INDIANAPOLIS - The Redskins intend to meet with the two top quarterbacks entering the 2020 NFL Draft, LSU's Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. If that sounds like major news, it's because it is.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera spoke Wednesday from the NFL Scouting Combine to explain that while he likes 2019 first-round pick QB Dwayne Haskins, all options are on the table for the Redskins with the second overall pick this year. From Rivera:
Everything is an option. We're not closing the door on anything. One of the things that Kyle [Smith] and I talked about is that we have to go through this process because you don’t know what’s going to happen in front of you and we don’t know what’s going to happen with you. So we're going to go through and Tua is one of the guys that were bringing in, just so everybody knows. Were bringing in [Joe] Burrow and were bringing in Tua. And we will see both of their workouts. That's just the way it is. You just don’t know, so we're going to prepare and we're going to get ourselves ready. We're going to obviously look at some of the other players, we're going to look at Chase [Young]. We're going to look at the corners, we're going to look at everybody.
Obviously Rivera's comments carry great weight, not just bringing in Tua but also Burrow. The whole world assumes the Bengals will take Burrow with the first overall pick, but should something else happen, the Redskins will have done their homework on the Heisman Trophy winner.
But if Burrow is gone, will the Redskins actually draft Tagovailoa? Asked specifically if meeting with Tua was just due diligence, Rivera was unequivocal.
"No," the coach said. "Talking to Tua is you talk to Tua, which I’ve had an opportunity to."
So what does all of this mean for Haskins? Since he took over in Washington, Rivera has made no promises to the second-year Ohio State product other than competition at the quarterback position. Wednesday did mark Rivera's most positive comments about Haskins since taking over as head coach though.
"I think we have a very good young player," Rivera said on Haskins. He expanded:
The more we break down, the more we learn about him, I think it puts us in a pretty good spot. I am excited about him. One thing that I have seen is his commitment. He’s been around a lot. When I make my rounds during the day and I’ll walk by the weight room, there he is. I walk by the locker room, there he is. That to me is a sign of a young man that is learning he needs to be around.
Let's be clear about a few things: The pre-draft process is often a battle to create leverage against other NFL teams. With the second overall pick and a roster full of holes, the Redskins want, if not need, that leverage.
Bringing in Burrow and Tua for meetings create leverage, but at this point, watching and listening to Ron Rivera, it would seem foolish to assume the meetings are solely about leverage.
Rivera is known for telling the truth, and he also mentioned that the team will bring in Ohio State defensive end Chase Young for meetings. It's entirely possible, if not likely, the Redskins still end up taking Young with the second pick.
Keep this in mind, however, as Rivera has a pristine reputation around the NFL. Players love him for being honest and direct. It might be lying season in the NFL, but Rivera is a different beast. He's not taking meetings just for show. The new Redskins organization is about detail and character, and Rivera is just starting to show his cards.
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