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Grading Mike Shanahan's draft classes with the Redskins

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

The draft record is good. Mike Shanahan's first three Redskins drafts produced impact starters with their first picks, players who not only can reshape the future of the franchise like Robert Griffin III, but also ones who could be long-time quality players like Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan.

The record also is spotty. While the Redskins have re-stocked their depth, they haven't added many more starters to a team that had been rebuilding.

Thus far, their last three drafts have produced only five starters, only two picked after the first round (they lack a first round pick next week).

Then again, that's not far out of the norm. In that same period, here's a sampling of how other teams fared in finding starters: Philadelphia (nine), Seattle (nine), Green Bay (eight), Minnesota (six), Cincinnati (six), Dallas (five), San Francisco (five) Baltimore (four), Pittsburgh (three).

With the draft beginning Thursday, here's a look at the first three classes under Shanahan:

2010

The class » LT Trent Williams (1st round), LB Perry Riley (4th), TE Dennis Morris (6th), WR Terrence Austin (7th), OL Erik Cook (7th), OL Selvish Capers (7th).

Still on roster » Williams and Riley.

Impact players » Williams made the Pro Bowl despite playing nearly half a season with a badly bruised thigh. But he improved to the point where he did not have to rely on athleticism to survive as he could use technique, too.

The rest » Since becoming a starter midway through his second season, Riley has proven to be good against the run and in man coverage. He's a work in progress in zone coverage and will make the occasional mistake in the run game. But he's solid and improving.

Rating: B+ » They whiffed on the others, but did find two guys capable of being long-term starters, with a potential perennial Pro Bowler at a premium position in Williams.

2011

The class » LB Ryan Kerrigan (1st round), DL Jarvis Jenkins (2nd), WR Leonard Hankerson (3rd), RB Roy Helu (4th), S DeJon Gomes (5th), TE Niles Paul (5th), RB Evan Royster (6th), WR Aldrick Robinson (6th), CB Brandyn Thompson (7th), OL Maurice Hurt (7th), LB Markus White (7th), NT Chris Neild (7th).

Still on roster » All but Thompson and White.

Impact players » Kerrigan, so far, is the only one who has made a high-level impact, earning alternate Pro Bowl status after last season. Kerrigan has recorded 16 sacks combined in two seasons -- good but not great. If nothing else, he'll be a solid long-term starter.

The rest » As of now, only two other players could end up being starters -- Jenkins and Hankerson. Jenkins started 15 games this past season for injured Adam Carriker, who, when healthy, will start. Hankerson improved last year, but can he wrestle the starting job away from Joshua Morgan? Hankerson needs to be more consistent, but he has a chance. Several could be key backups: Helu (if healthy) and Royster in the backfield as well as Gomes (good on special teams) and Paul (key special teamer who must improve on offense).

Rating: B » Eight players from this class have played in at least 16 games through two years. This class has helped the depth; this is a key year for several players.

2012

The class » QB Robert Griffin III (1st round), OG/C Josh LeRibeus (3rd), QB Kirk Cousins (4th), LB Keenan Robinson (4th), OG Adam Gettis (5th), RB Alfred Morris (6th), OT Tom Compton (6th), CB Richard Crawford (7th), S Jordan Bernstine (7th).

Still on roster » All of them.

Impact players » Griffin has a chance to become one of the top five at his position, while Morris is an excellent fit in the Redskins' stretch zone scheme. It's a mistake to think his yards came only because of the zone read option.

The rest » By next year, another player or two from this class could become a starter. Players and coaches like what they've seen of Robinson in limited duty. LeRibeus or Gettis could muscle their way into the lineup in a year or two but need to show more. Compton is intriguing because of his footwork; with more strength he could develop into a quality backup.

Rating: A » If nothing else, the Redskins found their quarterback of the future. That alone makes it a good draft. The fact that Morris did so well strengthens it and there is hope that one or two others will become starters.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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