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5 Takeaways: Gruden's #SkinsDraft Presser


Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's 2015 NFL Draft wrap-up press conference.

1. The Redskins "liked something different about all" of their 10 draft picks this year.

After entering the draft on Thursday with seven picks, first-year general manager Scot McCloughan and his crew were able to work out two trades over the course of the draft that gave the Redskins 10 total picks in 2015, and an additional sixth rounder in 2016.

Those 10 players — Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, Matt Jones, Jamison Crowder, Arie Kouandjio, Martrell Spaight, Kyshoen Jarrett, Tevin Mitchel, Evan Spencer and Austin Reiter — establish the building blocks on the type of depth that McCloughan wants to build for Gruden's roster.

Gruden also said the Redskins were seeking a certain kind of attitude from their picks.

"I think really the motto he [Scot McCloughan] really preaches he likes tough football players, physically tough football players. You see that with the guys that we got," Gruden said. "You want to have a physical toughness when you're drafting football players, guys that love football and have a strong passion for the game."

Gruden said you also "have to visualize a role" for those incoming rookies.

"Is it special teams year one? Develop them into a core starter? Is it competing for a starting job? Is it a nickelback, is it a safety, what is it?" Gruden asked. "But, we do have a pretty good vision for all these guys. We are excited to get in the building and see what they can do."

2. Speaking of special teams, the Redskins believe they picked up some gamers for those units.

Special teams are often forgotten by fans as one of the three main components of a football team, but oftentimes can be the difference between a win or a loss.

The Redskins in recent years haven't had ideal depth on their roster, and their special teams have suffered as a result.

But by padding the roster with young draft picks already with special teams experience — like the Redskins did this weekend — Gruden, as a result, sees nothing but positives.

"You really only improve special teams by improving your depth and when your depth becomes improved then your special teams becomes improve," he said. "I think these are good fits for us and they're going to come in and they know on Day 1 and know that [it is] 'special teams one, position number two,' that's the way you crack into the lineup. That's the way you crack into the NFL is by dominating special teams, making your mark in Coach [Ben] Kotwica's room, and then when your opportunity is called out there at your position, you make the most of it."

3. Sure there were changes to the draft experience with a new general manager, but everybody came away with good vibes.

McCloughan brought his own methods and ideals to the Redskins when he was hired by the team in January. It's the same processes that brought him huge successes when he was making personnel decisions for the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

Go look at those three teams' records the past decade or so. McCloughan's fingerprints are all over them.

Anyway, with McCloughan as the "lead dog," the rest of the Redskins' scouts, front office personnel and coaches each had their roles for the draft and "all had input," Gruden said.

"There weren't any head-butting issues. Everything went along really smooth," Gruden said. "Once the pick was made, we were all in and we were all really excited about the players we got. So there wasn't any animosity, no bickering or any of that stuff. There was some conversation. When the pick was made, it was final and we all respected it and we were all fired up about it."

4. Prospect visits to the team facility can be very valuable, but they aren't always a neccessity.

Take first-round pick Brandon Scherff, for example. The Redskins met with the standout Iowa offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February and didn't speak with him again until Thursday night, when Gruden called him to tell him they were picking him No. 5 overall.

Check out these exclusive photos of the Washington Redskins' draft room during Day 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

"If we didn't bring somebody in, they spend a lot of time with them either at a bowl game or the combine or what have you or their pro day," Gruden said. "They feel good enough about visiting with them at those that they didn't have to bring them back here."

As for prospects that the Redskins did bring in for visits — like Florida running back Matt Jones — Gruden said the position coaches really take the lead.

"The guys that we did bring in here, we mainly just wanted to check out the medical, get to know them a little bit – guys we didn't know," he said. "I think we surrounded the area pretty good as far as getting enough people in here, getting to know enough people via bringing them in for a visit or going to combines or pro days. I think it was a very thorough deal and I think we did a good job."

5. The Redskins were one of the more active teams in the draft, acquiring three additional picks and a sixth-rounder in 2016.

Gruden said the franchise just isn't in the position yet to sit back and trade "a bunch of our picks away."

"You know, we need our picks and the extra picks are very beneficial to us," he said. "You can see that we picked up some pretty good players late that can do some good things for us."

On Friday, the Redskins traded their third-round (69th-overall) pick to the Seattle Seahawks for their third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round picks. Then, on Saturday, the Redskins sent one of their fifth-round picks to the New Orleans Saints for a sixth-round pick in 2015 and 2016.

"Really, this is the way you develop a football team with these draft picks, free agents and trying to develop in-house where you don't have to shop around every free agent period," Gruden said. "There's always going to be some free agents that you want to get but to develop guys that you draft from day one as a Washington Redskin and watch them grow up in your strength program and work with your assistant coaches and go through that process with fan base and living here. It's very beneficial to everybody."




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