Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 2, 11 days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.
—The Redskins last played a game 113 days ago. It will be 133 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.
—Days until: Rookie minicamp 11; OTAs start 22; Redskins training camp starts 87
I know that Scot McCloughan could talk about taking the best available player and not drafting for need from now until the cows come home and many of you won’t believe him. But maybe some of you will after reading this.
I have heard from some people I consider to be reliable and have read from some media types that the Redskins’ top target in this draft was Alabama center Ryan Kelly. If he had been there when pick No. 21 came up McCloughan would have turned in a card with his name on it.
To be clear, I’m not quoting a sourced report here or anything like that. I’ve seen and heard it from enough reliable people to believe it but I certainly understand if others are skeptical.
But let’s assume that it’s true. Most would figure that if he was going to draft a center in the first round he must have considered center to be a position of need.
If it is a position of need, however, you would think that the Redskins would draft a center somewhere along the line. But they didn’t draft a center in the second round. Or the third. Or the—, well, you get the idea. Six centers went in the draft and none went to the Redskins. Jack Allen of Michigan State, a center who could well have gone in the middle or later rounds, went undrafted but the Redskins did not bring him in as a free agent. They didn’t draft a guard they might convert to center either.
In fact, if you go back to free agency, McCloughan didn't sign a center then, either.
McCloughan didn’t want just any center; he wanted Ryan Kelly on the team. As the draft went on he tried to find players that had the same traits that Kelly has—toughness, leadership, dedication—whether or not he played center.
Again, the Kelly report seems accurate but you can take it however you’d like. If you want more evidence that needs don’t mean a whole lot to McCloughan, however, you need to look no further than taking cornerback Kendall Fuller in the third round a week to the day after signing Josh Norman to a huge free agent contract. Few believed him when he said that he wouldn’t hesitate to draft another corner and those who took him at his word figured he might take a developmental guy in the sixth round, not take one in the second day.
We will see how this works out. Until the Redskins become consistent contenders to go deep into the playoffs it’s fair to question McCloughan’s methods. But don’t doubt that he doesn’t care about the conventional wisdom and that he will do things his way as long as he is in charge.
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