Scot McCloughan did not have open media availability at this year's Combine, and only spoke with Redskins Executive Producer of Media Larry Michael. He talked about the importance of the medical evaluations and interviews. McCloughan prefers to interview prospects 2, 3, and 4 times if he has the chance, and looks for consistency and body language from the players. Each team also receives an interview tape for the prospects.
There wasn't very much that hasn't already been said in this short, Redskins-controlled interview, so I looked to the last time McCloughan spoke at the Combine in 2010 as the San Francisco 49ers GM. This was McCloughan's last time as the GM any team, and the 49ers actually fired him less than a month after the Combine and before that year's draft.
McCloughan has talked about a few of these things before(free agency, bigger players, etc...), but it's an interesting perspective on some issues that are relevant with the Redskins this year. McCloughan discusses evaluating spread quarterbacks in college and what you need to do with them in the pros(recognize what they excel at, balancing that with your offensive philosophy). He talks about drafting defensive ends and converting them to 3-4 OLBs in the NFL(natural pass rush is most important). He also discussed franchising players(the Redskins won't be using the tag this year), and evaluating which players to extend(Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan are candidates this year). McCloughan was also asked about drafting a RB with Frank Gore already established as the starter(Alfred Morris is on the last year of his deal, Roy Helu, Jr. is afree agent, and Silas Redd/Chris Thompson are inexperienced).
Q: What are your plans in operating in a cap-less season?
A: For us it's not changing. We're going to go forward as if there is a cap. As you guys are well aware, we're not going to be considered a big free agency team anyway. But we'll do what we need to do in free agency if we think it's a smart move, if it makes us better. But it's not going to change us, our spending, one way or another. Because I think we have a good plan in place and the vision and philosophy we've had in the past. We're going to keep the same. If all of a sudden we get to a place where we think we have to, then we'll definitely consider it. But right now we're going forward as we have in the past.
Extending players you want to keep:
Q: Why are so many teams placing franchise tags on defensive tackles?
A: I know this. We've been on the 3-4 now for five years - it is a very important position. The one thing about it is when you have good football players at any position, you always want to try to extend them early. You want to get a long-term deal. And we tried with Aubrayo. Now that we've reach the deadline and we put the tag on him, we're going to keep trying. I think the price tag for it isn't outrageous yet, for the tag. But again, I don't want to speak for other organizations. From our standpoint, we're glad he's on our team for one more year and we're going to keep fighting for a long-term deal.
Evaluating spread quarterbacks:
Q: How do you evaluate spread quarterbacks?
A: Every quarterback is different. What you're seeing nowadays is a trend that's not going away. Even high schools are going to spread offenses. If you're going to take a spread quarterback, know that that's what he's used to and the reason you're drafting him is that he's been a good football player. Don't completely change what he's done in the past that's made him successful. It doesn't mean he has to be in the shotgun every snap and run the routes he ran in college, but you've got to find a balance between the two - being in the shotgun, being in three and four-receiver sets. Most of the teams - I know it's a little bit different with New Orleans - need to be able to run the football in the fourth quarter, especially late in the year and especially on the east coast in open-air stadiums. You've got to be able to play power football still.
Drafting RBs with an established starter in place:
Q: Do you plan on taking a running back with a different style than Frank Gore?
A: We could. Yeah, we could. Again, I think it comes down to what will be his role with us. Is there any special teams value involved in it? Again, where he's taken in the draft is going to say what the role is going to be and how soon we think he can help us. Gore is a really good football player for us and we expect him to be a good football player for us for the next couple of years. But we also understand that we can't count on him forever. And if you start limiting his carries now somewhat - he doesn't like it - but if we protect him. What our vision is to play 16 (games) and get to the playoffs. We need him to be healthy for him to that.
Drafting bigger players in the secondary:
Q: Do you feel the need to add fast corners with so many prolific passers in the NFL?
A: Again, each team has their own philosophy in what they believe. We believe in bigger corners. In our division, we went 5-1 last year, I think we set ourselves up pretty well to match up against guys in our division. Also, you've got to realize the receivers coming in have somewhat running back vision and instincts because they the ball and have so many opportunities to make plays in college. But again, I'll never lose sight of this and maybe I'm a dinosaur in this, but it's a big man's game. From the standpoint of holding up through a season durability-wise. But also in the playoffs. You have to have some size and some power and strength I think to be a contender year in and year out.
Drafting college DEs to be 3-4 OLBs in the NFL:
Q: How do you evaluate defensive ends who become linebackers in 3-4 defenses?
A: Natural pass rush. The thing about is very seldom do you see them standing and come out of the two-point stance. I think it's important here, you see a lot of the guys in the two-point stance. Natural instincts and being able to go forward. I don't think you're ever going to be able to sit there and say, 'Can he drop, how's he going to be in coverage?' I think the first and foremost thing is, can he get to the quarterback and go from there.