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Three-and-OUT - What I Took Away from Scot McCloughan
by Chris Russell
May 05, 2015 -- 1:44pm
ESPN 980
Scot McCloughan's first draft with the Washington Redskins is now in the book and while it can not fairly be judged for four years - I would give it a preliminary B with a possible B plus designation if we are including undrafted free agents and the value of trades. 
McCloughan met with the media for the 2nd time in a week on Monday afternoon and was his usual detailed, and upfront self. No he doesn't say everything you want, but that's not his job. He gives you something as a member of the media. 
It's very refreshing. You feel he's not lying to you, whereas you knew that wasn't the case in past years. 
McCloughan said many interesting things so it is hard to just focus on one specific area. So we'll focus on four big ones, in the form of our weekly in-season staple, "Three-and-OUT." 
1.  Character means something: 
"We hit what we wanted to hit from the standpoint of not just good football players on the field, but off the field as well. That's very important to me. I think the character off the field plays into a player going from good to great, and great to special. It was very important to me, especially in my first draft, to let the Redskin community and fans and everybody out there know that we all take pride in this and we take ownership in it and we got better because of that. "
My Spin: McCloughan said this at the beginning of his presser before questions were even asked. It was important to him. It wasn't lip service. The Redskins bypassed Randy Gregory, La'el Collins, and Shane Ray just to name a few. 
McCloughan backed up his pre-draft premise that character was important. It's one thing to say but another to do it. 
2. Will he be making scouting staff changes?
"I have assessed it. I was very, very happy with it - the whole process. The guys bought in to it, the guys worked their tails off, and I could see the pride in them when we made the picks. That's what I want. So as of right now, everything is status quo going forward." 
My Spin: That part always worries me a bit but I believe McCloughan to be a genuine person and I would be surprised if there are any major changes. Here's the bottom-line, Scott Campbell and Alex Santos (who took over for Morocco Brown a year ago) have to be given the opportunity to really do their jobs. The culture and the system around here has not been set-up that way. In this case, I think continuity is very important. 
3. Are you concerned about Brandon Scherff's knee and development as a pass blocker?
"Not worried about the knee at all...I think he can work on everything...The really cool thing about him here with Coach Callahan is they're going to get better. The upside is tremendous. It's not going to be like 'pretty, flashy guy.' It's just every day he's going to come out here and get better and he's going to make us better." 
My Spin: I am concerned because I have seen how lower leg injuries affect a dominant tackle (Trent Williams) the last two years. That doesn't mean that Scherff won't be available. However, the Redskins need Scherff to be dominant in the run game and that could be a problem if Scherff is banged up repeatedly. He had a significant injury that ended his 2012 season with seven games to go and battled through torn cartilage last year. 
I am not concerned about his competitive desire to be on the football field and help his team win which sounds an awful lot like Williams, but it does have an effect. 
As for the pass protection issues, yes he will get better. Yes, it should be a bit easier at right tackle than left (which he played at Iowa). However, a lot of teams are stocking the left side of their defense with their best pass rushers (Ryan Kerrigan) to take advantage of perceived weaker right tackles. This could be a major issue. 
OUT: Scot McCloughan answered 26 questions and spoke for over 18 minutes plus  the opening statement mentioned above and NOT ONCE did he mention the name Robert Griffin III. 
He didn't mention a lot of guys specifically by name, but to say this is rare, would probably be an understatement. 
I found this to be awesome and I don't mean that in a derogatory way towards Robert. I truly believe Robert will be a lot better and the Redskins will be a lot better when the bulls eye isn't so large on his back. 
Chris Russell - - 

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Redskins Get Bigger
by Chris Russell
May 01, 2015 -- 8:29pm
ESPN 980
The Redskins made the 2nd selection of the Scot McCloughan era on Friday night as they selected Mississippi State EDGE defender Preston Smith with the number 38 pick overall.
Smith is a 6'4" 270 pound defensive player who had 9.5 sacks in 2014 for Mississippi State. 
I don't know if he has the ideal explosion and speed off the edge that you would like, but he certainly has the frame and the versatility that Scot McCloughan.

I've seen him kicked inside over the center and shaded in different gaps, while wreaking havoc with his hands and punch. 
I want to watch more tape on him, but I like the pick without loving it. 
Smith played for a top ranked team this year in the widely regarded SEC. 
In the Jay Gruden era, the Redskins have now taken three offensive linemen, two edge pass rushers, a wide receiver, a cornerback, a running back, a placekicker, and a tight end.

That’s six offensive players, three on defense and one on special teams. 

I am curious to see how quick he is off the edge in the NFL because I didn't see an explosive player in the limited cut-ups I was able to watch, and while I would have preferred maybe a good compliment to Trent Murphy who has size and is good at stopping the run while developing as a pass rusher. 
The Redskins made a big volume trade with Scot McCloughan's former team, the Seattle Seahawks and traded their third-round pick (# 69) for Seattle's third-round selection (# 95), fourth-round selection (# 112), fifth-round selection (# 167) and sixth-round selection (# 181). 
With the third-round pick the Redskins acquired in the deal with Seattle, they selected Matt Jones, a running back from the Florida Gators. Jones, appears to be good in pass protection and obviously brings an interesting frame to the table, at 6'2", 231. 
According to, Mike Mayock said about Jones, "That is a big specimen right there. Jones is a big, physical downhill guy who needs to learn patience. He has a lot of talent." 
Washington still has their own fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh round picks.
Chris Russell - - 

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Surprise! The Redskins Take Scherff!
by Chris Russell
Apr 30, 2015 -- 9:30pm
ESPN 980
Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff poses for photos after being selected by the Washington Redskins as the fifth pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
The Washington Redskins surprised most of us on Thursday night with the number five overall pick, selecting Brandon Scherff from Iowa.
Scherff, 6'5" 320 pound offensive tackle from Iowa is projected by many to kick inside to guard. 
Considering how quickly the Redskins turned in the pick on Thursday night and with Leonard Williams still on the board, it would suggest that the Redskins might have had Scherff even higher on their board than five.
Why? If he was five or higher, you might still wait nearly the full ten minutes to try and work a trade. Or you might go with Leonard Williams. 
The Redskins did not do that. 

Let's get one thing straight: Brandon Scherff is a talented, nasty and physical run blocker first and projects to start at right tackle from day one in the NFL. His pass protection leaves quite a bit to be desired based on the games that I have seen, specifically against Maryland who tore him to pieces. 
Scherff was banged up most of 2014 but did not miss a game while starting and playing at left tackle for Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. He is a leader and an Outland Trophy winner. 
Here's the problem. At number five overall, the Redskins have to have him start at right tackle which I have no doubt he will based on the competition currently. 
Tom Compton, a former sixth-round pick is fine as a backup swing tackle. Morgan Moses is recovering from a Lisfranc foot fracture. 
An additional layer to this problem is that for the most part, selecting a guy who projects to be a starting right tackle at number five is not the norm. 
What I mean by that is this: Scherff played at left tackle. We know that he won't play left tackle right away for the Redskins. We assume he will play the right tackle spot but many pundits feel he best projects to guard. 
Scherff joined ESPN 980 live on Thursday night after he was selected and was asked if he expecting to be selected by the Redskins. 
"I was not," Scherff told us. "I just talked to them at the combine and that was it." 
When asked what he needs to improve on - Scherff told ESPN 980, "Pass protection, that's for sure." 
That's not normally a fifth overall pick. 
When the Redskins selected Trent Williams at number four overall in 2010, he had played right at right tackle in Oklahoma but was dominating at left tackle. It was thought that Williams had the great footwork to play left tackle in Mike Shanahan's scheme and that thought was correct. 
I don't see great footwork in pass protection with Scherff. He's also a player that has had to overcome injury. 
He battled through a knee issue with torn cartilage in 2014 and had a severe ankle/foot injury in 2012. 
Chris Russell - - 

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Ten Things to Look for This Weekend
by Chris Russell
Apr 30, 2015 -- 2:58pm
ESPN 980

The Washington Redskins will  be on the clock at number five tonight and when their time starts, I really hope they don't make a selection. 

I can't say this anymore than I already have, but I feel I have to. For the Redskins, they have to increase their odds of finding four very productive players in this draft. They do not need one stud. They need very good volume over this "best player available" mantra. 
Why? Because it is nothing more than a 50/50 gamble and the odds are probably not even that good  that you will hit on a franchise changing player. 
For every Odell Beckham Jr. who dominated in his first year, but the last time I checked has to continue to prove himself every year and for every J.J. Watt (who has dominated every year)  there are one-year wonders and complete busts. 
I could name them, but you know who many of them are. It's impossible to name one-year wonders from 2014 but it is fair to say that at this point, Dion Jordan (Miami # 1-3, 2013) is an unmitigated disaster. 
Barkevious Mingo has seven sacks in two seasons after being selected sixth overall in 2013 by the Browns. Sorry, that's not enough. Dee Milliner of the Jets (# 1-9, 2013) has worked out so well that the Jets just added three new starters to their secondary. 
You get the point. 
The Redskins need high quality volume and they need it bad. That's what they have to have. 
With that being said - here are a few things to look for tonight and this weekend:
1. A trade down from # 5: Duh, we've pretty much covered that but it a trade back could be one spot or two (New York Jets or Chicago?) or to 12 with Cleveland (who has # 19 as well) or # 13 with New Orleans (who have # 31 also). 
I also would not rule out the Rams at # 10, the 49ers at # 15  and I still won't say no to  the Eagles. 
2. If the Redskins only select one player tonight, I do believe it will be an EDGE pass rusher over an offensive lineman, especially if they stay at number five. 
3. If they move into the teens, I would look for offensive tackle to be the focus and Miami's Ereck Flowers to be the most likely choice
4. If Leonard Williams or Amari Cooper are still on the board at number five, I think the Redskins would be very tempted and pull the trigger. Those two are the only guys I would take in the first five selections tonight. Of course that won't be the way it works, but that's just my mostly educated opinion. 
5.  I think before the draft is done and probably by tomorrow night's conclusion (end of 3rd round) the Redskins will take a running back. i wouldn't be surprised if that back is David Cobb from Minnesota or Ameer Abdullah from Nebraska. As I've said several times, I would not be surprised (and neither should you) if the Redskins take two running backs in the draft. 
6. On Monday when I asked Scot McCloughan  about what traits he wants from a guard on the offensive line, he said "our plans are power. You know, in-line power. We're talking 320-plus, hopefully, coming off, head butting and going. We want to be able to run the football." That's exactly what I thought he would say and the reason why I asked the question. 
Because of that philosophy, I would be surprised if the Redskins did not target Laken Tomlinson from Duke or of course Brandon Scherff in the first round, but not at number five overall. 
7. I absolutely think the Redskins will either pick or sign a developmental quarterback. The guy they have shown the most interest in is Connor Halliday. I would not be surprised if they wait for the undrafted period and try to slip in Chris Bonner from Colorado State Pueblo. 
8. You are going to hear over and over this weekend as you have probably heard that the only position in football that matters is the quarterback spot. A great quarterback solves everything. Nope. Once again, you are being lied to and I hope for your sake you can figure out a way to sort through the truth. 
9. McCloughan said on Monday that the Redskins are going to be very cautious about bringing in so-called 'bad guys,' which is exactly what he should have said. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe the Redskins and every organization would take a gamble on a player like Shane Ray, Randy Gregory or even La'el Collins if they dramatically drop. 
There are other players with issues, but it would not stun me in any way if the Redskins took one of those three guys at some point, especially considering their needs at the respective positions. 
They'll tell you "we've done our research" and they will tell you they have been diligent and believe in the prospect. They also have no way to control what the individual does with the inordinate time away from the facility. It's complete hogwash. Watch, Tampa and many other teams will get burned. Why? Because there are way too many temptations for players with a lot of money and time to pass up constantly. 
10. I believe the Redskins will go the entire weekend without taking  and filling at least one significant need. Not sure what position it will be but EDGE, OT, G, CB, FS and RB are my top needs for Washington. 
What are you looking for? Hit me up on twitter and please listen to our extensive draft coverage starting tonight at 7 from Buffalo Wild Wings and Redskins Park, Friday from Buffalo Wild Wings Gaithersburg and Saturday live from FedExField

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Good or Bad? RG III & the Redskins Tied Together
by Chris Russell
Apr 28, 2015 -- 12:36pm
ESPN 980
The Washington Redskins took a very calculated gamble on Monday by announcing that they are picking up the 2016 option on Robert Griffin III for 16.155 million dollars. 
Why? "He's a good football player," new General Manager Scot McCloughan told reporters on Monday. "He's got good tape out there." 
He's right, especially if we are talking about the 2012 Robert Griffin but there were some brief glimpses of that guy in 2014. 
People won't remember but he made several big throws against Houston that were negated by a bad call on the officials and a turnover inside then ten-yard line by Niles Paul. He was accurate in that game. He ran the offense. 
Griffin got off to a great start against Jacksonville in the home opener. A couple of read-option pulls electrified the FedEx faithful before bad luck reared its ugly head back into the beautiful picture that was forming before our eyes. 
Griffin had some very good moments in Minnesota and on the road against the New York Giants, mixed in with some very ugly stretches. 
It was a year that nobody wanted by any means, but I assume that is what McCloughan was talking about. 
Now - why else did they make the decision? 
1. I have absolutely no problem (I've said this many times) with the Redskins believing in Griffin and not wanting to give up on him at the tender age of 25. Anybody that feels giving up on 25-year olds in any walk of life, especially in the NFL, should remember when they were 25. That's the nice way of saying what I would prefer to say. 
2. If Griffin is significantly better this year than in 2013 or 2014, that will be a great thing and the Redskins will really be ready to roll in 2016 and instead of being faced with questions about Griffin's impending free agency or having to sign him to a new long-term contract, Washington will have cost certainty AND leverage. This is part of the decision making process.
3. By enacting the 2016 option, you now have full use of the franchise and transition tag for next off-season when you have Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Alfred Morris, Keenan Robinson & others eligible for free agency. 
Obviously, you can't keep everyone but you at least have the ability to now control and restrict three separate players from leaving while keeping them on a one-year deal. 
Now the potential bad news:
1. This is a "huge risk" with many potential complications for the Redskins and Griffin if things don't work out for injury reasons in 2015. 
2. By naming Robert Griffin III the starter in mid February and now picking up the fifth-year option, you have completely taken away any dangling motivation to fuel Robert to even greater success. 
Clearly, there is no guarantee for 2016 based on skill, but it is logical to think that a little extra fuel in the tank would never be a bad thing. Players are motivated by different things. 
3. By picking up the option, you have eliminated the potential need to use the franchise tag in 2016 on Griffin and while that might be a good thing based on the reasons above, it also could be a bad thing. 
As my friend Kevin Sheehan pointed out to me this morning and I agree, you could wind up significantly over paying Griffin based on performance.
Confused? Let's say Griffin is only marginally better in 2015 but still leaves plenty to be desired and the team finishes (8-8). Let's also say that he stays healthy but there are no real signs of the arrow pointing up. Now what do you do?
Is that worth 16.1 million dollars? No. Not in any reasonable eye. 
Griffin was (147-214, 68.7%) with four touchdown passes, six interceptions and was sacked 33 times in 2014. The Redskins were (4-12).
For the purposes of the argument, if Griffin stays healthy, and say his numbers are (250- 400, 62.5%) with 15 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions, while reducing the sack totals from 33 to 25.
What is that worth? Is it worth $16.1 million? Not in my eyes, but that's what you would be stuck paying unless you then cut him for skill and try to re-sign him. 
An unlikely scenario. 
4. What happens if Griffin is playing above average down the stretch and the Redskins are basically eliminated with two games to go? Does Jay Gruden sit him down to preserve his body to avoid injury and therefore the injury guarantee? 
Could you imagine the drama then? Oh wait, we've already been there before. 
A source with the NFLPA says the union has absolutely no legal fight to be made based on this particular situation. 
5. The question that will never go away is this: Was Scot McCloughan convinced by someone above him in the chain of command that Griffin's option had to be picked up? Did Dan Snyder make a promise to the Griffin family? Has McCloughan's desire to do something different already been overruled? 
We'll never truly know the absolutely honest answer, but considering the history of the player, the owner and the organization - it is a question that has to at least be asked. 
The last issue  that has to be asked for now: Is this a good thing for Griffin?? 
I would argue that it is not. It just invites more drama. Either way, this season was essentially a make or break season for his Redskins tenure. 
As I wrote last week, if Griffin is going to be playing for his playing and financial future in 2015 - I am sure he would rather be a free agent heading into 2016. 
The bottom line? This is a lose-lose situation for both sides as far as I can tell. 
Chris Russell - - 

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Three-And-OUT : Kansas CB Dexter McDonald Jr.
by Chris Russell
Apr 24, 2015 -- 2:23pm
ESPN 980
Kansas Cornerback Dexter McDonald Jr. recently visited the Redskins in between visits to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers. 
If you notice one them in common with several of those teams - the Redskins, Packers and Raiders have some of the same philosophies that were all rooted in Wisconsin from the Ron Wolf family tree. 
That might be worth noting or it might be something and shed some light on what kind of prospect McDonald is.
The night he arrived in Northern Virginia, he joined me on ESPN 980 to talk about his path to the draft and his journey. As we do with our radio draft guests, we'll play a little "Three-and-Out," which of course is music to the ears of a defensive player.
CR: How would you describe your play? 
DM: "Me being 6'1 and me having the advantage that I do on height rather than most corners, I always try to be as physical as I can during the games and always try to put my hands on wide receivers to disrupt the time between them and the quarterback. 
CR: Are you better in man or zone coverage?
DM: "I would say I'm comfortable in both but me coming from Kansas where I played man over 90% of my snaps, I would say I'm more comfortable playing man.
CR: Does it matter to you where you get selected of where you go? 
DM: "I would never worry about if I go drafted or free agent or If I have to fight on special teams or scout team, I think that my mentality is  for sure  go in and prove that I'm capable of making a roster and helping any team I go to to win a Super Bowl. That's the mentality I have and that's the chip I'll always keep on my shoulder. 
The entire interview features McDonald's thoughts on the pro-style coaching he received at Kansas and how he views himself compared to Richard Sherman. 
Who knows if McDonald will be successful at the next level, but there's something about him besides his size (which is obvious) that strikes me. As I said during the interview, he plays with a swagger and like his hair is on fire. He seems to close on the ball well and locate the ball really well. 
Maybe he'll be a safety ultimately but after running an unofficial 4.38, that's corner speed. The Redskins would be wise to pull the trigger and see if they can come up with the next big thing. 
Thanks to Jared Robins for his help with the McDonald interview. 
Chris Russell - - 

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