While there have been a few different reports and denials in the Scot McCloughan story one thing is clear. The man who supposedly has the final say in the draft and in free agency will not be at the NFL combine this week. How will this affect the team?
The combine operates on a few different levels. One is the activities that take place on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium with players running the 40-yard dash, doing vertical and long jumps, etc. McCloughan has never put much stock in that aspect of the combine.
“I think game tape is the DNA. That’s it,” he said during his introductory press conference in January of 2015. “You don’t play in T-shirts and shorts. All these kids nowadays get these speed trainers and nutritionists prior to the combine and I don’t blame them, if it gets them more money it gets them more money. I always go back to the tape.”
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0
The players’ times in the 40 and the three-cone drill and how far they went in the broad jump are all recorded so McCloughan can catch up on those if he chooses to. And it’s all taped so if he wants to look at the quarterbacks throwing he can do that as well.
Another important aspect of the combine is the medical exams. General managers seldom are involved here and the decision makers have access to the results.
The interviews with the prospects, however, are critical. McCloughan has always considered getting to know the potential draftees to get their stories to gauge their love for the game, something that McCloughan uses to determine if the prospect is his kind of “football player.” He can review videos of the interviews conducted by Jay Gruden, Scott Campbell, Doug Williams and others but that’s not the same as being there.
Outside of the interview rooms and stadium, there is plenty of business going on in Indianapolis. Although it’s not technically legal under NFL rules, there are plenty of discussions between GMs and agents about players who are going to hit the open market when free agency starts a week from today. This is mostly contract talk, which McCloughan is not heavily involved in. But presumably he has thoroughly evaluated the potential free agents and it would be useful for Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer to have him there for consultation as they talk contract numbers.
More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?
Back to his original presser almost two years ago, McCloughan believes that “game tape is the DNA” so perhaps he can learn 90 percent of what he needs to learn about the prospects in his office. But if he hasn’t been at the office since February 20, as was reported by 106.7 The Fan and denied by McCloughan and his agent, that is a lot of critical missed time.
Whether McCloughan has missed a couple of weeks or will only miss the combine it is hard to believe that he will be fully prepared to make decisions in free agency and in the draft. It has been reported that his authority at Redskins Park has been diminished as of late. Whether that’s the case or not, it’s hard to see him having full authority after having been out for such a critical stretch of time.
How the power dynamic will affect the quality of the players the Redskin select—which is ultimately what matters—remains to be seen.