Thursday, July 17, 2014

The New Faces Of The Washington Redskins In 2014: Players Edition (Rookies)

The Redskins second round pick Trent Murphy seen here working with the new OLB's coach Brian Baker. He led the nation in sacks last season with 15. His huge hands and workmanlike style of play should work in his favor in the NFL.

  Welcome back Redskins Nation. I hope you enjoyed the first edition about the new coaches and now we get into the players edition. As Bruce Allen said at the end of last season " The team will have between 20 an 25 new players on the roster for the 2014 season in order for the Redskins to be better". With that being said, I'm gonna breakdown all these new editions down by rookies and free agents. This edition will be dedicated the rookies which were brought in to help bring youth and talent to a team that was lacking both. This will be the first time General Manager Bruce Allen has 100% control over teams draft picks and in my opinion he did a pretty decent job. Every GM has head scratcher draft moment and Bruce Allen had one for his first draft but I'll get into that later. Overall he drafted players of need and with a special teams background to help improve the weakest unit of the team. We all know that you truly can't judge a draft until three years after to see how the players develop and adapt to the advanced speed of the game. After saying that, I'm gonna give the new GM a B at first glance. Bruce Allen was able to turn six draft picks into eight and was still able to stick to his draft board and still got the players he wanted in the process. Well lets get to know these rookies:

Trent Murphy led the nation in sacks and
and the PAC 12 in tackles for loss in 2013

With their first pick in the second round the OLB from Stanford Trent Murphy was Washington's first selection. Some so called expert analyst say that he was a reach at pick 47 because his lack of explosiveness getting to the quarterback. I can understand their point but when you lead the nation in sacks you have to be doing something right. He has ideal size at  6 foot 6 inches and 261 pounds, hands the size of baseball mits and knows how to use them. Trent also loves to play special teams and wants to excel at every part of his game. Special teams included We all know in the NFL it's not how you start it's how you finish. With his high football I.Q and high motor I believe Trent will help get pressure on the QB. That will help this rebuilt secondary by making the QB get rid of the ball faster and sometimes that leads to mistakes and bad reads which most times results in turnovers.The coaches were trilled with Trent's progress during OTA's and mini camp saying "If he made a mistake one time he would get corrected and not make it again". Trent Murphy can be one of the missing pieces to this defense. Hopefully Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Hatcher can  wreck enough havoc to help solidify this defense that's trying to rebuild after a inconsistent 2013.

OT Morgan Moses was drafted in the third round to
bring competition to the RT position.

As part of the trade with the division rival Cowboys the Redskins received an extra third round pick. With pick number 66 they drafted 6 foot 6 inch 325 pound OT Morgan Moses from the University of Virginia. His height sometimes is a detriment because of him not bending his knees, lunging forward and  also sometimes taking plays off. He was able to make up for those flaws with his arm length and athleticism in college but in the NFL it will get him in trouble very quickly. It was noticeable during OTA's and mini camp but he did show improvement in the mini camp. During his impressive four year career in college, he started at left tackle and right tackle and missed only two games due to injury and in one of those games he still came in to play. In 2013 while playing LT he only yielded two sacks in 509 pass attempts. He was put up against three of the top four pass rushers during the season when he faced them and shut all of them out. You may have heard of them if you follow college football. Vic Beasley, Jeremiah Attaochu and Kyle Van Noy. He has the talent and skill but just has to perfect his craft and get consistent at staying low. With Tyler Polumbus under contract for one more year this allows Moses to not be thrown into the fire and have to learn on the job but to be able to develop and become more consistent. With  Moses slipping to the third round he feels he has a lot to prove to himself and the league. We will see how much it motivates him to be better and possibly take his place on the offensive line at some point this season.

After missing most of the 2013 season due to
injury OG Spencer Long is ready to push for a starting job.
 With the teams second 3rd round pick the Redskins drafted another young tall, long offensive lineman. OG Spencer Long out of Nebraska at pick number 78. Long is coming off back to back seasons being cut short due to injury. The most recent injury in mid October he tore his MCL and PCL but says he 100% and ready to compete for a starting job on the offensive line. In college Long was known as a play to they blow the whistle and a little after type of guy. He has a nasty streak and knows how to use his size. At 6 foot 4 inches and 314 pounds he has ideal size and has the mobility to get to the second level but sometimes doesn't use his hands well in space. He is not the most athletic guy but he makes up for it with his work ethic and mauler attitude. Before injury he was talked about potentially being a first round draft pick Long starting at OG at Nebraska as a sophomore and junior which goes to show his work ethic and determination being that he was a walk on as a freshman and earned a scholarship after it was all said and done. He was one of 16 student athletes to earn the prestigious National Football Foundation Student Athlete Awards which includes a 18,000 dollars scholarship which he plans to put towards medical school. He was also the senior captain for Nebraska and even tho he was injured he continued to impact his team and his leadership helped his lineman throughout the season.  He is poised to push Chris Chester for the starting right guard spot and will have to have an impressive training camp and even better preseason games for that to happen.

Bashaun Breeland is a long, rangy, feisty defender who doesn't
mind getting physical in coverage and in run support.
In the fourth round the Redskins addressed their inconsistent secondary by drafting Bashaun Breeland out of Clemson. He is a heck of an athlete and very strong in run support his issues come with his hands. He grabs and uses his hands too much for the NFL and has to improve that by improving his technique, positioning ,and jamming at the line. His size and speed is what dropped him to the fourth round. He's only 5 foot 11 inches and weighing in at a light 197 pounds he will have to bulk up to deal with the big physical receivers and  powerful running backs in the NFL. His 4.65 seconds in the 40 means he doesn't have the make up speed  necessary if a receiver gets behind him. So he has to make sure to jam at the line, perfect his technique and keep hands off the receivers after five yards.  He was a standout on special teams and is a prime contender to become gunner which is one of the tougher positions on that unit. He will be in a tough battle with the incumbent young DBs like Chase Minnifield, Richard Crawford, and E.J. Biggers to crack the secondary but as we all know competition breeds greatness.

Ryan Grant isn't explosive or have ideal size but he is a precise
route runner and plays with a chip on his shoulder but might be
a practice squad player.

 In  the fifth round the Redskins made an unexpected draft choice of Ryan Grant a wide receiver out of Tulane. With the additions of DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and the NFL League Leader in receptions Pierre Garcon this pick was a little of a head scratcher to me. Grant isn't a speedster or an elusive guy but what he lacks in explosiveness he makes up for with precise route running and playing with a determination to prove himself each and every play. One of his knocks is his lack of size, strength and physicality.To me that's what makes him a target for the practice squad. It will give him a chance to learn, develop and gain strength which he will need to do being a slot wide receiver. Grant has the ability to play inside or outside which is becoming a theme with this core of WRs and that ability will give the opposing defenses fits trying to match up.While at Tulane he had back to back 75+ receptions and 1000 yard receiving seasons. His career was shorten by a hernia surgery that ended his 2011 season early but came back with a vengeance with those back to back seasons and earned First Team All-CUSA honors. He has superb hands and catches almost anything thrown his way but he does has to improve his blocking especially in the run game since the Redskins ask their WRs to do a lot of down field blocking.

After another draft day swap of picks with Tennessee the Redskins moved back and gained a additional seventh round pick. With the pick in the sixth round the offense got another dose of game breaking speed and elusiveness when they selected Lache Seastrunk from Baylor. He is a very fast running back with break away speed, stop on a dime cutback move and has the ability to take it to the house from anywhere on the field at any given time. Unfortunately Lache has some developing to do because of the type of offense that Baylor runs. The running back position was not asked to pass protect or catch out of the backfield which is a must to be a third down back in the NFL. He can be the change of pace back that the team was looking for when they drafted Chris Thompson last year but because of durability issues Thompson never got a chance to show what he could do. That's one of the main reasons Seastrunk is here. Another reason is because Coach Gruden pretty much said during OTA's that he likes what Roy Helu Jr brings to the table but it would be good to have a back that has the game breaking speed to change the game and field position at any given time. One other issue with this speedy running back is sometimes he goes east and west too much trying to avoid would be tacklers instead of taking whats there and sometimes it cost him yards. He ended up at Baylor after transferring from Oregon and had to redshirt a year but in the two seasons after that setback he had a impressive 7.6 yards per carry for a career at Baylor. Another impressive stat from his college is that five of the 19 career touchdowns he has went for at least 68 yards. If this young talented running back wants to get on the field with the offense he will have to prove he can catch the ball out of the backfield, pick up blitzes and pass protect when needed. Lache has a inside track on a roster spot by trying out as a punt returner and kick returner on special teams. Just a side note but Lache Seatrunk is part Native American and he doesn't have a issue with the name of the team that drafted him when asked. It's a lot of competition for those return spots and he will definitely have to impress the coaches and show that he can step his game up to the NFL level in the pass protection and receiving game.

Ted Bolser is a big target at 6-6  252 pounds
but has a lotto learn in the blocking game.
  With the teams next to last pick in the seventh round Washington selected Ted Bolser out of Indiana University. This big target in my opinion is headed to the practice squad mainly because he has plenty of room for improvement in all aspects of his game. The most glaring is his in line blocking. He has to get stronger to be able to seal the edge on certain runs and in college he did not do this well or consistently. During OTA's and mini camp he had some drops and mental lapses which did not help his case of making the opening day roster.How can you consider yourself a pass catching tight end and not catch the ball? His hands were good in college being that Boster had an outstanding career at Indiana. He is the All Time Leader in receptions for a tight end in school history with 117. He was elected team captain his senior season and also finished his career as the 20th Hoosier to record 100 catch and 1,000 yards over a career. Last season he was tied for fifth best tight end in the nation with six touchdowns and also made five tackles on special teams and loves playing on special teams. With Jordan Reed's concussion concerns going forward I understand drafting another pass catching TE and with a year on the practice squad maybe Bolser can fine tune his game and blocking to get him on the roster in 2015.

Zach Hocker is a kickoff specialist with a huge
leg but the question is can his FG accuracy win
him the job as a rookie.

With the eighth and final draft pick K Zach Hocker out of Indiana University was the final selection in 2014 for the Redskins. Hocker has an impressive touchback percentage of around 60+ % with a average of 66.6 yards per kick. That alone would have Kai Forbath packing his bags but it's not only about kickoffs it's about field goal accuracy most importantly. Now we all know Kai doesn't have the strongest kickoff leg but he has been consistent and accurate at field goals since he signed with the team. The problem is starting opposing field position. With Kai's inability to consistently kick touchbacks the Redskins have been in the bottom third in opposing field position both of Kai's seasons here and that effects the offense and defense. There has been talk of keeping two kickers on the roster but I can't see that happening. If Zach can consistently get touchbacks and can hit a few 50 yarders in preseason games I believe he will unseat Forbath and make the starting roster. With the terrible special teams play last season it's a strong possibility. That's why there has been such an emphasis on special teams this season and hopefully we will see a much improved unit in 2014.

 Redskins Nation stayed tuned for the free agent edition coming soon.  Just one week until training camp be sure to keep checking for more Redskins news, information and articles. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news, info and on other local pro sports. Be sure to give my good friend and editor a follow @IIWIISkinsBlog for extensive breakdowns also. Thanks again for all your support,love.and feedback. As always #HTTR


Jeremy B said...

Great piece,, I didnt know too much about these rookie's but I do now

@TattooedScorpio said...

Thx. Greatly appreciated. Glad to inform u. Working on the new free agents next. Will take a lil longer but should be out by the start of training camp. #HTTR

kj said...

I think Bashaun Breeland and Trent Murphy will be impact players this year for the skins especially Bashaun I was not impressed with the secondary at all last year. I think the receiving corps will help to improve practice play for the dbs too.

@TattooedScorpio said...

I understand your frustration with the secondary but w/o pressure no DB can be successful not to mention we've upgraded with Clark at FS and getting rid of Wilson I believe the secondary is gonna shock sone folks IF there is pressure on the QB. Thx for reading and sharing

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