GM McCloughan eyed big schools in 1st draft with Redskins
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) General manager Scot McCloughan's first draft with the Washington Redskins appears to reflect some basic beliefs about building a team, including the importance of size - of the players, yes, but also their schools.
So it was not a coincidence that half of Washington's 10 picks came from the SEC, including second-round linebacker Preston Smith of Mississippi State and third-round running back Matt Jones of Florida, as well as a pair of later selections from Arkansas and one from Alabama.
Two other players were from the Big Ten, including first-round offensive lineman Brandon Scherff of Iowa.
''You're going to see I do a lot of big-school guys and a lot of SEC guys. That's important to me. Because they've been in the big games, they've been around the 80,000 fans. They've been playing Alabamas. They've been playing LSUs,'' McCloughan said Monday. ''And it's not too big for them to come out here.''
In a news conference at Redskins Park, his first remarks since the Thursday-through-Saturday draft, McCloughan repeatedly spoke about building for the future.
He was hired in January after Washington went 4-12, finishing last in the NFC East for the sixth time in seven years.
''I want to build a core of guys from now going forward that are the whole package - that want to be a Redskin, know what the Redskins (are) about - and you mold him that way,'' McCloughan said.
''Talent's very, very important, but also the whole package to me is important. That's what's going to get the guys to their second contract. That's what's going to get them out in the community. That's what's going to make us win games in January and February.''
And after an NFL draft marked by questions about certain players' off-field issues, McCloughan insisted he weighed such matters carefully while making his picks.
''We hit what we wanted to hit, from the standpoint of not just good football players on the field, but off the field as well. That's very important to me,'' McCloughan said, pulling his right hand out of his jeans pocket and jabbing a finger on the wood podium to emphasize the point. ''And I think the character off the field plays into a player going from good to great, and great to special.''
Later Monday, the Redskins announced they had waived 11 players, including linebacker Gabe Miller and receiver Jerry Rice Jr. - the son of the Hall of Famer - and terminated the contracts of linebackers Ricky Sapp and Austin Spitler.
On other topics, McCloughan said:
- The Redskins agreed to terms with 13 undrafted free agents, but he declined to give names.
- He has ''assessed'' the Redskins scouting staff he inherited and will meet with team president Bruce Allen on Tuesday, then team owner Dan Snyder. ''As of right now, everything is status quo,'' McCloughan said.
- The Redskins were in talks to trade down from the No. 5 overall pick, but teams became less interested in moving up to that spot after Florida's Dante Fowler Jr. was taken at No. 3 by Jacksonville.
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