The Redskins finished the NFL draft on Saturday by making seven picks in the final four rounds. Mike Shanahan said that he was pleased with the draft, which yielded the team a total of six offensive players and four on the defensive side of the ball.
The pick that raised the most eyebrows on Saturday was that of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was taken in the fourth round with the Redskins’ first pick of the day. With Griffin already on board, the selection of another quarterback was seen as odd, especially for a team with many areas in need of shoring up.
Cousins was viewed by many as someone who could eventually compete for a starting job if he was drafted into the right situation. That clearly is not the case in Washington after the team drafted Griffin, who Shanahan has repeatedly referred to as the team’s franchise quarterback.
Shanahan said that he told Cousins, “I couldn’t pass you up.”
“Sure he knows he’s going to be a backup,” Shanahan said. “But he’s only one play away or two plays away from being the starter.”
Soon after the selection of Cousins, the Redskins released John Beck, who started three games at quarterback last year. Shanahan explained that the wanted to give Beck as much time as possible to find a new team.
With the selections of Griffin and Cousins, the Redskins became the first team since 1988 to draft two quarterbacks in the first four rounds of the draft. Quarterback has been a problem area for the team for years and it is not surprising that multiple players would be picked there.
While the quarterbacks got most of the attention, the Redskins also invested heavily in the offensive line in the draft. After taking SMU guard Josh LeRibeus in the third round on Friday night, they followed up with Iowa guard Adam Gettis in the fifth round and South Dakota tackle Tom Compton in the sixth. This is the second time since the draft went to seven rounds that the Redskins have taken three offensive linemen. Shanahan and the Redskins took three two years ago.
The rash of injuries in the offensive line last year made adding depth to the unit a priority, said Shanahan. It also appeared that flexibility was important at the position. Shanahan said that both Gettis and LeRibeus could play either guard or center and that Compton could play either tackle spot
The Redskins brought in several veteran defensive backs in free agency to try to shore up that area and now two rookies will be in the mix. Their two seventh-round picks were defensive backs as they selected Richard Crawford of SMU 213th overall and then tabbed Jordan Bernstine of Iowa with their last pick, 219th overall.
Shanahan said that Crawford will play cornerback and Bernstine will play safety.
Besides the quarterbacks, the only offensive skill player taken was running back Alfred Morris of Florida Atlantic.
“He can cut on a dime and he has the ability to make people miss,” said Shanahan.
The coach said that Morris will play tailback, although he has the size to be able to play fullback as well.
Linebacker Keenan Robinson played on the outside at Texas but he said that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett gold him that he will play inside backer for the Redskins.
“We liked his speed,” said Shanahan.