Maybe this shouldn't have come as a surprise, you know, considering all of the NFL talent general manager Scot McCloughan has found in his career, but the Redskins' crop of rookies in 2015 played a huge, immediate role in the team's success this season.
There's already been a heaing of praise from Mel Kiper Jr., who regraded the Redskins' draft to an A recently. Now, NFL Media Analayst Buck Brooks has offerred his critique -- an A-minus.
While many advocated for the Redskins to take a defensive player – specifically Leonard Williams – with the fifth overall pick, McCloughan chose Brandon Scherff, the Outland Trophy Award winner who would go on to make the vital switch to right guard, only missing one snap the entire season.
Of course, there were solid picks after that, too. Preston Smith, Matt Jones, Jamison Crowder, Kyshoen Jarrett. All stepped up in their first year and played key roles, especially for a year that lost so many starters to injuries before and during the season.
And folks, Martrell Spaight didn't even get a chance to play this year due to a concussion.
"Brandon Scherff was a rock-solid blocker on the interior. He solidified the middle and provided the unit with some much-needed toughness at the point of attack. Preston Smith made solid contributions with his workmanlike presence off the edge. He notched eight sacks as a situational rusher and flashed big-time potential as a future starter. Matt Jones showed glimpses of being a future starter at running back. Washington's ground game could revolve around him in Year 2 if Alfred Morris leaves as a free agent. Jamison Crowder is a star in the making as a dynamic slot receiver/kick returner. He is a terrific route runner with outstanding ball skills and playmaking ability. Look for Crowder to play a big role as a WR2/WR3 going forward."
Brooks' grade is the best of the NFC East this year. He also believes the Redskins should find a "young, athletic corner to upgrade the secondary and the perimeter."
After a draft like last year's, it's only fair to expect more promising players donning burgundy and gold in 2016.