Our series where we project the rookie LSU Tigers brings us to the nation’s capital, where Washington took left tackle Saahdiq Charles early in the fourth round of the draft. Joining us today is Mark Tyler from Hogs Haven.
1. It feels like the Trent Williams trade has been a long time coming, and basically moments after Williams was dealt, Washington took Charles. Is he the Redskins new left tackle?
The hope this summer is that Charles can come in and compete for the starting left tackle spot. Currently, the Redskins have well-traveled veteran Cornelius Lucas, who we signed as a free agent, and 2018 third round pick Geron Christian. The former may be best as a swing tackle, while the latter hasn’t developed like the team had hoped. This certainly opens the door for Charles to come in and win the position in training camp. There is also a chance the Redskins sign a veteran like Jason Peters or Cordy Glenn as a one-year stop gap.
2. Coach O said that if Charles came back to LSU for one last year he’d be a first or second round pick. Washington gets him in the fourth. There’s gotta be some excitement getting a player that talented at a discount right?
I was very high on Charles going into the draft. I viewed him as a second round talent who would drop some due to off-field concerns. It thought it was tremendous value to get a player like him in the fourth round. I kept going back to the Alabama game, where I thought he outplayed both Wills and Leatherwood. The fan-base was very excited when his name was called, and that excitement has certainly grown over the last few days.
3. Elephant in the room is Charles missing six games last year for disciplinary reasons. Is that a concern on Washington’s end?
The off-field issues are certainly a concern; I would be lying if I told you otherwise. But I do feel we have a great leader in Ron Rivera, and a locker room consisting of some very good vets who can help keep him on the straight and narrow. Our offense is young and still looking for an identity, but we have guys like Adrian Peterson, Brandon Scherff(more of a lead-by-example type of guy) and Morgan Moses. On defense we have Jonathan Allen, Ryan Kerrigan, Thomas Davis and Landon Collins - all great leaders in their own right. Ultimately, Charles has to WANT to become great, but unlike in the past, I believe the structure is now in place to help him succeed.
4. Finally if Charles isn’t already Washington’s starter at left tackle, what will he need to show in camp to win that job?
Well, going back to my answer to the first question - I do feel that Ron Rivera will want competition at every position. He signed a lot of veterans to one year prove-it deals so they could do just that - prove it. Nothing will be handed to Charles, but the opportunity he landed in couldn’t have boded any better for him in terms of being given the chance to compete for what we all view as an open position.
First, he’ll need to start building chemistry with his linemates. This is very important, as he’ll have a new starter to his right, and it’s vital they work in conjunction and be able to effectively communicate with one another.
Second, he’ll need to earn the respect of his teammates. One thing Trent Williams did well when he entered the league as a rookie was to COMMAND the respect of his teammates through his play on the field and his attitude in the locker room. It’s tough for any rookie to do this, but if Saahdiq can achieve this, it will be monumental for his success.
Finally, he’s got to be a sponge - both in meetings and in his playbook. He needs to be able to take what he’s learned in the classroom and have that translate to practices and scrimmages/games.
If he does all these things, shows a good attitude and works hard, these, combined with the athletic traits he possesses, could easily land him the starting left tackle spot as a rookie.