When the NFL draft begins Thursday night, the Washington Redskins will have seven picks, one in each round beginning with the fifth overall selection. First-year general manager Scot McCloughan hopes to turn those seven picks into 10.
In a press conference at Redskins Park on Monday, McCloughan was asked about the ever-present challenge of balancing quality and quantity in the draft. He said he prefers to stockpile picks because they allow for greater flexibility, whether it be selecting overlooked prospects in the later rounds or packaging picks together to move back up.
“If all of the sudden a good player starts falling, you have more ammunition to go back up and get it,” McCloughan said Monday. “Like I said, we have seven right now. I’d love to get 10 out of this thing. You know, we’re not going to hit on everybody, but even those seventh rounders, every year those guys are drafted — or even college free agents who are signed — come in and make rosters and they’re playing.”
McCloughan said Washington’s draft board was almost entirely set as of Monday morning. He and his staff will meet with coach Jay Gruden and his staff over the next few days to iron out any disagreements and discuss possible scenarios.
When the event begins Thursday night, McCloughan said the Redskins will stick to their board and take the best player available, regardless of position.
McCloughan knows he will likely have suitors for the No. 5 overall pick, teams that wish to leap up the board to nab a particular player. But he also knows that in those situations, the Redskins will have leverage. McCloughan will be able to examine the board, see who may be available later in the round and decide whether the trade is worthwhile.
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“You just go with the board,” he said. “You get a pretty good idea of what team needs are, what teams are coming for, that stuff. The last thing you want to do is take yourself out on a really good football player. You get too cute and move back too far, and all the sudden — say 10 to 15 guys that I pinpoint that I think can come in Day 1 and start — you go too far back, and you’re going to lose out on some of those guys. So you’ve got to be careful.”
When asked about specific position groups, namely the along the offensive and defensive lines, McCloughan declined to go into specifics. Regardless of position, however, he said he is looking for the same traits in any potential draft pick: intelligence, toughness, size and, above all else, passion.
“I’d love to hit some superstars through this draft, and who knows if we will or won’t,” McCloughan said. “But I know this: We’re going to get good football players that you know what you got every day. Consistent, competitive, tough guys. It’s all about the team.”