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Looking Back On The Redskins' Last Six First-Round Picks


The Redskins hold the No. 2 overall pick for the first time in eight years, and almost every draft analyst is in agreement as to who they will pick.

For many, the first two picks of the 2020 NFL Draft are essentially locked in, as the Cincinnati Bengals are predicted to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow while Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is projected to be taken by the Redskins at No. 2. There are some mock drafts that have Washington trading back, but most believe that Young is a generational talent that the Redskins should take in April.

Whether the Redskins select Young or someone else, the player who gets the call from head coach Ron Rivera on draft night will join a list of recent successful first-round picks by the team.

The Redskins have formed a habit of picking talented players in the first round. In the past five years, the team has found consistent starters like Jonathan Allen; players with promising futures like Dwayne Haskins; and even Pro Bowlers like Brandon Scherff.

Washington has had six first-round draft picks since 2015. Below is an in-depth look at each player and their impact on the team.

1. OL Brandon Scherff (No. 5 in 2015)

Ironically, Scherff was drafted by the Redskins in 2015 as a tackle. He won a fair share of accolades during his time playing in the Big Ten at Iowa, including the Outland Trophy for most outstanding interior lineman, and he was even voted as the team's Most Valuable Player.

With a 5.05-second 40-yard dash time, a short shuttle of 4.57 and a three-cone drill of 7.18, Scherff's draft profile said he had "measurables and traits to play tackle ... but might be better suited to play guard." He benched press 255 pounds 22 times at the NFL Combine, which proved that he was “a weight-room star who could lift a house." Meanwhile, former NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock compared him to Dallas Cowboys All-Pro tackle Zack Martin.

The Redskins moved him to guard in his rookie year, where he played 100% of the offensive snaps in all but one game (he played in 98% against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5). Scherff has proven to be a consistent starter for his entire career by starting 65 games over the past five seasons.

"This pick makes me want to coach again," then-ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said when Scherff was selected. "He is a physical, nasty tone-setter. He can wear you out as a run-blocker."

Scherff has been selected to three Pro Bowls, including back-to-back appearances in 2016 and 2017. He was most recently voted into his third Pro Bowl in 2019, but a season-ending injury prevented him from participating.

2. WR Josh Doctson (No. 22 in 2016)

The Redskins were fresh off their first NFC East division title since 2012. They had improved upon their 4-12 season in 2015 and went 9-7 before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round.

The team was looking for a complimentary option to receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, so they took Doctson 22nd overall with the hopes the splash he made at TCU would translate to the next level.

"He's runs well," ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said before the 2018 NFL Draft. "He's got a lot of length. He's got tremendous ball skills, competitive and had a great year and has great character."

After sitting out all preseason with an Achilles injury, Doctson made his debut in the season opener on Monday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He continued to have issues with his Achilles, though, and was placed on Injured Reserve in October of that season.

Doctson struggled to produce in his four seasons with Washington, grabbing only 81 catches for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns. He was cut prior to the 2019 season after rookie Terry McLaurin emerged as a reliable option.

3. DE Jonathan Allen (No. 17 in 2017)

If there is such a thing as a safe bet, taking a defensive player from the University of Alabama is the closest thing to it. As the 2016 Bronco Nagurski Award recipient -- given to the nation's top defender -- who played on college football's top defense that year, Allen certainly fit that category.

"I think that's a steal," Mayock said when he was drafted. "Along the lines of Solomon Thomas, but a little less twitchy inside. …This kid is an absolute fit in Washington."

Over his first three seasons, Allen has proven to be a constant hindrance for opposing quarterbacks. After playing in just five games in 2017, he made 31 starts the past two seasons and accounted for 14 sacks and 129 tackles.

"He has positional versatility, meaning in sub packages he's going to kick inside and be a nightmare," Mayock said. "I think he's a game-changer."

4. DT Daron Payne (No. 13 in 2018)

For the second time, the Redskins addressed their defensive line by selecting another Crimson Tide player in Payne. And once again, they found a reliable starter in the first round.

As a nose tackle in the Redskins' 3-4 defense, Payne started every game as a rookie and totaled 56 tackles, five sacks, three passes batted down and a fumble recovery.

Payne entered the NFL at 6-foot-3 and 311 pounds. He was fast (4.95-second 40-yard dash), quick (4.71 shuttle) and strong (27 bench press reps at 225 pounds) for his size and was listed on his profile as a Pro Bowl talent.

Payne had nearly identical stats in his second season, starting in nine of 15 appearances with 56 tackles, two sacks and four quarterback hits. He will likely be a key contributor again in his third year as defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio transitions the Redskins to a 4-3 defense.

5. QB Dwayne Haskins (No. 15 in 2019)

The Redskins were just five months removed from Alex Smith suffering a gruesome broken leg that ended his season, and there were questions about when -- or if -- the quarterback would play again.

So, the Redskins took a chance on Haskins, who spent his high school years in Maryland, to eventually be the quarterback of the future.

Haskins' first season in the NFL has been well-documented; he appeared in two games before starting in Week 9 and held the position until Week 16 when a sprained ankle sidelined him for the season finale. He completed 58.6% of his passes for 1,365 yards and seven touchdowns and went 2-5 as a starter.

With only one season as the Buckeyes' starter under his belt, it was a common belief that Haskins would need time to develop. He got better with each game, though, throwing for 394 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in his final six quarters.

With Rivera now in charge of his progression, time will show what Haskins will become in the future.

"It's a process," Rivera said in his introductory press conference. "I'm not saying it's going to happen overnight. It's a working process. We can't get ahead of it. We've got to stay to the plan and make sure we're preparing ourselves to win football games."

6. DE Montez Sweat (No. 26 in 2019)

The Redskins made not one, but two first-round picks in 2019. After selecting Haskins with the No. 15 pick, the team traded back into the first round to select Sweat 26th overall.

Sweat was originally pinned as a quality starter but needed time to transition to playing in an NFL defense. He was thrown right into the mix, though, starting in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles and playing in every game during his rookie year.

Sweat was quiet but effective in his first season with 50 tackles and 13 quarterback hits. He continued to progress throughout the year and finished with seven sacks after grabbing only one in his first six games.

"His transition as an NFL rusher will take some time, but ... he should come out on the other side as a good, impact player as an every-down edge defender," his profile read.