It was widely expected that the Washington Redskins would trade Su’a Cravens at some point this offseason. That became a reality on Wednesday.
Just before the start of the 2017 season, projected Redskins starting safety Su’a Cravens left the team. At the time, he was contemplating retirement, and the move appeared to come out of left field. The hasty departure of Cravens left the Redskins with rookie fourth rounder Montae Nicholson, veteran safety Deshazor Everett, and preseason surprise Stefan McClure to man the spots. However, Cravens’ presence was supposed to be missed.
Early in the season, Everett struggled as a starter, as his ability in coverage didn’t compare to his run stuffing ability. However, as the year went along, Nicholson developed into a quality starter and overtook Cravens’ potential starting spot. Also, it’s worth noting that Cravens expressed a desire to return a month after his departure, but the team put him on a reserve list to end his season. There was no trust left between the two sides, and the former second rounder didn’t look like he had a long-term fit in Washington anymore.
That said, it’s no surprise that the Redskins officially moved Cravens to the Denver Broncos on Wednesday. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the teams will swap a couple of fourth and fifth rounders with the Redskins acquiring a conditional pick as well.
In all, this was a solid move by the Redskins. They were never going to keep Cravens and he didn’t play last season, so the value on him was down on a league-wide scale. To get a fifth round draft pick and move up in the fourth or fifth rounds were nice moves, as they were able to capture some value for Cravens.
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With Cravens now gone, the Redskins can focus on adding a quality defensive back to replace him. This will open the door for the team to select either Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James should either fall to the No. 13 pick. They would have both been options anyway, but now there is an opening for either to earn a starting job as a slot corner/safety hybrid player. If the team can’t land either of those guys, they could target a guy like Dominick Sanders from Georgia with one of their extra fifth round pick.
For the Broncos, Cravens makes sense as a potential safety/linebacker hybrid. They could start him as a third safety who plays more in the box and plays the coverage linebacker role. That’s probably his best fit in the defense, though he could eventually supplant Darian Stewart as the starter.
Overall, this is a mutually beneficial trade for both sides. Cravens is a solid player, but he had no future in Washington. With the extra draft resources, the Redskins will get a chance to replace Cravens while the Broncos land a player who they considered to be a first rounder at one point. It will be interesting to see if Cravens pans out in Denver. But in the meantime, Washington picking up an eighth draft pick is good news for the team.