Last spring, 2019 NFL draft projections included a member of James Madison’s secondary, but he isn’t the Dukes’ defensive back who seems likely to be picked.
Cornerback Rashad Robinson, from Hermitage High School, was the CAA’s 2018 preseason defensive player of the year. He missed the season because of a foot injury.
Jimmy Moreland, the “other” cornerback at JMU, ended up as the CAA’s postseason defensive player of the year and an All-American. Moreland, a 5-foot-10 179-pounder from Royal Palm Beach, Fla., had five interceptions and returned three of them for touchdowns. The NFL draft starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.
Moreland holds the JMU career record for interceptions (18) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (five). He also had nine breakups as a senior. Moreland was not invited to the NFL combine, but stood out in workouts prior to the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.
In addition to his coverage ability, Moreland has the speed and aggressiveness to contribute on special teams.
Moreland could be selected from the third round to the seventh round, according to NFL draft projections. If he is chosen, Moreland would become the first JMU player drafted since guard Earl Watford was taken by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round in 2013.
The Dukes’ dry spell in the NFL draft seems odd in light of their success. JMU has advanced to the FCS playoffs each of the last five years, winning the national championship in 2016 and finishing as runner-up in 2017.
Former University of Richmond receiver Cortrelle Simpson is also viewed as a potential draft pick, primarily because of his speed. Longshots include Richmond offensive lineman John Yarbrough and fullback Gordon Collins, and JMU defensive end Darrious Carter and tailback Marcus Marshall.
The Washington Redskins absolutely stole wide receiver Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He has a good chance to come in and make an immediate impact.
The Washington Redskins had an extremely nice showing in the 2019 NFL Draft. Starting with landing franchise quarterback Dwayne Haskins and dynamic edge rusher Montez Sweat in the first round, the Redskins added legitimate impact players on both sides of the ball throughout the draft.
In a class full of impressive selections, taking wide receiver Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round is among the best. Harmon slid in the draft due to his lack of foot speed and quickness, and that is obviously a concern at the next level. That being said, Harmon’s overall skill set should translate well.
Harmon is a big and physical receiver who can box out and consistently win at the catch point. He is a smart player who can find open space against zone coverage and shows the ability to run a variety of routes.
His lack of raw foot speed causes him to struggle to create consistent separation against man coverage. However, he catches the ball extremely well in traffic. Harmon’s combination of size, strength and athleticism will play at the next level and his innate ability to track the ball in the air gives him some legitimate upside.
The Redskins entered the 2019 NFL Draft with obvious needs at the wide receiver position. Guys like Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson are not exactly solidified as premier pass catchers. There is room for a late-round gem like Harmon to come in and compete for playing time.
Harmon’s ability to find space against zone coverage and consistently make catches in traffic gives him a chance to make an impact as a rookie receiver. In particular, he fits as a strong option in the passing game with a rookie quarterback like Haskins under center.
Simply put, Kelvin Harmon was one of the best value selections for any team in the 2019 NFL Draft. On top of that, the Washington Redskins have an obvious need at the wide receiver position. If Harmon can come in and learn the offense quickly, he has the talent to consistently make plays on the outside.
It might seem crazy, but Kelvin Harmon has legitimate Offensive Rookie of the Year potential this season.
Cole Holcomb became the 1st Tar Heel to be drafted on Saturday evening when he was picked up by the Washington Football Team in the 5th round with the 173rd pick. It wasn’t a huge class for linebackers and Holcomb had impressed with his athletic profile, becoming about the 15th off-ball linebacker taken.
Holcomb came to UNC as a walk-on after receiving almost no interest from FBS schools out of high school and quickly became a stalwart at the middle linebacker position, consistently leading the Heels in tackles and rallying the team through a tough couple of years. When the defense was forced on the field again and again thanks to incompetent offense, Holcomb was a tone-setter for a squad that ended up breaking at inopportune moments, but competed better than a team with 5 wins in two seasons had any right to.
Holcomb’s athletic testing was a surprise even to a lot of UNC fans, as his speed and change of direction looked good, but not great, on first glance on the field. He plays intelligently, though, and clearly has a high ceiling and the work ethic to go with it to be where he is after walking on to the team initially. Washington seems to have drafted him to play outside linebacker in a 4-3, where he’ll excel covering tight ends and cutting off outside runs. He’ll be fun to watch and hope to make an impact early with Washington. We wish him the best as he starts his pro career.
Redskins select Alabama OL Ross Pierschbacher with No. 153 overall pick. There’s that Alabama connection again.
The Washington Redskins had drafted four Alabama Crimson Tide players in the past two NFL Drafts, but in the 2019 NFL Draft, they started out their first five selections with no players from Nick Saban’s school.
Of course, we all knew that couldn’t last for long.
With their first fifth-round selection of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected Alabama Crimson Tide center Ross Pierschbacher, quickly double-dipping on the interior offensive line with another experienced blocker.
Like the Redskins first offensive line selection, Indiana guard Wes Martin, Pierschbacher was a four-year starter at Alabama who accrued experience all over the offensive interior, though his primary position was center. Pierschbacher offers good size at 6-foot-4, 305, and with his experience and modest athleticism, he should provide some versatility for Washington.
Pierschbacher does have some limitations, in terms of converting strength to power on the field, but he’s a fairly polished lineman who has enough functional movement ability to be a decent starter. How he progresses remains to be seen, but at the very least, he provides depth, and the Redskins needed that.
Now, with both Martin and Pierschbacher in the fold, the question of who starts at left guard remains. There are plenty of names in the mix, from Ereck Flowers to Martin to Arie Kouandjio, but it’s hard to see anyone separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Perhaps time will yield the answer. The good thing to take away from the selection is this: The Redskins won’t be scrambling for players to fill their roster like they were last year, in the midst of a wave of line injuries.
Now, the Redskins will wait until their next fifth-round pick, which sits at No. 173 overall. They can still stand to add a safety, as well as a tight end, a developmental tackle, and potentially another wide receiver to target. With just four picks left, their opportunities are waning. With Pierschbacher, they don’t have to worry about adding to their interior anymore. One could say they’re scouting the helmet a bit too much, but Pierschbacher provides value, nonetheless.
Newly drafted Washington Redskins offensive guard Wes Martin has been praised for his explosive strength. After all, Martin completed 38 bench reps of 225 pounds at the NFL combine and had 42 on his pro day.
It likely comes from working on his neighbor’s dairy farm in West Milton, Ohio.
“Physically, there is a lot of grit strength involved and brute strength,” Martin said. “It kind of instilled the work ethic, and it makes you not afraid to work extremely hard and put in a lot of hours into what you are doing.”“
After his mother told him and his brother, Adam, to spend their free time outside, Martin began to take daily walks to a neighboring farm to pet the cows. Martin eventually began to help out on the farm, doing any job the farmer asked him to do. Two of his most common tasks were helping with bailing hay and moving manure, which he credits with helping his strength develop.
Along with developing his physical strength, working on the farm helped instill a dedicated work ethic as well as his nickname: Mr. Dependable.
Martin would spend long hours in the summer heat working on the farm but never wavered. His work ethic shined off the field, too, as Martin became the first member of his mother’s side of the family to graduate from college and was named an academic All-Big Ten selection four times while attending Indiana University.
Away from football, working around animals on the farm helped drive one of Martin’s biggest passions. Last summer, Martin established a non-profit company, Brave Breed, focused on putting rescue dogs back into homes.
At his pro day with Indiana, Martin accepted donation pledges for every bench rep he completed. As you can imagine, there were a lot of donations.
The Redskins made a number of obvious moves during the 2019 NFL Draft.
The team needed a quarterback, so they added a quarterback. Washington had to bring in interior offensive linemen, so they drafted two guards. The team was desperate for new talent at the receiver position, and brought in two new wideouts.
One selection made less sense though, at least on the surface level.
In the fourth round, the Redskins took Stanford running back Bryce Love. A dynamic talent and Heisman finalist two seasons ago, Love would have been a first-round pick a year ago had he declared for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Instead, he returned to Stanford for his senior season. His team wasn’t nearly as good, his numbers dipped, and he suffered a major knee injury late in the year (see video above).
That’s the Love situation.
The Redskins running back situation is quite different. And possibly full.
Adrian Peterson proved he still had plenty left last year when he played in every game and rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He will be 34 this season, but after last year, it would be silly to believe he can’t continue to produce.
There’s also Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson.
Guice was supposed to be the future at RB last year when he was drafted in the second round, until he hurt his knee in the preseason. Guice missed his entire rookie season.
Thompson has been a strong weapon for Washington when he’s been able to stay on the field. In 2017, Thompson was having a fantastic season before breaking his leg late in the year. In 2018, Thompson dealt with a bunch of different injuries and his production suffered.
The ‘Skins have other backs – Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall fill out the depth chart. But the addition of Love is not about replacing Perine or Marshall.
The addition of Love can mean a few different things.
Thompson is in the last year of his contract. He’s a fan favorite, active in the community and one of the best blocking backs in the NFL.
Love’s game seems well suited for a third-down back role in the NFL. He has speed and burst but probably not the size to play every down.
A year from now, Love looks like a natural replacement for Thompson. That might be tough for fans to hear because Thompson is such a great dude, but it’s the cold reality of the NFL business.
This season, however, expect Love to open his first NFL training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. That means he won’t count toward the 53-man roster and won’t be eligible to play until the halfway point of the season.
By then, odds are one of the Redskins other running backs might be hurt, and Love can start to play. Assuming his recovery from ACL surgery suffers no setbacks.
Speaking of setbacks, Guice is returning from knee surgery and Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he was ahead of schedule in his recovery. Love’s arrival should not cast doubt on Guice’s availability. That said, Love could be insurance down the road if Guice struggles coming back from a knee that bothered him in college too.
From a roster standpoint, the Redskins carried four running backs last year. There’s no reason to think they can’t do that again, but it would be too big an assumption to put Love on the team as the fourth RB.
For 2018, Guice, Peterson and Thompson all seem like roster locks. Then probably Perine again if, or when, Love starts the year on the PUP list. The Redskins are not required to activate Love to the roster if they do use the PUP list, though he might be able to gain some valuable practice time.
Love’s arrival likely means much more for 2020 than it does for 2019. It’s a move for a team that is planning ahead, as Thompson will be a free agent and Peterson will be 35 years old.