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5 Takeaways: Scot McCloughan's Post-Draft Presser


Here's five takeaways from Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan's 2015 NFL Draft wrap-up press conference.

1. McCloughan thinks Brandon Scherff is "the full package," but don't pencil him in as an automatic starter just yet.

Yes, Scherff will ideally start for the Redskins early in his career, but he isn't just being given the starting right tackle position.

He'll have to earn it.

Still, Scherff possess several traits McCloughan absolutely loves having in players on his team.

"I've been lucky to be around this league a long time, and seen players succeed that have that much ability, but also throw the character in there – the passion, the competitiveness, the toughness he has," McCloughan said. "I wanted my first pick to be here, no matter what, somebody that's not just an impressive player, but an impressive person and somebody you can build around. Not only does he come in as a good football player, guys around him will be better because of the way he approaches the game."

McCloughan also touched on how he doesn't mind if Scherff plays some at guard, too, even though he'll get his first NFL work at tackle, a position he's very familiar with.

"He played in the Big Ten and started many, many years and had a lot of success," McCloughan said. "He's a good enough foot athlete, not just from the athleticism and size. Everybody says, 'Well, he's only got 33 and ¾ arms.' That's fine. The average is 34. OK, so he's a quarter-inch off. He's going to succeed, because not just with his athleticism, size and toughness, but the instincts for the position. He knows how to play tackle, and that's why he's had success in college."

2. Preston Smith has a nice blend of experience and athleticism that sets him up to succeed early in the NFL.

While he played defensive end and even a little bit of nose tackle with Arkansas during his two seasons there, McCloughan believes Smith – who is listed as a linebacker with the Redskins -- has the athletic ability to play several positions in Washington.

"Size, length, he has the ability to play on certain downs stand-up in two-point stance and on certain pass rush in the three-point stance," McCloughan said. "He played down at Mississippi State the majority of the time. It was unique about him, when they go to the three-man front, he'd move in on the nose tackle and play over the nose – I mean, he'd move over the nose and play over the center – and had success rushing the passer from inside there."

But Smith's potential doesn't just end with his pass rushing ability, as McCloughan pointed out he "might have the best hands on our team when he comes in here."

"He's a unique athlete," McCloughan said. "I mean, it's impressive. Like I said, 6-5, 270, and he ran a 4.7 [-second 40-yard dash], and he has sack production, like I said, even on the center in college in the SEC, which is hard to do. So he's got natural pass rush instincts, and you'll see – he's got the flexibility in his hips and lower [body] and the quickness to get it done."

3. McCloughan achieved his goal of getting to 10 picks in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. He also said after discussions with Seahawks general manager John Schneider, it was a good move for both teams.

It's nice to have personal connections with the general managers of some of the more consistent teams in the NFL.

McCloughan, of course, worked alongside Schneider for a few years in Seattle, so when the opportunity arose to make a trade that would benefit both teams, it happened.

With 11 picks in-hand but limited roster space, the Seahawks were looking to free themselves of some of their later round selections, instead hoping to draft players they knew would make their roster immediately.

The Redskins, meanwhile, wanted to add more draft picks to help build their depth.

"They have enough depth on their roster, he wanted to get my third because they had a late two – he had no one – a late two and then an early third," McCloughan said of Schneider. "He wanted to get two guys for sure that he felt could make their team. Everybody thinks we won the trade by the points system and all that. No, no, no. He got what he wanted and I got what I wanted."

McClougahan said Schneider and he "talked and talked" but they finally came to an agreement.

"I was trying to win the trade, he was trying to win the trade," he said. "Finally I said, 'Screw it. Let's do the right thing. OK, you give me three and I'll give you the one. Let's go.' So it was done. And then Bruce Allen does a great job of talking to the other teams while the draft is going on."

4. McCloughan prefers players who stayed in school longer, but doesn't discredit what underclassmen bring to the table.

Presented with a question about favoring players who stayed in school, McClougahn said it's "very important" in his evaluation process.

"I learned this when I was young – I was with Mike Holmgren and he says, 'Go back and do me a study. Look at the quarterbacks that made a commitment to a university and graduated and their success in the league, and do the underclassmen who did not fulfill their commitment to the university,'" McCloughan. "And at first I kind of thought, 'Well, what's it really matter?' And he told me, he says, 'I want guys – they tell you something, they finish it.' And that's very important."

That doesn't mean underclassmen are forgotten about -- McCloughan just likes guys who set out a plan and stick to it.

"I'm not saying there hasn't been underclassmen who didn't get their degree who aren't really food football players, and there always will be," McCloughan said. "But I think when it comes down to getting close to it, I'll take the guy that committed to something and finished it."

5. Offensive linemen who can execute in Bill Callahan's scheme was an important factor for the Redskins in their draft strategy.

Want to win late-season football games against your rivals in cold weather?

You need an offensive line that can hold up in those conditions, and under the guidance of Callahan, McCloughan believes the Redskins drafted a few players that can meet the demands.

"The great thing about it is we're very lucky to have Bill Callahan here," he said. "He's been in the league a long time, been around some very successful teams as a head coach and as a position coach. We tailored our draft picks to what fits his system and power is very, very important. With this division and playing late games and hopefully in the playoffs all the way through, you're going to get bad weather games. We need to be able to win up front."

The Redskins drafted three offensive linemen this year: Scherff, Arie Kouandjio and Austin Reiter.

"We need to have big guys come off the ball and move people," McCloughan said. "And what we've addressed in this with Kouandjio and with Brandon are big body guys that they have no problem doing the dirty work."




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