The NFL Draft is a crapshoot. No matter what the film and stats show, so many variables go in to determining whether a player will succeed at the highest level. The Washington Redskins have tried their best at this glorified guessing game through the years -- with notable booms and busts along the way. Today, Breaking Burgundy takes a look at the franchise's three best fourth-round draft selections of the 21st century. This is where we start to get into "core" players region according to current general manager Scot McCloughan.
3. Perry Riley - 103rd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft
Out of the Redskins' 12 fourth round selections in the 21st century, Riley has played in the most games for the Burgundy and Gold at 79 with running back Roy Helu coming in at a distant second at 48 games. Riley saw scarce playing time his rookie year, but took over at starting right inside linebacker in place of Rocky McIntosh the following season. One of the league's Iron Men, London Fletcher had high praise for Riley during his retirement announcement, "I think he’s at that point where Perry doesn’t need me anymore. He’s that player that I know he can be." A foot injury cost Riley nearly half of the 2015 season, while he had worked hard to fully recover from other nagging injuries that limited his effectiveness. Whether the LSU national champion starts for Washington ahead of Mason Foster or is a reserve in his last year in DC, his 446 tackles, 27 passes defended, 9.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions is serviceable work over six years.
2. Kirk Cousins - 102nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
Besides a start against the Cleveland Browns in 2012, Cousins' first three years in Washington were disastrous. However, in 2015, he showed that he could reward the team for believing in him as a starting caliber quarterback. Cousins set team records in passing yards in a single season and completions in a season by throwing for 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns, and just 11 interceptions. With a non-existent run game after multiple injuries to the offensive line and a leaky defense, the Michigan State product willed his team to a division championship by finishing the season with a 6-2 record. When you think about the production Cousins had in a season when he did NOT have a full offseason to prepare for, the 2016 outlook could be even brighter for the 6-3 quarterback.
1. Bashaud Breeland - 102nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft
Some will argue that the quarterback following Breeland on this list deserves the top spot, but just as the Redskins executives are reminded of during contract negotiations, he has only done well for one year. The Clemson cornerback on the other hand has been a solid contributor to Washington's defense during both of his two years in the pros. Thrown into the fire early due to DeAngelo Hall's Achilles injury in 2014, Breeland learned on the run and shined on Monday Night Football in a Week 8 win against the Cowboys. The 5-11 defensive back limited Dez Bryant to three catches, including a pass broke up on a Dallas fourth down in overtime, and forced a DeMarco Murray fumble. Breeland's development was set back in his sophomore campaign because of an MCL injury during training camp but he technically missed no regular season games. You may also remember that it was a hustling Breeland that made the game-saving tackle on Doug Martin in the season-changing victory over the Buccaneers last year. In just two seasons, Breeland has already recorded 150 tackles, 29 passes defended, and 4 interceptions. Playing with Josh Norman in 2016, Breeland is expected to continue developing into a top defender in the NFL.
Additional Draft Classes
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
To get instant Redskins notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE!
Be sure to check out the ever-growing benefit package of being a Breaking Burgundy Insider! Check it out HERE.null