by Grant PaulsenBy Grant Paulsen

The Redskins drafted seven players in the 2013 NFL Draft, which concluded on Saturday. Washington’s haul featured a pair of safeties and two running backs.

2nd round, 51st overall: David Amerson — CB, N.C. State

High-risk, high-reward selection of a cornerback who led the nation in interceptions in 2011 and picked off 18 passes in 26 career games at NC State. Amerson has the combination of size (6-1, 205) and speed (4.44 40-yard dash) that teams look for in a starting cornerback, and his ball-tracking skills helped him to become one of the nation’s top play-making defenders over the past couple of seasons. He’s also given up a slew of big plays based on the chances he takes, an area Washington’s coaching staff will have to help him improve in if he’s going to reach his potential.

What Mike Shanahan said:

“I thought Amerson played well the last couple of years. He’s done a good job of getting interceptions. He’s a guy we think can play in off coverage and in bump coverage. He’s got the speed that you look for. He’s got some length. He’s just a guy we thought would fit into our system very well. Very sharp player.

What Amerson said about his propensity for intercepting the football:

“Making the big play on the defensive side of the ball, turning the ball over, is something that can change the game. It definitely turns games around and steals games as well, and that’s something I try to pride myself on. Just preparation and knowing when to take chances and when not to.”

3rd round, 85th overall: Jordan Reed — TE, Florida

Reed is a supremely athletic tight end with wide receiver skills and the type of open-field ability to make plays after the catch. With Fred Davis coming off a serious Achilles injury, Logan Paulsen a steady blocking and short-yardage option and Niles Paul still considered a project — Reed has the chance to contribute to Washington’s offense has a receiver as soon as this season. He needs to get stronger and better as a blocker, but Reed could present matchup problems with his size (6-2, 236 pounds) and athleticism. He’s drawn comparisons to New England tight end, and fellow former Florida Gator, Aaron Hernandez.

What Shanahan said:

“We had him as a top receiving tight end and that’s one of the reasons why we drafted him. We feel like he’s got those intangibles you look for, a lot like [Aaron] Hernandez. I’m not sure if Hernandez is that fast, but he’s got the ability to beat linebackers and defensive backs because he knows how to run routes and this guy is very similar.”

What Reed said:

“I catch the ball well. I run good routes. I am a hard worker and I take pride in that. I am going to work on becoming a better blocker and all-around player.”

4th round, 119th overall: Phillip Thomas — S, Fresno State

A ball-hawking free safety who led the nation with eight interceptions in 2012, Thomas is an athletic 208-pound defensive back with natural instincts and stellar athleticism and hands. The 6-foot tall safety began his career at Fresno State as a strong safety before transition to free safety, where he became a consensus 2012 All-American at the position he’ll play in Washington. Thomas was considered a potential second round pick and a safe bet to be off the board before the end of the third round according to most draft pundits. Washington’s ability to nab him in the fourth round is a testament to this draft class’ depth secondary depth.

What Shanahan said:

“He does a great job adjusting to the football. He wasn’t afraid to hit people, he would support the run. He played a lot of different coverages that we play. When we did meet with him, he was very quick mentally and we think he’ll adjust very quickly to our system.”

What Thomas said:

“My style of play allows me to play both [safety positions]. I’m great at going to get the ball when it’s in the air. I did a lot of things as far as blitzing and playing in the box, so I feel like I’m an interchangeable safety that can make plays in the box and also play in the high hole and make plays in the air.”

5th round, 154th overall: Chris Thompson — RB, Florida State

A diminutive 5-foot, 7-inch tailback from Florida State, Thompson was extremely productive in the ACC when he was healthy enough to get on the field. The 192-pound, ball-carrier overcame a broken bone in his back and a torn ACL in his left knee while with the Seminoles. With plus-speed (he once ran a sub 4.4 40-yard dash) and the ability to catch passes out of the backfield, Washington may have pegged Thompson as a possible change-of-pace burner to operate opposite powerful tailback Alfred Morris.

What Shanahan said:

“I think Chris is a guy that could excel against nickel defenses, he could be that third-down back. He’s got great hands, he’s got great elusiveness, he’s the type of guy that I think can do it all. You always like to have a couple backs that compliment each other and I think he’ll compliment a lot of our running backs in what they do.”

What Thompson said:

“My knee is feeling really good. I’ve been told by my trainers that by training camp I should be fine. I’ve been working out real hard and I’ve been feeling good so far. Now I’m just ready to join the Redskins and continue to get my knee better.. I could feel real comfortable there, being able to be in the gun and do those things like the read-option that are real dangerous. I think with my speed and my ability, it could be a real great option.”

5th round, 162nd overall: Brandon Jenkins — DE/LB, Florida State

The Florida State linebacker was seen as an intriguing pass-rusher entering his final season of college, which ended quarters into his first game of the year this past fall. Jenkins, who posted 22.5 career sacks as a down defensive end, suffered a Lisfranc injury to his foot in the Seminoles’ season-opener, in which he had already posted a sack and defended three passes. The 6-foot-2, 251-pound linebacker will have to master the skills of standing up and playing linebacker in space, something he was last asked to do in high school.

What Shanahan said:

“We had him ranked fairly high. I thought last season he played extremely well. Would he have gone in the first round or second round if not for the injury? I don’t know. But he was impressive.”

What Jenkins said:

“I’m bring pass-rushing dependability, great character on and off the field, and a hard-worker.. I’m ready to go the Redskins and show what I’ve got. Nobody’s life is perfect. You’ve got to fail to succeed. you’ve got to go through things to make you stronger and that only made me stronger.”

6th round, 191st overall: Bacarri Rambo — S, Georgia

A good player at national championship caliber program in an elite conference, Rambo was seen as a mid-round talent entering the weekend. The Redskins selecting him at No. 191 was a value selection, and a sensible decision even after the team had already selected Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas. Rambo — 6-foot and 211-pounds — is a physical defender and a big hitter who finished second in the nation with eight interceptions in 2011. The former scout-team quarterback can play both safety positions, but two drug-related suspensions during his college career likely led to him sliding further down the draft board than expected.

What Shanahan said:

“The way he played the game, you can tell he’s a tremendous athlete. Just a guy that has great intangibles and made plays all over the football field. I think his game will just get better and better. We do a lot of background checks. We talk to him, coaches and head coaches. If we don’t feel comfortable with somebody, we don’t sign him and we felt very comfortable with him.”

What Rambo said:

“I thought everybody had forgotten about me. The Redskins called and it’s just a blessed moment. I thank the organization for believing in me. It was very hard because I felt like a lot of those guys weren’t near the guy I was, but everything happens for a reason. It put a big chip on my shoulder, so I’ll just have to go out there and prove it to everybody.”

7th round, 228th overall: Jawan Jamison — RB, Rutgers

An undersized running back from Rutgers, Jamison declared for the NFL draft despite having two years of eligibility left for financial reasons. His mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer and the 5-foot-7 tailback is hoping to latch on in the NFL to support her and his siblings. The 203-pound, ball-carrier was a two-year starter in college who was in the process of breaking out before being hobbled by an ankle bruise that slowed his progress this past season. Jamison ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds, but did post 20 bench press reps at the NFL combine.

What Shanahan said:

“Jamison is a guy that I thought would be going much earlier. We weren’t really looking for that running back in that seventh round, but when he was there, we just thought he was too good to pass up. When a guy is in the seventh round that you ranked much higher, we thought he could do a lot of the same things. Not only could he excel in the nickel package, but he could be a first-down runner as well.”

What Jamison said about his pass-protection skills:

“I feel like I do that very well. I didn’t give up, as I recall, any sacks this past season and I catch up to the pass protection schemes very well and quick. I feel like I do a very good job at [catching the ball] because I know that being a running back isn’t all about just running the ball. You have to be able to be versatile, especially nowadays.”

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