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Need to Know: What will Redskins GM McCloughan look for at the NFL Combine?

Feb 6, 2015, 6:43 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 6, 12 days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

Before addressing this, I should mention that I will be covering the NFL Combine from Indianapolis starting February 17. I’m still in the planning stages but expect a lot of information about players the Redskins might be interested in (which, as I noted here, could be just about any player in the draft pool).

Anyway, I’ll be there mostly to talk to draft prospects and that probably is what Scot McCloughan plans to do a lot of as well. He talked about what he’s looking for during player interviews a few weeks ago while he was at the Senior Bowl.

“You’ve got them for 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes,” he told reporters in Mobile. “It’s great just to start the whole portfolio. You see the talent on tape, but to see the person – what really drives him and the passion and competitiveness, what they’ve overcome in their life, what’s the family situation is like.  So, yeah, it’s just building the whole package”

And to answer your primary question, Hap, film does give a much better idea of what a player can do for a team than does running the 40, bench pressing, and the short shuttle.

“I think game tape is the DNA. That’s it,” McCloughan said at his introductory press conference. “You don’t play in T-shirts and shorts. All these kids nowadays get these speed trainers and nutritionists prior to the combine and I don’t blame them, if it gets them more money it gets them more money. I always go back to the tape. I have to. That’s the way I was taught.”

Some teams use the data from the combine more than others do. The Raiders are notorious for drafting based heavily on combine 40 times and other results from the artificial turn inside the domed stadium.. It sounds like McCloughan is on the other end of the spectrum.

Some teams might use combine results as a tiebreaker between two players or as a small percentage of their overall grades. It varies. But don’t believe it when the draft analysts say that a player is shooting up or down the draft board due to his results in the bench press or in the three-cone drill. They just aren’t that important.

But getting to know the prospects is important and that will be the focus of the Redskins’ new GM.


—It’s been 40 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 221 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 32; Redskins offseason workouts start 73; 2015 NFL Draft 84

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. clayton268921 - Feb 6, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    If Leonard Williams falls to the skins at 5 I think the Skins brass will be ecstatic. If Mariota falls to five and they can find a trade partner wanting to jump the Jets I think that would also be ideal especially if they can get a good haul.

    Outside of those two scenarios, which seem unlikely, I don’t like the redskins options in the first round. Five is a tough pick, you miss out on those top talents more often than not I would think.

    I’m curious of the draft history at pick #5

    • bangkokben - Feb 6, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      Sean Taylor at #5. This year there is no Sean Taylor.

    • bangkokben - Feb 6, 2015 at 10:11 AM

      2004 Sean Taylor
      2005 Cadillac Williams
      2006 A.J. Hawk
      2007 Levi Brown
      2008 Glen Dorsey
      2009 Mark Sanchez
      2010 Eric Berry
      2011 Patrick Petersen
      2012 Justin Blackmon
      2013 Ezekiel Ansah
      2014 Khalil Mack

  2. goback2rfk - Feb 6, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    If Mariota is still there at 5 why not take him. Get Cousins out of town and have Mariota in there to fuel RG3.

    • bangkokben - Feb 6, 2015 at 10:02 AM

      From the Lego Movie

      Wyldstyle: That is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
      Vitruvius: Please, Wyldstyle. Let me handle this.
      [to Emmet]
      Vitruvius: That idea is just the worst.

    • Joe Greene - Feb 6, 2015 at 5:37 PM

      I like Mariota, but he’s still a system QB who is going to take years to develop into a true pocket passer. I’d much rather trade that spot if he (or Jailhouse) slides, dump Bob off on whomever is dumb enough to take him, and move on with a later pick to challenge Kirk for the spot.

      • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 6, 2015 at 6:50 PM

        The term “system QB” is ridiculous. All QBs play within a system.

        But forget that Cousins has shown zero consistency as a starter in his career (and I’ve posted about that before, with facts to back it up). You want to trade a 24-year old QB (and former #2 pick, and a former OROY, and a player who led his team to a division title) and waste the pick on another QB that would be a project anyway (and a low-round QB, at that)? You couldn’t even suggest an O-line or defense pick?

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 7, 2015 at 1:42 AM

          Joseph “Tubby” Greene is too busy demolishing a snack cake to be bothered with the facts

  3. bangkokben - Feb 6, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    The combine is good for getting accurate measurables. Odell Beckham’s hands for instance. I remember the pundits blasting the Giants for picking him too high especially with so many talented receivers.

    As for the film, Peter Warrick looked awesome to the untrained eye and then ran a 4.5. Maybe he played faster? Nope. Not a good NFLer.

    • ET - Feb 6, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      On the other hand, Breeland ran a fairly slow 40, and there was concern he wouldn’t be able to keep pace with speedier WRs. His “measurables” hurt his draft stock, but thankfully the Skins picked him anyway.

    • Joe Greene - Feb 6, 2015 at 5:38 PM

      Accurate measurables and interviews to get a glimpse into character, especially for guys with some kind of trouble in their past. Anything beyond that is fools gold.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 7, 2015 at 1:46 AM

        What a stupid comment [deleted] all the Combine is is measurables and interveiws. Theres also medical but thats part of interviews and if not than how is that foolf gold [deleted]

        • Joe Greene - Feb 7, 2015 at 4:20 PM

          Go [deleted] yourself you [deleted].

        • Rich Tandler - Feb 7, 2015 at 4:30 PM

          OK, guys, one and only one warning. I don’t have time to monitor sandbox fights. Knock it off.

  4. Stephfan - Feb 6, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    We need to draft a dline men or lb simply as that. Get a safty or 2 in free agency. Then pick oL, dl and cb in the draft. They should focus on the d in this draft and Oline

    • captblood3000 - Feb 6, 2015 at 7:39 PM

      That’s not how McCloughan will draft, Stephfan. There may be picks where they have closely spaced top grades on multiple prospects, then you’ll see them “draft for need”. Expect 2 out of 3. Archives

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