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5 Takeaways: Jay Gruden's 2016 Draft Pressers


Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's media session with reporters during the weekend of the 2016 NFL Draft.

1. Gruden expects Josh Doctson to contribute early for the Redskins, especially as a red zone target.

The Redskins injected some size and youth into an already exceptional wide receivers group on Thursday when they selected TCU wide receiver with the No. 22-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Doctson, who was All-American during his senior season, is 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, which will likely mean he'll have a unique role at first, especially in the red zone.

While Pierre Garçon and Jordan Reed are proven targets inside the 20-yard line already, Doctson's presence will force defenses to decide who among the three to hone in on first.

"It's not just height, it's a 41-inch vertical, too" Gruden said of Doctson. "He makes quarterbacks right. They had a very good quarterback at TCU, obviously, and Kirk [Cousins] is very accurate also obviously. He'll get plenty of opportunities down there in the red zone."

Despite his selection in the first round, however, Doctson will have to "earn his stripes."

Garçon has been the Redskins' top overall wide receiver over the last four seasons while Reed came into his own last season, lifting himself into the discussion of who the top tight end in the NFL is right now.

The team has three-time Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder as well among others.

The competition won't be a problem for the new guy.

"[We're] bringing in a receiver with the great skillset that he has and a guy that is willing to get better, learn and work," Gruden said. "That's really appealing. I anticipate him challenging for a lot of balls in this offense. I think Jordan Reed will be happy, put another safety over top of him. DeSean will be happy and Pierre too. You only have one ball, but the ability to spread it around like I like to spread it around, will help Kirk out, the offensive line, the running game, all of it."

2. Both Su'a Cravens and Kendall Fuller will provide the Redskins versatile options in the backend of the defense.

During the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Redskins used picks on Cravens and Fuller.

Cravens is somewhat of a tweener, as the 6-foot-1, 226 pounder is listed as a linebacker but could be an option at safety as well.

"Yeah, there's not a lot of things that he can't do," Gruden said. "He's a playmaker. When you're talking about defensive football nowadays, you want to get people who can do multiple things and be versatile in what they do and figure out ways to get the ball back for your offense. He's one of the top guys at his position. He's got position flex."

Gruden added that Cravens is "a ball hawk" and a "turnover machine." He had nine interceptions in three seasons at USC.

"He can play in the box at linebacker, there's a thought he might be able to play some safety," Gruden said. "Once we get him in the building, we will figure out a way to get him on the field."

Fuller, meanwhile, on a talent-basis alone was considered one of the top cornerbacks in the draft, but a torn ACL suffered last fall caused a dip in his stock before landing with the Redskins in the third round.

While his return to full health will be determined later (Gruden said he could return as early as OTAs), the head coach expects to use Fuller in a similar role to how the team used his college teammate last year, Kyshoen Jarrett.

"He can play nickel obviously," Gruden said. "There's a big hope for him. He can play outside. He's got great, natural football instincts at the nickel or corner position. Obviously he's got great bloodlines. I think it's a great pick."

3. The Redskins got the third quarterback they desired in a big-bodied Nate Sudfeld.

For the first time since the Redskins drafted Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Washington used a draft pick on a quarterback Saturday afternoon, selecting Sudfeld in the sixth round.

Sudfeld obviously didn't receive the same amount of attention the three first round quarterbacks got throughout the draft process, the Indiana quarterback has the size and experience the Redskins are constantly seeking.

He checks in at 6-foot-6 and was the Hoosiers' starting quarterback for three seasons.

"I'm excited about him, man," Gruden said. "He's a tall quarterback, obviously, played at Indiana. Took them to their first bowl game I believe in 20 years. Don't quote me on that but I believe that's a fact. He's very accurate with the football. He's made all the throws. I really like the fact that he has great anticipation in the pocket. He anticipates throws, gets it out his hands."  

While Sudfeld will be learning under the wings of Cousins and incumbent No. 2 quarterback Colt McCoy, it gives him the time to settle into the NFL, which isn't always an easy thing to do at the position.

"He's very functional in the pocket for a big man as far as buying time in the pocket," Gruden said. "I think he has a great upside and we're excited to have him."

4. The Redskins picked up two quality defensive players on the third day of the draft in defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis and linebacker Steven Daniels.

The Redskins addressed their defensive line depth in the fifth round with the selection of Ioannidis, a four-year contributor for the Temple Owls.

While Ioannidis checked in at 299 pounds at the NFL Combine, Gruden expects him to add 15 to 20 pounds so that he can become a solid nose tackle option for the Redskins.

"Matt's a quality person," Gruden said. "He's a captain on their football team and really helped establish that attitude at the University of Temple. They were very competitive this year – on defense especially – and he's a catalyst behind it. He's played the one, three, and the five [technique]."

Gruden also thinks that Ioannidis can be a threat to opposing quarterbacks even from the center of the defensive line.

"I've seen him rush the passer very well," Gruden said. "He was very good at the combine, very athletic. Times the snap extremely well. He's a nuisance. He gets in the backfield and makes a lot of plays, and he hustles. What he doesn't have maybe physically trait-wise with speed and all that stuff, he makes up for with his tenacity."

Daniels, meanwhile, came off the board with the 232nd-overall pick, which came as a shock to Gruden.

Yes, Daniels isn't the biggest guy at 5-foot-11, but he's as tough as they come.

"He knows where to go, he's great with his eyes, and when he thumps you, he thumps you," Gruden said. "I think he's going to be a good special teams player, and he's going to compete. We're excited to get Steven. I think he's an excellent linebacker, and he can do some good things."

5. The Redskins added some lightening quick speed into the offense with its final selection of the draft, Georgia running back Keith Marshall.

While Marshall's college career was hampered by a torn ACL suffered in 2013, the running back is a true home run hitter when healthy.

Not only did he average 5.5 yards per carry during his time at Georgia, his 4.31-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine tied him for the 10th quickest run since 2006.

"There's no substitute for speed and he's fast," Gruden said. "We're excited about that. We're going to take a good long look at him. It's an element in the backfield that we don't have. …Very explosive. Unfortunately has had some injuries in his career, but still, he overcame the injury and ran a very fast time at the combine."

Marshall could be the perfect complement to the powerful Matt Jones and Chris Thompson, who established himself as the team's third-down back last season.

"I think it's a great chance to take with a guy in the seventh round, a guy that can run like that and was highly touted out of high school going to Georgia," Gruden said. "I think he was ranked ahead of [Todd] Gurley going to Georgia, so he's got the makeup to be a great back and hopefully he stays healthy and learns this thing and can be a force for us."




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