGill). We’ll let Moses (and Bitonio or Kouandijo) go by here.
Jordan Matthews WR Vandy
Here is where I went after ruling out o-line. I actually didn’t rule out o-line as much as I thought of Matthews as an unpassable prospect and also as an extra weapon to get for The Investment. Among wideouts at the combine, Matthews is top 10 in height (6-3), arm length (33.25), 40 (4.46), second most bench reps (21), and has the largest hands (10.38). His most memorable clip shows him with the heart of a warrior going over the middle, taking the hit, and holding on to the ball.
Ok and then barfing. But dammit he stayed in the game. Got ten catches, 170 yds nice work although with a real buzz kill ending. But you think that’s a one-off effort and/or worry about plays in the clutch, here’s a less viral clip of Matthews single-handedly winning the Wake game through this remarkable fourth down convert which sets up a game winning FG.
He’s first round talent who has been overlooked.
Dammit, I’d forgotten that the Skins signed Andre Roberts along with DeSean Jackson. Even though I personally would rather have Matthews more than either Roberts or Jackson and I personally think Garçon + Matthews give Griffin an excellent set of outside targets… this is not a team looking to draft a guy to develop or sit. An impact starter for 2014 is needed which leads to the exploration…
Stephon Tuitt DE ND or Kony Ealy DE Mizzou
I didn’t think there was any way I was going to draft defense. 2014 is to be the year of the splashy Skins behind the triumphant return of RG3. Max resources to be diverted to offense. But. Shit. They’re running a 34 with Jarvis Jenkins and Jason Hatcher pencilled in at DE. Hatcher is actually coming off a pretty good year with the Cowboys and at 31 still has gas in the tank for this year. But you might could upgrade Jenkins with this pick.
I love Kony Ealy. He takes over games and is that sought after “defensive playmaker.” But I don’t see him as a DE in a 3-4. In a 4-3, yes. In a 3-4 he’s playing OLB and that’s the one area where the Skins’ defense is set.1
Tuitt on the other hand, comes straight from central casting if you put in a call asking for a prototype 5 tech. 6-5, 35″ arms yielding 31 bench reps. That’s an incredible length-strength ratio. He didn’t run at the combine but there is evidence that his speed is quite a bit above average.
Yeah the secondary was dicey last year with Bacarri Rambo struggling with his on the job training and rookie David Amerson still needs to develop. But the problem at safety is (kinda) addressed through getting a short-term patch with Ryan Clark. And Tracy Porter… well he’s kinda the Shawn Lauvao of UFA CBs but still, depth was acquired at CB. ILB got help with Sharpton and I’ve always thought Chris Baker to be serviceable and with Barry Cofield backing him up, NT is set.
So I go back to the 34 DEs and I look at Tuitt and with the 34th pick in the 2014 draft, the Washington Redskins select:
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame.
Up next are the Browns and MGBode.
Bode is giving us a magnum opus two parter here. Part one is a stroll down
memory nightmare lane where he projects the pick for each of the regimes going back to Dwight Clark. Then on Monday, the unveiling of the Browns’ pick at #35 which he has concealed from me.2