After a successful NFL Draft, Redskins President Bruce Allen has been making the media rounds on a variety of television and radio programs to spread the good word and provide some insight into Washington’s newest members.
The Redskins drafted 10 players last week – headlined by first-round picks Dwayne Haskins and Montez Sweat, whom the organization traded up for – and will now welcome them to the facility next week before they begin rookie minicamp.
In nearly unanimous fashion, draft experts commended the class with high grades, and Allen had the opportunity to explain more of the front office’s draft strategies and excitement. Here’s a look at what he had to say about a variety of topics.
Choosing Haskins at No. 15 made the room explode
It’s no question that the primary reason draft experts have graded the team’s draft so favorably has been the selection of Haskins. Labeled by many as the second-best quarterback in the draft, Haskins kept slipping – most notably past the Giants, who opted for Duke’s Daniel Jones – giving Washington an easy choice with the 15th selection.
“Well, our strategy is we did a lot of homework and obviously Dwayne [Haskins] and it’s not a secret that he was a great player and a lot of other people in the league thought that, and we got some fortunate breaks and he fell to us and that made the room sort of explode a little bit,” Allen said on WMAL. “It might not been as loud as the Anthem but it was pretty loud in our room.”
Over on First Take, Allen didn’t say where Haskins and Jones were specifically on the Redskins’ draft board but made sure to refute claims from outside sources and teams claiming to know the Washington's strategy.
“I’ve heard all of these different comments that people had a sense of what we were thinking, I promise you that is not true,” Allen said. “We wanted to get Dwayne, we felt that there was a chance he could get to us at 15 and we are pleased that we kept all of our ammo and we were able to add 10 players in the draft.”
The Redskins, of course, had other players they were ready to draft, but as Haskins kept falling, the belief they could select him without trading up further became a bigger possibility.
“Well, it really was, you hoped he would fall to 15,” Allen said. “You never know because of the way the trades work, no different than what we had to do later in the first round getting Montez Sweat, I’m sure some teams were thinking about selecting him but when trades happen, it changes the entire draft board, and it worked out well for us. He’s a dynamic player, he had a great season last year at Ohio State and it wasn’t just his magnificent statistics, once we met the young man, and we found out his desire to be a great football player that’s what really sold us.”
The environment is perfect for Haskins
With Haskins now part of the quarterbacks group, the competition between him, Case Keenum and eventually Colt McCoy will become a big focus in training camp. While Haskins is the team’s future investment, Allen knows it will be helpful to have a lot of veteran leadership around him during his rookie season.
“Well, we also have Alex Smith and Colt McCoy,” Allen told WMAL. “We want Dwayne to learn the NFL and the player of the year last year was [Chiefs QB] Patrick Mahomes, and he sat a year behind Alex Smith and learned the game of football. We’re not in a hurry we feel good with Case [Keenum], we feel good with Colt, and obviously with Alex and I think he’s going to get invaluable training this year, I think he’ll start with the rookie minicamp, which is the following weekend. We’re surrounded, our offensive coordinator is a former NFL quarterback, our quarterback coach is a quarterback, and our senior assistant was an NFL quarterback, so he’s going to get a lot of training in town.”
On First Take, Allen reiterated his feelings about the environment that Haskins will be provided with, citing again the amount of current and former quarterbacks he has as teammates and coaches, respectively, around him.
“We do have to start out fast this year, we open with the Philadelphia Eagles and we’re going to have our best lineup on the field,” Allen said. “As far as Dwayne, we have a great system, and environment to develop a quarterback. Our offensive coordinator, our quarterback coach, our senior assistant all played quarterback in the NFL. Our head coach was a quarterback and of course we have Doug Williams and we think we have the perfect environment to nurture a young player, and don’t forget the secret ingredient may be for Patrick Mahomes, was Alex Smith. So, we’re pleased to have Alex and this group to help mentor a quarterback.”
Check out photos of Redskins' first round pick Montez Sweat.
Montez Sweat has those rare traits
The Redskins had a second first-round draft pick this season, thanks to trading with the Colts to acquire the 26th pick that would ultimately turn into edge defender Montez Sweat.
Allen likes what he brings from a physical standpoint and was happily surprised to see him continue to fall deeper into the first round.
“You know he has those rare traits,” Allen said. “The length, the size, the speed is very rare, he’s very productive at Mississippi State, over 20 sacks the last two years, and then at the Senior Bowl he competed against the best players and from talking to his coach and the way our coaches and scouts felt about him, that’s why we made the move to move up into the first round, and feel like we got two of the best players in this draft.
“We were hoping it would fall this way because some of the players fit what you could say, we had some need for, getting Montez Sweat we wanted, we had a very high grade on him, when he started to fall in the first round we were able to get back into the first round and get Montez who we think will add a lot to our football team but the next few guys we took were just, they were there and we wanted them and we had very grades on them and it turned out great for us.”
When asked on First Take about whether he had any cause for concern regarding Sweat’s alleged heart condition, which prompted some teams to pass on him, Allen had faith in the team’s doctors.
“No, first of all let me say the doctors trump everything,” Allen said. “You could have a super scout who thinks something but if the doctor says he can’t play we’re very comfortable with that.”
Bryce Love was too good to pass up
The Redskins spent the first half of the draft addressing a lot of offensive parts – including a wide receiver in Terry McLaurin, offensive linemen in Wes Martin and Ross Pierschbacher and, in the fourth round, a running back in Bryce Love.
“You know Bryce Love is a great story,” Allen said. “A year ago he was runner-up in the Heisman trophy to Baker Mayfield and four of the top five players in that Heisman trophy went in the first round a year ago and he’s somebody that obviously everyone recognized what he was doing when at Stanford and if he came out a year ago he would have been one of the top picks in the draft.
“We did our research on where he is in his recovery and feel good about it. The draft you have to remember, as much as we want to beat the [Philadelphia] Eagles in the opening game, the draft is really a four-year opportunity, it’s a four-year contract that each one of these four draft picks gets and these players are going to help us in ’19, ’20, ’21, and ’22 and hopefully some of them will retire Redskins a decade from now.”