Dwayne Haskins became the Washington Redskins’ quarterback of the future on the first day of the NFL draft. And on Day 3, the organization focused on the offense around him.
Washington added a running back who was once a Heisman Trophy finalist and another playmaking wide receiver. The defense got an infusion with a record-setting cornerback and another edge rusher.
The Redskins used five of their first six picks on the offensive side of the ball, including the first three Saturday. The biggest name Saturday was Stanford running back Bryce Love, who ran for 2,118 yards in 2017 and was the Heisman runner-up behind Baker Mayfield.
Love is coming off a down year and a torn ACL, but he adds to a running-back room that includes future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson, 2018 second-round pick Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson, one of the best all-purpose backs in the league. He and Guice could form a formidable 1-2 punch in 2020 and beyond.
Washington, which had one of the least productive receiving corps in the NFL last season, added Ohio State speedster Terry McLaurin in the third round and N.C. State big body Kelvin Harmon in the sixth. The Redskins need at least one of them to contribute as a rookie. Redskins Coach Jay Gruden called both McLaurin and Harmon versatile players who can run a number of routes.
Fourth-round guard Wes Martin and fifth-round center Ross Pierschbacher join an open competition for the starting left guard position. The team signed Ereck Flowers in free agency and will give him the chance to flip from tackle, but the starting position is up for grabs.
First-round edge rusher Montez Sweat is expected to be in the rotation immediately and battle Ryan Anderson to start opposite Ryan Kerrigan. Oklahoma State’s Jordan Brailford also was added to the position.
The only direct need that wasn’t addressed was safety. That probably will get an infusion from the undrafted free agent pool.
Day 1 analysis
Round 1, 15th overall pick: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Redskins found themselves in need of a quarterback of the future following the devastating leg injury to Alex Smith last season, and in Haskins, they hope they have found one. Haskins was widely considered the top pure passer in the class and threw for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns last season and finished third in Heisman Trophy voting.
Haskins has a strong arm and good accuracy, and he did a good job of avoiding turnovers in his one season with the Buckeyes, which could make him a match for a Redskins offense that wants to control possession and take time off the clock. His lack of experience was thought to be an issue, given he had just one season as a college starter.
Gruden said Haskins was the No. 1 quarterback on Washington’s board, and added that Haskins will have the opportunity to win the starting job, along with veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy.
The Redskins finished with the 29th-ranked scoring offense in 2018, along with the 28th-ranked passing attack. Haskins has a chance to help turn that around, if he takes over the starting job this season, although there are still question marks about the team’s offensive supporting cast.
Round 1, 26th overall pick: Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State
Sweat had one of the best pre-draft periods of any prospect, standing out at the Senior Bowl and then the NFL combine. At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, Sweat ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.41 seconds) of any edge rusher, while also faring well in the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.
He made use of that athleticism last season, ranking second in the SEC with 11 and a half sacks.
“When you watch him as a player throughout his college career,” Gruden said, “then you watch him at the Senior Bowl and the combine, the measurables are second to none as far as an edge rusher/outside linebacker-type player.”
The starting edge rusher position opposite Ryan Kerrigan opened this offseason, when Preston Smith signed a $52 million free agent deal with the Green Bay Packers. The Redskins prepared for the situation by using a second-round pick on Ryan Anderson in 2017, but Sweat’s arrival will create a deeper rotation of edge rushers in which all three players can see considerable playing time.
Opposing offensive lines should have their hands full against the Redskins’ defensive front, which now features four first-round picks in Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Sweat. The team has a young front locked in for the future, with Matt Ioannidis (25 years old), Allen (24), Sweat (22), Payne (21), Tim Settle (21).
Day 2 analysis
Round 3, 76th overall pick: Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
McLaurin is a playmaking wide receiver who caught passes from Haskins last year for the Buckeyes. McLaurin, 6 feet, 208 pounds, ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, had 35 catches for 701 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018.
Washington had one of the least productive wide receiver groups in the NFL a year ago, and slot receiver Jamison Crowder signed with the Jets in free agency. McLaurin will have an opportunity to carve out significant playing time, alongside Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson.
McLaurin said the organization was impressed by his versatility and willingness to play outside or in the slot. He described himself as a deep-ball receiver, and said he emulated former Redskins star DeSean Jackson growing up. Gruden said the team plans to teach him all three receiver spots in Washington’s offense.
McLaurin said he received a text from Haskins Thursday after the Redskins drafted him.
“He told me he was going to push them to draft me,” McLaurin said. “So much can happen on draft day, I didn’t necessarily put too much merit into it. But I thought it was a possibility. I’m just honored to be part of this great organization.”
Day 3 analysis
Round 4, 112th overall pick: Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
The Redskins drafted running back Bryce Love with their first of two fourth-round picks. The 2017 Pac-12 offensive player of the year out of Stanford ran for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior, but came back for his senior year and tore his ACL in the final regular season game on Dec. 1. He joins a crowded running back room that already featured Adrian Peterson, 2018 second-round pick Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine.
Round 4, 131st overall pick: Wes Martin, OG, Indiana
The offense has a hole at left guard, and Wes Martin (6-foot-3, 311 pounds), a three-year starter and two-time captain for the Hoosiers, will compete with Ereck Flowers, who was signed in free agency in hopes he can transition from tackle to guard, to start immediately.
Round 5, 153rd overall pick: Ross Pierschbacher, C/LG, Alabama
The Redskins added depth to the interior offensive line in drafting center Ross Pierschbacher with their first of two fifth-rounders. The NFL draft wouldn’t be complete without Washington going to the Alabama well, where the 6-foot-4, 307-pounder was a four-year starter who began his career at left guard and finished at center. He is expected to compete with free-agent signee Ereck Flowers and fourth-round pick Wes Martin for the starting left guard position.
Round 5, 173rd overall pick: Cole Holcomb, ILB, North Carolina
The Redskins turned to the defensive side of the ball with the final pick of the fifth round, selecting North Carolina linebacker Cole Holcomb. The 6-foot-1, 231-pounder began his career as a walk-on before leading the Tar Heels with 115 tackles as a sophomore in 2016. In four years, Holcomb had 327 tackles, 15½ for loss and 2½ sacks. He’s considered a speedy linebacker who can run sideline-to-sideline and could add depth on the inside. Holcomb led North Carolina in tackles in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Round 6, 206th overall pick: Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
The Redskins continued to address a lack of offensive playmakers in the sixth round when they selected their second receiver of the draft: Kelvin Harmon. The 6-foot-2, 221-pound North Carolina State wideout caught 81 passes for an ACC-high 1,186 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2018. He’s known for using his size effectively but lacks high-end speed: He ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
Round 7, 227th overall pick: Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison
The Redskins finally added to their secondary late on Day 3, when they selected cornerback Jimmy Moreland with the 13th pick of the seventh round. The 5-foot-10, 179-pounder out of James Madison joins a defense that had a young corps at cornerback last season and struggled against the pass when Quinton Dunbar was out with a leg injury. Moreland was an Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision all-American in 2018 after posting 56 tackles, including 7½ for loss, and picking off five passes. He set school records with 18 career interceptions, including six returned for touchdowns.
Round 7, 253rd overall pick: Jordan Brailford, DE/OLB, Oklahoma State
The 6-foot-3, 252-pounder was first-team all-Big 12 after putting up 55 tackles, including 17 for loss. The selection gives the team another edge rusher, along with second-round pick Montez Sweat, as it looks to replace Preston Smith.