The draft highlights most of Part 2 of the mailbag, with questions on philosophy, quarterbacks, some lingering free agents and more. Enjoy.Tyler Polumbus is not in their plans. However, I was also told they'd stay in contact (to a degree). So perhaps some of it will be draft-related, but I'd have a hard time seeing him make the roster and I think he knows that, too. The one team I heard that had expressed some level of interest in him was Tennessee. Not sure about Brandon Meriweather, but they have their starters and I'd much prefer them drafting a guy in the middle rounds they can develop (not confident Dashon Goldson will be their guy next year at this time).
Marcus Mariota. I'm not convinced it will happen and I'm mixed on how he'll fare in the NFL, but those who know Scot McCloughan have told me they would not be surprised at all if he picked him. One thing I was told right away is that in the past, McCloughan wanted to give his coach the quarterback he wanted. Also, if you don't believe you have a quality quarterback - I'm talking about all of them -- then it's tough to operate. If they all like Mariota, and McCloughan does as well, then it's not a stretch by any means. As for his faith, you're assuming they'd blame Jay Gruden for Robert Griffin III's struggles. The other two quarterbacks didn't change from previous years: Kirk Cousins' issues were the same, plus it was his longest period of action - one of his biggest issues, responding to adversity, is something tough to fix through coaching -- and Colt McCoy actually had his best yards per attempt. Gruden was hired to help Griffin and clearly the quarterback had his issues, for a variety of reasons (some his fault, some not). If you give coaches credit for developing guys, you also have to question them when a player isn't developed. I'm with you there. But there's also Gruden's work with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. There are a lot of football people in that building who have their doubts about Griffin. Not saying they're without fault and maybe they'll be proven wrong, but just relaying what I hear. Here's another thing: I don't know what McCloughan really thinks of Gruden and what level of faith he has in him. Ultimately, if Gruden doesn't get the job done, if he fails with another quarterback, it'll cost him - and McCloughan will find someone in whom he has that faith.
Stephen Paea and Terrance Knighton - both can play in either front. As for the offense, if you select a back you love but who doesn't fit Gruden's offense, then it's a wasted pick. You won't select a lineman who only can zone-block when your scheme calls for both man and zone blocking.
Amari Cooper at No. 5 (or Kevin White), it wouldn't necessarily just mask deficiencies as it would just improve the passing game. For all the faults we've heard about Griffin, there's no doubt he'd be helped by this. The Redskins know they must do what they can to help him, more than they thought they'd have to after the 2012 season. One reason I love Cooper and White is their ability to make plays after the catch. If one area Griffin excels at is getting rid of the ball quickly on shorter routes, then you want guys who can do things after the catch. Both can. In that way, it would mask some deficiencies Griffin (or the other quarterbacks, for that matter) has in other areas. But that's what good playmakers do for any quarterback. If you're not sold on your quarterbacks and you can't get a new one, you'd best build up everything around them.