Redskins Offseason Shaping Up Nicely

After the NFL Draft and OTAs, the Washington Redskins are looking to have a successful season this year. Hopefully. With outside linebacker Trent Murphy and offensive right tackle Morgan Moses signing their rookie deals, all of the draft picks are now under contract. The question is: what will this Redskins team look like with new head coach Jay Gruden calling the shots?

Well for starters, they upgraded their receiving corps tremendously. The Redskins resigned veteran Santana Moss, signed Andre Roberts and DeSean Jackson in free agency and drafted Ryan Grant out of Tulane. Not only that, but tight end Jordan Reed is returning from a concussion injury and a great rookie season last year and Logan Paulsen has emerged as a top target as well. With all of these new additions to the offense, quarterback Robert Griffin III should easily rebound from last season’s poor performance. The biggest acquisition for the Redskins was signing DeSean Jackson on April 2. Jackson is coming off his career-best season with the Philadelphia Eagles and can also be a great punt returner for the Redskins, a need they have searched for in recent years.

Now let’s focus on defense. With the departure of London Fletcher, no one knows for sure who will step up to replace him. The resigning of Perry Riley has assured his spot on the depth chart as a starter, but it is unknown who will start alongside him with Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo. With injuries and poor tackling, the Redskins linebacker corps has been in question heading into this season. Washington picked up Darryl Sharpton in free agency, hoping to replace Fletcher. However, Sharpton has been injury prone for the last couple of years. He is at the prime of his career at the age of 26, but there is uncertainty with his ability to stay on the field. Keenan Robinson, Akeem Jordan and Adam Hayward are also on the roster, but they will have to make their presence known during training camp in order to snatch that starting role.

Now back to the offense, specifically with the offensive line. Even more specifically, the position of right guard and right tackle are in question. Chris Chester holds that right guard spot, but with his increasing age and decreasing productivity, that might soon change. Third-round draft pick Spencer Long could push him out of the starting spot and second-round pick Morgan Moses could fill in at right tackle, beating out veteran Tyler Polumbus. These rookie players must develop quickly during training camp in order to gain RG3’s trust.

There are many other things to discuss about the Redskins. For example, can Phillip Thomas step in at safety after being injured last season? Can rookie running back Lache Seastrunk make some plays coming out of the backfield? All of these questions will be answered in due time. For now, fans are going to have to be patient and see if Gruden’s Redskins can make a difference this year.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka has returned from his calf injury and played great in last Sunday’s win over the San Antonio Spurs. In his first game back from injury, Ibaka had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. It just goes to show you how much of a difference he can make when he’s out on the court. This season, he averaged 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks a game. Here’s the amazing thing about that: he’s only 24 years old and has played in the NBA for four years! Ibaka is already proving that he is one of the best power forwards in the NBA. His teammates and fans have nicknamed him Serge “Iblocka” for his tremendous effort on defense. When superstars like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook take over on offense, Ibaka takes over on defense and helps anchor his Oklahoma City Thunder team. But who is Serge Ibaka really? Well let’s take a look at his history.

Ibaka was born in the Republic of Congo and is the third-youngest of 18 children. Both his mother and his father played basketball for the country of Congo and it is safe to say that Ibaka has inherited their athletic gifts. He also plays for the Spanish national team and is fluent in five languages (Lingala, French, Spanish, Catalan and English). Having played on the Republic of Congo youth team, he is also one of three players to play for two national teams ( the other two are Roy Hibbert and Charlie Villanueva). In 2008, he was selected 24th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder, becoming the first player from the Republic of Congo to get drafted by an NBA team. From there, he has been a dominant force on defense in the NBA. He is well known internationally as well for his role in the Olympic Games in 2012 and winning the gold medal in the FIBA European Championship in 2011 for Spain.

As for his religious beliefs, Ibaka is a Christian and began learning more about Christ ever since he moved to the United States. Recently, he’s been reading the Bible daily and having a teammate like Kevin Durant has been very beneficial to his spiritual walk. Ibaka tends to not associate with the public media and outwardly express his faith, but he is known to make a gesture to God after a big play in a game by making the cross symbol on his chest and pointing to the heavens. He can also be a great international ambassador for Christ. With him speaking five languages, he can be the ultimate missionary! He already works with UNICEF in helping child development all around the world. Ibaka has also pledged $315,000 to the “UNICEF Gets Boys and Girls in the Game” project for the renovation and expansion of two orphanages in Brazzaville, Congo. Ibaka, whose home country is the Congo, has also pledged a donation of $500 for every blocked shot he records during the 2014 NBA Playoffs. He is truly a man after God’s heart and hopes to make a difference around the world.

Real Madrid Wins the European Cup

Atletico Madrid may have won La Liga, but they could not take the Champions League Title. That honor belongs to Real Madrid, who defeated Atleti yesterday 4-1. It started off going well for Atletico, who held Real scoreless the entirety of regulation time. It wasn’t until Sergio Ramos scored in extra minutes to tie the game at 1-1. It seemed like forever for the next goal to be scored, but Gareth Bale knocked in a header in the 110th minute. Real took a shot on goal, had it deflected, only to bounce right towards Bale, who put it in the top right corner to take the lead. From there, it only got worse for Atletico. Marcelo knocked in a goal eight minutes later and then Cristiano Ronaldo had his moment on a penalty kick in the 120th. With that goal, Ronaldo became the first player to score a goal in the Champions League Final for two different teams. He did it with Manchester United back in 2008.

The 4-1 win was Real’s 10th Champions League Title, winning their last one back in 2002. With a team like Real Madrid, you would think that they would have won more titles and won more recently. Nevertheless, Madrid Manager Carlo Ancelotti enjoyed his third Champions League Title as a manager. The former A.C. Milan manager won two Champions League Titles with that club and now celebrates his first with Real Madrid.

As for Atletico Madrid, their spectacular defense fell short and without leading goal-scorer Diego Costa, they were unable to win the match. If things go well for Atleti in the off-season, they could come back better than before if Diego Simeone decides to stay with the team. He is obviously on other team’s radars for an open manager position after what he did with an Atletico Madrid club this year. For now, Real Madrid will savor this victory that they achieved by defeating their rivals.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Clarence Goodson

Clarence Goodson is an American soccer player that plays for the San Jose Earthquakes and the U.S. National team. He’s the team’s best defender and has been a part of the national team since 2008. The 32-year-old veteran was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia and made a name for himself in the MLS with the FC Dallas Club. He has also played professionally in Norway and Denmark.  He made his international debut against Sweden on January 19, 2008 and went on to be selected for the 23-man roster for the American national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. As of this season, Goodson has made 7 appearances with the San Jose Earthquakes and has recorded an assist.

The experienced veteran has had quite a journey professionally, as well as spiritually. He admits that staying true to Christ as a professional athlete is not easy, but he grew up in a Christian home and went to church on Sunday regularly with his parents. Watch this short video to see what Goodson has to say about the difference between living as a professional athlete and living as a Christian in today’s world.

As you can see, Goodson tries his best to stay true to his Christian morals that has been a part of his family for so long. On the website beyondtheultimate.com, Goodson shares more about his experiences with family and a Christian lifestyle.

I became a Christian as a young man and tried to stay true to His calling,” Goodson said. “Growing up, I always felt that God was responsible for all of the good things in my life. I felt blessed, because I was able to participate in athletics. I also believed God had provided my parents with jobs so they could provide what we needed as children.” (Credit: Beyond the Ultimate)

Goodson also points out that God rewards faithfulness and that if we represent Him wherever we go, He will give us the strength to conquer all obstacles we may face in life.

“I believe God rewards faithfulness,” Goodson said. “If we are obedient and follow Christ with all of our mind, body and soul, we will receive our heart’s desires. That’s not to say that you can get whatever you want, but if it is in God’s will for your life, you will receive abundant joy. I am very proud to say that today, though hard work and putting my faith in Jesus Christ, I am the only person from those ODP try outs to make the U.S. Men’s National Team. Sometimes we think that things could not get much worse, but Christ has a bigger plan set out for each and every one of us.” (Credit: BPSports.net)

Romans 1:16 says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek.” Goodson follows this scripture well throughout his life and makes it known to those around him that he is an unashamed follower of Jesus Christ.

“Definitely you carry that around, your personal beliefs and faith, everywhere you go,” Goodson said. “Just because you step onto the field doesn’t mean that you put that aside and put them in the locker until you step off the field. So that’s what I try to carry around with me all the time and behave in such a way that those who don’t know Christ come to know Christ because they know me.” (Credit: Christian Examiner)

The veteran soccer player also holds a weekly Bible study for anyone who wants to know more about God’s Word and Jesus Christ. He shares the gospel with his teammates and keeps them accountable throughout their walk with Christ.

Staying true to Christ as a professional athlete is not easy. There are dozens of things to tempt and distract you. But being involved in our team Bible study has helped me tremendously. I look forward to it every week, because it helps me grow stronger in my relationship with Christ. One of my favorite Bible passages is Jeremiah 9:23–24. I like it, because it speaks to how our human nature leads us to be proud of our achievements. Instead, Jeremiah shows us that we need to recognize that our greatest achievement is being rightly related to God.” (Credit: Beyond the Ultimate)

 

 

Atletico Madrid wins La Liga Title

Most fans would be upset or disappointed with a draw. Not fans of Atletico Madrid! Their team tied with Barcelona 1-1 in the final regular season match and won La Liga and are now crowned the Spanish Champions. Barcelona had a realistic shot to take the title, but Atleti came through with the draw to win! It sounds funny I know, but Barcelona will finish the regular season tied with Real Madrid for 2nd place with 27 wins, 6 draws and 5 losses. Atletico ends the season with a 28-6-4 record. Atleti’s defense has always been the best in La Liga, only allowing 26 goals scored against them, and they proved it earlier today by holding Barcelona to just one goal. Lionel Messi was held scoreless, as Alexis Sanchez scored the first goal in the 33rd minute for Barcelona. Then in the 49th minute, veteran defender Diego Godin‘s header equalized the match for Atletico Madrid. After the match, Barcelona’s manager, Gerardo “Tata” Martino announced that he will no longer coach the team. His fear of failure had come true and he let down a team that was poised for victory. Atleti won their first La Liga title since 1996, showing how much of an upset it must have been for Barcelona’s club to fall short.

In other soccer news, Arsenal won the FA Cup in dramatic fashion against Hull City. After being down 2-0 eight minutes into the match, the Gunners came roaring back with three goals to win it all, 3-2. Santi Cazorla started off the fireworks in the 17th minute with a free kick. Fast forward to the 71st minute, Laurent Koscielny knocked in a goal and then the match went into extra minutes. Things were looking tense, until Aaron Ramsey scored the game-winner! It was a match for the ages and Arsenal ended up on top. It was a big day for soccer fans, but now they have to wait until May 24th for that ultimate showdown between Real Madrid and newly crowned La Liga champions Atletico Madrid. What a match that will be!

NBA Conference Finals are Set

Four teams punched their tickets to the NBA Conference Finals and all four teams are the top two seeds in their conference. It will truly be a test to see who the best team in the West and the East really are. First, let’s see how each team got there.

The Miami Heat were expected to make it this far, after sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats and finished off the Brooklyn Nets in five games. Ray Allen knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer with 32 seconds left in Game 5 to advance the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 96-94 victory.  LeBron James has been a dominant force in the playoffs, averaging 30 points a game. The Heat is looking for a three-peat, but they will first have to handle the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers have struggled throughout the playoffs, and many thought they wouldn’t make it this far after their poor performance against the Washington Wizards. This team has had trouble rebounding and boxing out. Indiana had to go all the way to Game Seven with the Atlanta Hawks (a team with a losing record), but they finally ended up beating the Wizards last night 93-80 in Game Six. Roy Hibbert has not been the same player he was during the regular season. He averaged 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game and now during the postseason, he is averaging 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He has also gone three games without scoring a single point (two against the Hawks and one against the Wizards in Game One). If Hibbert can play consistently against the Heat and have games like he did in Game Two against the Wizards where he had 28 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, then the Pacers might have a chance.

Paul George has played consistently well in the playoffs, averaging 21.9 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. Credit: indystar.com
Paul George has played consistently well in the playoffs, averaging 21.9 points and 8.7 rebounds a game.
Credit: indystar.com

As for the San Antonio Spurs, the one-seed out in the West is not having too much difficulty getting to where they are now. They did have to go to Game Seven against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, but they were able to close out and move on to the Portland Trail Blazers. Against Portland, the Spurs defeated them in five games and all five wins were dominant victories. They closed out on a 104-82 blow out on the Trail Blazers last Wednesday. Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich has this team right where it needs to be and they have been playing great basketball lately. The only concern is the injury status of Tony Parker. The veteran point guard has a tight hamstring that might limit his mobility, but he says that he is ready to go. Small forward Kawhi Leonard has really stepped up for this team. He is one of the youngest players on the roster and he has made a big difference. During the regular season, Leonard averaged 12.8 points and 6.2 rebounds a game. In the postseason, Leonard has averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. His performance is the X-Factor when the Spurs take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.

Speaking of the Thunder, they have had a roller-coaster ride of a postseason. They have had the strongest playoff schedule out of any of the teams. First, they took out the Memphis Grizzlies in seven games after being down 2-1. Then they just recently beat the L.A. Clippers in Game Six 104-98, after through tough matches with them. After that win, they will advance to the Western Conference Finals for the third time in the last four years. Kevin Durant has arguably been the best player in the postseason, leading all players with 31.4 points a game and capping off the Game Six victory over the Clippers with an amazing performance of 39 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists. He also has six double-doubles this postseason, showing that he has been carrying this team on his back and lifting them up game after game. Teammate Russell Westbrook has been a game-changer this entire postseason. When he plays well, the Thunder win. When he doesn’t play well, they don’t win. Oklahoma City has to rely on both Durant and Westbrook to bring their best against San Antonio. While Durant has had double-doubles, Westbrook has had triple-doubles. His first one came in a losing effort against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five on the first round of the playoffs. Then his Game Seven performance against them was historic, with 27 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds. His best game to date was in Game Two against the L.A. Clippers where he had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. If Westbrook can play consistently well, the Thunder could go very far. They have already swept the Spurs during the regular season and have played well against them in recent years.

Kevin Durant will have to keep his scoring pace going as the MVP takes on the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Credit: nba.si.com
Kevin Durant will have to keep his scoring pace going as the MVP takes on the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
Credit: nba.si.com

The Eastern Conference Finals will be played first on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The Indiana Pacers will host the Miami Heat for the first game of the series. Then on Monday, the San Antonio Spurs will host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9 p.m. for the first game of that series. These games are must-see NBA playoff T.V. It’s the four best teams of the NBA squaring off and you just can’t miss it!

Christian Athlete of the Week: Nenê

At birth, his name was Maybyner Rodney Hilario, but we all know him simply as Nenê. The Brazilian basketball player was originally drafted by the New York Knicks in the 1st round of the 2002 NBA Draft, but was then immediately traded to the Denver Nuggets. He began his rookie season as a bench player, but then started to ease into the starting lineup by the end of the year. Next season, as a full-time starter, he averaged 11.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Problems with injuries slowed his career down at Denver, but then on January 11, 2008, Nenê received some devastating news: he had testicular cancer. He was only 25 years old when doctors found the tumor and it seemed as if his NBA career was coming to a sudden stop to the power forward. He talks about going through that difficult time to The Christian Post:

I say: ‘Why? Why me? All bad dudes around, why me? I’m a good guy,'” said Nenê, according to the Post. “But God, when He want to test someone, He put this kind of test and He bless you after that. I had to prove that I can get back from cancer. From cancer!” (Credit: The Christian Post)

Nenê stayed diligent in prayer and on January 14th, 2008, he got the tumor removed at a Denver hospital. He returned to action on March 27th later that year and received a standing ovation. Even better, the Nuggets won the game by beating the Dallas Mavericks 118-105. Now, Nenê is playing for the Washington Wizards and finished the regular season with 14.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He has been a huge help for the Wizards in their playoff run. In the series win against the Chicago Bulls, Nenê averaged 17.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Currently, the Wizards are down 3-1 to the Indiana Pacers and are facing elimination. 

However, Nenê has learned how to deal with any tough situation. Growing up in Brazil, he wasn’t always so fortunate and his story is a true rags to riches kind of tale. 

“I always remember what I’ve been through to be here,” Nenê said. “I have no shoes, I have no clothes, but I was blessed. I remember my mom. She have money to buy the food or give to God like you’re supposed to, because we’re Christian. She give to God and say, ‘You know, we don’t have food today, but God is going to provide our future.'”

Whether it was cancer or poverty, Nenê learned how to trust God in difficult situations. His wife, Lauren Hilario, was also going through brain cancer around the same time that Nenê had testicular cancer. The couple have now celebrated five years of marriage and have a baby boy together. Nenê is now making more money than he could ever dream of and God has truly blessed his life. 

“I realize God, He marked me, to understand, back in the day when I diagnosed with cancer, He said, ‘You’re going to have it because you’re going to help a lot of people,'” Nenê said. “I’m not nothing without God. The things I’ve been through, I been through because He was with me. If I wasn’t, I would’ve fell on the first wall.”

Nenê understood that just because you are a good person does not mean that bad things won’t happen to you. Nenê now knows what God’s plan for him is and said he will retire before the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He said he wanted to retire earlier than most people would expect him to (around the age of 33) so he can be more involved with God is the Answer, his church in Brazil. A humble man with a humbling past, Nenê is a true role model of Christian athletes everywhere.

Learning from the 2014 NFL Draft

This was one of the deepest draft classes of all time. There was so much talented to be distributed and many teams got future stars with their investment. Let’s break down this 2014 NFL Draft to see what exactly happened last weekend.

First off, 14 quarterbacks were selected, three in the first round. Blake Bortles was the first of many to come. Probably the biggest surprise was Jimmy Garoppolo being picked in the 2nd round by the New England Patriots. That’s the highest the Patriots have drafted a quarterback in the draft since Tom Brady took over as the starter. This was considered a steal from Houston, who was planning on taking a quarterback with their next pick. Brady still has two to three, maybe even four more years left in him, so what does that mean for Garoppolo? Well, if he got drafted by the Texans, he probably would have been rushed in to start on week one. With the Patriots, Garoppolo will learn from Brady and will be groomed into an NFL-ready quarterback. He probably won’t be starting any time soon unless Brady gets injured, but this could be a Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers type of deal that Bill Belichick is going for. If Garoppolo ends up succeeding Brady and exceeding expectations, this could be one of the greatest draft picks of the Patriots’ franchise.

This draft also marked the first time since 1937 where no Texas player was drafted. It also broke the record for the longest time gone before a running back got picked. The first player didn’t get off the board until the Tennessee Titans selected Bishop Sankey in the second round with the 54th overall pick. Sankey will make a good replacement for Chris Johnson, who is now with the Jets.

I thought that a lot of teams got much better through this draft, starting with Jacksonville. The Jaguars got their franchise quarterback and then built the rest of the draft around him. They got the former Wide Receiver-of-the-Year winner Marqise Lee out of USC and then also added Allen Robinson from Penn State, a big target for Bortles to throw to.

The St. Louis Rams took advantage of their great draft picks with players that can start right away for the team. They solidified both their offensive line with Greg Robinson of Auburn and their defensive line with Aaron Donald out of Pitt. They got Florida State defensive back Lamarcus Joyner who can play both corner and safety. They also finished their draft in style by selecting Michael Sam in the 7th round, making him the first NFL player to be openly gay. He will definitely be a back-up in the league, but will make the most out of his opportunities once he gets the chance.

The Houston Texans also had a great draft, despite not selecting a quarterback till the 135th pick with Tom Savage out of Pitt. However, they did manage to grab Jadeveon Clowney and they continued to bulk up the trenches with the addition of Xavier Su’a-Filo, the guard from UCLA, and Louis Nix III, the defensive tackle from Notre Dame. Their defensive line is now settled with veteran J.J. Watt already establishing himself as one of the best in the business.

There is so many other things to say about this draft, like how the Baltimore Ravens replaced Ray Lewis with Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and how the Green Bay Packers improved their secondary with fellow Alabama star Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. However, none of this matters until opening kickoff when all of these players have made their mark on the gridiron. For all we know, some of these players might end up as busts or some of them might end up as future Hall of Famers. You never know in the great world of the NFL.

Manchester City wins Premier League Title

Manchester City won its second English Premier League Title in three years after a 2-0 win over West Ham United. Samir Nasri scored the first goal with six minutes left in the first half and then Vincent Kompany sealed the match with a goal in the 49th minute. Liverpool finished second in the league with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United to make their final regular season record 26-6-6. Chelsea rallied back in their game to defeat Cardiff City 2-1 to land the 3rd spot on the table. As for Arsenal, they will head into the FA Cup final at Wembley with a five-game win streak after a 2-0 victory over Norwich on the road. The first team to make it to  the Europa League was Everton, who beat Hull City 2-0. It was Roberto Martinez’s first season as a manager for the club and he did very well for the team, leading them to a 21-9-8 record. Tottenham Hotspur secured the last spot in next season’s Europa League after an easy 3-0 win over Aston Villa. Both Cardiff City and Norwich will be relegated to a smaller league, as well as Fulham who ended their season with a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace. They finished the season with 24 losses after winning 11 games and losing 17 last year. After Manchester United won last year’s Barclays Premier League Champion, they fell all the way to 7th on this year’s table. Hopefully with Louis van Gaal on board, United will climb its way back to the top again.

The end of the Premier League regular season has now come to a close. Manchester City star Yaya Toure led the way for the winning club with 20 goals this season, a career-high for the 30-year-old midfielder from the Ivory Coast. He finished third in the league in goals scored behind Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (31) and Daniel Sturridge (21). Toure also tied for first on his team in assists with 9. Overall, it was a great season for him and his Manchester City club.

Redskins Address Draft Needs

The Redskins had a lot of needs in their roster this off-season, especially on defense. Washington drafted eight players and even though they did not have a first round pick this year, they still managed to grab some talent. Here’s a look at who they drafted:

Round 2, Pick 47: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford – The 6’5″ and 250- pound pass rusher led the NCAA in sacks with 15. At first I was surprised at this pick, because Washington already has Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo as their sack artists. Then I realized what need they were addressing here: tackling. The Redskins’ defense had horrible tackling and with London Fletcher gone, this was something that had to be addressed early in the draft. Murphy is a tackling machine. He could basically play anywhere in the front seven. The Redskins will probably use him as a rotational pass rusher or maybe stick him somewhere in the middle with Perry Riley. He could also play on special teams, which is something that Redskins needed as well. When you really think about it, this was a good pick for Washington. I just don’t see where they will put him, but I’m sure Jim Haslett will utilize his abilities.

Round 3, Pick 66: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia – I thought this guy would be taken in the first 50 picks of the draft, but he slid all the way to 66 and that was good news for Washington. They desperately needed an offensive tackle and they got one of the best in Moses. He played both right and left offensive tackle in college, but will most definitely play right tackle seeing that Trent Williams is holding down the left side already. At 6’6″ and 314 pounds, this guy is an immovable force that can both pass protect and run block. Moses will probably start on opening day after he gets some good coaching during training camp.

Round 3, Pick 78: Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska – The Redskins are officially stacked on offensive line. This was one of the biggest needs after last season and Jay Gruden has targeted the right guys to move forward. Gruden is known to prefer big lineman that take up space. That’s exactly what Long is. He’s 6’5″ and 320 pounds, but he’s faster than he looks. Like Moses, there’s a possibility he could start in week one, depending on how well he does in training camp. Good pick for the Redskins bulking up the depth on offensive lineman.

Round 4, Pick 102: Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson – Secondary was a huge need for the Redskins after getting torched by receivers last year. With the addition of Tracy Porter during free agency, Breeland will probably be the third or fourth corner on the depth chart. The preseason games will definitely test the young kid, who can also play well against the run. This was a pretty good steal for Washington, knowing that this guy can mature into a great defensive back in the NFL.

Round 5, Pick 142: Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane – No this is not the former running back from Green Bay. Grant is a short receiver at 6’0″, but can run good routes and has great hands. It seems as if the Redskins don’t need any more receivers because of the free agency landing of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. Grant will provide competition during training camp and could move up in the depth chart after the preseason. In the future, he might replace Santana Moss, who is getting up there in age and is losing productivity as he gets older.

Round 6, Pick 186: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor – The top running back coming out of high school, Seastrunk originally went to Oregon, but then transferred to Baylor after sharing the backfield with De’Anthony Thomas. His first name is pronounced “Lake” and he was known for his incredible speed. In college, he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash, but then at the NFL Combine, he only ran a 4.51. He’s probably the most athletic running back of this draft class, having the highest vertical jump (41.5 inches) and longest broad jump (11’2″). He was the semifinalist for the Doak Walker Running Back of the Year Award in college after leading the Big 12 with 107 rushing yards per game. He is also the first player in Baylor history to have back-to-back 1,000 yards rushing. With a backfield already occupied by Alfred Morris (who was also a 6th-round draft pick) Seastrunk will ease into the NFL and produce a few game-changing plays every once in a while.

Round 7, Pick 217: Ted Bolser, TE, Indiana – At first, this pick didn’t make any sense either. The Redskins already have Jordan Reed, Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen as their tight ends. However, Reed did have concussion issues and Paul has not played up to expectations so far. Bolser will primarily be used for special teams, but he did have six receiving touchdowns last season, which shows that he can be very productive. He was the semifinalist for the John Mackey award which is given to the nation’s best tight end and he set Indiana tight end records with 117 receptions, 1,337 yards and 15 touchdowns. He will be a big target for Robert Griffin III, standing tall at 6’5″ and 257 pounds. The only reason why he fell so far in the draft is because he is not a good blocker. It will be interesting to see how the Redskins will use this guy.

Round 7, Pick 228: Zach Hocker, K, Arkansas – I was upset with the Redskins drafting a kicker. They already have two kickers on the roster, including Kai Forbath who was the team’s starting kicker for the last two years. If you are getting a kicker though, you might as well get this one. Hocker connected on 16 of 19 field-goal attempts with a long of 51 and all 56 extra-point tries. He broke the school record for points by a kicker in 2011 with 118 after making 21 of 27 FGs with a long of 50 and 55 of 57 PATs. He will compete for the job in Washington.

Draft Grade: B-

I thought the Redskins did address some needs, but not all of them. I personally believed that they should have drafted a safety. They had many chances too, passing up on guys like Terrence Brooks from Florida State, Brock Vereen from Minnesota and they had multiple chances to grab Ahmad Dixon from Baylor. I guess with the signing of Ryan Clark and the resigning of Tanard Jackson and Brandon Merriweather, Washington felt like they were pretty strong at that position. I also thought that the drafting of Murphy was good, but not great and the drafting of wide receiver Ryan Grant was unnecessary and could have been used to draft a defensive back. Maybe next year, Gruden will have a much better draft with that 1st round pick in his pocket. Hopefully the Redskins will make good use of these players and make them useful for the Washington franchise.