The selection of Louisville tackle Geron Christian may have been the most puzzling pick of the Redskins’ strong draft, but the organization could do worse than taking a three-year starter that has earned some type of All-ACC honor each season. The Cardinals had the top offense in the conference the past two seasons as Christian blocked for former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.
First-round pick Da’Ron Payne was a clear need at defensive tackle. As was second-round running back Derrius Guice. Christian seemed more like a luxury pick, looking toward the future and adding depth as the Redskins are already three deep at tackle. Starters Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are under contract several years out, though Ty Nsekhe and T.J. Clemmings are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in 2019.
The tackle position, however, was ravaged by injuries in 2017 and depth at the position may be more necessity than luxury.
“I can’t say what the guy is going to be, but all we saw is what he has and that’s athletic ability,” said Doug Williams, senior vice president of player personnel. “He was able to swing from the right side to the left side. He’s got great feet. If there’s a knock on the kid — and I think with some of these gurus, they said that he’s not strong enough — that’s to be [debated].
“Fortunately enough, we’ve got two pretty good tackles. If we can keep those guys healthy, he’ll get a chance to develop into a pretty good tackle and learn from one of the best coaches and the players that are going to be in front of him.”
Guard is the more immediate need with former starter Shawn Lauvao is still a free agent. Backup Arie Kouandjio is expected to get bumped up if the roster remains as is and the position wasn’t addressed in the draft or free agency. There was a run on interior linemen late in the first round and second round and Williams said the guards they had on the board were gone. The team didn’t want to reach.
Coach Jay Gruden said the plan is to keep Christian at tackle. The 6-foot-5, 298 pounder helped Louisville finish third in the nation in total offense in 2017 and No. 11 in scoring offense.
There was a thought that Nsekhe could move inside, but Gruden didn’t confirm that option.
“We’ve got to get him healthy first,” Gruden said. “Get all these guys on the field, get them out here at OTAs and we will put them out there and let them compete and then make the necessary adjustments once we start training camp.
“So, you can never have too many big bodies. I believe that, and it’s about protecting the passer, running the football and stopping the run.”
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