Point-Counterpoint: Draft hits and misses

Point-Counterpoint: Draft hits and misses
April 29, 2013, 12:00 pm
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By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler

The Redskins didn’t have a first round pick but they made the most of the NFL draft, getting seven players who will have a shot at making the team and contributing.

While there are smiles all around now, the reality is that some of these players will not cut it in the NFL. They took some players who are injury risks, while others simply won’t make the grade at the highest level of the game. So who will boom and who will bust? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir answer that and other questions in today’s special draft edition of Point-Counterpoint.

Which pick will have the best NFL career?

Rich Tandler: The NFL is all about playmakers and the one with the most potential is Jordan Reed. They call him a tight end but that is just because there isn’t a position category called “weapon”. Kyle Shanahan will have a lot of fun figuring out ways to get the ball into his hands. Check out the GIF highlights here to see what he can do in the open field. How do we know that the Redskins were excited to take him? They made the pick without ever having any contact with him during the pre-draft process. Reed was that good on film.

Tarik El-Bashir: While I support Rich’s choice of Reed as a potential Pro Bowler down the road, I’ve got to disagree with his assertion that David Amerson is most likely to bust (see below). Sure, Amerson struggled as a junior after leading the nation with 13 interceptions in 2011. He put too much pressure on himself to duplicate his success as a sophomore, and he’s aware and mature enough to admit it, explaining, “just taking chances I shouldn’t have.” Here’s what I like about the pick: the North Carolina State product obviously is blessed with natural ball instincts, and at 6-1, 205 pounds, he’s got prodigious size and length for a corner to go along with elite speed (sub 4.4 in the 40).Those attributes can’t be coached. Now it’s up to Raheem Morris and Jim Haslett to do what they do and provide Amerson with the attributes that can be coached.  

Which pick is most likely to bust?

Tandler: You always hear how the Redskins’ philosophy is to draft players based on game film and not on the so-called “measurables”. But they apparently drafted David Amerson because he’s big (6-1) and fast (4.38 in the 40) because they could not possibly have taken him based on his performance in actual games. He was burned time after time, falling for double moves and making other fundamental mistakes. The Redskins may be able to coach him up, given the immediate need at the position you have to think they would have been better off taking a more polished prospect such as Jamar Taylor, who went a few picks later to the Dolphins. They picked an odd time to turn away from their draft fundamentals by valuing size and speed over actual performance.

El-Bashir: Maybe I’m just skeptical, but getting Bacarri Rambo in the sixth round seems to almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? If 31 other teams allowed a player with third/fourth round ability to plummet all the way to No. 191, something they saw scared them. Look, I don’t know Bacarri or every single detail about what happened at Georgia. But I do know this much from what I’ve read: he was suspended two times for running afoul of the university’s drug and alcohol policy, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That’s a red flag. That’s a lack of respect for authority. What’s going to happen when he arrives in Ashburn this week and suddenly has a lot of free time (and cash) at his disposal? Rambo was adamant that he’s learned from his mistakes, and the Redskins say they’re satisfied with what others told them about his character. If they’re both right, the team got a good football player at a bargain price. It they’re wrong, though, they might have acquired a headache.

Which pick will have the biggest immediate impact?

Tandler: I’m not bold enough to predict that a sixth-round pick will be the Week 1 starter at free safety but it would not shock me if Bacarri Rambo were starting by some point in the first half of the season. There is a major hole at the position and Rambo appears to be capable of fill it. Rambo is certain to be tested when he gets into the lineup but after playing four years in the SEC at Georgia, the moment won’t be too big for him.

El-Bashir: Based on the current depth chart, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Phillip Thomas step right into the starting lineup at free safety. On Saturday, Coach Mike Shanahan praised Thomas for his ball-hawking skills, willingness to deliver hits and his mental acuity. Shanahan also noted that Thomas also played in a similar 3-4 as a senior at Fresno State, so there also will be less of a transition scheme-wise. Considering last season’s struggles at the position, the bar is set low. And Thomas should have no trouble clearing it.