SEABROOK – After losing franchise starting quarterback Alex Smith to a horrific leg injury last season (and slated to miss the 2019-2020 campaign), the Washington Redskins selected 2018 Heisman Trophy finalist Dwayne Haskins 15th overall during the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25 in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Yeah, it went really well. We are excited obviously to get Dwayne (Haskins),” said Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden. “A quarterback that has performed like he has in one year of playing football is quite astonishing really. He has all of the tools to be an exceptional quarterback in pro football. It’s just a matter of getting him in the building, get him taught up on the offense and just going slow with him.
“We’re excited to have him. Great kid, great player and very smart. I had a chance to talk to him at the combine. We flew him in here, had a long talk with him, went to dinner with him and spent a lot of time with him. We feel really good about where he is as a player and where he’s going.”
The 21-year-old quarterback will be suiting up for the Burgundy and Gold just 27 odd miles away from where he played high school football at Bullis in Potomac. As a member of the Bulldogs, Haskins threw for more than 3,000 yards and tallied 45 touchdowns before he became a household name as a Buckeye.
“I went to a couple of games with my friends back in high school back with Robert Griffin III (RGIII),” said Haskins about his roots in the area. “I haven’t been able to since I went to school. But football is taken very seriously down here, and I am looking forward to bringing that winning tradition back to the Redskins.”
Haskins decommitted from the University of Maryland before he decided to play for Ohio State where he excelled playing for head coach Urban Meyer.
He accounted for 4,843 yards and 50 touchdowns through the air for Ohio State, which led to being selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year (2018). Haskins capped off his career with a 28-23 victory in the 2019 Rose Bowl over the No. 9 Washington Huskies where the six-foot-three, 218-pound gunslinger threw for 251 yards and three scores while earning the Most Valuable Player award for his outstanding performance.
“I’m excited man, I just really can’t believe it, and I’m just grateful for the opportunity that I’m able to be here,” Haskins said. “I’m just going to work on getting my head in the playbook, doing all I can to get physically and mentally ready for the upcoming season and just motivate my guys that are coming in with me in this rookie class and do all I can to be prepared for this season.
“Everything will be a new challenge for me, and everything will be something that I will take head-on, and I’m just looking forward to getting to (Washington), D.C. and being able to be a part of this team, so I’m really excited.”
The Redskins wanted to compliment linebacker Ryan Kerrigan with another pass rusher and did so by acquiring Mississippi State University defensive end Montez Sweat (Round 1, Pick 26) with its second pick of the evening.
Sweat looks to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. He posted a 4.41 40-yard dash time at the 2019 NFL Combine and the six-foot-six, 260-pound lineman racked up a team-high 11.5 sacks in 2018 where he was an All-American.
“I’m not very familiar with the Redskins coaching staff, but I’m going to get real familiar with them – Ryan Kerrigan, that’s the pass rusher, the defensive end. It’s going to be a blessing playing on the other side of him, most definitely.”
With the 76th pick in the draft, Washington selected Ohio State wide receiver, Terry McLaurin who was one of Haskins’ favorite targets in Columbus, Ohio. McLaurin hauled in 75 receptions for 1,251 yards and had 19 touchdowns during his collegiate career.
“It’s a blessing, and I feel like God put me in this situation for a reason. He put me in the perfect situation for me. To be back with my college teammate, a player like Dwayne (Haskins), I think it’s an honor just to be a part of this organization just period. I am very (much) honored to be a part of the NFL now.”
McLaurin continued, describing what it is like playing with Haskins as his security blanket.
“Dwayne, what he brings to the table is that competitive edge. He makes my job a lot easier,” McLaurin said. “When I’m out of my breaks the ball is already there in great spots for me to make plays. I felt like we really complemented each other at Ohio State.”
Though his stats are not jaw-dropping, McLaurin is a vertical threat with a 4.35 40-yard dash time and led his team with an average of 20 yards per catch during his senior year for 701 yards while accounting for 11 trips to the endzone.
The Redskins picked up yet another Heisman Trophy finalist after selecting Stanford University running back Bryce Love with the 10th selection in the fourth round.
What’s not to love?
The bruising back accounted for nearly 4,000 yards on the ground during his tenure with the Cardinals but did suffer a gruesome ACL injury during the final game of his collegiate career and did not play in a bowl game in order to recover.
During the 2017-2018 season, Love averaged a staggering 8.1 yards per carry. When it was all said and done, he averaged more than six yards per carry and scored 32 rushing touchdowns during four years.
Washington wanted to make sure that when Haskins’ number was called, he would have enough offensive weapons to work with and the Redskins decided to provide him more protection up front with its next two picks.
The Redskins decided to go with Indiana University guard Wes Martin (Round 4, Pick 29) and then selected University of Alabama center Ross Pierschbacher in the fifth round with the 153rd overall selection.
Martin was a three-year starter for the Hoosiers and earned All-Big Ten honors during his senior season. Pierschbacher is a versatile lineman who shifted from left guard to the center position where he was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy awarded to the nation’s best center.
Washington landed another defensive player in the fifth round (173rd overall) when the Skins selected University of North Carolina linebacker Cole Holcomb. The six-foot-one, 231-pound prospect had an impressive senior campaign where he accounted for 105 tackles.
ROUNDING OUT THE REST
Washington added another offensive threat in North Carolina State University wide receiver Kelvin Harmon (Round 6, Pick 34), picked up James Madison University defensive back Jimmy Moreland (Round 7, Pick 13) and then finished the draft by snagging Oklahoma State University lineman Jordan Brailford (Round 7, Pick 39).
Harmon caught 177 balls for 2,665 yards and 16 scores during his three-year stint with the Wolfpack. Moreland had an illustrious career with the Dukes as the school’s all-time leader in interceptions (18). Last but not least, Brailford had a tremendous senior season accounting for 54 tackles and 10 sacks.
Washington attacked the draft targeting a quarterback without even trading up and succeeded. The staff also addressed other positional needs while still adding depth at the running back position as well as the offensive and defensive line.
Washington will be taking part in offseason drills shortly, and it will be interesting to see how many position battles will ensue with a new look outfit heading into the 2019-2020 season.