Redskins draft countdown
The NFL draft is 38 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players the Redskins will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.
40-yard dash: Did not participate
Projected draft round: 3
What they’re saying
Three-year starter and pro-style pocket passer. Experienced and comfortable under center and in play-action offense. Has shown an ability to read the entire field when asked. Gets through progressions fairly quickly. Expedites release and throws to an area in front of the route when blitz is closing in. Always looking to throw past sticks on third down. Understands his arm limitations and rarely takes unnecessary chances throwing into space.
How he fits the Redskins: In case you haven’t heard, the Redskins are having trouble getting Kirk Cousins signed to a long-term deal. If he doesn’t sign prior to the draft, the team will need to seriously look at their future at quarterback. If Kaaya is there in the third round, they could make him that future.
Although he played in a pro-style offense at Miami, he probably needs a year on the bench to get ready and assuming Cousins is around this year the Redskins would have that luxury. A review of some game tape releveled to me that his arm strength is average to below average by NFL standards. He can make up for that by making quick decisions and anticipating. Kaaya is at his best when he can step into his throws and fire them between the hash marks. Still, it’s easy to see him having problems throwing into tight windows in the NFL. He’s not the mobile type of quarterback but he can make plays on the move.
In a very general sense Kaaya is similar to Cousins when he came out of Michigan State. Both are pocket passers who don’t have the strongest arms. Cousins overcame his deficiencies with lots of hard work on and off the field. Can Kaaya do the same?
Potential issues: Kaaya has some problems throwing outside the numbers; against Notre Dame last year he underthrew one out pattern that easily was picked off. He also showed no knack for throwing deep passes; if it’s possible to overthrow long balls and show a weak arm in the process, that’s what he does.
Since Kaaya is a quarterback who shows some potential to be a starter there is a good chance that he will be overdrafted. He clearly is a mid-round talent since he likely will need a year of clipboard holding and probably a season of rocky on the job training before a team can really determine if he can be its future at the position. But it’s easy to see a team trading up in the second round to grab a guy who is 6-4, won the job at Miami as a true freshman, and started 38 games over three seasons.
Bottom line: When evaluating Kaaya one should note that he played for three different head coaches and in two different offensive systems in his three years. That could be why his stats are good but don’t really pop off the page.
It seems that the best plan for a long-term answer at quarterback is to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract. But whether it’s the Redskins reluctance to commit the money or Cousins being leery of the front office issues that have ground on during all five of his seasons in Washington, that may not happen. Unless they really think that Nate Sudfeld can be the starter in 2018 or if Colt McCoy can revive his career next year at age 32 they must do something to be prepared for Cousins’ departure.
Is Kaaya the right guy? He may be if he still is there when the third round comes around. But for a team with as many needs as the Redskins, a second might be too much to gamble on a player who is far from a sure thing.
In his own words:
When asked about what he would do to win over the locker room where he was drafted Kaaya sounded like a guy the Redskins charity foundation would love:
I mean, do exactly what I did at Miami, earn my stripes and earn my respect. I’m not gonna go in there thinking I’m the guys already. I realize that everything is earned. No matter what my opportunity is, no matter what the situation, I’m going to be around the city no matter what. I plan on staying in the city I’m drafted to . . . Just getting out in the community and making an impact on people. I feel like football gives you that platform to make an impact on a lot of people around the country and even across the world. And I feel like being in the position that all of us are in right now, we have kind of a moral obligation to help people and make an impact.
Previously in Redskins draft countdown: