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Should Redskins' Fans Be OK with Current Scouting Personnel Hierarchy?

In short, YES. Rick Maese of the Washington Post penned a gem of an article giving Redskins fans the most detailed tour into the Redskins' scouting and pro personnel department we've ever seen. To make a long story short, when Mike Shanahan accepted the Redskins job, he cleaned house with the coaching staff and Redskins roster, but mysteriously, almost everyone in the scouting department was kept on (poor Donnie Warren didn't make it).

Now, the Redskins drafts over the years have been horrendous as we all know. At the combine this past February, when Mike Shanahan addressed the media, I went right into it:

Kevin: What do you see in their scouting abilities that kept their jobs safe?"

Shanahan: "Number one, it's a process. You bring in a certain way to scout. A lot of times, Washington in the past has traded away a lot of draft choices and they didn't have many draft choices, but hopefully with the system that we have, hopefully we'll have a lot more draft picks."

My rebuttal: "But can they evaluate talent?"

Shanahan: "I like the people we have, I've had the chance to spend a lot of time with them. We talked about the direction that we want to go. I like what we've got."

My take from this very "nothingness" answer is that the scouting department was able to rank players, but Cerrato and Snyder went with their own "gut" decisions. I highly recommend reading Maese's article in its' entirety, but here are the key points from his investigations:

  • Four of the five college scouts who worked under Cerrato are still in place, as is one of the two pro scouts.
  • During the 2010 draft, some in the organization preferred that the Redskins pursue Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung as a first-round pick. Shanahan, though, wanted Oklahoma's Trent Williams, and went that route instead.
  • The Giants, Eagles and Cowboys have a similar number of scouts, but each has more people working in those departments, especially Dallas.
  • "Scott Campbell is pretty good at what he does, but how much weight does he carry with Mike?" a longtime NFC scouting director asked. "With any team, it really boils down to the decision maker. You can have a great scouting staff, but if the decision maker isn't listening to them, all that work goes for naught."
  • 2010 draft: Four of the Redskins six draft picks are with the team (Trent, Riley, Austin, Cook).
  • For 2011, 10 of the Redskins 12 picks have already contributed this season. (Jenkins is on IR, Aldrick Robinson is on the PS).
Now, what do I really know about how a scouting department should work? SQUAT. On one hand, it seems logical that a team should have a GM that knows the players that work in the Coach's system and drafts them (Bobby Beathard to Gibbs, Ozzie Newsome for the Ravens, etc). However, the Patriots are a team where Bill Belichick makes all the personnel decisions. Their drafts have not been great the last couple years, and it surely helps a team's success rate when they consistently have multiple picks in each of the first rounds.

Frankly, I'm OK with the current Redskins setup. It was well known the scouts said to stay away from Malcolm Kelly yet Snyder Cerrato drafted him anyway. Who is going to know who fits in Mike Shanahan's system better than Mike Shanahan? The scouts jobs are to present Mike Shanahan with their best players. Shanahan then watches film and makes the ultimate call. There is a lot to be appreciative in the last two drafts, so why should the Redskins change anything now? They shouldn't, and they're not.