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Scot McCloughan on Redskins Draft Strategy, 12-15 Impact Players in this Year's Draft

Scot McCloughan sat down with Larry Michael to discuss tomorrow's draft

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Redskins GM Scot McCloughan visited Larry Michael on Redskins Nation after his draft week presser on Monday, and discussed some draft strategy. He hit on a lot of the same points  including his desire to pick up more picks in this year's draft, and looking to get bigger players on the team.  Here are a few things that you might find interesting from the 5 minute conversation.

  • McCloughan has identified 12-15 players in this draft that can come in Year 1 and produce
  • He doesn't want to trade back too far and miss out on that group of players
  • He plans to bring in at least 10-15 UDFAs after the draft, and expects many to have draftable(6th/7th) grades
  • Intangibles can outweigh height/weight/speed for the right players
  • Character is important, but one dumb mistake doesn't take you off the board, it's patterns of poor decisions
  • He puts a lot of pressure on the incumbent area scouts

(via CSNWashington)

McCloughan opened the clip discussing the Redskins first round pick, and Larry Michael follows with several questions.

You will not see us move up from the 5 spot this year, we'd like to go back if possible. You also have to understand that if someone is coming to us, we have to win that trade.  I have about 12-15 football players, that I feel are really good football players who can come in year 1, and be able to produce, and produce for a long time. So you can't get too cute with yourself and move too far back, because then you move yourself out of the picture for those players. Now you lose out on a superstar, to maybe get three good players, which is ok, but if that superstar is something that is really special, it's hard to trade out.

How about if you're in there in the draft, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round, and all of a sudden someone does something wacky ahead of  you.  Do you celebrate that? That happens all the time doesn't it?

Well you kind of smirk, but you think, man I hope I wasn't wrong about that guy, but it makes you start thinking. But all 32 teams have their own philosophy.

In your presser, someone asked you what you're looking for in a pass rusher, and you said you're looking for someone to tackle the quarterback. But you always reference you're looking for a football player.  How do you put it all together to say this guy's a football player.

A lot of it comes into area scouts, because they're the ones that are looking at them for 3 or 4 years in college. They're the ones that have most of the background on them, not all of the background, but most of the stuff. And nowadays with social media, you can follow twitter accounts. It's amazing the kind of things you can find out. The bottom line is, of course you want talent, but I'll give a little on the talent standpoint if I know this guy's intelligent, and I know he's very passionate and very competitive, and he understands it's about the team and not the individual. I will take a guy who is bigger, faster, stronger, and I will pass on him and I'll take the guy I know is consistent every day and comes in here, and that's what you know you have.

That's all that research to know if that guy's a worker or not. Another consistent point that you've made is "I want big guys". When we're sitting here next week, will this be a bigger football team?

Yes it will be, it's going to be younger, because we'll be drafting young guys.  Right now we have our seven originals, and it would be nice to get to ten picks.  But if not, we're still going to sign 10-15 college free agents who we feel really good about. As a matter of fact, a lot of those guys will be on our board as draftable, 7th round, 6th round consideration. So when you get down there, that's really exciting too. It's going to be a younger team, it's going to be a bigger team, it's going to be a more athletic team.

Character is something that always comes up, and people make mistakes and you hear about these guys out there, and some of the things they might have done. Well he's just a kid, he's just in college. How do you get your mind around that? You're talking about a kid who might have been influenced in college, maybe he's trying to show off for his buddies and then all of a sudden it becomes a character issue. Is that where all this research comes in?

Ya it is. Like you said, people make mistakes and that's going to happen, especially in college and high school. It's going to happen.  It's the repeat offenders that are the ones you scratch your head, the ones that show up to the Combine and test positive, the ones who have been arrested three times for a suspended license, stuff like that.  So by the time you get to that, usually you can tell that something is amiss in there by sitting down at the Combine, or the All-Star games and talking to the kids, how they come across. But you can't just pigeonhole everybody as a bad guy if they have a positive marijuana test one time in college that's a freshman or sophomore. But it's still part of the portfolio you put together, and it is a red flag but also that's when you discuss it with him. Ok, and talk to the coaches. Was he tested regularly?  Has he ever tested positive again? Stuff like that. You do as much research as you possibly can, but also understand that they're gonna make mistakes, you can't just throw them all out, because you'll have a tough time drafting guys if you just threw them all away.

You're sitting in there on Thursday, are you nervous, are you confident because you put in the work? How do you describe your feelings when you know you're on the clock?

Very confident in the people in that room that are counting on me that we all did our best to get to this point. We understand, listen if we're taking this guy, it's a franchise ownership we're taking. This guy, we're going to do everything in our power to make sure he's a good football player. From the head coach, to the trainers, to the doctors, to myself, to the pro scouts. We're all going to take ownership. We're going to do everything in our power to make sure he's successful.

An undrafted rookie free agent, that's a really important thing for you isn't it?

It's really important. If you saw last year in Seattle, both the starting receivers in the Super Bowl were both college free agents. So, it's out there, and there are good players and that's when the area scouts really make there hay, because they're the ones at the Pro Days, they're the ones talking to the coaches. We know who the superstar is, the 4 or 5 guys drafted.  Ok, who's your best guy that's going to be a free agent? Who's the toughest, who's the smartest, who's the most passionate, who competes the hardest? You get those guys, and you bring them up to the 53, and at least they're going to show up every day and do every single thing in their power to make the team. Now they might not be good enough, but it's adding competition on the field.

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