Redskins draft notes: Shanahan opts for value picks

|
Redskins Confidential,Sports,John Keim

…Three of the Redskins last four picks involved players that could have gone higher if not for an injury, off-field issue. Even seventh-rounder, running back Jawan Jamison, was projected to go a round or two higher.

In the injury and off-field cases, though, they represent value picks – if the players recover or, in the case of sixth-round safety Bacarri Rambo stays clean. If these players did not have issues they likely would have gone higher.
“Sometimes it’s not only one round, but two or three or four,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “At the end of the day I had a great feeling about our draft. You don’t have a great feeling all the time. You just miss a guy here or there. We were lucky enough to get the majority of guys we wanted. That doesn’t happen very often. A lot of times your position needs don’t coincide with the way guys come off the board so I was pleased.”

…Rambo was twice suspended for drugs at Georgia.

“We do a lot of background checks,” Shanahan said. “We talk to these people quite a bit and not only him, but coaches and head coaches. If he doesn’t feel very comfortable with somebody we don’t sign him and we felt very comfortable with him.”

As for his skills, Shanahan said, “You could tell he was a tremendous athlete, a former quarterback. Just a guy that has a lot of intangibles. He made plays all over the field. His game will just get better and better.”

…Shanahan had selected an offensive lineman in every draft but one in his tenure with Denver and Washington. The Redskins did not select one this weekend, but that’s a sign of the depth they finally have. Washington picked three offensive linemen last year and signed two veteran tackles in the offseason. Shanahan said he also likes the depth along the defensive line.

…One area the Redskins feel they’ve improved this offseason in the secondary? Their versatility. Between signing free agent E.J. Biggers and drafting three defensive backs this weekend—corner David Amerson, safety Phillip Thomas and Rambo, the Redskins feel they have players who offer more flexibility.

“We have speed outside, more flexibility inside with nickel and dime packages,” Shanahan said.

…It’s uncertain if Jordan Bernstine, who suffered torn ligaments in his knee in the season opener, will be ready for training camp.

“He’s bucked the odds already,” Shanahan said. “He’s ahead of where the doctors thought he would be. That’s a big plus for him. It gives you an idea of how hard he’s working. Will he be ready for the first day of [camp] I can’t tell you for sure, but he’s made drastic improvements.”

…Shanahan on LB Brandon Jenkins, who suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury in the 2012 opener: “We had him ranked high anyway. When he was there we couldn’t pass him up. I thought last season [2011] he played well. Whether he would have gone in the first round or second round I don’t know, but he was impressive.”

…Shanahan on fourth-round pick Phillip Thomas: “He does a great job adjusting to the ball. A lot of interceptions. That was one key. The next key is he wasn’t afraid to hit people, so he supports the run. Had a good feel. Played a lot of coverages that we play. When we met with him he was very quick mentally we think he’ll adjust very quickly to our system.”

…Shanahan on whether a player such as Thomas could come in and start as a fourth round pick: “That’s what you expect, that’s what you hope for. If they can’t start you’re hoping they eventually will be ready if we do lose a player. Some guys pick things up fairly quickly. A guy like Phillip Thomas, it’s easier because he ran a similar system to what we have but you never know for sure until we get them out here working out.”

…Shanahan on fifth-round running back Chris Thompson: “Chris is a guy that could excel in the nickel. He could be that third-down back. He has great hands, great elusiveness. He can do it all. You’d always like to have a couple of backs that complement each other and he’ll complement a lot of our running backs on what they do.”

…Shanahan on seventh-round running back Jawan Jamison: “Jamison is a guy I thought he would be gone much earlier. We weren’t looking for that running back in the seventh round, but when he was there we thought he was too good to pass up. [He can] not only excel in nickel packages, but he can be a first down runner as well. He’s had some big runs in his conference throughout his career.”

…The three new defensive backs were some of the best interceptors in the nation over the past two years. Amerson and Thomas both led the nation in picks in 2011 and ’12, respectively, while Rambo was second to Amerson.

“We talked about turnovers since we’ve been here,” Shanahan said. “Usually a team that excels in turnovers, they win championships. If not Super Bowls, it’s getting to the playoffs. That will always be an emphasis on offense and defense. These guys have come up with a lot of turnovers, one of the reasons they were drafted where they were.”

View article comments Leave a comment