ASHBURN, Va -- Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden entered the draft believing that his team didn’t have any glaring needs. Sure, there were areas that could use some reinforcement, but there wasn’t a position that would absolutely ruin the team if it went ignored.
At the conclusion of Day 3, Washington’s draft board harmoniously reflects Gruden’s mindset. The Redskins traded back on three separate occasions in order to add selections for the 2017 draft. When they actually used their picks, they strictly abided by general manager Scot McCloughan’s best-player-available philosophy. And, also in keeping with McCloughan’s ethos, the Redskins went after “football players.”
“I’m very excited about these guys, really,” Gruden said in a press conference following the draft. “I think the theme is we got some football players, man, some versatile guys that can do a lot of different things and tough guys that love the game of football. ... They all bring great attitude to this organization. They’re going to play hard.”
The Redskins' front office managed an artful balancing act through seven rounds. On one end, their focus was on drafting players who could help this year, and on the other, they wanted to compile future picks for McCloughan to continue building what they ultimately hope will turn into a dynasty.
“You talk about adding picks for next year, which is great,” Gruden said. “We’re all interested in this year coming up, obviously, but you’re talking about the foundation of this football team and this organization. You add picks for next year and you get quality players this year, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Balancing the present with the future wasn’t the only equilibrium that the front office strove to hit. Gruden also felt they selected a nice mixture of players with more grit and players with more explosiveness.
“The type of guys that they are, that’s really what’s most exciting to me,” Gruden said. “You love the playmaking ability of Josh [Doctson] and Su’a [Cravens] and obviously Kendall [Fuller], coming off the injury. You add Keith Marshall later. We got some guys that can really make some plays and tough guys. Steven Daniels is tough. Matt [Ioannidis] is a very tough guy. Then you add the quarterback for the future, it’s excellent.”
Only time will tell how well the Redskins -- and the other 31 NFL teams -- drafted in 2016. However, there’s no second-guessing how Gruden feels about this year’s crop
Dan Roth is a freelance sportswriter and Breaking Burgundy contributor. Follow Dan on Twitter @ByDanRoth.
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