Redskins GM Scot McCloughan speaks: Continue emphasizing draft over free agency

The Redskins general manager spoke with reporters about the Senior Bowl, NFL Draft hopes and not being big players in free agency.

Scot McCloughan doesn't speak publically often. No comments from the Redskins' first-year general manager since Washington clinched the NFC East title and lost in the playoffs. So when McCloughan holds court, as he did Wednesday at the Senior Bowl in Alabama, you pay attention. Here are some of his comments about the draft and free agency.

* What he sees with the Redskins first round pick (No. 21 overall) in terms of talent and flexibility

McCloughan: "There is going to be a good football player there no matter what. In every round we pick there is going to be a good football player. That's the way the draft works. It's what you make of it. It's not saying we would never move. I can't see us going up. Maybe going back. I feel very confident that at 21, we'll get a good football player in his first year in the league."

* McCloughan passed on answering a direct question about his thoughts on Washington's biggest needs ("It's not my style). He responded with a general wish list. "Good people, high character football players that want to come in here and be Redskins."

* On what he gets out of being at the Senior Bowl:

GMSM: "A lot. Everyone says 'you watch the game, don't ya?' I'm like, well, I get the game tape. I see that, but seeing them out here, seeing how the guys respond in competition. It's not easy. These are the best of the best. They're beating each other up each day. Seeing who can come back the next day and respond, that's start showing character, that's start showing...toughness." McCloughan added that while the combine is just guys in t-shirts and shorts, the week of the Senior Bowl is "live action" with players directed by NFL coaching staffs. "It's going to show here."

* Last season the Redskins ended up with 10 draft picks. Does McCloughan have a number goal in mind for this season?

GMSM: "The more the merrier. Give me 15. I want more than less. ...I think the draft is the lifeline for the organization going forward being consistent. I think you have to add youth each year. Not just youth, but football players. The high character football players who understand it's the sum of the parts and not the individual."

* On the gap between the Redskins and the Packers, becoming a perennial contender:

GMSM: "I don't about the gap. I think it's just staying healthy. Getting lucky there. You have to build a foundation and we started that. It started before I got here. Look at how Spencer Long did this year. Look how Morgan Moses did. These guys were already here. They were draft picks. Jordan Reed. I just need to make sure me and my staff keep adding to it."

* On being more or less active in free agency

GMSM: "Hard to answer. I think we'll have a little bit of money, but it's going to be similar. We're not going to be big players. I don't believe in that. I think we just need to add legit football guys that understand it's about the Redskins. It's not about themselves. You're coming here; this is what it's going to be. You can be in or out, one or the other. 

Analysis: There's little different from what McCloughan said Wednesday to what he said when he first arrived in Ashburn and what he did during his first season with the organization.

Whew. That's great news, especially the part about not going hard core in free agency. There's a difference between weakness and needs. The Redskins might only have a couple of must fix scenarios this offseason depending on what happense with Terrance Knighton, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Dashon Goldson, Jason Hatcher and Chris Culliver -- but there are many need areas. 

No doubt Washington needs some frontline help at inside linebacker, safety and possibly the defensive line. Depth must improve; it's great so many street free agents helped during the season, but that's not always a reliable source. The roster also needs more, more talent. Just more. That screams the draft. Good thing that's the language the general manager is speaking.

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