ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Scot McCloughan gets his first chance to work on rebuilding the Washington Redskins through the draft, and he made two things perfectly clear: The team needs as much talent as it can get, and he wants extra choices.
”We’d love to get more picks in this draft,” the Redskins’ new general manager said. ”We have our seven originals right now. I’d love to get 10-plus out of this thing.”
When the draft begins Thursday night in Chicago, McCloughan will have one selection in each of the seven rounds, including No. 5 overall.
And he is overseeing a roster that has plenty of holes, coming off a 4-12 record and sixth last-place NFC East finish in the past seven seasons.
”We’re not going to draft for need,” McCloughan said.
Instead, whenever it’s Washington’s turn on the clock, unless McCloughan manages to trade away that particular pick in order to stockpile more, he is going to go with whichever player ranks highest on his draft board, regardless of position.
That includes quarterback, even though McCloughan announced Monday that the Redskins picked up their fifth-year option for 2016 on Robert Griffin III’s contract.
”It does not impact our draft process, whatsoever. If we get to the fifth pick, and the best player’s a quarterback,” McCloughan said, ”we’re taking a quarterback.”
Like any NFL general manager, McCloughan was not inclined to reveal too much about his draft plans – which position has the most upside and which has the most depth, or what players he thinks could be immediate stars.
Since being hired, McCloughan’s additions mainly have been on the defensive side, including linemen Terrance ”Pot Roast” Knighton, Stephen Paea and Ricky Jean-Francois, cornerback Chris Culliver, and safeties Jeron Johnson and Dashon Goldson.
Still, the team could use a replacement for pass-rushing linebacker Brian Orakpo, who left as a free agent, and that could be how the No. 5 pick is used – unless McCloughan decides to swap it.
Here are some things to know about the Redskins’ 2015 draft:
TO TRADE OR NOT TO TRADE: There has been a lot of speculation about whether the Redskins will trade their top selection in order to move back in the first round and add more picks. But McCloughan cautioned that it’s important not to miss out on someone he really wants later. ”The last thing you (want to) do is take yourself out of a really good football player. Get too cute with yourself, go back too far, and all of a sudden – I have, say, 10-15 guys I want to 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,” he said. ”You’ve got to be careful.”
NEEDS: In addition to an outside linebacker to get after the quarterback in the 3-4 defense, Washington really needs help along the offensive line, especially at right tackle and right guard, along with reinforcements at cornerback and safety, and a pass-catching running back.
FOWLER AT 5?: One player who could fit what Washington wants is Florida linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. ”No way would you trade down if he were there,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. ”You put him opposite (Ryan) Kerrigan. You’ve got (Trent) Murphy. You’re in a division where the quarterbacks aren’t exactly super mobile, with (Tony) Romo, (Eli) Manning and now (Sam) Bradford.”
`NASTY’: McCloughan said he and new offensive line coach Bill Callahan agree that they want ”big, tough, nasty, strong guys,” to help with a power-based running game. ”When you get done playing the Washington Redskins, you know you’re playing them. You’re going to feel it. I want those guys,” McCloughan said. ”We get late in the year and playoff runs and cold weather and nasty games and field conditions, you need to be able to run the football.”
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