- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 11, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Scott Campbell had been with the Washington Redskins for 13 years, taking part in both college and pro scouting, trying to find the talent to build a winning organization.

Thirteen years. That’s a long time of having to take your draft board home and say, “Honey, they don’t listen to me at work.”

No more. This is Campbell’s 14th season, but, if we are to believe the narrative coming out of Redskins Park, this is the year they pay attention to him and his staff.

I guess the theme of this draft is, “This year, it counts.”

The miracle of the Redskins do-over is the story of the 2014 draft.

Campbell, the team’s director of player personnel in charge of college scouting, has been at Redskins Park through Mike Shanahan, Vinny Cerrato and Joe Gibbs. Morocco Brown has been director of pro scouting for seven years now.

General manager Bruce Allen came on board with Shanahan in 2010. So did defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

All have been part of the losing teams and dysfunction that has come to define this NFL franchise. Yet now we are to believe they are victims, ignored by Cerrato and owner Daniel Snyder, and then Shanahan.

Not this year. Defensive end Trent Murphy? That’s on this crew’s tab. So is offensive tackle Moses Morgan and the six other players they selected in the 2014 draft.

Now, I’m not sure who gets credit for Ryan Kerrigan, Alfred Morris, Jordan Reed and some of the other players who have performed well under the Shanahan regime. No one is rushing to take credit, because no one wants to accept the blame as well.

Not this year. The decision to draft a defensive end with their first pick, that’s on Allen and the victims left behind. To not draft a safety? Give the Shanahan survivors the credit or blame for that one. Selecting a kicker with one of their seventh-round picks? I’m not sure anyone wants to be associated with that one.

All that said, if you operate under the reasonable premise that nobody really knows how any of these eight players the Redskins drafted will pan out, the only reasonable way to judge this draft now is by deciding if they went for the right needs — picked the right positions.

Before any of them take the field, then, I think the unshackled crew at Redskins Park — no longer held hostage — made the right moves.

If it a quarterback league — and you presume you have your quarterback in Robert “SuperBob” Griffin III — then the two most important things should be going after the after quarterback and protecting your own.

Murphy would seem to fill that first need. The Stanford defensive end may not have had the elite combine numbers of some other pass rushers, but has the requisite work ethic and the most important new measure of talent in the draft — a good motor.

“He works his tail off.,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden told reporters. “He’s first on the field every day and the last to leave. He studies the game. He’s big, he’s long. He may not have the explosion right now off the line of scrimmage, which might have knocked him down to the second round, but I look for production, I look for intensity, I look for toughness and accountability. He’s got all those traits and if he has all those traits, I know he is going to work hard in the weight room to get stronger and provide another pass rusher and some depth at the position. We felt like he was a very good fit for our team.”

Then, with their next pick, they went the protecting-the-quarterback route and selected Moses out of Virginia.

“We like Morgan,” Gruden said. “He’s long. He’s a big kid. He’s played a lot of football. He’s played both the left side and the right side in his career. He’s got a major upside. He’s young, he’s talented, like I said. A chance to get a guy with that type of length is very hard to pass up, so we’re fortunate to have Morgan and we feel like he has a bright future in pro football.”

They went on the draft another offensive lineman, cornerback, wide receiver, running back, tight end and kicker. It doesn’t matter, really, what their names are. What matters is their top priority seemed to be protecting the quarterback and going after the other team’s quarterback. Both seem like good ideas.

We’ll know if they were good ideas or not someday — if someone is willing to take credit for them years from now.

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com

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