The NFL Draft is the logical midpoint of the offseason–almost 3 months after the Super Bowl and roughtly 3 months before the start of Training Camp.  Three days of speculation, prognostication and teams saying they got the players they wanted while analysts criticize selections.  Originally this was a football oasis to whet one’s appetite for the upcoming season–now it’s merely part of a “must focus” slate that includes the combine, free agency, ota’s and other minicamps.  When I started following the NFL I couldn’t wait for the draft;  now that I’ve been covering it for 20 years I can’t wait for the NFL Draft to be done.  

A New Era– Scot McCloughan makes his first major architectural impact with the Skins.  While running the San Francisco 49ers (as VP Player Personnel and then General Manager) McCloughan had four drafts…with solid results.

2005– First overall selection Alex Smith eventually made a Pro Bowl…although hindsight places Aaron Rodgers ahead of the former franchise QB.  Frank Gore has over 11,000 career yards rushing.  Offensive linemen David Baas and Adam Snyder made over 80 starts in the league.  Even tight end Billy Bajema (7th round) played in 120 NFL games.

2006– Tight end Vernon Davis has made a pair of Pro Bowls.  Defensive end  Manny Lawson became a five-year starter.  Fifth rounder Parys Haralson (DE-Tennessee) started for 6 years in the league and sixth rounder Delanie Walker (WR-Central Missouri St) has caught 123 passes in the last 2 seasons (problem is, both were with the Titans after notching 123 career catches his first seven years).

2007– Linebacker Patrick Willis has been voted All-Pro 5 times while making the Pro Bowl 7 times.  Tackle Joe Staley’s made 5 Pro Bowls in his 8 year career.  Defensive backs Dashon Goldson and Tarell Brown have become starters…with Goldson nabbing All-Pro honors before signing with Tampa Bay (he’s with the Redskins now).

2008–  Not his best work.  First rounder Kentwan Balmer (DT-North Carolina) played in just 46 games.  Second rounder Chilo Rachal (G-USC)  was a starter in the league for only one season.  Reggie Smith (DB-Oklahoma), Cody Wallace (C-Texas A&M) and Larry Grant (LB-Ohio St) failed to play 50 games with the Niners.  Josh Morgan (WR-Virginia Tech) arguably enjoyed his best season in Washington.

Cause for Confidence– the building blocks to a Super Bowl team were acquired during that stretch.  For a defense that gave up the fourth post points–McCloughan has a track record identifying and bringing in performers on that side of the ball.

Cause for Concern– he whiffs on wide receivers.  Rasheed Marshall, Brandon Williams, Michael Robinson and Jason Hill each made minimal impact. That’s not a need for this team– so one should feel okay.  Unless WR Amari Cooper falls to them at #5.

Skins Needs–  where to begin after losing 25 games over the last two years?

Offensive Line– the unit allowed the second most sacks in the NFL.  Stanford tackle Andrus Peat and Iowa guard Brandon Scherff grade in the top ten overall.

Rush Lineman– the Skins D was tied for 21st in sacks in 2014. Florida linebacker Dante Fowler Jr and USC defensive end Leonard Williams are options.

Defensive Backfield– the team allowed the highest passer rating in the NFL last fall.  Three corners are notable:  Michigan State’s TraeWaynes, Washington’s Marcus Peters and Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson all grade in the 11-18 range, depending on which anaylyst you listen to.  They could be factors if the Skins trade down.

Until tomorrow– and the second/third rounds.

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