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Campbell: Goal Is To Improve Every Position

Posted Feb 21, 2013

Redskins Director of Player Personnel Scott Campbell said the team can't rest on two successful drafts in 2011 and 2012. His goal is to upgrade again this offseason.

The Redskins' scouting department heads into the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine with the goal of collecting as much information as possible on the top amateur talent in the draft.

For Scott Campbell, the Redskins' Director of Player Personnel, this is a familiar process that caps of months of scouring the nation for top talent.

"We spend the fall traveling the country, visiting the schools twice during the year," he said. "[The regional scouts] will probably hit between 50-60 schools during the fall.

"That’s just not going to games. They’ll hit Monday through Friday. They’ll hit three to four schools during the week and then hit games on the weekend."

With the game film in hand, the scouts will get a chance to compare it to workout footage from the Combine.

With 333 of the best players gathered in Indianapolis for the next week, this is a perfect time to adjust the team's preliminary draft boards and target the best fits for the Redskins' roster.

"There’s a lot of moving pieces to the puzzle," Campbell explained. "Just recently, we had the area scouts in for 10 days of meetings to set up our preliminary draft board."

The draft boards have served the team well in the last two offseasons, as the Redskins have made 21 draft picks, all of whom have suited up on Sunday.

While the success of last season and the lack of a first-round pick could devalue the Redskins' draft, Campbell sees this offseason as important as any other.

"The value is important every year," he said. "You don’t ever look at is as, 'well the draft isn’t really that important because we signed these free agents or however the season’s gone.'

"The draft is still very important and our goal is to try to improve every position on the team.  We’ll start to filter out what our priority needs are as we work through the offseason. The main focus right now is getting the best players that fit our scheme and system."

Aside from pure football talent, Campbell emphasized character as a major factor in determining the final draft board.

The Redskins will have the opportunity to interview dozens of players during the Combine week, a process that has a reputation for getting interesting behind closed doors.

"Every interview is only 15 minutes," he explained. "Any conversation can start taking off in another direction but it’s just a quick glimpse, putting a face with a name, personality, how they handle themselves under pressure talking to the head coach and [general manager] Bruce Allen."

Some teams have drawn criticism over the years for delving into touchy subjects in an effort to gauge the athlete under pressure.

Campbell said the Redskins usually stick to the formula of gathering information, rather than getting a rise out of players.

"It’s almost like an act so the challenge for us is to kind of break through and throw them off a little bit," he said. "We do have a set guideline, but what typically happens is you work down the questions.

"You may get into family background and you find out really some interesting stories; maybe guys had a rough upbringing and that takes you in a certain direction. But there’s a certain checklist that we have that we want to try the hit the highlights."

Every now and then, an interview can do more to eliminate a player from consideration than to boost his stock.

"There’s a couple [players] that come to mind, but I don’t really want to say their names," he said with a smile. "Typically what will happen when a guy leaves the room, Coach [Mike Shanahan] or Kyle [Shanahan] or Jim [Haslett]--whoever is in there with me--will say ‘Man that guy is completely crazy.’

"It’s rare, but sometimes the kids can’t help themselves. Most times, though, they’re pretty much already rehearsed."

Between now and the 2013 Draft is the start of NFL free agency, where the Redskins were some of the early movers and shakers last year.

Amateur scouting must coordinate with pro scouting to develop a gameplan for collecting the top talent available before next season.

"We've already had the free agency meetings with the coaches. After these meetings, the coaches will have been given the list from the scouts of the players to start getting familiar [with] at the Combine, so they can start zeroing in on who may be of interest to us."

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