Quick Links

Scot McCloughan's personnel record has hits and misses with Redskins

Scot McCloughan's personnel record has hits and misses with Redskins

Scot McCloughan only served as the Redskins GM for 18 months, but in that time, the roster changed significantly. Some moves were great, others, not so much. 

Great

  • Jamison Crowder - Arguably the best move of the McCloughan era, Crowder was a 4th round draft pick in 2015. In two seasons with the Redskins, the slot star has totaled more than 1,400 receiving yards and given Washington their best punt returner since Brian Mitchell was returning kicks. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon gone, the 2017 Redskins offense may run through the former Duke star.
  • Vernon Davis - An aging former star that many in the NFL thought was past his prime, Davis came in and played well for Washington in 2016. Davis had 44 catches for nearly 600 yards to go with two touchdowns in 2016. More importantly for Washington, Davis proved a strong run blocker and a highly capable complement to Jordan Reed when they were on the field together, or a high-level backup when Reed missed games.
  • Brandon Scherff - McCloughan's first draft pick with the Redskins, Scherff has developed into a Pro Bowl guard in just his second NFL season. The tough part for Scherff, even as a great player, the ceiling for a guard is somewhat limited, and some fans will always wonder if Leonard Williams might have been the better fit in Washington at the 5th pick in the 2015 Draft.

MORE: Redskins free agency live blog: News and rumors

Good

  • Robert Kelley - An undrafted free agent out of Tulane, Kelley proved highly capable of taking the RB1 role for the Redskins in the second half of the 2016 season. 
  • Mason Foster - Not all of McCloughan's best work came in the draft. Signing Foster gave some stability to the middle linebacker position, and Foster led the team in tackles in 2016.
  • Will Blackmon - Similar to Foster, Blackmon came in and immediately helped the Redskins. With a professional attitude and strong locker room presence, Blackmon made plays at cornerback in 2015. Switched to safety in 2016, Blackmon's play was a work in progress, but he will help younger players in 2017 and beyond. 
  • Josh Norman - The biggest free agent signing of the McCloughan era, Norman played well in his first season with the 'Skins. Plagued by penalties and an inability to hang on to interceptions, Norman could make a bigger impact in 2017.
  • Su'a Cravens - No doubt a playmaker as a rookie, Cravens arguably saved the Redskins season with a win-sealing interception against the Giants in Week 3 of the 2016 season. If his move to safety in 2017 pans out, it will be a huge swing for the Redskins. 
  • Preston Smith - Showed great promise as a rookie, but his stats slid backwards in his second season. Talented and with strong physical gifts, fans hope for a return to his rookie ways in his third year.
  • Ricky Jean François - A veteran with heart and ability, François will likely see the field more with the dismissal of former defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

MORE: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0

Miss 

  • Matt Jones - Going into just his third season with the 'Skins, Jones still has time to reverse course. But in two seasons with the Redskins, Jones has lost the starting RB job to Kelley and proceeded to be inactive for the bulk of the second half of the 2016 season. Plagued by fumble problems, Jones has all the physical tools to suceed, just needs to prove it.
  • David Bruton - A career special teamer for seven years in Denver, the Redskins decided Bruton could be their starting safety in 2016. He couldn't. This was a big miss, and Bruton did not finish the season with the team after a concussion sent him to the IR in October.
  • Stepehen Paea - Signed by the Redskins in 2015, Paea never showed the 6 sack, disruptive performance he delivered in Chicago in 2014. The 'Skins cut Paea in training camp in 2016.
  • Kendall Reyes - Another defensive line signing, Reyes was terrible in his brief tenure with Washington. He played just two games with the 'Skins in 2016 before he was released.
  • Josh Doctson - Far too early to judge his career, but his rookie season was a miss. An Achilles injury limited Doctson to just two games in 2016. Washington will need much more from their 2016 first-round pick this season after the loss of Jackson and Garçon. 

Plenty more personnel moves can fit into the great, good or miss category. This is just a snapshot of McCloughan's work as general manager. Let us know what you think in the comments.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 23, four days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 10
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 31
—Training camp starts (7/27) 95
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 140

In search of someone, anyone, to stop the run

One of the areas the Redskins needed to improve last year was their rushing defense on first down. In 2015, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down. That was the worst performance in the league. It’s pretty tough to play defense when a handoff makes it second and five. The Saints, who had a historically bad defense that year, were second, fiving up 4.8 yards a pop.

Well, it was no better for the Redskins defense in 2016. Again, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down, again the worst performance in the league.  Remember, this is on first down, when teams are most likely to run.

The Redskins’ problems on third down were well known. They were dead last in the league allowing first downs on 46.6 percent of third-down attempts. For context, an average performance on third down is allowing about 38 percent and the best teams are around 35 percent.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The Redskins weren’t very good at getting teams to third down. They allowed first downs on 33.8 percent of their opponents’ second-down plays. That put them in the bottom third of the league. Again, you don’t have to look too hard to connect the dots to link that back to the five yards per rushing play on first down. Second and five is a piece of cake most of the time.

You don’t need an advanced degree in statistical analysis to figure out that the Redskins defense isn’t going to get much better if they can’t stop teams from running the ball on first down.

It’s easy to point to the defensive line, which has not been very good, and say that the problem is there. That certainly has something to do with it. But the Redskins didn’t have a very good D-line in 2014 and they allowed 4.1 yards per first-down rushing attempt, a performance that was right at the league average.

The factor that was common in 2015 and 2016 and was different in 2014 was the defensive coordinator. It’s possible that opposing teams found a flaw to exploit in Joe Barry’s scheme that wasn’t there in Jim Haslett’s (which surely had flaws in other places).

But X’s and O’s can only get you so far. The Redskins will be looking to take a defensive lineman early and perhaps use an additional pick or two at the position later in the draft. While getting one who can rush the passer would be a plus, they need a run stuffer who can take snaps on first down and bottle up the ground game.

The focus in the draft will be on the first-round pick but, as has been discussed here many times, that pick is unlikely to be a defensive lineman. There isn’t likely to be one at 17 who would represent good value. That could mean that the Redskins’ second- or third-round pick, perhaps an interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida, Larry Ogunjobi of Charlotte, or Montravius Adams of Auburn, is just as important to the team’s success as the first-round pick.

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.

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 22, five days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 20
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 32
—Training camp starts (7/27) 96
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 141

The Redskins week that was

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—Even with the Caps and Wizards in full playoff mode, the DMV stops to take a look and see when the Redskins will be playing. The Thanksgiving game was surprising. It’s another working day but I worked at various places since I was 14 and last year was the first time I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving so I can’t complain too much about working two in a row. It’s a small price to pay for having the best job in the world.

Don't count out any RB for Redskins at 17—Yeah, I know that NFL teams aren’t supposed to take running backs in the first round any more. But that is one of those trends that comes and goes. In 2013 and 2014 there were no RBs taken in the first. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott in the last couple of years began to shift the thinking. If the Redskins think that Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey can help them win games more than any other player on the board they should pull the trigger.

Rise of Patrick Mahomes could bring big payoff for Redskins—It seems likely that quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will be taken before the Redskins pick at No. 17 goes on the clock. That means that two players in whom the Redskins might be interested will be available, pushed back by the quarter backs. Could Mahomes, out of Texas Tech, push a third player back to Washington. The buzz is that a team might grab him in the first half of the first round.

The Redskins' five best salary cap bargains for 2017—When I started pulling the numbers for this post I thought I’d find more key players with salaries of under $1 million. I only found three and one of them is the kicker. This means that they don’t have very many late-round or undrafted players who are contributing a lot of value. They need more out of players like Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Maurice Harris. That is how a team thrives in the salary cap era. A couple of Saturday picks could make or break this draft.

Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often—There are a lot of ways the first 16 picks of this draft can work out. It seems almost certain that everyone’s favorite first-round pick, a stud defensive lineman, won’t be a realistic option on the board. This could send things in an odd direction for the Redskins. It’s fun to do a mock and I’ll do one or two more prior to draft day but there are too many variables to think that it has a high degree of accuracy. 

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it