The Washington Redskins were expected to address their need at the quarterback position in this year’s NFL draft, but all seven rounds went by without coach Mike Shanahan pulling the trigger on a passer.
The Redskins had Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert sitting in their lap at the 10th overall spot, but instead traded down to acquire more picks and address other areas. In all, Washington selected 12 players (three receivers, two running backs, two defensive linemen, two linebackers, a safety and a guard), but still doesn’t have a quarterback of the future.
Once the draft had concluded, Shanahan was asked about his plans for the position, and again declined to disclose how the Redskins would part ways with Donovan McNabb, or who would start this season.
“We’ve got a lot of different directions we could go,” Shanahan said. “I can’t share our whole gameplan with you now for obvious reasons, but we do have a plan.”
Pressed further on whether the decision not to draft a quarterback indicated Washington already has its passer on the roster, Shanahan expressed a belief in the ability of John Beck, who was the third string quarterback last season. With Rex Grossman a free agent, Beck is the only quarterback certain of being with the team in 2011.
“Let me say, when John Beck did come out [of college], I had him rated as the top quarterback coming out that year, and I didn’t even think it was close,” said Shanahan, who traded with Baltimore last August to get Beck. “I had a lot of confidence in John Beck when he came out in 2007. I evaluate the quarterbacks every year, and I do have confidence in John Beck. He was by far my No. 1 guy. I think the world of him.”
JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn and Kevin Kolb were taken ahead of Beck in 2007. Russell is no longer in the league, Quinn is buried on Denver’s depth chart, and Kolb has yet to emerge as a starter and appears on his way out in Philadelphia.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Beck, who is 29, has spent the offseason studying film and preparing as if he will be the starter, and two weeks ago at an informal minicamp organized by players, he said he wants to be “the guy,” for Washington.
Beck ran Washington’s scout team all of last season and started only four games for Miami as a rookie. But Shanahan said he has seen enough of him to know what he has.
“No. 1, I evaluated him throughout his pro career and collegiate career, so I know him quite well,” Shanahan said of Beck. “And when you see a guy practice every day, whether it’s your system or against the defense, surely you can see his strengths and his weaknesses. As I mentioned, I told you what I thought about him in college, and he has not disappointed me since he’s been here.”
Asked about Beck’s strengths, Shanahan said: “No. 1 you’ve got to love the game, you’ve got to have passion, you’ve got to have a mindset and what I’m looking for is a guy that’s first to work, last to leave. You’ve got to be able to run this offense at a very high level. He can do some things with his legs that a lot of quarterbacks can’t do. He’s in that 4.675 [40-yard dash] range. Those are some of the things.”