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Need to Know: Should Redskins fans believe what Doug Williams said about drafting a QB?

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Need to Know: Should Redskins fans believe what Doug Williams said about drafting a QB?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 11, 15 days before the NFL draft.  

Slim chance of drafting a quarterback

Doug Williams has been the Redskins’ senior VP of player personnel for less than a year, but he has already is beginning to master the pre-draft subterfuge side of the game. 

In an interview with the Washington Post, Williams tried to make the case that the Redskins would take a quarterback with the 13thpick in the draft if a player who might slip such as Lamar Jackson of Louisville is the best player available.

“When we get to 13, we’ve got to see who’s there,” Williams said. “If there’s a quarterback that we feel should have gone [earlier], then that’s a major discussion. To say it’s off the table, that would be unfair.”

Presumably, Williams said this with a straight face and in an earnest voice. But none of it is true. The Redskins will not draft a quarterback in the first round. Or in the second or fourth and probably not the fifth. 

The main reason the Redskins won’t take a quarterback early is because of the contract of Alex Smith. The five-year deal dictates that Smith will be the Redskins’ quarterback for at least the next three years. And unless he is performing so badly that they are willing to eat a $10.8 million dead cap charge in 2021, he will be behind center for four years if not the entire five (the final year would be his age 38 season). 

If the Redskins take a quarterback in the draft, he will be under contract for four years. That would mean that the plan would be to have a draft pick sit on the bench for the duration of his contract. A first-round QB would have a fifth-year option but the Redskins could find themselves paying that player in excess of $20 million in 2022 before he ever was the regular starter. 

Smith has been very durable for the last seven years. Since 2011, he has missed five games due to injuries. That represents few opportunities for a highly-drafted backup. 

Another issue with going QB early is that a first- or second-round quarterback would represent an opportunity cost for the Redskins. Instead of shoring up a position of need or adding a playmaker, the Redskins would be adding to a position where they already have invested their third-round pick and CB Kendall Fuller, not to mention over $21 million in salary cap space (counting Colt McCoy’s $3.6 million cap hit). Even though it’s the most important position in sports, there is such a thing as overkill. 

As JP Finlay wrote yesterday, the best course of action the Redskins could take if there is a quality quarterback on the board when they are on the clock would be to immediately put a “for sale” sign up on the pick. 

As far as the rest of the draft, the Redskins are happy with Colt McCoy as the backup and they aren’t going to give up on Kevin Hogan less than a month after trading for him to be their third-string developmental quarterback. A late-round developmental quarterback would be unlikely to make the roster.

But what about never say never? Is there a chance the Redskins would take a quarterback at some point? In this case, it’s safe to say “never” up until around their second pick of the fifth round. At that point, if there is a quarterback on the board who they did not think would be there and who would be a significant upgrade over Hogan, they might go ahead and pull the trigger there. 

While that’s possible, the chances are strong that this will be draft without a quarterback taken despite Doug Williams’ assertion to the contrary. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 5
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 106
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 151

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