A coach might be able to change a losing mentality, but filling the roster with winners enables the change to come from the players. It felt like that kind of draft: No one flashy, but a class whose sum contributions may be greater than any one part.
There were various takes on Scot McCloughan’s first draft, but for a team that needed an infusion, it got one, and the draft was mostly praised. If you missed any of portion of our coverage, here’s draft weekend at a glance:
● Adam Kilgore wrote that it’s too early to judge the players picked, but one weekend is enough to judge the man doing the picking:
“Whether McCloughan’s vision succeeds will be determined in the years to come. But at least we know he has a vision, a refreshing change from the recent Redskins drafts that unfolded as if Bruce Allen used a blindfold, a dartboard and old copies of Street & Smith. “● Here’s Liz Clarke, writing about how the introduction of the first three picks in this draft class showed how McCloughan values size:
“Last season’s 4-12 Redskins were a team casting about for an identity. After a flurry of offseason moves to remake the front office, coaching staff and veteran ranks, an identity appears to be taking shape. There is a coherence to General Manager Scot McCloughan’s early moves, and the themes are size, toughness and grit.● In Mark Maske’s draft grades, Washington did well.
“Getting back to old-style football, hard-nosed football, bringing back the Hogs — he talked about that,” [first-round tackle Brandon] Scherff said, recounting his dinner conversation with [offensive line coach Bill] Callahan. “That’s what we’re going to try to do this coming year.”
“Brandon Scherff is a good player and if he becomes a reliable starter at right tackle, all is well. But if he ends up playing guard, he might not have been worth the No. 5 overall pick. Will the Redskins regret passing up DE Leonard Williams, perhaps the draft’s top defensive player?”Click on through to see more on Washington, plus analysis of 31 other drafts, and grades.
● Washington drafted 10 players, including three offensive linemen, two linebackers and two defensive backs. Here’s the full draft haul, and the prospect bios that come with them. Here’s an excerpt from what was written about fourth-round guard Arie Kouandjio:
“He’s strong enough to shove defenders off the line of scrimmage and has exceptional combat skills with superior hands. An outstanding run blocker, it’s in pass protection against speed rushers where Kouandijo needs improvement. He struggles to move in space and a lack of functional athleticism will be among his biggest hurdles to overcome. Though he lacks versatility, Kouandijo has all the physical tools needed to be a quality starter in the NFL and could be drafted as high as the second round.”● Mike Jones gathered Coach Jay Gruden’s thoughts on each of the 10 picks, a class the coach seemed pretty pleased about. Gruden’s comments on one of the final choices, sixth-round wide receiver Evan Spencer, seems to say something about what the team was looking for:
“I think he’s going to be here for a while just because of his mental makeup. He’s a heck of a person and he’s going to work extremely hard. When you have a guy that’s that big and that fast and loves the competition and loves to play special teams, loves to block safeties and cornerbacks, you’ll find a spot for them on your football team.”● Gruden, again via Mike, said something similar when he explained why he liked Washington’s Day 2 picks.
“We’re just going to try to add tough, physical players,” Coach Jay Gruden said Friday night after the completion of the third round. “That’s the whole motto here. We’re going to add guys that are tough and want to compete and the tougher the better. These two guys, and of course adding Brandon yesterday, these are three, physical guys that love to compete. The more the merrier.”