In his first year at the helm of the Washington Redskins last season, GM Scot McCloughan oversaw a complete turnaround for his team. Washington went from winning four games in 2014 to nine victories in 2015 en route to an NFC East title.
Not only did the Redskins more than double their win total with McCloughan in charge, the culture surrounding the team changed as well. To a man, players talked about increased accountability, from veterans to rookies. Now all of the 2015 success cannot be attributed to the GM, but he certainly played a large part.
It's that success that brings a recent article from Rotoworld into question. In their annual GM Rankings, McCloughan landed 14th. While an argument could be made to move up the Redskins GM higher on the list, with just one year on the job, the ranking seems rather fair. Some may find it a bit odd that Jets GM Mike Maccagnan landed two spots above McCloughan despite very similar records and Maccagnan inheriting a much more talented roster in New York, but the reality is that is too much of splitting hairs.
What does stand out from the Rotoworld ranking, however, comes from the assessment of McCloughan's first draft in Washington.
"If we’re being honest, McCloughan had a quiet first year on the job in Washington. His first-round guard, Brandon Scherff, played 1,000 snaps, but the draft class was otherwise workmanlike."
Workmanlike? Remember, the 2015 draft haul produced impact players not only in Scherff - a rookie who started every game on a much improved offensive line - but Preston Smith and Jamison Crowder.
Second-round pick Smith led all rookies with eight sacks, and he played his best football late in the season during the Redskins surge to the division title. Crowder, a 4th-round pick, played in all 16 games for the Redskins, taking over as the top slot WR, and caught 59 passes for 604 yards and two touchdowns. Crowder ranked No. 4 for rookies in receiving yards.
Further, 3rd-round rookie Matt Jones showed flashes of brilliance - and a fumbling issue - in accounting for nearly 800 yards from scrimmage and four TDs in 13 games. And 6th-round pick Kyshoen Jarrett emerged late in the season as a valuable piece in the secondary, especially covering slot receivers, before a bad injury in the final game of the year landed him on the IR.
So back to the GM rankings. McCloughan landing at 14 might be a little low, but seems about right but calling his first draft "otherwise workmanlike" seems to miss the mark. Smith could become a Pro Bowl caliber pass rusher. Barring injuries, Crowder has the type of ability to play in the NFL for a decade. And don't forget Scherff, the type of player and talent who could be an All Pro guard for seasons to come.
McCloughan's first year with the Redskins was not all hits - the GM looks to have missed with some free agent signings - but his first draft was strong.
Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.