- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

For the last four Redskins’ drafts, Doug Williams was involved, he had input and he took part in the decision process — but they weren’t his.

He knows this year, at least perception-wise, it’s going to be a little different.

Williams, after all, was promoted to “senior vice president of player personnel” in June 2017. The position is the closest thing the franchise has to a general manager.

“The community, the media and everybody else puts blame on somebody, so I guess it comes with the opportunity to put whatever blame ­— whatever congratulatory, whatever it is,” Williams said of his new role.

That’s true, up to a certain point. As long as team president Bruce Allen remains with the club, Allen, who rarely speaks to the media, will receive most of the blowback. He is the Redskins’ chief decision-maker.

But outside of Williams‘ new title, the 2018 draft marks the Redskins’ first since 2015 without input from Scot McCloughan — the team’s former general manager who was fired after two seasons with the club.

McCloughan, who oversaw two drafts, was fired in March 2017, but the Redskins used his board to help shape their decisions for last year’s class.

And with McCloughan gone, the Redskins have mostly purged the former general manager’s selections from the 2015 and 2016 drafts. The Redskins have just eight players left on their roster of the 17 that McCloughan took.

How does that stack up to the rest of the league? The Redskins have gotten rid of the third-most players from those classes. Only San Francisco and Cleveland have purged more.

Going by percentages (since not every team drafts the same amount of players), the Redskins have retained only 47 percent of McCloughan’s picks. That’s still the third lowest in the NFL. Only San Francisco and Buffalo have done worse with those drafts.

McCloughan’s 2016 class — which started with the Redskins taking wide receiver Josh Doctson with the 22nd overall pick — has been largely cast off. Only Doctson, defensive end Matt Ioannidis and running back Keith Marshall remain. The oft-injured Marshall, meanwhile, has never played a regular season down.

Two of the Redskins’ seven picks from 2016 were sent packing this offseason. Fourth-round corner Kendall Fuller was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs as part of the Alex Smith trade. Fuller’s teammates were devastated at the news, but the Redskins have maintained the cornerback was a necessary inclusion to get stability at quarterback.

Then there’s safety Su’a Cravens, who was dealt to the Denver Broncos last month for a fifth-round pick and a swapping of fourth- and fifth-round picks.

Williams downplayed any significance in trading Cravens before the draft. Cravens, of course, missed last season after leaving the team before the first game. He mulled retirement, while dealing with post-concussion syndrome.

“It was just the opportunity we had,” Williams said. “We had somebody who wanted Su’a. So we made the trade. That’s what it was all about. He’s happy. We’re happy. We move forward.”

The 2015 draft, meanwhile, hasn’t seen drastic turnover. Of the 10 draft picks, half are still on the team. Only one of the departures involved higher than a fifth-round pick. Third-round running back Matt Jones was released last year.

And the Redskins have gotten valid contributions from their 2015 class. Right guard Brandon Scherff and wide Jamison Crowder are important foundations of the Redskins’ offense, while Preston Smith and Martrell Spaight are solid defensive players. Of the five released from the 2015 class, four were cut during McCloughan’s tenure.

For this year’s draft, the Redskins have reconfigured their setup. Kyle Smith was promoted to director of college personnel last June, shifting Scott Campbell to a senior personnel director. Williams said he, Smith, Allen and coach Jay Gruden will be the “decision makers” on draft night.

McCloughan; whose motto was to take “football players,” has spent this offseason as a draft consultant for the Cleveland Browns.

Beginning Thursday, the Redskins brain trust will see if they can find “football players” the franchise can count on for more than just a couple of years.

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