<
>

Redskins rookies get first chance to impress their new bosses

The players can’t show everything, not when they’re running around without any pads, not when they’re just facing other rookies. But they can show their ability to learn and their athleticism, which is enough to excite the Washington Redskins for now.

Washington begins its three-day rookie minicamp Friday through Sunday (it’s open to the media Saturday), with all 10 draft picks signed, 13 undrafted free agents and a number of tryout players angling for contracts.

For the coaches and general manager Scot McCloughan, it’s the first chance to gauge their new players (after a week of them working out).

"Competition," McCloughan said. "Just seeing the guys out there competing. With the guys coming in, I’m so excited -- not just their talent on the field, but how they’re wired. I want to see them step up and show who they are."

It’s McCloughan’s first draft class with Washington, the first class he’s fully responsible for since leaving San Francisco shortly before the 2010 draft. He had a hand in Seattle’s draft picks from 2011-13, but he’s now the one in charge. And he’s anxious to see his new players in action.

"It’s very exciting," McCloughan said. "We’ll have new faces. We’re gonna have new blood. We’re gonna have new energy in the building. That’s what I’m looking forward to."

Part of that new energy belongs to first-round pick Brandon Scherff, the fifth overall selection slated to open at right tackle. And it will be the first chance to see how other players move, displaying their athleticism. But it’s about seeing the undrafted players and those there on a tryout basis. If they sign a tryout player, then a corresponding cut would need to be made (almost always from among the undrafted players).

"I’m hoping there are tryout guys that prove to us that the college free agents we signed, they’re better than," McCloughan said. "I’m walking in with a clean slate. I want to see guys come in here and understand it’s not too big for them and come in and produce."

One of those undrafted free agents, quarterback Connor Halliday, could be an interesting one to watch. At Washington State, he completed 1,014 of 1,634 passes for 11,308 yards, 90 touchdowns and 50 interceptions. McCloughan, who lived in that region, saw him a few times and knows the Cougars’ coach, Mike Leach, well.

McCloughan said he liked Halliday’s production. He’s a player the Redskins could try and groom as a future backup, perhaps by sticking him first on the practice squad.

"He has a ways to go physically getting bigger and stronger, but a quarterback gets measured on statistics -- wins and losses and putting numbers up," McCloughan said. "Not knocking Washington State whatsoever, but the talent level wasn’t huge and he found a way to be successful."

The Redskins aren't going to alter anything, either, after some players on other teams suffered season-ending injuries at minicamps -- notably Jacksonville's Dante Fowler Jr., the No. 3 overall pick.

"The whole key is to come in and compete and do what you do," McCloughan said. "Injuries are part of the game, a sad part of it, but it is part of it. And to see a young guy go down ... they need to play, they need to be on the field producing. If an injury happens you look at it like, 'son of a gun I wish it wouldn’t have happened but it did.' It's part of football."