When he laid out the franchise’s plans for the 2014 NFL Draft, Washington Redskins General Manger Bruce Allen said he hoped to gain additional picks and make acquisitions with an eye on depth and roster needs in 2015 and 2016.
The Redskins did just that in Friday night’s second and third rounds of the draft. After adding a pick by trading down, they also acquired a pass rusher in Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy and two offensive linemen in Virginia tackle Morgan Moses and Nebraska guard Spencer Long.
After sitting idle with no first-round pick Thursday, Washington sprang into action Friday night.
First, the Redskins moved from 34th overall (second pick of the second round). They sent that pick to the Cowboys and received the 47th (second round) and 78th picks (third round) in return.
With the 47th pick, Washington took Murphy, a 6-foot-5, 250-pounder from Mesa, Ariz.
Murphy is described as a lean, powerful pass rusher with good hands and a strong motor. During his four-year career at Stanford, Murphy tallied 321 / 2 sacks — 25 coming in the past two seasons, including a nation-leading 15 in 2013.
“I’m not entirely sure what position and their plans schematically and how they’re going to use me,” Murphy said during a teleconference. “But just as a rookie, coming in, [my goal is] just to find a role [with the] team — and a contributing role at that — and finding my way onto the field.”
Initially, Murphy will provide depth behind Pro Bowl bookends Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, who start on the right and left edges, respectively. However, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett eventually could use all three on the field together in nickel packages, Coach Jay Gruden said.
“We saw in Trent Murphy another guy that can rush the passer,” Gruden said. “He’s a proven pass-rusher, led the country in sacks. He works his tail off. He’s first on the field every day, last one to leave. He studies the game. He’s big; he’s long. He might not have the explosion off the line of scrimmage right now, which might’ve knocked him down to the second round. But I look for production. I look for toughness and accountability. He’s got all those traits, and if he has all those traits, I know he’s going to work hard in the weight room to get stronger and provide another pass-rusher and some depth at the position. We felt like he was a very good fit for our team.”
Washington then made a pair of moves to bolster the offensive line.
The Redskins used the 66th overall pick of the draft on Moses, which marks the earliest they have taken a lineman since they selected Trent Williams fourth overall in 2010. They then took Long 78th overall.
In the 6-6, 314-pound Moses, the Redskins get a strong, athletic tackle with great length. Moses entered the draft projected as a late first- to early second-round pick. But Moses — whose inconsistency drew criticisms — wound up sliding down to the second pick of the third round and into Washington’s lap.
The Redskins have worked to upgrade their offensive line this offseason, signing free agent Shawn Lauvao to start at left guard, moving guard Kory Lichtensteiger to center and adding backup guard/center Mike McGlynn.
Washington had hoped to add a tackle to compete with incumbent Tyler Polumbus, whose contract expires next offseason, and it accomplished that goal by selecting Moses.
Moses said he knows he still has growing and developing to do. But he remains confident in his skill set and aims to compete for the starting right tackle job.
“I feel like I have all the abilities to play at the next level,” Moses said. “So I’m just going to come in there and come in there to work hard and let everything else fall into place.”
Long, like Moses, boasts good size, athleticism and strength. At 6-5 and 320 pounds, he ranks among the bigger linemen on Washington’s roster. Gruden had said publicly he wanted to beef up the line, but at the same time, he wanted to make sure the linemen the Redskins acquired also had good quickness and mobility.
“They’re big, but it’s not necessarily big that we’re looking for. Size is important. They have some big defensive linemen nowadays, and we want to protect our quarterback the best way we can. But also we want to be athletic and get out and run the football. We’ve been a very successful zone-running team here with athletic offensive linemen. But there’s going to come a time we’re going to have to throw the ball, and we’ll need some size in there, and these guys will compete.”
Long is coming off an injury-shortened season but says he has fully recovered from surgery to repair a torn medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The Redskins’ medical evaluators gave him a passing grade, and Washington felt confident in his abilities.