I hope you’ve had a chance to read the feature in today’s paper about how Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of player personnel and top college scout, and his department have adjusted to working for coach Mike Shanahan. Campbell was kind enough to set aside time to chat during a busy Senior Bowl week.
Many of you and I are intrigued that Shanahan has kept most of deposed front office chief Vinny Cerrato’s scouting staff in place since taking over in Jan. 2010. Cerrato’s checkered personnel track record is a major reason he’s out of the league now, so I’m not sure any fans or media would have questioned Shanahan if he had cleaned house in the personnel department.
Two years later, though, Campbell and director of pro personnel Morocco Brown are still helping to shape the roster. Neither have been perfect, of course, but both executives are coming off fairly strong 2011 seasons.
Campbell helped finalize a 12-member draft class that contains at least three players who could start in 2012 (OLB Ryan Kerrigan, WR Leonard Hankerson and DL Jarvis Jenkins). LT Trent Williams and ILB Perry Riley, Washington’s first two picks in 2010, are first-stringers, as well.
Brown has contributed to several beneficial pro acquisitions, including CB Josh Wilson and the overhauled DL of Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker.
In Mobile, Ala., last Wednesday, I discussed with Shanahan why he stuck with Campbell and Brown through the first offseason and beyond. Because preparations for the 2010 draft were well underway when he took over, Shanahan would have set the Redskins back by making drastic changes. After that, he evaluated Campbell and Brown the same way he does everyone working for him.
“They know what they’re doing,” Shanahan said. “They work extremely hard. When I ask about a guy, they know the strengths, they know the weaknesses. And then I’ll grade a player, I’ll look at him and go, ‘Oh man, this guy knows his homework.’
“You just want to see how passionate they are, what kind of work ethic they have. Are they good at what they do? And when you find out they’re good at what they do, you keep them. If not, you go out and get other people.”
Shanahan constantly preaches the value of stability, and I hope today’s story conveyed why. He believes ever everyone in the organization settles into their role over time and understands what is needed to produce the best team.
“The education grows as the time goes on,” Campbell said. “You get more comfortable with exactly what they want, and the coaches have been great from Day 1 describing to the scouting staff what they like and what they need.”