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Need to Know: What Redskins’ GM McCloughan is looking for in the players he drafts

Apr 13, 2016, 5:08 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 13, 15 days before the NFL Draft.


—The Redskins last played a game 94 days ago. It will be about 151 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 5; 2016 NFL draft 15; Redskins training camp starts 106

Hot topic

In an interview with Bleacher Reports, Scot McCloughan described the player he’s like to take with the 21st overall pick when the draft gets underway two weeks from tomorrow.

“Toughness, smarts, competitiveness, team.”

In theory, this should make it easy to figure out who McCloughan has his sights set on. That combination of characteristics is not necessarily shared by a whole lot of players who have the talent to be considered in the first round.

It’s probably easy to eliminate some players. There are plenty of players, particularly defensive linemen, who get knocked in scouting reports for taking plays off, which would bring into question their toughness, competitiveness, and dedication to the team. One player linked to the Redskins in some mock drafts, Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche, admitted to the media that he didn’t always give every play his best effort. He could well be off the Redskins’ board.

But beyond the obvious it’s pretty hard to know just who has the traits that McCloughan is looking for. Although all other things being equal he would prefer to draft a bigger player, his desire to have players with strong character will trump size. In the interview he talked about drafting 5-8 WR Jamison Crowder last year.

“You talk to him and you realize, it’s not going to be too big for him,” he said. “He’s going to come in from Day 1 and be a pro. He’s high character, competitive, tough – the tape showed that – and he has the passion to be a good player.”

So the key characteristics that McCloughan lists are not just for players in the first round. They apply throughout the draft.

The thing is, anyone can pull up some tape on the web and “scout” the player’s performances. The Mel Kipers and Mike Mayocks of the world can get more film, coaches’ film, and talk to executives and scouts to get some more insight. Jon Gruden and a few others get one-on-one talks with the draft prospects.

But only McCloughan can get the job interviews with the players, asking the questions that he wants answered. Only he knows what he is looking for in the answers. He also knows what answers he is looking for when he and the Redskins’ scouts get when they talk to a player’s college coaches.

The rest of us can conduct mock drafts all day and try to figure out where he will go. But the recipe is a secret and good luck to all of us who might try to figure it out.

Stat of the day

When Redskins Hall of Fame WR Art Monk retired following the 1995 season he was the NFL record holder for both career receptions (940) and receptions in a single seasons (106 in 1984).

In case you missed it

  1. abanig - Apr 13, 2016 at 5:38 AM

    Football players? Aren’t all GMs looking for that? Lol… I kid I kid. Let’s hope this years draft class is as good as the last two. If it is, then we definitely have something brewing for the future.

    • colorofmyskinz - Apr 13, 2016 at 6:11 AM

      I agree. Kind of simpleton to say your looking for football players that like to play the game. Didn’t most of these guys play pop warner before they knew what money was? I know what he is saying, character and values are important, and he is trying to build a team vs stars. I get that.

      Just kind of funny hearing a football savant dumb it down. Can you say beautiful mind? And very humble. You know he is watching tape at 3 am…

      Scot will for sure change this team into a championship team. I have no doubt in that.

      • abanig - Apr 13, 2016 at 8:45 AM

        Well listen to the Harbaugh’s, they say stuff like that also and Belicheck

    • timmythetoothnyr - Apr 13, 2016 at 8:51 AM

      You kid, but it’s disgraceful how quick the local media goes to their knees to write about and more importantly praise McCloughan…
      OMG he’s just the greatest thing since sliced bread….. BS… he’s doing the same job ATLEAST 2 dozen other GMs do…. For some reason they just sell it more here in DC.

      • Rich Tandler - Apr 13, 2016 at 9:10 AM

        Gee, a GM comes to the local team, has a draft that is widely praised by the national media, and the team goes from 4-12 to 9-7 and the playoffs. What odd things for the local media to write about positively.

        I’m not sure who the 24 other GMs are that you’re referring to. But I’m going to take a wild guess that readers of Real Redskins, the Washington Post, etc., are much more interested in reading about the guy that runs the Washington Redskins than they are in reading bout the others.

        So if you’re in search of “some reason” why, I suggest you look in that direction.

      • abanig - Apr 13, 2016 at 9:13 AM

        DC media has always sold the fans on the team being phenomenal. It’s rare that you get an honest critique like you do from Rich Tandler and some others.

        I think what’s a bit sad is that the local media wasn’t given a chance to do a story like this with Scot first before a national reporter got it.

        • kenlinkins - Apr 13, 2016 at 5:43 PM

          24 other GM’s made it to the play offs in 2015! Oh wait, you are counting the CFL right? If not, I need a new Cable TV provider because I missed a lot of play off games……

  2. troylok - Apr 13, 2016 at 5:52 AM

    I would think if you looked at a player’s college career, and every year they got better and better, it would suggest that they put in the work. I realize some of these guys are not finished growing when they hit college and some of their increase in performance could be written off for that, but if you, for instance, see a defensive end that adds to his arsenal of moves each year, that would be a good example of a player working to get better. I am not saying that is the only thing to look at, but I would think that factors into what McGloughin is saying.

    A few years back, it looked like the Redskins took players that were very good when they went to college and then had solid, but not spectacular college careers. I guess the thinking was the players had the athletic ability but maybe coaching was lacking to get them to that next level. I’d say that philosophy rarely worked out, but I think McGloughin has found that vital formula, whatever it is.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 13, 2016 at 8:55 AM

      I think you’ll see why he tends to not take juniors, too.

      They are missing that crucial senior year which helps show what the player is all about.

  3. rlundy1123 - Apr 13, 2016 at 8:08 AM

    I recall Joe GIbbs looking for high-character guys, and he was pretty successful (of course they also had to be talented). Character hasn’t always been so important to other coaches/GM’s, and I think it reflected on the field.

    I’m glad that McCloughan is looking for character/attitude as an important part of the mix.

    • John - Apr 13, 2016 at 6:28 PM

      Back in the day, Beatherd drafted the players and Gibbs decided who stuck around. Gibbs was not involved in scouting, interviews, etc. How could he, when the coaches were usually at Redskins Park working on gameplans until 3am.

      • rlundy1123 - Apr 13, 2016 at 6:39 PM

        Guess I can’t argue when you’re right, I forgot about Beathard. Point is pretty much the same, though.

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 13, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Based on McGlue’s “red chip” remarks, I’m coming back to Reggie Ragland or Jarran Reed at 21.

  5. Mr.moneylover - Apr 13, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    He describe C Ryan Kelly….he’s another Brandon scherff….if they draft him nobody will be able to touch kirk cousins…and you put arie kouandjiou at left guard man that O line will be a beast

    • hail74 - Apr 13, 2016 at 10:31 AM


  6. crazyallives - Apr 13, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    When he talks about finding good football players, it sounds cliche but I think that really is his mantra. And what I think it means to him is don’t fall in love with potential or freakish flashes of brilliance. When you watch a guy on tape, play after play, you get to know the player. You might not know the person but you know the player and how he’ll respond in different situations. You see how they respond against tough competition, weak competition, when they’re getting whooped, etc. There are players that will look amazing against scrubs but will fold when they play someone more athletic than them. He wants the guys that compete every play, game after game, no matter what. When they play against someone great, they raise their game. When they are getting whooped by the guy across from them, they make an adjustment and find away to get their job done anyway.

  7. Mr.moneylover - Apr 13, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Robert Nkemdiche doesn’t fit scot M. Memo he don’t have a high moter and some ppl question his work ethic…I think they will draft Noah Spence if they looking for defensive player in the first round… I think they will pass on Robert Nkemdiche

  8. Mr.moneylover - Apr 13, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    If redskins pick DT jarren reed who is only a run stopper they need to sure up they secondary if they don’t they gonna get torched all season long…they need pass rushers all over the line so they can be more successful at getting to the QB…pot roast was just a run stopper all they did was double team him and teams raned all over us…a pass rusher will have a better chance at getting in the backfield not only for sacks but to stop a run for a lost of yards…Chris Jones expected to intend the draft he was projected to go in the early second round maybe redskins will pick him with the 21 pick…he’s got pass rushing skills and he’s good at stoping the run…my two choices for that 21th pick is Ryan Kelly or INT DL Chris Jones

  9. kenlinkins - Apr 13, 2016 at 5:47 PM

    Funny how many of us on here now think that the Redskins GM just told the world he was picking “OUR” guy (you know, the guy you really want him to pick) in that super secret code only us and real NFL GM’s know.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 14, 2016 at 5:17 AM

      And that the player McCloughan is describing is the polar opposite of all the players each fan would rather they didn’t pick. Archives

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