On adding ‘football players’: Yes, it’s a term that gets used by some and you say to yourself, “Well, you don’t want to add baseball players now, do you?” Ah, but you also have to understand what is meant when someone uses that phrase – and it’s one that Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan loves. When he uses it, I automatically know one thing: He loves the player. To McCloughan it’s almost the highest praise; it signifies that someone is tough, smart, competitive and passionate about the game. Not everyone in the NFL shares those traits. So while it might sound funny to hear him use that term, if you know exactly what he means it carries extra weight.
Confidence in Matt Jones by the staff: I’ve always said this and I don’t think it’s changed – they like him and have their fingers crossed that he’ll be the guy. They certainly believe he has the tools to handle the job, but it’ll come down to durability (which requires altering habits or adding others, which Jones mentioned after the season) and protecting the ball better. Both reasons are why their fingers remain somewhat crossed. They will add another back, whether a draft pick or Pierre Thomas or both (I’d opt for both, just to fortify the position). I was asked if Derrick Henry was a first-round possibility and I’d say no. I haven’t seen him projected as a first-rounder and I also know they view the running back spot as having a big dropoff after Ezekiel Elliott. Besides, their defense needs a lot of help and needs more solid young players to build around. If they don’t go there in the first round, I’d be surprised and disappointed.
On what constitutes a good draft: In talking to general managers over the years, the basic rule of thumb I’ve gathered is if you get two or three starters and two or three backups who contribute to a winning team. Obviously that doesn’t mean right away; few draft classes do that (the Redskins did have such a group last season). Their 2014 class is trending this way as well. But the key is, “contributes to winning.” The Redskins’ 2011 class looked solid post-draft, but that group contributed very little to winning with the exception of two players: Ryan Kerrigan and Niles Paul – and that was out of 11 picks. That’s bad.