The Redskins finished the NFL draft on Saturday by making seven picks in the final four rounds. Mike Shanahan said that he was pleased with the draft, which yielded the team a total of six offensive players and four on the defensive side of the ball.The pick that raised the most eyebrows on Saturday was that of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was taken in the fourth round with the Redskins first pick of the day. With Griffin already on board, the selection of another quarterback was seen as odd, especially for a team with many areas in need of shoring up.Cousins was viewed by many as someone who could eventually compete for a starting job if he was drafted into the right situation. That clearly is not the case in Washington after the team drafted Griffin, who Shanahan has repeatedly referred to as the teams franchise quarterback.Shanahan said that he told Cousins, I couldnt pass you up.Sure he knows hes going to be a backup, Shanahan said. But hes only one play away or two plays away from being the starter.Soon after the selection of Cousins, the Redskins released John Beck, who started three games at quarterback last year. Shanahan explained that the wanted to give Beck as much time as possible to find a new team.With the selections of Griffin and Cousins, the Redskins became the first team since 1988 to draft two quarterbacks in the first four rounds of the draft. Quarterback has been a problem area for the team for years and it is not surprising that multiple players would be picked there.While the quarterbacks got most of the attention, the Redskins also invested heavily in the offensive line in the draft. After taking SMU guard Josh LeRibeus in the third round on Friday night, they followed up with Iowa guard Adam Gettis in the fifth round and South Dakota tackle Tom Compton in the sixth. This is the second time since the draft went to seven rounds that the Redskins have taken three offensive linemen. Shanahan and the Redskins took three two years ago.The rash of injuries in the offensive line last year made adding depth to the unit a priority, said Shanahan. It also appeared that flexibility was important at the position. Shanahan said that both Gettis and LeRibeus could play either guard or center and that Compton could play either tackle spotThe Redskins brought in several veteran defensive backs in free agency to try to shore up that area and now two rookies will be in the mix. Their two seventh-round picks were defensive backs as they selected Richard Crawford of SMU 213th overall and then tabbed Jordan Bernstine of Iowa with their last pick, 219th overall.Shanahan said that Crawford will play cornerback and Bernstine will play safety.Besides the quarterbacks, the only offensive skill player taken was running back Alfred Morris of Florida Atlantic.He can cut on a dime and he has the ability to make people miss, said Shanahan.The coach said that Morris will play tailback, although he has the size to be able to play fullback as well.Linebacker Keenan Robinson played on the outside at Texas but he said that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett gold him that he will play inside backer for the Redskins.We liked his speed, said Shanahan.
Robert Griffin III signed with the Cleveland Browns presumably to be the starting quarterback there, but he is going to have to beat out rookie Cody Kessler for the job.
After drafting Kessler in the third round of the draft on Friday, Browns head of football operations Sashi Brown would not declare Griffin the starter for the upcoming season and said the starting job would be an open competition.
"I do think Cody is a guy that I would not want to sleep on at all if I wanted to be the starting quarterback of the Browns," Brown said at a press conference on Saturday (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com). "He's going to come in serious ready to work. Robert has four years of NFL experience, is tremendously athletic and serious about becoming a starting quarterback in this league. There's no reason he can't, but this is going to be a competition.''
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Griffin signed a two-year contract for $15 million in the offseason with $6.75 million guaranteed. Those numbers suggest this is a "show me" deal for Griffin so it is perhaps no surprise to see the Browns bring in another arm in the draft. Considering Griffin's history in which the Redskins drafted Cousins in the same year they drafted Griffin in the first round, it is interesting to see Cleveland bring in another quarterback to compete
Kessler was very accurate in college while starting for USC, but is considered a project the team will have to develop over several years. It seems unlikely that he would be able to beat out Griffin for the job as a rookie.
"We would not have made the investment we made in (Griffin) if we didn't feel like he was capable of being our starter,'' Brown said.
The issue, however, is what happens if Griffin gets injured.
Griffin certainly has struggled to stay healthy in his career and has yet to play a full 16 games in any of his seasons. If the Browns believe they have the quarterback of the future and he does well in Griffin's place, will Griffin ever get the starting role back?
It's an interesting question and one that has to be on Griffin's mind as he prepares to try and rejuvenate his career. Before he worries about getting replaced, however, he still has to win the job.
Said Brown, "I hope the best for all of our quarterbacks. We'll let it play out.''
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The Redskins added seven players in the draft class of 2016 and many of them share some common traits.
“I'm very excited about these guys, really,” Jay Gruden said to the media after the draft was over. “I think the theme is we got some football players. We got some versatile guys who can do a lot of different things. Tough guys, who love the game of football. We're excited about them, they all bring great attitude to this organization. They're going to play hard and they're good people.”
Gruden seems to be particularly impressed with a pair of defensive players, fifth-round lineman Matt Ioannidis out of Temple and inside linebacker Steven Daniels, a seventh-round pick out of Boston College.
“Steven Daniels is very tough,” said Gruden. “When he hits you, he thumps you.”
Like Daniels, Ioannidis was the captain of the defensive unit. Gruden said that he loved his relentless play and said that “he’s a tough guy.”
Ioannidis and Su’a Cravens, the team’s second-round pick out of USC, will both play a number of roles on defense. Ioannidis could add 15-20 pounds (he is listed at 299) and play nose tackle or he could play all along the line. Cravens is a dime linebacker but he could play outside linebacker and strong safety in other situations as well.
Gruden said that the Redskins were able to emphasize toughness and versatility because they weren’t buttonholed into being forced to draft particular positions because they didn’t have anyone there.
“We didn't have a lot of glaring needs, like 'oh, my gosh we're totally incompetent at this position,’” he said. “I felt really good about the depth on our footbal team already, now that the draft is about adding a lot of good football players and adding guys that are tough.”
The team used toughness and other factors as tiebreakers when selecting among players.
“When you're in the draft and it's close between a couple of different guys, the toughness, maybe the special teams factor, the versatility, being a captain, all that stuff factors into it,” said Gruden. “You're always going to err on the side of tough, loves football.”
Just a week into his Redskins tenure, new CB Josh Norman is enjoying the D.C. life, attending in the White House Correspondent's Dinner.
Norman came to the 'Skins with much fanfare; an unusual release from a franchise tag in Carolina made him a free agent and Washington swooped in quickly. Norman signed a massive five-year, $75 million contract, and is expected to start at cornerback this fall opposite Bashaud Breeland.
Just hours before donning his tuxedo and heading downtown, Norman was spotted at FedEx Field meeting Redskins rookies Josh Doctson, Su'a Cravens and Kendall Fuller.
It's been a busy day for Norman, and depending what you hear about #NerdProm, the night is just getting started.