The Washington Redskins have undergone quite a turnover during the 2020 offseason. For starters, longtime decision-maker and president Bruce Allen was shown the door, and then Washington essentially demoted Doug Williams from player evaluation to player development.
Head coach Ron Rivera is among the new faces in charge, as is new Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith, who has been in the Redskins organization since 2011. Rivera also brought in former Jaguars and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator and brought Scott Turner with him from the Panthers to coordinate the offense.
Going 3-13 with a rookie quarterback had its silver lining for the Redskins. They were in a position to draft Ohio State EDGE Chase Young with the second pick thanks to a late-season loss to the New York Giants and the Bengals being locked into LSU QB Joe Burrow.
The Redskins clearly focused on surrounding Dwayne Haskins with as much talent and protection as they could, including a converted wide receiver from the running back position. So how did they do overall? Let’s take a look at how the Redskins 2020 draft class grades out
Who did the Washington Redskins draft?
- Round 1, No. 2 overall: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
- Round 3, No. 66 overall: Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis
- Round 4, No. 108 overall: Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU
- Round 4, No. 142 overall: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
- Round 5, No. 156 overall: Keith Ismael, C, San Diego State
- Round 5, No. 162 overall: Khaleke Hudson, LB, Michigan
- Round 7, No. 216 overall: Kamren Curl, S, Arkansas
- Round 7, No. 229 overall: James Smith-Williams, DE, North Carolina State
Best Player: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
Without a doubt, the Buckeye defender is the head of the Redskins haul. Getting arguably the best player in the entire draft class second overall had the Redskins off to a great start. The Redskins have a fierce pass-rush now with Young alongside last year’s top pick, Montez Sweat, as well as a strong defensive line that includes Matt Ioannidis, Jonathan Allen, and Da’Ron Payne. Washington’s pass rush has a real chance to wreak havoc for the other NFC East quarterbacks.
Best Value: Chase Young
I think it’s fair to call Chase Young the best value as well because he was arguably the best player in the entire draft class, and, thanks to Cincinnati needing Burrow, Young was able to fall to Washington with the second pick.
Biggest Reach: Anthony Gibson
This is honestly a hard call because the Redskins really didn’t reach on any of their picks. Maybe Gibson would count at the beginning of round three, but with the top guys off the board, it’s hard to really call this a complete reach. Gibson gives you that versatility as a running back and wide receiver. So take this “reach” with a grain of salt. The only other player you could maybe argue would be Charles, but the Redskins knew they needed offensive line help, especially after trading Trent Williams minutes before the pick. The real answer here might be nobody at all.
Biggest Sleeper: Khaleke Hudson
Hudson is another hybrid-type player, and in the fifth round, the Redskins get a player they can move around on defense. He’s listed as a linebacker but can also drop back and line up at the safety position as well. He’ll compete for one of the outside linebacker spots with guys like 2019 fifth-round pick Cole Holcomb, Nate Orchard, and Kevin Pierre-Louis.
Draft Grade: B
Probably the biggest takeaway from this draft is that Washington is putting their faith in last year’s first-round pick, Dwayne Haskins. There was some speculation the team could stun everyone and take Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa with the second pick, but they, smartly, locked themselves into Chase Young. After that, their next four picks were all on offense. They added two offensive weapons in RB/WR Anthony Gibson and a favorite sleeper wide receiver for many, Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden.
They also addressed the offensive line, which became a bigger need after they traded Trent Williams to the San Francisco 49ers for a fifth this year and a third next year. Almost simultaneously, they added an offensive tackle in Saahdiq Charles, who is talented but has discipline issues, making him an intriguing project. With the fifth-round pick acquired from the 49ers, they added ever-important depth at the center position in Keith Ismael of San Diego State.
Khaleke Hudson is an intriguing hybrid player in the fifth round, and they focused on defense at the end of the draft with Curl and a very smart and athletic James Smith-Williams, who while very talented on the football field will also be working with IBM whenever his football career is over. Not a bad career path at all.
Washington hit on most of their needs in the draft, though they did not address tight end during the draft. They signed LSU TE Thaddeus Moss after the draft, which gives them a player to work with at the position. Ultimately, coming away from the draft with Young means Washington enters 2020 with one of the fiercest-looking defensive fronts in the league, and that potential dominance upfront will make Washington a tough matchup for anyone.
With value and needs met pretty well in their first post-Bruce Allen draft, this was a fine job by Rivera and Smith.