The draft is always about the future, but for Redskins coach Jay Gruden the future is now. Either the Redskins make the playoffs next season or someone else is coaching these draft picks in 2020.
At drama-filled Redskins Park, poor choices are usually made when “group decisions” are complicated by individual desires. And there seem to be divisions among front office leaders.
Some want to draft a quarterback or trade the 15th overall selection to Arizona for 2018 first-rounder Josh Rosen. But Gruden doesn’t feel the team can win right away with a young passer.
Some decision-makers favor drafting a receiver who can help now, but Ole Miss’ D.K. Metcalf is the only one worthy of a middle first-round pick. Even then, the Redskins haven’t had great luck drafting receivers over the past 30-plus years, so the thought of them using their first-round pick on a wideout should make fans uneasy. The last elite receiver Washington picked was Gary Clark in the 1984 USFL supplemental draft.
The need for offensive playmakers is so great there is even a passing thought of taking Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson in the first round to replace ever-injured Jordan Reed. Given that Washington’s current quarterbacks aren’t great deep-ball throwers, it might not be the worst idea.
The Redskins need a receiver, tight end, left guard, edge rusher and several defensive reserves out of the April 25-27 draft. They have also looked at every quarterback prospect who might be taken in the first two rounds.
Washington needs a good draft to help revive a team mired in mediocrity for the last three years. But it needs marketable stars to resurrect ticket sales, too.
Nothing sells tickets more than a QB. The Redskins would probably get more production from a tight end or edge rusher, but draw mostly a yawn from the public watching from home.
So, as always, it comes down to bringing in the right QB to revive the team. It’s been that way since they took Sammy Baugh in 1937. And Gruden doesn’t want to mentor Rosen or a rookie for one season only to have to turn them over to his successor. He wants someone to help the Redskins win immediately, and they desperately need a receiver.
While Gruden has a say in the draft room, he doesn’t have the final say. No one wants to admit there is a tie-breaker in the room that includes vice president of personnel Doug Williams, but the guy who signs the checks has used his veto powers before to choose the first-rounder. Through president Bruce Allen, owner Dan Snyder will surely try to find a quarterback for the future.
Maybe the team would be better overall this fall with a receiver or pass rusher, but its best long-term hope is finding a passer — no matter how much the war room fights over the pick.
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