It’s been a few days since the NFL draft ended, as a partisan Washington Redskins fan, I’m experiencing an emotion I can’t ever recall feeling in the immediate aftermath of the draft—positive vibes.
It’s not just that I like the decision to focus on the offensive line, starting with first-round pick Brandon Scherff, the #5 overall choice out of Iowa, and continuing on to Alabama’s Arie Kouandijo and Austin Reiter from South Florida.
Anyone remotely paying attention could see how badly the ‘Skins needed offensive line help. It’s the organizational consistency that is so pleasantly surprising.
What I mean is this—one of the Redskins’ most notable offseason additions was luring Bill Callahan away from the staff of the Dallas Cowboys to coach the offensive line. Callahan has an outstanding track record. We can go all the way back to the early 1990s, where he coached the first offensive lines for Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin, beginning a tradition of great front fives in Madison. And it continued into last season, when the Cowboy offensive front was the best in the game.
If you’re going to make a significant investment in a position coach, it makes sense to then give him some players to work with. Especially given that right tackle, where Scherff is tentatively slotted (he may end up at guard) was so bad in 2014, with Tyler Polumbus and Tom Compton, that no coach could possibly hope to turn it around.
The pattern of cohesive organizational thinking continued with the selection of wide receiver Jamison Crowder out of Duke. I’ve liked Crowder for a couple years now. He had big-play talent in college and scouts, including former GM and ESPN analyst Bill Polian, believe he’ll settle into being a productive slot receiver in the NFL, with a Wes Welker-like ability to go over the middle.
A shifty slot receiver who can get open and get yards after the catch fits perfectly into the Redskin needs and system. Desean Jackson is stretching the field and creating space, while Jay Gruden’s offense showed an ability to be able to get receivers open coming underneath. Both RG3 and Colt McCoy are accurate on their short throws.
Once again, we have a case of a draft choice’s talents fitting into previous decisions made by the organization—augmenting Desean, fitting in with Gruden and being a good match for RG3.
It’s beginning to get that I’m not sure if I woke up and found myself in an alternate universe—are the Washington Redskins really going to be a cohesive organization? Or did we just luck into a few moves that happened to make sense?
Of course it was just last fall that we saw the bizarre sight of an owner coddling a struggling quarterback, while the head coach tried to unreasonably publicly humiliate that same quarterback, so I don’t want to get carried away. But with Scot McCloughan in the house as the new GM, maybe there is reason for hope.