Nate Sudfeld wasn’t sure what to make of his conversation with Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan at the Shrine Game in January. The 6-foot-6 quarterback knew that the conversation, on some level, meant that McCloughan was interested in him as a football player. The lack of contact afterwards, however, left Sudfeld guessing.
“Other than that, it was very quiet,” Sudfeld said in a Saturday conference call with reporters. “I really didn’t talk to him after that. I thought either I made a really good impression and he liked me and wanted to keep it quiet, or I tanked it.”
Any lingering doubt on Sudfeld’s part was allayed when he picked up the phone to find coach Jay Gruden on the other end of the line, asking if he’d like to be a Redskin. When Sudfeld replied in the affirmative, Gruden told him he would be Washington’s next pick.
“I was just thrilled,” Sudfeld said. “I can not wait. I don’t think there could be a better situation for me with Colt [McCoy] and Kirk [Cousins] and [quarterbacks] coach [Matt] Cavanaugh and coach Gruden. I’m so excited to be a part of the Redskins and just get to work as soon as possible.”
The feeling is likely mutual for Cavanaugh and Gruden. The specimen they are tasked with molding, though not wholly polished, has ideal quarterback size at 6-foot-6 and 234 pounds. However, it was Sudfeld’s sense of timing that stood out most to Gruden.
“I really like the fact that he has great anticipation in the pocket. He anticipates throws, gets them out of his hand, he can speed up his delivery when he has to and he buys time. He’s very functional in the pocket for a big man as far as buying time in the pocket. I think he’s got a great upside, and we’re excited to have him.”
Sudfeld will look to carry the momentum from his senior year at Indiana, in which he put together the best season of his collegiate career as he threw for 3,573 yards and 27 touchdowns to go along with just seven interceptions.
However, Sudfeld is not without weaknesses and inconsistencies; otherwise he wouldn’t have been available in the sixth round. With Cousins locked in as the starter, Washington can afford to take on a project. It got one with significant upside to fill the previously vacant third quarterback spot.
Dan Roth is a freelance sportswriter and Breaking Burgundy contributor. Follow Dan on Twitter @ByDanRoth.
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