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Offseason Guide: Scot McCloughan Draft Trends 3.0

Whether you trust Scot McCloughan to make the right picks or not, having a better understanding of his plan is helpful. Manny Benton digs deep into McCloughan's draft history.

When Scot McCloughan was hired as the Washington Redskins General Manager in January 2015, there wasn't much out there about his history of drafts. Everyone knew he had some successful picks, but I wanted to dig deeper to find out more about McCloughan the scout. As I began to study his history, I noticed staggering tendencies to the ways he drafts. When something happens twice, I color it a coincidence. But when it happens three or more times, now that's a trend.   

The Redskins are set to enter a third offseason with Scot McCloughan in charge of the upcoming NFL draft. When I created this guideline in 2015, it proved to be right in line with how McCloughan drafted that year. We now have even more data, so it's time up for an update. Here's the latest guideline to help project McCloughan’s mindset moving forward in 2017.

Reminder: Washington currently holds the 17th overall pick and nine selections overall in the 2017 NFL Draft

The Resume

Just a quick look at McCloughan's various roles over his NFL career:

1994-1999: Scout, Green Bay Packers

2000-2004: Director of College Scouting, Seattle Seahawks

2005-2007: Vice President of Player Personnel, San Francisco 49ers

2008-2009: General Manager, San Francisco 49ers

2010-2013: Senior Personnel Executive, Seattle Seahawks (was hired after the 2010 draft)

2015-: General Manager,  Washington Redskins

First Round Picks

If you weren't sure already, just know McCloughan loves and I mean loves selecting players with experience. 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson was just the last senior selected by McCloughan directly or by part of the front office he worked in at the time.

  • Aaron Taylor, G, 19 overall (6ft 4, 305 senior) Notre Dame
  • Craig Newsome, DB, 32 overall (6ft, 190 senior) Arizona State
  • John Michels, T, 27 overall (6ft 7, 300 senior) USC
  • Ross Verba, T, 30 overall (6ft 4, 305 senior) Iowa
  • Vonnie Holliday, DE, 19 overall (6ft 5, 288 Senior) UNC
  • Antuan Edwards, DB, 25 overall (6ft 1, 212 Senior) Clemson
  • Shaun Alexander, RB, 19 overall (5ft 11, 225 senior) Alabama
  • Chris McIntosh, T, 22 overall (6ft 8, 250 senior) Wisconsin
  • Koren Robinson, WR, 9 overall (6ft 1, 205 21 y/o JR) North Carolina State
  • Steve Hutchinson, G, 17 overall (6ft 5, 313 senior) Michigan
  • Jerramy Stevens, TE, 28 overall (6ft 7, 260 senior) Washington
  • Marcus Trufant, DB, 11 overall (5 ft 11, 199 senior) Washington State
  • Marcus Tubbs, DT, 23 overall (6ft 3, 320 senior) Texas
  • Alex Smith, QB, 1 overall (6ft 4, 217 junior) Utah
  • Vernon Davis, TE, 6 overall (6ft 3, 250 junior) UMD
  • Patrick Willis, LB, 11 overall (6ft 1, 240 senior) Ole Miss
  • Kentwan Balmer, DT, 29 overall (6ft 5, 317 senior) UNC
  • Michael Crabtree, WR, 10 overall (6ft 1, 217 22 y/o Jr) Texas Tech
  • James Carpenter, OL, 25 overall (6ft 5, 325 senior) Alabama
  • Bruce Irvin, DE, 15 overall (6ft 3, 260 senior) WVU
  • Brandon Scherff, 5 overall (6ft 5, 319 senior) Iowa
  • Josh Doctson, 22 overall (6ft 2, 202 senior) TCU

 Let's look at some other trends within this group:

  • Of the 22 first round picks, only four were BIG10 players and three were SEC (two of the three were Alabama players, while the other was Ole Miss). This is notable because McCloughan likes drafting from those conferences (More on this below), but doesn't make it a priority round one.
  • The smallest players were running back Shaun Alexander (5-foot-11, 225 lbs) and cornerback Marcus Trufant (5-foot-11, 199 lbs).
  • Only four of those 22 players were underclassmen. Coincidence or not, all were at offensive skill positions. Two of them were wide receivers, one tight end and a QB.
  • Pretty clear that McCloughan teams like ‘em big and experienced (seniors) with no true trend on football conference.
  • Four of the 22 first round picks were defensive linemen. Really, you could say three because Bruce Irvin was drafted as a linebacker. He’s drafted more offensive linemen (7) and tends to place more value on skill positions.

Blue Bloods

  • McCloughan favors SEC and Big 10 players. Over the past five drafts prior to McCloughan’s arrival (2010-2014) the Redskins drafted 10 Big Ten athletes and five SEC players. It only took two drafts (2015 and 2016) for McCloughan to select six SEC players and three from the Big 10. In 2016, he drafted one player from each conference with those picks coming in the final two rounds: Quarterback Nate Sudfeld (6) and running back Keith Marshall (7). 

Skill positions

  • From 1994-2009 McCloughan’s teams drafted at least one wide receiver every year with exception of 2002. Only two were first round picks with both selected in the top 10. The receiver trend continued in Washington with two in 2015 (Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer) and Doctson. Depending on what happens with free agents DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, another receiver could be on tap in 2017.
  • McCloughan tends to draft multiple defensive backs each year. Depending on how you view Su'a Cravens (Safety? Linebacker?), he selected one or two in 2016. In 2015 he selected two back-to-back defensive backs in the sixth round (Kysheon Jarrett and Tevin Mitchell). 
  • One could argue the Redskins need a playmaking running back and the 2017 class could have 3-4 go in round one. However, of the teams McCloughan has worked for, only one selected a RB in the first round.
  • McCloughan drafts quarterbacks. The Green Bay Packers did almost every year. That’s a premium position where it makes sense to throw enough darts at the board. Sometimes you’ll come across a Matt Hasselbeck or Russell Wilson. Sudfeld is the latest attempt, of course. 


Popular Destinations

Here's a list of schools where a McCloughan selected a player at least three times:

  • LSU (SEC): 8
  • Alabama (SEC): 6
  • Florida (SEC): 6
  • USC (Pac 12): 6
  • Virginia Tech (ACC): 5
  • Wisconsin (Big 10): 4
  • North Carolina State (ACC): 4
  • Penn State (Big 10): 4
  • Nebraska (Big 10): 4
  • Miss. State (SEC): 4
  • Arkansas (SEC): 4
  • Georgia (SEC): 4
  • West Va (Big 12): 3
  • Texas A&M (SEC): 3
  • Kansas State (Big 12): 3
  • North Carolina (ACC): 3
  • Oregon (Pac 12): 3
  • Michigan (Big 10): 3
  • Tennessee (SEC): 3
  • Washington (Pac 12): 3
  • Purdue (Big 10): 3

 * Here's the conference breakdown based on above list

SEC: 9  

Pac 12: 4

Big 10: 6 

Big 12: 3 

ACC: 4 

Position breakdown from McCloughan’s career:

QB: 12

RB: 15

WR: 28

OT: 13

C: 4

OG: 12 (listing Scherff as a G)

FB: 2

DE: 15

DT: 17

LB: 18 (if you count Cravens being announced as a LB when drafted)

DB: 35

TE: 7

K/P: 5


  • McCloughan clearly values wide receivers and defensive backs. Sure, many haven't worked out, but the more you try, every now and then you will come across a Donald Driver or Richard Sherman. It should also be noted that a lot of the DBs/WRs McCloughan has drafted were 6-foot-0 or taller. However, as far as the size, McCloughan proved in 2015 that he also values “football players.” If a smaller receiver like Crowder or defensive back like Jarrett fits that “football player” bill — McCloughan is all in.


  • Sure, McCloughan likes some of those Power Conference schools, but he searches high and low for players. When he was with the Green Bay Packers, they even took a player from Morris Brown. I don't even know if that school exists anymore. So he’s very thorough in his evaluations.


  • McCloughan isn’t afraid to take a kicker or punter high in the draft if that player is capable of being a franchise guy at those respective positions. With Green Bay, McCloughan and staff took a kicker/punter in the third and fourth round.

2017 NFL Draft Projected First Round Picks That Fit The Formula

Ha. This is why you need to check back. Plenty more to come on the 2017 NFL Draft as I start truly digging into the prospects and Breaking Burgundy puts out more content on the next wave of players.

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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