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A detailed look into how Ron Rivera and Kyle Smith researched, then decided on, Saahdiq Charles

A detailed look into how Ron Rivera and Kyle Smith researched, then decided on, Saahdiq Charles

Ron Rivera is currently constructing his version of the Redskins, and a primary focus of that project is to redevelop the culture. He wants guys who are serious about football, who put the team beyond themselves and who consistently make the right decision.

This past Saturday, though, Rivera made the call to draft LSU tackle Saahdiq Charles. Charles missed six games, an enormous chunk, during the Tigers' 2019 season because of a suspension. That doesn't necessarily point to someone who's serious about football, who puts the team beyond himself and who consistently makes the right decision.

So, why did Rivera opt to include Charles in his first class in Washington when the lineman appears to contradict much of the coach's vision? 

On Saturday night, after the franchise made the last of its eight selections, Rivera and VP of Player Personnel Kyle Smith each had the chance to give an answer. In doing so, they provided a detailed look into the considerable research they did on the New Orleans native.

"We've done a lot of work on him," Smith said. He wasn't kidding.

After determining Charles' talent — Smith called it "tremendous" — and slotting him on their board based on that, Smith and his staff "dove" into Charles' character. A Redskins area scout, a cross checker, Senior Director of Player Development Malcolm Blacken, Rivera and Smith all took turns looking into the player's suspension, his level of regret for it and what he'll do to ensure a problem like it doesn't happen in the pros.

A key part of the digging came when Rivera had a chance to discuss Charles with the leader who coached him at LSU, Ed Orgeron. 

"He was very positive about how the young man came in and the way he was contrite about the mistake he had made, about doing things the right way and trying to learn," Rivera told reporters Saturday.

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While some may have penalized Charles for the suspension and marked him way down for it — you have to figure some did, too, since a prospect of his skill was still available on Day 3 — Rivera made sure to also commend him for staying clean the rest of the year after the slip-up. 

That, along with the Zoom meetings, the chat with Orgeron and the endless searching all made the idea of choosing Charles palatable to the Burgundy and Gold. But the aspect that turned it into a priority came from Charles himself. 

"One thing that really caught my attention was he had made the statement that when you have something taken away from you, you want it back, you want to do it the right way," Rivera said. "That really swayed me. I’m one of those that do believe you do give guys opportunities, especially if they show that they want it and this is a young man that wants it." 

Charles was always going to make it to the NFL, even with his LSU troubles. Sure, they cost him positioning and money, but overall, that was never the real question. 

Now, the true test is actually beginning. Will Charles make the Redskins look incredibly smart or incredibly gullible? Were his struggles in school temporary or a signal of more to come?

Rivera and Smith understand the risk they're assuming, but as they were just setting out on their time with Charles, each seemed ready do their part to guide the fourth rounder to a successful career.

"He’s a young man who has a bit of an issue that we’re trying to control and help him out with," Rivera said. "Again, hopefully we keep him going where he needs to be and that’s straight ahead."

"He understands why he was taken where he was," Smith said. "We’re excited about the structure that we’re going to give this kid, the culture that Coach was talking about that we’re going to provide this kid. And we’re excited to give him an opportunity with the Redskins."

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Check out how SWEET the new, numbered Washington Football Team helmets look

Check out how SWEET the new, numbered Washington Football Team helmets look

If you're unhappy or, at the very least, not feeling the Washington Football Team's temporary name, that's fine. Completely understandable, in fact.

After all, no one else in the major sports leagues goes by something that bland. LeBron James, for example, plays for the Lakers, not the Los Angeles Basketball Team. Juan Soto stars (and dances) for the Washington Nationals, not the Washington Baseball Club.  

Therefore, any Burgundy and Gold supporter who's desperate for 2020 to end so they can refer to their organization by a true name, instead of a stopgap one, can be forgiven.

However, those same people need to realize that they've recently been given a gift from the swag Gods, one that should help them cope with the upcoming season. And thanks to a video and some pictures from the WFT that were released on Wednesday, it can now be fully appreciated.

So, what's the gift? The squad's new, numbered helmets.

They were somewhat visible in the mock-up uniforms that were released a few weeks ago, but in the below posts, they're full-on visible and SO BEAUTIFUL:

 

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Gone is Washington's old logo, as well as the stripe that ran down the middle. Each player's individual number will take their place, standing out on both sides in simple yet pleasing gold font.

That's all the analysis that needs to happen here, though. They're simply gorgeous. They're perfect. They're beyond perfect. They're wonderful. They're *sighs, shakes head slightly and just smiles*.

In fact, stop reading these sentences that are just repeating the same thing over and over and go back to staring at the helmets. That's a much more efficient use of your time. 

.................Man. They're perfect.

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Chase Young has 'that vibe' and 'doesn't seem like a rookie,' according to Kendall Fuller

Chase Young has 'that vibe' and 'doesn't seem like a rookie,' according to Kendall Fuller

Kendall Fuller isn't the most seasoned vet in the NFL, but with four years of experience in the league, he's been around plenty of young guys by now. And thanks to the Super Bowl-winning roster he was a part of with the Chiefs, Fuller's also competed alongside some of the sport's most talented athletes.

So when he implies that he's already sensing something special in Chase Young — even though the two haven't interacted much up to this point on the Washington Football Team — it's notable.

"He just kind of has that... just that vibe when you walk by him," Fuller said on a Wednesday Zoom call with reporters, pausing to make sure he landed on the right descriptor. "He doesn't seem like a rookie. He seems like a professional. He's hungry. He wants to work."

Fuller explained that, on his walk to do his presser with the media, he noticed Young "getting in a couple of sprints" for some extra work. That kind of "professional" approach should serve him well as he looks to make his mark in the pros.

"Being the No. 2 pick, seems like he's not even thinking about that," Fuller said. "He's just thinking about being the best player he can be on Sundays."

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Because Washington hasn't had the chance to really initiate any normal football practices yet, Young hasn't gotten to fully unleash his physical skills in front of his teammates and coaches. He's still finding a way to shine, though, as Fuller indicated.

Defensive line coach Sam Mills III had a take similar to the cornerback's.

"The young man is determined," Mills III said Monday. "You can tell he's been studying. ... I'm excited about his future and I'm excited about how fast he's picking everything up."

Thanks to the name issue, the pandemic and all the other distractions from this offseason, the attention on the possible franchise-changer has somewhat died down. But if he's already standing out this much before he's even chased after an opposing quarterback, just wait until he begins showcasing that particular and rare ability.

That is when all the attention on Young will rightly return, and then it should only continue to grow from there.

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