The Redskins lost a young, dynamic football talent in 2017 when the Rams poached then offensive coordinator Sean McVay from head coach Jay Gruden's staff.
In 2018, it appears the organization intends to not let that happen again, this time with Director of College Personnel Kyle Smith.
Last offseason, L.A. somewhat surprisingly hired McVay away from the Redskins. McVay ended up being a star, the Rams won 11 games and he was named coach of the year.
Washington didn't want to lose McVay last year, but the team wasn't in a position to keep the 31-year-old either once he was offered the Rams top job. Gruden's job was secure, as he has stabilized the Redskins and has the support of ownership and management. The entire organization knew McVay's value, but still, had to let him go to Hollywood.
Losing McVay, however, might have also made the club aware that it should work harder to protect young talent. And that's where we get to Kyle Smith and Scott Campbell.
Across the NFL, Smith is identified as a future general manager. He's considered an up and coming talent and he's only in his early 30s. He's worked with the Redskins, beginning as an intern, since 2010.
Campbell is a widely respected scout and football personnel man. He's done plenty of good work for the Redskins, and seen way more bad teams than good in his 17 years with the club. Nothing but a professional, Campbell ran the 2014 and 2017 drafts, both good hauls for Washington.
Smith ran the 2018 draft though, and that is the plan for the future.
Think about it this way: Campbell has worked in the NFL for 31 years. Smith is only 34 years old.
And with Campbell's contract expiring, the Redskins thought this was the time to let him walk.
It's tough, no way around that.
But considering the team lost McVay last year, and saw him find much success as a young, rookie head coach, the team doesn't want to lose Smith.
Washington Team President Bruce Allen is known to be good friends with A.J. Smith, Kyle's father. There were also reports that Allen might look to move on from the Redskins. Allen shut down those reports, but still, at some point, Allen will want to walk away. He's in his 60s and many believe finding the club's new stadium to be his final challenge.
Smith as general manager of the Redskins makes sense, whether that happens this season or a few seasons down the road.
What about Doug Williams?
Remember, last year at his introductory press conference, the Senior VP of Player Personnel made clear he doesn't want to be GM.
Eric Schaffer does a million things at Redskins Park, but player evaluation is not considered his strong suit.
For Smith, it is.
Though the experiment failed spectacularly, the Redskins brought in Scot McCloughan to be their top football man. If nothing else, McCloughan is a true football guy.
Smith is too. And he's younger, and with an untarnished resume.
If it seems the Redskins are setting things up to keep Smith around for the long haul, don't forget the lesson of losing McVay.
MORE REDSKINS DRAFT NEWS:
— Report Card: Grading the Redskins' 2018 draft
— Draft Analysis: Redskins drafted for value AND need
— Day 3 Results: Meet the Redskins' late-round picks
— Day 2 Results: Second and third-round selections
— Rolling the Dice: The right move drafting Guice
— Bring the Payne: Redskins address porous D-Line at No. 13
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