Preston Smith was the name Washington called with the 38th overall pick. The Defensive End from Mississippi State was one of this year’s NFL Combine super-risers. He showed great athletecism, and that’s likely what was so attractive to the Redskins.
Smith isn’t the prototypical edge rusher. He will beat guys with power, not speed. He’s also versatile enough to drop off into coverage and fill multiple roles along the evolving Defensive front. He will play linebacker in the base 3-4, but will also see time as a stand up defensive end:
“He’s lined up all over the defensive front. He’s been a nose guard, he’s been a five technique, he’s stood up, he can drop in coverage,” said head Coach Jay Gruden. “We feel like he’s a young kid growing and there’s still a lot we can build upon with his body frame the way it is. Very long arms, explosive player and there are a lot of spots that he can play.”
General Manager Scot McCloughan said that he wanted to walk away from the draft with ten picks rather than the seven picks that Washington already had. By the time the Redskins third pick of the draft rolled around yesterday, they had done just that. Washington swapped the 69th overall pick (3rd Round, 5th pick) to the Seattle Seahawks for the 95th (3rd), 112th (4th), 167th (5th), and 181st picks (6th). Four picks for one… and suddenly McCloughan had the cache of picks that he was looking for. Brilliant.
Washington surprised a few people in the third and grabbed rugged running back Matt Jones. The bruising 6’2″ 230 pound running back from Florida was a later round pick on some draft boards, but obviously the Redskins liked what they saw when they brought him in for a visit last month:
“We had him in for a visit a couple of weeks ago and we liked his attitude. We liked what he knew about football, his passion for the game and his running style,” said Coach Gruden.
Redskins brass were quick to point out that it in no way affected incumbent Alfred Morris, stating that Jones was drafted to compliment Morris – and then hinting that if he works out, Morris may become more expendable in this, his final year of his rookie contract. He isn’t the change of pace runner that perhaps some envisioned the Redskins needing to add to the stable, but he is definitely a very different, new component:
“He’s a little bit different than what we’ve had around here. He’s a downhill, smashmouth type runner. A physical kid.”
Shades of Marshawn Lynch? Redskins Nation can only hope that is the case, and you can bet that McCloughan’s time in Seattle cultivated that hope. How couldn’t it? Lynch is arguably the most dangerous runner in the NFL.
“We’re just going to try to add tough, physical players. That’s the whole motto here. … The tougher the better,” philosophized Coach Gruden.
Sounds good to me.
And now we have seven picks to watch today, instead of four. #winning
The McCloughan Plan is in full effect.
Hail to the Redskins.