- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2015

Scot McCloughan wore a black polo Thursday night with the Washington Redskins logo embroidered just below the collar. He sat at a wooden conference table in a room at Redskins Park, occasionally pressing a phone to his ear as scouts and coaches occupied the seats surrounding him.

The Redskins‘ first pick in the NFL draft was also McCloughan’s first as their general manager. A highly-regarded talent evaluator and former executive with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, McCloughan entered Thursday night with a specific plan and didn’t stray from it. With the fifth overall pick, he chose Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff over Leonard Williams, whom many considered to be the best prospect at any position in this year’s draft class.

Selecting Scherff was a surprise to some. But for McCloughan and the Redskins, it was the result of months of preparation, film study and deliberation among coaches and scouts. By Thursday night, the team’s draft board had been set and the decisions had been made, trade proposals notwithstanding.

Coach Jay Gruden said it was a smooth process.

“[McCloughan‘s] been great. Very poised, very calm, not very chaotic up there,” Gruden said Thursday. “Bruce [Allen] did a nice job hiring a heck of a guy like that. You can see he’s been experienced, he’s been through this process before. He keeps everybody involved, he asks for input. Ultimately it comes down to making the pick and we made a good one.”

In his pre-draft press conference Monday, McCloughan was asked about how Thursday night would unfold in the Redskins‘ draft room. Whom would he consult? What kind of atmosphere would he seek to create?

SEE ALSO: Getting to know avid fisherman, former QB and Redskins’ draft pick Brandon Scherff

“If you were able to walk in, you’d probably kind of start laughing because it’s just so laid back,” McCloughan said then. “The board is set. I don’t want confusion. The only time it gets a little anxious is when somebody calls and offers us a pretty dang good trade – or two teams call. That’s when things might get a little bit testy at times, but I pride myself and I want that room just to be steady like I do the football players.”

Gruden said the Redskins “had phone calls here and there” from other teams about possible trades but ultimately decided to stay at No. 5 and select the best player available on their draft board. While crediting McCloughan for his leadership throughout the process, Gruden said the final decision was made collectively.

“A lot of dialogue,” Gruden said. “Scot takes input from everybody. The area scout who does him, the coaching staff, the coordinators — we all had our input. Ultimately, Scot went through the due diligence, looked at a lot of players, a lot of background checks — did a lot of work, man. We appreciate that and we feel like the work paid off. We got a heck of a player.”

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