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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a non-Heisman QB?

Apr 2, 2015, 4:58 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 2, 28 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Nickel Coverage

Five thoughts on the NFL draft, which gets underway in Chicago four weeks from today:

—Earlier this week I touched on why the Redskins might not want to trade down in the draft this year. I have come up with another reason why they might want to stay put with the No. 5 pick. Scot McCloughan is not as prepared for this draft as he usually is. He spent the fall in the Pacific Northwest doing consulting work for NFL teams. He was not on the road getting the nitty-gritty about prospects. He also is working with a personnel staff he’s not very familiar with. This could be his worst draft with the Redskins. McCloughan may just want to play it straight this year and wheel and deal for multiple picks starting in 2016.

—Here is why I like Dante Fowler more than the other big-time edge rushers in this draft. He might not be quite as good a pure pass rusher as Shane Ray or Vic Beasley but he will be better setting the edge against the run. Maybe you’d rather have Ray or Beasley in there on third and ten. Problem is, it’s often going to be third and three because offenses will run right at them. Fowler can stop the run on first and second downs and then do a more than adequate job getting after the QB on third down.

—I will be somewhat surprised if the Redskins don’t take a running back sometime between the second and fourth rounds. Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska and T. J. Yeldon of Alabama are two guys I’m looking at right now but I need to start looking deeper. I’m not sure they’re sold on Chris Thompson and Silas Redd. Gruden has spoken highly of them recently but he doesn’t have much choice right now since they’re the only depth on the roster behind Alfred Morris. As Stephen Stills would say, this is a case of “Love the One You’re With”.

—Will McCloughan go through seven rounds without taking an offensive lineman? I know that the team doesn’t perceive the need there to the extent that the fans do and I don’t think McCloughan is the type to force a pick. On the other hand, they need bodies. The Redskins went with 10 offensive linemen last year. Out of that group, Tyler Polumbus is gone and Josh LeRibeus is on the bubble. If Spencer Long wins the starting job at right guard the organization may not want to keep Chris Chester around as a $4 million dollar backup. There are three potential openings right there. I think McCloughan will grab one or two at some point. Perhaps he’ll get them later on, sometime on Saturday afternoon, and rely on Bill Callahan to coach them up.

—The chances are pretty good they take a quarterback, one not named Mariota (he’ll be gone by pick No. 5). It would be borderline irresponsible to go into the season with no quarterbacks under contract for 2016. Will they be the team that overdrafts either Brett Hundley or Bryce Petty in the third round? Perhaps they’ll be patient and get rewarded with Garrett Grayson, more of a pocket passer out of Colorado State, sitting there in the fourth round.


—It’s been 95 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 164 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 18; 2015 NFL Draft 28; Redskins training camp starts 119

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. jayovalentine - Apr 2, 2015 at 5:27 AM

    Hundley in the 4th !

    • renhoekk2 - Apr 2, 2015 at 12:09 PM

      Cook, Hackenberg, Jones, or Goff next year!!

  2. troylok - Apr 2, 2015 at 6:37 AM

    As for drafting a running back, I believe Gruden wants a running back who has great hands as well as some speed, but he’s not looking for depth – he’s looking for a new starter.

    I agree on Fowler. He could be an every down linebacker.

  3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 2, 2015 at 7:51 AM

    Considering how high our 3rd round pick is, I don’t think it should be used on a QB unless McGlue thinks he could be the guy.

  4. rayvil01 - Apr 2, 2015 at 7:53 AM

    “It would be borderline irresponsible to go into the season with no quarterbacks under contract for 2016.”

    Rich, that raises an interesting question about this May deadline for 5th year contracts. Is there any chance they offer one to RG3 OR Cousins? Could you imagine the firestorm if they gave Cousins one and not RG?

    • Bryan - Apr 2, 2015 at 8:19 AM

      I could be wrong but cousins doesn’t have a option to be picked up since he wasn’t first round pick and this coming from a rg3 guy I wouldn’t pick up that expensive options is let him play out year or so something that is team friendly in that not much guaranteed incase he doesn’t turn it around. IR we we’re going to draft a qb this year id say grab Colorado state guy and see what he has to offer if rg3 doesn’t turn it around this year. My only question is if they grab Colorado st kid who gets cut from 3 we have. The kid has talent and it’s doubtful he can be stashed on practice squad.

      • ET - Apr 2, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        If they grab Grayson, I’d imagine Colt is released. But that really depends on everyone’s camp performance, doesn’t it?

      • Rich Tandler - Apr 2, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        Correct, no option possible on Cousins. An extension could be negotiated with any player at any time.

        To me, the logical thing to do if another QB is drafted would be to try to trade Cousins. If you can’t and it just comes down to needing to cut a QB you cut McCoy.

        > > >

        • bowlregard - Apr 2, 2015 at 9:58 AM

          Any chance a late round QB could be stashed on the practice squad?

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 2, 2015 at 10:31 AM

          Teams usually won’t risk it with a drafted QB, at least not prior to 7th round. Might try with an undrafted prospect.

          > > >

    • troylok - Apr 2, 2015 at 9:11 AM

      I think it would be an interesting scenario to sign both to “make it or break it” kind of contracts with no guaranteed money and lots of performance incentives. It would be interesting to sit both down at the table at the same time and say, “Look, one of you could be the starter or neither of you could be the starter. What we have on the table here are duplicate starting quarterback contracts. One of you will be playing under this and one of you will be either traded or cut. It’s up to you which one it is going to be.”

      • renhoekk2 - Apr 2, 2015 at 12:03 PM

        They should know this is their make or break year. Neither will agree to that with the Redskins. They would rather hit FA than agree to that. And if the only way to get a better performance from either one is to wave a big bag of cash in front of them, then you probably don’t want either one as your starting QB.

  5. captblood3000 - Apr 2, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    This could have been several posts.

    When you draft BPA you put the law of supply and demand to work for you, right? So you tend to draft positions where the draft class is deep. This year that might be running back, guard, right tackle, wide receiver, edge rusher.

    Joe Barry could start Trent Murphy at ROLB and use Beasley or Ray in obvious passing situations. But whoever you pick at #5 needs to be an every down player within a year or two, or you haven’t gotten value with the pick.

    Isn’t LeRibeus a free agent after this year? This year has to be his last chance with the Redskins. Otherwise he’s a bust. Maybe Bill Callahan can salvage him.

    • ET - Apr 2, 2015 at 9:21 AM

      LeRibeus will need a helluva turnaround to convince coaches. He has the physical tools, sure, but showing up to camp overweight a few years back makes him a marked man.

      Interior line depth seems to be very deep in this draft, and I’d be surprised if Scott doesn’t use a mid-round pick or two on the offensive line.

  6. alextwrs - Apr 2, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    I agree with the Fowler assessment, now we just have to hope he or leonard williams falls to us. I still think Duke Johnson in the 4-5th and even 6th round is great value as a third down back. The more i look at the mock drafts the more i see good sized guards falling into later rounds. This could be a very valuable draft if the chips fall in the right places.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 2, 2015 at 12:28 PM

      Most likely scenario to me: Winston, Mariota, Fowler, Williams (or vicey-versey on Fowler-Williams). It still guarantees us a chance to pick a top prospect.

      Could be the Raiders will take a receiver for Carr to throw to, instead. Things will get interesting!

  7. mr.moneylover - Apr 2, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    Can anybody tell me who was the running back in the reese bowl ? I herd he was a under rated player coming out yield university

  8. renhoekk2 - Apr 2, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    Blasphemy Rich. Don’t you read the posts on here? Griffin is the Redskins QB. Once they get another new coach, replace the OL, install a better running game, and fix the defense, Griffin will become an elite QB in the NFL.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 2, 2015 at 12:55 PM

      A QB who took the team to their first Division Championship in 13 years playoffs for the first time in 9 years. Won Rookie of the Year and put up Hall of Fame worthy numbers When Given Time. Should not be dismissed for 2 bad years injured. especially with how bad our Oline has played. Even the GM who is known to be a great evaluator of talent liked him coming out College and said ” You dont give up on a player with that much talent this early”. What? Do you think our Oline is top 10? Do you think Hasslet should have kept his job because we have a top 10 Defense? If you do their are stats out there to prove you wrong.

      • hcicron - Apr 2, 2015 at 2:35 PM

        I’m a RG3 guy. I think with time he’ll improve to the player we all thought he would be. Having said that the RG3 who achieved all you mentioned above hasn’t set foot on the field since that year and most people doubt he ever will again.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 2, 2015 at 7:20 PM

          The Offensive Line hasn’t Pass Blocked that well either….HMMMM I wonder if that might be why??

  9. wildbill1952 - Apr 2, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    I understand the need to have a QB under contract for next year, but if any of the three we have now show progress, I think the Skins will be able to get them to sign an extension midseason. There are two reasons I can think of not to draft another QB this year:

    1) There are only 7 draft picks, maybe a couple of extra with a trade back. Using one of those picks on a QB wastes something that might be better served by drafting a guy (ala San Francisco) that may be injured and unable to play year 1, but may play big dividends in the future (Thinking Cedric Ogbuehi – OT here). He’d go round 1 if he hadn’t injured his knee and with the injury he could be picked in round 5 or 6, instead of a rookie QB that’s gone at the end of training camp.

    2) The coach’s time is extremely precious. This is the second year in Jay Gruden’s offense. Although I disagree with him vehemently on his assessment of the strength of the Skins OL, there is no doubting that a second year in the offense will produce some improvements with the QB, the RB’s and the WR’s and TE’s. (I don’t think anything will help the OL except an infusion of talent.) But the coach needs to spend his time with the QB’s he has. Splitting his time to re-explain concepts to a rookie who is unlikely to make the team wastes that precious resource also.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 2, 2015 at 12:04 PM

      No. 1 is a good point. But back to the top of your comment, I think it’s extremely optimistic to think that one of the three QB’s currently on the roster will be signing an extension around midseason. Can McCloughan really bet the future of the most important position on the field on that happening?

      And on No. 2, they did hire a very experienced QB coach who could teach the rookie. And if you think that a QB drafted in the middle rounds is “unlikely to make the team”, well, I think you should think again. Making a move like that represent a commitment.

  10. redskinsinrichmondva - Apr 2, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    “It would be borderline irresponsible to go into the season with no quarterbacks under contract for 2016.”

    And they can solve that issue. From the previous blogpost:

    “Without researching and recalculating what quarterback related trades the other 31 teams have made, we can’t be certain that the Redskins have spent more on quarterbacks than any other team. But it seems very safe to say that that they have expended a lot and have received very little in return.”

    So the solution to this problem is…to spend *more* draft capital on *another* QB? How has that worked for the Redskins since the ’90s?

    Adding an average or better QB to an NFL roster is difficult. Finding an average or better QB from later rounds in the draft is even more difficult. The Redskins have two QBs on the roster who will be under the age of 29 this season (the peak production age for QBs). One of those two QBs is a highly-touted QB prospect. I would think that a smart team would take *another* approach to team-building — perhaps by signing at least one of the young QBs in the offseason, and using the draft picks to build the rest of the roster — instead of recycling the same, unsuccessful approach that they’ve employed for most of two deacdes.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 2, 2015 at 12:47 PM

      If you’ve been through four years with the two QB’s and neither has grabbed the job, it’s time to move on. McCloughan can’t let what was spent in the past stop him from trying to fix the position if thinks that’s what needs to be done.

      > > >

      • redskinsinrichmondva - Apr 2, 2015 at 1:31 PM

        “If you’ve been through four years with the two QB’s and neither has grabbed the job, it’s time to move on.”

        Or you could just pick a QB, give him the starting job, and play him as you improve the rest of the roster; *then* look to add another QB if your starter is a replacement-level QB in his peak seasons. This would be a better approach than playing QB carousel after every sack/INT-game. If QBs grew on QB trees, replacing QBs would be easy. They don’t, and not only is it expensive to spend draft capital on QBs, it’s absurd to spend that capital when your roster already has *two* QBs who have not even entered their peak seasons; especially one QB who was a #2 pick.

        The Redskins have been “moving on” in this manner since 1992. When is the madness going to stop?

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 2, 2015 at 2:05 PM

        Im pretty sure they only played 3 years and use to be a time where teams didn’t give up on a QB they Drafted in the1st round till after 5 years. Changing our offense contanly when we do Draft a QB high Doesn’t help Our horrible Oline compunds the problem.

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 2, 2015 at 2:13 PM

          Sorry I didn’t make it clear that I was talking about what they’ll be looking at when they have to make a decision about QB’s at the end of this season. There will then be four years worth of evidence.

          I’m not sure how many QBs have gotten a fifth season if Year 4 for RG looks like Year 3 did. If you can find me a few I’d be happy to reconsider my opinion. Not saying that will happen; I think he has a shot at getting better. But they have to plan ahead in case he can’t.

          In any case, there is zero chance that both RG and KC will be around in 2016. They need a developmental QB who can be the backup and/or be trade bait.

          > > >

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 2, 2015 at 2:31 PM

          I think if they improve the oline both of these guys could play better that also depends on the play calling limit Cousins throws and maybe more roll outs and bootlegs for RG3 530 Drop Backs in 7 starts is a bit excessive in Contrast cousins had 166 Drop Backs in 2 less games wich sounds like a better # to where a weak Oline isn’t getting bum rushed as much. If the Oline Does hold up and there is no better play ( which I highly doubt the play won’t get better ) Then they still will have the option of signing a Vet. and Draft a QB to groom next year. I think we will all see with a Better Oline and more time before pressure collaps the pocket this offense will be putting up bog #s like in 2012 when there was time.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 2, 2015 at 2:34 PM

          Rich off the top of my head Drew Brees excelled after a couple years and Im sure if you look giving up on a QB this early is a recent thing in the league. Alex Smith also

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 2, 2015 at 2:41 PM

          In Brees’ year 4 the Chargers were 11-4 and Brees completed 65% of his passes with 27 TDs and 7 picks. If RG can do that I’m sure he’s not going to go anywhere.

          > > >

      • redskinsinrichmondva - Apr 2, 2015 at 4:24 PM

        “I’m not sure how many QBs have gotten a fifth season if Year 4 for RG looks like Year 3 did. If you can find me a few I’d be happy to reconsider my opinion.”

        With the same team? Not many. However, a good handful of QBs have performed at the league average or better throughout their careers after playing at *replacement-level* over their first four seasons. (Robert Griffin has been about average for his first three seasons; his career ANY/A index is 102.)

        The Redskins aren’t in contention mode right now. They can fix that by not wasting picks on QBs in the draft, especially when they have young QBs on the roster who have the potential to become at least average. Good luck replacing *those* players with unknown QB prospects from the draft.

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 2, 2015 at 4:36 PM

          Griffin needs to show signs of reversing the regression he’s had since his rookie year if he’s going to be considered replacement level. Nobody is going to buy, “I was great, then I was awful, so I’m average”. If he plays like he did last year nobody could blame the coaching staff and McC for saying he’s not salvageable.

          Not saying that he will play like that. But he needs to take steps forward.

          > > >

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Apr 2, 2015 at 5:37 PM

          “Griffin needs to show signs of reversing the regression he’s had since his rookie year if he’s going to be considered replacement level. Nobody is going to buy, “I was great, then I was awful, so I’m average”.

          The post wasn’t an assessment of Griffin’s *current* QB value. It was a *look back* at what Griffin did over his first three seasons, a *look back* at what other QBs did over their first four seasons, and a *look back* at what those QBs did for the rest of their careers in order to see how QBs with inferior production numbers to Griffin (in years 1-3) panned out.

          Re: regression, predicting Griffin’s performance in 2015, etc. Your guess is as good as mine as to how he’ll play (or *anyone else* for that matter, which is why the NFL season is notoriously difficult to predict; stat studies have shown this). But my point still stands even if he doesn’t play well in 2015, and I’ve already discussed why in previous posts.

  11. kenlinkins - Apr 2, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    Rich: Are you saying that the new GM might not be able to handle trading back due his short time in DC? If so, how can the Redskins trust him on getting the QB position corrected? Isn’t that a bigger gamble then say drafting a OLB with the 5th pick or trading back to gain another 2nd round pick? Unless you believe that the new GM already knows the answer at QB (be it allowing RG3 and Cousins to fight it out this year and winner take all to drafting a QB with the 5th pick, to signing a Free Agent / drafting a QB in 2016 to start) could you state that the concern of how he uses the 5th pick is limited due to being so new to DC. I am not sure I follow the logic of he is ready to handle the biggest issue facing the team but not ready to handle the concern of trading back. In management we say “you never get fired for a concern but a issue can get you canned very fast”. What am I missing in you logic or are you just speaking about the draft as a stand alone idea?

  12. hcicron - Apr 2, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    Why is RG3 the only young player who gets a pass on his performance? Why can’t we give Murphy,long,Moses,Amerson,Thomas to name a few the same amount of patience?

    • wvredskins - Apr 2, 2015 at 4:03 PM

      I agree to a point but when you give 3 number 1’s for a player you want that player to succeed and should give him every opportunity to succeed. This is his last chance to prove him self.

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Apr 2, 2015 at 4:36 PM

      Because Griffin plays QB — a position that is harder to predict with regards to performance and harder to replace with competent players than other positions.

  13. mrhart76 - Apr 2, 2015 at 11:24 PM

    Take Shane Ray!!! He makes plays! We will regret it if we dont.

  14. bowlregard - Apr 3, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Technically speaking, no QB is under contract for 2016, but the Skins can always franchise one if he plays really well. That might be expensive, but it can be the beginning of negotiations if he’s our guy, be it Robert or Kirk. And I think Colt would be happy to re-sign if he’s the one who plays the best in 2015, or even if it’s another stint at playing back-up. And who knows. Maybe they’ll pick up Robert’s option on May 3rd. Archives

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