Redskins Coach Jay Gruden Discusses Day 1 of NFL Draft

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden Discusses Day 1 of NFL Draft


Redskins Coach Jay Gruden Discusses Day 1 of NFL Draft


On if he feels like Day 1 of the NFL Draft went well for the Washington Redskins:

“Yeah, it went really well. We are excited obviously to get Dwayne. A quarterback that has performed like he has in one year of playing football is quite astonishing really. He has all of the tools to be an exceptional quarterback in pro football. It’s just a matter of getting him in the building, get him taught up on the offense and just going slow with him. We’re excited to have him. Great kid, great player and very smart. I had a chance to talk to him at the Combine. We flew him in here, had a long talk with him, went to dinner with him and spent a lot of time with him. We feel really good about where he is as a player and where he’s going. Obviously, Montez there was a lot of talk there at 15. Losing Preston Smith we had to adjust the outside linebacker and pass rusher situation. We talked about taking Sweat at 15 and to get him in the first round we obviously had to give up a little bit, but we thought it was a no brainer. “

On the decision-making process to get Montez Sweat:

“I think when you watched him as a player throughout his college career and then you watched him at the Senior Bowl and Combine. The measurables are second to none as far as an edge rusher, outside linebacker-type player. If you’re 6-foot-6, run a 4.41 forty and you have the production he had at Mississippi State and you performed like he did at the Senior Bowl, it just is a perfect fit for us. Losing Preston like I said and to go alongside with Ryan Anderson, Ryan Kerrigan, obviously Cassanova McKinzy. I think it’s a perfect fit for us.”

 On the emotion in the room leading up to the 1st selection:

“I think you’re always on edge. You’re anxious to see who’s going where because you put a lot of time into this thing and you’re trying to project who’s going to take who and who’s going to be where. You just have to sit back and wait and you’re hoping for the best. But we had a number of picks ready to go. If Dwayne had got picked early we had a couple other options there obviously, but we were hoping Dwayne would fall to us and he did and fortunately we got him. But really it is just a matter of waiting and seeing who is there.”

On if the Redskins were willing to trade up to get Haskins:

“There were talks about doing that. Yes, for sure. But, we felt good about our spot. We felt good about the amount of players that were there still at 15. Then you try to project who need’s quarterbacks and really if you look around the league there’s not a lot of teams that really have to go out and get a first round quarterback. There’s very few, so we felt like we had a good chance that he would fall through without having to give up the farm to get him. Fortunately, that move paid off. Bruce did a great job, obviously Kyle Smith and Dan [Snyder] was in the room for sure and everybody was on board.”

On the expectations for Haskins:

“I don’t know what to expect from him yet. I have to get him in here, we will throw a lot at him. I don’t mean slow, I mean patient so to speak, but we have to figure out the reps. We have a quarterback competition going out the ying-yang right now. We have Case [Keenum] here, we are very happy that we have him. He is an experienced quarterback who’s done it. Colt’s [McCoy] been a guy who has been in our system for a long time, he is trying to come back from that injury. Now we have Dwayne [Haskins], so we have three quarterbacks in the building we feel good about. Of course Alex [Smith] is still rehabbing and doing what he has to do. So, it’s just a matter of getting them all in the room. Throwing the ball out there, letting them throw and we will continue to progress and let guys have an opportunity to play.”

On QB Dwayne Haskins competing for the starting job:

“Well if you’re the 15th pick in the draft, I think you have to give him an opportunity without a doubt. We feel good about the guys we have in the building for sure. But when you take a guy in the first round at anytime your going have to give him a chance to compete. That’s just the way it is, that’s the way pro football is. Case [Keenum] has been through competitions before. Obviously Colt has been through many, many competitions and the type of guys that they are they should welcome it and they should expect it. That’s the way pro football is, that’s the way it’s always going to be and that’s the way it will be this year.”

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On if having QB Alex Smith around will help Haskins:

“I hope so. First thing is first, let Alex [Smith] take care of Alex [Smith] first. That’s the most important thing. Moving forward we welcome him into the building in any capacity whatsoever as he progresses through his rehab. So we will worry about that later once he gets healthy but he definitely can be a great addition to help these young kids out and Case and Colt if it presents himself.”

On how Haskins will fit in his system and what areas he thinks Haskins can improve:

“I think he is a big, strong guy. He can maneuver in the pocket. There are a lot of quarterbacks that are not necessarily scrambles so to speak. You have to maneuver in the pocket, whether it is a six-inch step, a step up, a lateral step what have you to buy some time and he can buy some time with his size and strength – people bounce off of him, he can do a good job in the pocket. He is a big, strong kid and he has functional mobility – I’ve seen him do it at Ohio State, I’ve seen him get outside the pocket and make throws for touchdowns in the red zone and other areas of the field. There are some things that he can work on and there are some things he has to work on. He can work on everything as every quarterback can. Tom Brady is still working on things now, Drew Brees, quarterbacks have to be able to work on their craft every single day to continue to be the best that they can be and Dwayne is the type of guy that I think is very excited about getting into a building and working and that is what drew us to him.”

On the challenges of taking a quarterback from Ohio State that is used to a very different system:

“Well, I think if you look at their system this past year they really did a good job. They have a drop back system, they have some RPO’s. They do a lot of things that NFL teams are doing really. They do an excellent job with their drop back passing game. He is a big part of it, getting the team in the right protection, you watch him at the line of scrimmage, changing protections which is critical at this stage in his career and obviously at the next level. He understands pressure looks and how to protect himself, which is critical. And then obviously going through progressions and reading defenses. The biggest challenge for a quarterback coming into the NFL is his speed, the speed of his receivers, the speed of the defense, the speed of blitzes coming after him and how everything happens so fast. He has been doing things at an ultra-fast level at Ohio State with the no huddle and adjusting his protections and routes. For playing only one year to put up the numbers that he put up is really incredible so we feel like there is such an upside with him that you couldn’t pass him up.”

 On Montez [Sweat’s] health concerns and status:

“We think he is good. You know obviously there were some concerns but Dr. Casolaro, Larry Hess and we have done our due diligence on this and we feel very strongly that he is a strong, healthy young man that is six foot six and a half I think with a large wing span and runs a 4.41 I think. So we feel good about his health.”

 On the needs they are looking to fulfill with two third round picks:

“Yeah, you know there are always needs. I think you are always trying to find some depth or some possible starting candidates and competition for training camp. We can go a lot of different ways really. Not to say that we need help in a lot of different areas but there are some very good players left in the draft we are excited about. We’ve just got to wait and see who is left and make the right pick. Where we go yet we don’t know yet obviously, so we are just going to sit back and let the board play out and take our top guy.”

On if there was a point where a certain team passed on Haskins which gave him a good indications that the Redskins would get him: 

“Probably the Giants more so than anybody. Maybe Miami [Dolphins], but Miami got [Ryan] Fitzpatrick and the thing is there are some quarterbacks left that are still very, very good so maybe they felt that they can get them in the second or third round, but we just felt like Haskins was the cream of the crop and we were lucky to get him.”

 On if selecting Sweat at 15 was an option:

“Well there were discussions for that for sure. Obviously some other players were in that talk as well, but I think when you’re talking about a guy like I said with the talent of Dwayne [Haskins] and the upside that we think he has, it’s hard to pass up a quarterback.

 On if Haskins was the Redskins No. 1 ranked quarterback:

“Oh yeah, for sure.”

 On possibly trading for Cardinals QB Josh Rosen:

“That never came up. Honestly, you know Josh [Rosen] is on the Arizona Cardinals right now and we’re focused on what we can do in the draft to improve our football team with the players we can get.”

 On if there were discussions to trade for Rosen:


 On where Montez Sweat was on the Redskins Draft board:

“High, very high yes. Very, very high yes. Like I said he was part of our discussions at 15 and we didn’t think we’d get him at 15 and he fell to us so, obviously another pass rusher after losing Preston [Smith] like I said. Preston, say what you want he played a lot of football for us, he was very productive for us, so we needed to replace him. Obviously Ryan Anderson, hopefully he’ll fill that void a little bit but we need another one to go along with Cassanova [McKinzy] and Ryan and obviously Ryan Kerrigan.”

 On if he had any inside information when the Redskins traded in front of the Oakland Raiders to select Sweat:

“No, I did not unfortunately, that would have been nice right? (Laughs). No, they were fine. I don’t talk to them about the draft. We’re a little more professional than that I hope.”

 On the outside linebacker position:

“There’s four right there and we have some other guys in the building that we like. We’re going to have competition at every position and let them go. But when you have guys on the edge nowadays on the bubble screens, jet sweeps and all that stuff  that can run and get after the quarterback, it’s critical. We’re going to have to sub some guys in I think. To ask somebody to play 70-80 plays a game on defense over a 16-game season is tough. You want to have fresh bodies in there when you throw [Ryan] Anderson in there for a little while and he gets winded and you throw in a guy that’s 6-foot 6 that runs a 4.4 40 you throw him in there. You’ve got [Ryan] Kerrigan, you got Cassanova [McKinzy] in there for third downs so we feel good about the rotations that we might have. The same thing with the defensive line with [Matt] Ioannidis, [Daron] Payne, and Jonathan Allen, and Caleb Brantley and obviously Tim Settle.”

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