Warpath Insiders: What did you think of the Redskins' draft?
Mark Schlereth: I know a lot of people would disagree with me, but I thought they did a fine job. First off the cornerback they took, many thought he was the best cover guy. He does a lot of things very, very well. From that standpoint they did a great job. When you get to Jason Campbell, here's a quarterback that's reminsicent of those premier-body type guys. The kind of guy you're looking for: tall, athletic. He's in the mold of the recent tall athletic strong strapping quarterbacks that
has come out of college of late. Anymore at the quarterback position you want to get a guy that can tuck tail it and pick up the first down scrambling for eight or nine yards on third down. Then I look at him as a competitor and as a guy who has brought his game along. I jokingly said the other night on TV that he's a perfect fit for the Redskins because he's played for four different coordinators in four years. They have a different coaching staff every other year over there at Redskins Park. But here's a kid who really has honed his skills and brought his game to the next level in spite of all the adversity. That's a guy you really want. He's had experience with different systems and he's had to overcome and he's had a tremendous learning curve. That's a good position to be in for them. Now, what does it say about the quarterbacks who are there? I like Patrick Ramsey and I think he has the chance to be a special quarterback. But you have to have two guys and Mark Brunell proved one thing: that he can no longer really play at this level. He no longer has the arm strength. Father Time takes its toll on all of us.
WI:So you think taking Campbell was more a statement on Brunell than Ramsey?
MS: Oh yeah. It's a statement on Brunell that he can't get it done. This is a guy who maybe this year, if Ramsey gets hurt, can bail them out of a game or two, but in the long run you want a competition and to have two legit quarterbacks who can play. It goes back to Doug and Mark Rypien and Mark and Stan Humphries. Joe Gibbs has always had a couple different quarterbacks who can play. That's part of what they're doing. I'm a believer in competition at every position. That's a good thing. A lot of people tell you that they don't want the quarterback looking over their shoulder. I believe every day you walk in the locker room you should be looking over your shoulder. That is a motivating deal. If Patrick Ramsey becomes a wallflower because they drafted Jason Campbell in the first round, then I don't want him pulling the trigger for my team on third and 12 when the game is on the line. I learned this from Donnie Warren. Here's one of the best blocking tight ends in league history and there wasn't a day he walked into the locker room thinking he was gonna get cut.
WI: Was it a mistake not to address DE or WR?
MS: I don't know if they're good enough at those positions so that's one thing they had to look at in this draft. No. 1, they didn't have a lot of picks and that's been a real issue with that organization. One of the things that you take a look at from the standpoint of what you have to do as a franchise, you do two things: you take the best players you have on your draft board. At the same time you try to fill whatever needs your team has. They took the best corner available and a guy you think had more potential than anyone else to become a superstar in Jason. You filled those needs. Yeah, you didn't address a lot of needs, but they're pretty good on defense. They didn't get an impact player there, but there weren't a lot available. One thing you don't want to do is reach for a player.
WI: What about trading three picks for a guy who might not start for a while?
MS: That's one of those things they have to see how he progresses and what ends up happening. But let's not forget that Patrick was the 31st player taken a couple years ago. Now you have two first-round quarterbacks. If that's the guy who becomes your player in a year or two, then maybe you have some trade value with Patrick. That's why it's funny to see the draft ratings after the draft when not one of these guys has played a lick in the NFL. The bottom line is, there are more busts than guys who will be a pleasant surprise.
WI: Is this team headed for the playoffs this season?
MS: Obviously the Eagles are the class of the division. But let's face it, we don't know what they've got in Dallas. Bledsoe hasn't been the same guy for years and the Giants are obviously a ways away from being a complete team. If the Redskins can reproduce those defensive efforts and offensively they've got the right kid toting the rock. . . .8-8 would have gotten them in last year so I look at them and see Jansen coming back as huge for them. They could easily compete for a wild card spot, no question about that.
WI: How big a deal is it that Moss and Taylor aren't in Washington now?
MS: It's not that big a deal. You'd like to have everyone there, no question. But that's just the way it is. The guys can definitely play. You'd like to build some rapport and some continuity there. But if they come in and make plays, people forget you weren't there. A lot of guys don't participate in these things.
Exclusive Q&A With: Mark Schlereth
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