Washington Redskins 2011 NFL Draft Grades


The Washington Redskins had a very inconsistent year in 2010, one that included an embarrassing change at the quarterback position when Donovan McNabb was demoted with two minutes left in a close game in favor of…Rex Grossman?

Mike Shanahan has made some odd calls in his coaching career, but that one was really a head scratcher to me. I don’t always know what is going through Shanahan’s head, but I like the way he was thinking on draft day 2011. Instead of moving up and losing picks like the Redskins/Shanahan typically do on draft day, he traded down about 700 times, picking up extra picks along the way, and having what I believe was a very, very solid draft.

1. First Round, 16th overall: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

Kerrigan is one of my favorite players in the entire class of 2011. He is a guy who brings a blue-collar mentality, and will pair with Brian Orakpo to give the Redskins a potent pass rushing duo. Kerrigan was dominant at Purdue, and people say he lacks athleticism, but I don’t know how much athleticism you really need when you have 14 forced fumbles against some of the top offensive lines in the country, and 34 sacks throughout your career. The Big 10 is not a cake-walk, especially for defensive lineman, so those numbers are very impressive. Kerrigan should be a starter from day one for the Redskins, who could have easily taken him at 10 overall and nobody would have hated the pick. This is great value, and getting extra picks makes it even better.

Pick Grade: A+

2. Second round, 41st overall: Jarvis Jenkins, DL, Clemson

There was a lot of talk early on day two of the draft that Jenkins was a guy a lot of teams had their eyes on, and the Redskins were able to snatch him up with the 41st pick. At Clemson, Jenkins was the anchor for the defensive line. He is big, long, athletic, and very strong at the point of attack. He will anchor one of the two defensive end spots for Washington, which desperately needed some size and upgrade on the defensive front. These first two picks were very smart picks, safe picks, but also great value. I really like the start of the draft for Washington.

Pick Grade: B+

3. Third Round, 79th overall: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

All I have to say about this pick is, “Bravo.” Hankerson had a late first, early second round grade in my opinion. I watched him dominate games for the Hurricanes this past year, and I saw how good he can be. He plays so much bigger than his listed size, because the whole game I thought he was a tight end. This is a big play receiver with speed and size, and a guy who will fit Shanahan’s offense perfectly. In the middle part of the third round, this is a fantastic selection, a guy I like and one who could make an impact as a rookie.

Pick Grade: A

4. Fourth Round, 105th overall: Roy Helu, RB, Nebraska

At this point, I’m giving Shanahan a standing ovation. The Redskins have a bunch of injury prone running backs, so what does Shanny do? He goes out, gets one of the best zone runners in the draft, and I think this kid could be a star in the NFL. Helu is so underrated it’s not even funny. This was a guy averaging over 6 yards per carry at Nebraska, when teams knew the only thing they were trying to do was RUN the ball! Helu is 6’0″ 220 pounds, but isn’t a power back. This is a guy who will make people miss, and when he hits the open field, you better watch out. Quite possibly the best pick of the draft so far, and a guy you will eventually want on your fantasy roster.

Pick Grade: A+

5. Fifth Round, 146th overall: Dejon Gomes, S, Nebraska

Okay, this isn’t an all-star pick here, but it’s a solid pick. Gomes is an athletic safety prospect who can contribute on special teams right away, and possibly as a nickel back or reserve safety. It’s not a flashy pick by any means, but the run on Huskers is definitely on in the Redskins’ war room.

Pick Grade: C

6. Fifth Round, 155th overall: Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska

Somebody had a good scouting contingent in Lincoln…Mike Shanahan and the Redskins pick up their third straight Husker here with the selection of Paul, and it’s a solid one. Paul was a guy we talked to before the draft, and he is a player who is carrying a chip on his shoulder. He’s a big receiver at 6’2″ 225 pounds, and a former running back. He can contribute to this  team as a kick or punt returner, and probably will crack the rotation at wide receiver as a rookie. I thought Paul had a chance to go third round, so I really like this pick.

Pick Grade: A

7. Sixth Round, 177th overall: Evan Royster, RB, Penn State

I wasn’t sure Royster would get drafted, but this is probably the best place for him to go. Any time Mike Shanahan sets his sights on a running back, it’s simply common sense to take notice. Royster’s production has seemed to decline over the last few years, but he was still the most productive back in Penn State history, a group that includes a few top five picks. He will be a rotational guy, and is not a bad pick at all.

Pick Grade: B-

8. Sixth Round, 178thoverall: Aldrick Robinson, WR, SMU

This is another pick that I just love. I love when teams see a weakness on their roster and on draft day just attack it. At this point, the ‘Skins have already brought in Hankerson and Niles Paul, and now they get another speedy guy in Aldrick Robinson. I’ll say it again–the name of this guy’s game is speed, and he has a lot of it. The Redskins can use him in the slot, or send him down the field on a go route and let him make plays. The Redskins are attacking the WR position, and at this point, have found three pretty good ones.

Pick Grade: B

9. Seventh Round, 213th overall: Brandyn Thompson, CB, Boise State

Thompson is another guy NFL Mocks had a chance to talk to before the draft, so we know a little bit more about him than most probably do. He’s the kind of guy that can come in and help out a rotation in so many different ways, whether it’s in a nickel or dime situation, and also on special teams. Not a flashy pick, but definitely a good value in the seventh round, and a guy who can possibly contribute early on.

Pick Grade: C+

10. Seventh Round, 217th overall: Maurice Hurt, OL, Florida

I typically don’t question Mike Shanahan’s taste in offensive linemen, but this was a different pick. I had never heard of Hurt before the Redskins picked him, so it was an odd pick to me. Still, he was higher on the Redskins’ board than my board, and they wanted him.

Pick Grade: C-

11. Seventh Round, 224th overall: Markus White, DE, Florida State

If you ask staff writer Mackenzie Pantoja, Markus White is probably the steal of the entire draft. He is a good leader who will work his way into the rotation at outside linebacker for the Redskins, and could be a nice late round find as a pass rusher.

Pick Grade: B

12. Seventh Round, 253rd overall: Chris Neild, DL, West Virginia

Built like a boulder and tough as nails. Neild is not an impressive athlete by any means, but he is very strong and could be a candidate to crack the rotation at nose tackle. Solid developmental pick here, and a guy who is tough, strong, and physical. That’s all you can ask for in a gap clogging defensive lineman.

Pick Grade: B

Overall Grade: A

I really like what the Redskins did with the defensive front seven and the wide receiver position, not to mention adding Roy Helu to the running back crop. I think this was a great draft on paper, and I can’t wait to see it in action.