Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan just completed his third draft with the team, and said that this year – like last year – his team was able to select great depth and players capable of making contributions on both sides of the ball.
The Redskins entered Day 3 of the draft with six picks, but traded down in the fourth round once, and picked up another. In all, Washington drafted nine players: six on offense, three on defense.
In the last two years, the Redskins have drafted 21 players, which remains in accordance with Shanahan and Bruce Allen’s mission of building this team through the draft.
Following the completion of the draft on Saturday evening, Shanahan addressed the team’s moves.
His commentary on them are as follows:
On taking Kirk Cousins two days after drafting Robert Grffin III:
“Everybody knows that anytime you get a quarterback like Robert with the second pick of the draft, and you give up two [future] No. 1’s and a No. 2, he’s your franchise quarterback. He’s going to be your quarterback for the next decade. He’s got everything I want in a quarterback and a person. I’ve always enjoyed an offense where you can move a quarterback around, with the exceptional speed that he has, it just doesn’t normally happen. And to be able to drop back, and throw as well on the move, that just doesn’t normally happen, and that’s why we did what we did.
“In that fourth round today – your third day – in that fourth round, you’re trying to find people that can make your football team. We’ve got a little more depth than we have in the past, and you have to do what you can do to give your team the best chance to have players, depth at different positions. I got a chance to be around Kirk, got a chance to be around him at the Senior Bowl, he’s a quality young man, and he’s going to have the opportunity to come in here and show us what he can do.
“There are injuries. I’ve lost five tailbacks in two games. I’ve lost two tight ends as we did this year. I’ve lost four offensive linemen. You’re two plays from being the starter. You need depth on your football team to win. If you see a quality player that you can get in the fourth round, like we did, that is one or two plays from being the starter – hopefully it doesn’t happen, but you want to be prepared if it does. But it’s a quality guy, and I thought it was a steal for us with as many draft choices as we were able to get throughout the draft, I thought it was a good result.
“I told [Cousins], ‘I know you know that when we obtained Robert that he’s going to be our quarterback. He’s our franchise quarterback, the quarterback of the future.’ Kirk Cousins is a very smart guy. But I told him, ‘But I couldn’t pass you up.’ … Sure, he knows he’s going to be a backup. But you’re one or two plays away from being the starter. But you never know what can happen in the National Football League. I’m hoping Robert for the next 10 years, never misses a game, and keep our fingers crossed that that happens. I know what Robert has the capabilities of doing, and we’re going to give him the best supporting cast to get it done.
“I talked to Robert this morning when he was here and told him there was a possibility we could go in that direction. I told him we need some depth. I told him, ‘In no way was it a reflection on you.’ … He’s pretty confident. I don’t think he’s scared [Shanahan laughs].”
On releasing John Beck:
“I thought I owed it to John. Before the draft was over, we made the decision to go this way, so he could talk to these teams, or his agent could talk to anybody as quick as he can, so if somebody wanted John instead of drafting somebody, that they’d have the opportunity to do so.”
On cornerback Richard Crawford of SMU:
[Crawford] has the ability to play on the inside, covering the nickel, and some outside, and he’s a punt returner. I talked to June Jones in detail about him in detail, and was happy he was there in the seventh.”
On linebacker Keenan Robinson:
“He’s a guy that could play both [inside and outside]. We like his speed. One of the reasons why we drafted him was we also had him at the senior bowl. Just a quality young man, and we like the way he practiced and handled himself, and we think he can fit in well.”
On Iowa guard Adam Gettis:
He’s got the quickness we look for. Kind of like Kory Lichtensteiger, he could play guard or center. He’s got the speed. You can never have enough depth in that offensive line. That’s why I think it was big that we could get three offensive linemen that we were hoping that we were going to get before the draft started. We weren’t really sure where they were going to go, but we were counting on signing three, especially after the injuries that we had last year. And we got all three, and to get three that you had targeted, that doesn’t happen very often.”
On South Dakota tackle Tom Compton:
“Compton, the offensive tackle, has great speed and quickness, which we look for in our tackles. Did great in all of his agility drills and in the 40-yard dash. We think he gives us some flexibility to play both sides.”
On running back Alfred Morris:
“I just liked his running style. I liked his ability to make people miss. He’s got great lateral quickness, the ability to cut on a dime. He’ll come in and compete with the other backs. As we’ve proven through the years, a lot of times, you need three or four guys to make it through the season.”
On next week’s rookie minicamp, which will run May 4-6:
“We’ll have our draft choices, obviously they’ll be there, a few guys we do sign in free agency, and a number of tryout guys that we will evaluate throughout the weekend.”
On how coaching the Senior Bowl helped with draft evaluations:
“Yeah, it really helped us a lot. Any time you’ve got a football team, you get the chance to be around your squad and to be around those players a whole week and get to know them, and also getting to be around other squad for a day. You don’t get to practice with them, but you get to be around them in a different type of environment, that was special for us.”
On the improvement of the team’s depth over the last two drafts:
“We made a lot of progress. Any time you have 12 draft choices make your team and everybody at least dress for a game, you feel pretty lucky, especially with a guy like [Jarvis] Jenkins, going down and being able to come back for us this year. We didn’t have the depth we wanted to last year, fortunately we had a good draft. Obviously, helped ourselves. You take a look at free agency this year and we addressed a lot of areas this year, and in this draft, we addressed some needs and I feel very good about our draft.”
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