For now, the Redskins are finished. They could still trade into the back of Round 7, but if they don’t their 2020 NFL Draft performance is officially over.
The Washington Redskins came into Day 3 with five remaining picks, and then managed to acquire one more when they traded Trent Williams to the San Francisco 49ers. Washington started out strong, acquiring high-upside offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles at pick No. 108, but after that, it’s hard to distinguish whether any of their remaining picks moved the needle.
That said, seventh-round selections generally carry the lowest expectations out of the NFL Draft, which gives teams some flexibility, as to what they can do with those picks. The Redskins certainly went against the grain with their final pick, opting to double-dip at defensive end, and take North Carolina State edge rusher James Smith-Williams.
Smith-Williams, a sixth-year senior who’s set to turn 23 years old later this offseason, brings a solid athletic framework on the edge. At 6-foot-4, 265, he logged a 4.6 40-yard dash, a 32-inch vertical, and a broad jump over ten feet at the NFL Combine. He also measured in with arms nearing 34 inches in length, speaking to his wingspan and range as an attacking defensive lineman. His combination of size and athleticism should offer some versatility.
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When he was healthy in college, Smith-Williams’ traits translated to production, as the defensive standout logged 6.0 sacks and 9.0 tackles for loss in 11 games in 2018. But Smith-Williams battled injury issues consistently in his time with the Wolfpack, and he missed six games or more in four of his five years at North Carolina State.
Smith-Williams gives Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio an edge rusher with the traits to potentially become a contributor on defense. But after picking Young in Round 1, with Ryan Kerrigan, Ryan Anderson, Nate Orchard, and Jordan Brailford still in the wings, this feels like somewhat of a luxury pick, especially considering other players available, such as tight end Hunter Bryant.
Whatever the case, however, the Redskins made the decision on Smith-Williams with his upside in mind, and if they can help him stay healthy and hone his potential, he could make this selection worth it. Provided that Washington doesn’t trade back into the seventh round, their 2020 NFL Draft performance is officially over!