Doug Williams addressed the media Monday morning for the Redskins’ annual pre-draft press conference.
For years, the league-required media availability was handled by director of college scouting Scott Campbell. When Williams took over the personnel department in 2017, he took over the press conference as well, despite Kyle Smith being in the director role. Here are the five biggest takeaways from his 15-minute session in Ashburn.
- Williams’ assertion that taking a quarterback at 15 isn’t off the table isn’t surprising, but the wording of his answer was fairly interesting. “We don’t know who is going to be there at 15,” he said. “We got some guys that we do like, and if those guys are there, then that is a discussion that has to be had.”
To me, that says there are multiple quarterbacks the Redskins like that could be real prospects without a trade. To my knowledge, Daniel Jones and Drew Lock don’t fit that billing, which means Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins would theoretically be the quarterbacks on Williams’ mind. I might be reading way too much into this, but it would make a lot of sense and obviously give the Redskins a quarterback of the future.
- “The chances of trading up is a lot slimmer than trading back,” Williams mused towards the end of the press conference. “There’s a great possibility that we trade back, if that opportunity came.”
Again, this is consistent with what’s been coming out of Ashburn for months, but is noteworthy as Williams put it on the record. The Redskins don’t believe one player can solve their problem. In fact, they think the opposite. They think they need multiple players to start and even more for depth. That means trading for more picks would be the play, not giving up picks to find a mythical silver bullet.
- “There is one position that we say we feel pretty good,” Williams said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t draft one – and that is the boys up front on the defensive side of the ball. If there is a defensive lineman in the draft in the right place for the right price, there is a possibility to add to the young guys that’s already on the team.”
I think there is exactly one defensive lineman who the Redskins would take at 15 and that is Ed Oliver. He’s a different type of athlete than Jon Allen and Daron Payne, so drafting him is worthwhile. Rashan Gary, who has fallen to 15 in a lot of mock drafts, wouldn’t be the ‘right’ player, even if he’s available when the Redskins get on the clock. Ultimately though, I’d expect this to be a D-line-free draft as the Redskins not only have their starters, but depth at the position thanks to Tim Settle falling to them last year.
- The Redskins have a need at safety in a bad safety draft. There’s no question the best possible scenario for 2019 is to pair a healthy Montae Nicholson with Landon Collins, but Nicholson’s “got some things that he has to clean up and we don’t know,” Williams said of the safety. “It’s unfair to put him in anywhere right now until he takes care of himself.”
Nicholson was sensational as a rookie before injuries ended his season. He hasn’t been the same since. He walked around the facility with sunglasses, which is plainly terrifying after his concussions, but doctors have cleared him to play and he allegedly is okay. Obviously this is all without mentioning the fight he got into and was arrested for last winter. Safe to say Nicholson hasn’t proven anything to management yet, based on Williams’ comments today.
- We spend hours and hours trying to predict the draft and it often blows up within the first few picks, which is something Williams is fully aware of. “We got the 15th pick at this time, and there are 14 teams in front of us, and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said before citing an example that worked out quite well for Washington.
“Things happen that you don’t expect. I go all the way back to the Jonathan Allen draft. You know everybody was talking about Jonathan going in the top 10 picks, where in our mind going into the draft Jonathan Allen was not on our mind. But, when we got to that point, it was an easy task to pick Jonathan Allen because we didn’t expect him there and we’re in the same position here.”
This draft feels even harder to predict as so many options are on the table. Will Kyler Murray go one? How many QBs will go after him, but before Washington? It could be zero. It could be three. Then you get to the rest of a very jumbled group of players who scouts have a wide variety of opinions on. Things could get very weird, very quickly.