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Need to Know: What Redskins' GM McCloughan is looking for in the players he drafts

Need to Know: What Redskins' GM McCloughan is looking for in the players he drafts

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 13, 15 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 94 days ago. It will be about 151 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 5; 2016 NFL draft 15; Redskins training camp starts 106

Hot topic

In an interview with Bleacher Reports, Scot McCloughan described the player he’s like to take with the 21st overall pick when the draft gets underway two weeks from tomorrow.

“Toughness, smarts, competitiveness, team.”

In theory, this should make it easy to figure out who McCloughan has his sights set on. That combination of characteristics is not necessarily shared by a whole lot of players who have the talent to be considered in the first round.

It’s probably easy to eliminate some players. There are plenty of players, particularly defensive linemen, who get knocked in scouting reports for taking plays off, which would bring into question their toughness, competitiveness, and dedication to the team. One player linked to the Redskins in some mock drafts, Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche, admitted to the media that he didn’t always give every play his best effort. He could well be off the Redskins’ board.

But beyond the obvious it’s pretty hard to know just who has the traits that McCloughan is looking for. Although all other things being equal he would prefer to draft a bigger player, his desire to have players with strong character will trump size. In the interview he talked about drafting 5-8 WR Jamison Crowder last year.

“You talk to him and you realize, it’s not going to be too big for him,” he said. “He’s going to come in from Day 1 and be a pro. He’s high character, competitive, tough – the tape showed that – and he has the passion to be a good player.”

So the key characteristics that McCloughan lists are not just for players in the first round. They apply throughout the draft.

The thing is, anyone can pull up some tape on the web and “scout” the player’s performances. The Mel Kipers and Mike Mayocks of the world can get more film, coaches' film, and talk to executives and scouts to get some more insight. Jon Gruden and a few others get one-on-one talks with the draft prospects.

But only McCloughan can get the job interviews with the players, asking the questions that he wants answered. Only he knows what he is looking for in the answers. He also knows what answers he is looking for when he and the Redskins' scouts get when they talk to a player's college coaches.

The rest of us can conduct mock drafts all day and try to figure out where he will go. But the recipe is a secret and good luck to all of us who might try to figure it out.

Stat of the day

When Redskins Hall of Fame WR Art Monk retired following the 1995 season he was the NFL record holder for both career receptions (940) and receptions in a single seasons (106 in 1984).

In case you missed it

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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts on Thursday. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here. On offense we’ve put the wide receivers, running backs, offensive line, and tight ends, under the microscope. Today the focus turns to quarterback.

2016 final game starter: Kirk Cousins

Has started all 32 games in two seasons since he was named the starter. Cousins played every offensive snap last year.

Departures: None

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Projected 2017 starter: Cousins

Trade talk that was all over the place in February and early March is all but gone. It appears that Cousins will be the starter for 2017. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

2017 reserves: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

For a while in 2014, McCoy was ahead of Cousins on Jay Gruden’s depth chart, starting three games over a healthy Cousins. McCoy is under contract through 2018 and it will be interesting to see if he gets another shot at starting if Cousins leaves as a free agent. But for 2017 McCoy will continue his role as an insurance policy.

Sudfeld will find out a lot more about his future in burgundy and gold in the next several days. Former general manager Scot McCloughan was very high on Sudfeld’s potential as a future starter. If others in the building were as convinced as McCloughan was they likely will bypass the position in the draft. Taking a QB, especially somewhere in rounds three or four, would be a sign that they don’t like Sudfeld nearly as much as McCloughan did.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often  

Where can the quarterback position find improvement?

Cousins had another big statistical year, breaking his own team record by passing for nearly 5,000 yards. But he can improve in the red zone, where his completion rate plummeted to 47.5 percent after completing 64.1 percent in 2015. Cousins also saw his third-down completion percentage drop from 69.2 percent in 2015 to 61 percent last year. Not surprisingly, the offense struggled in both areas.   

Locks and bubble players

If no quarterback is drafted all three are locks. If one is taken, Sudfeld should start looking at how he can break his lease.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

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<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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