Redskins

Redskins

After a tumultuous 2019 campaign, the Redskins made several changes throughout the organization, most notably firing longtime team president Bruce Allen and hiring respected head coach Ron Rivera.

But one of the front office members that remained with the Redskins was Kyle Smith, who actually earned himself a promotion in January, moving from director of college scouting to vice president of player personnel. 

As Smith moves up the ladder in the Redskins' front office hierarchy, the general manager position remains vacant. Rivera has assumed some of those typical GM roles under the "coach-centric" approach that Redskins owner Dan Snyder emphasized during the head coach's introductory press conference, but Smith has also taken on some of those duties himself.

Smith spoke to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday and was asked whether he eventually wants to become the team's general manager. While the 35-year-old admitted that's the ultimate goal, he emphasized he has way bigger things to worry about right now.

"If you're a scout and get into this league as a scout, your ultimate goal is to become a GM," he said. "It's no different than a coach who is quality control. You're a quality control coach, your goal is to become a head coach. That is the ultimate goal, but right now, I've got a tremendous responsibility and opportunity in my role as it is now. And I plan on attacking it.

"If that opportunity comes as a GM, then it does," he continued. "If it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm not worried about that right now."

 

The next couple of months are crucial for Smith as NFL Draft preparations heat up. In his old title, Smith ran the draft board for the Redskins, among other duties. Now, Smith has a bigger role, dealing with pro personnel in addition to the college ranks.

Smith still has a large impact on the draft board, but the final say for both free agents and draft picks will now be a combined effort with Rivera. 

"It's a collaborative deal. It truly will be a collaborative effort," Smith said. "I wish I had something to tell you that as far as we're going to set the board and we're gonna be sitting there and coach is going to come in and grab whatever board and we not know what we're going to do and say this is who we're taking, or vice versa. Me doing that. It's not that way. We're going to have the meetings, let the process unfold. We believe in our process."

While that's a change from what Smith is used to in the past, he says it's not much different. In his old role, the final decision was never his anyway. Smith still runs the draft meetings but emphasized the biggest change is how the team grades prospects.

"It’s been pretty similar to be honest with you," Smith said. "As far as the draft process, college scouts came in on the 31st and we met until the 13th. That meeting is the same as last year. I run those meetings as far as setting the board, we get together, we assign value. The things that have changed is kind of the grading chart. We're transitioning to more of a color-coded system, keeping numeric value on the college side but so that we're all speaking the same language."

Rivera has let Smith take the lead for the draft process, something Smith is greatly appreciative of.

"[Rivera has] really taken a step back as far as the draft was concerned and just said, 'Listen, do your thing with setting the board. Run your meetings how you've been doing it,'" Smith said. "Once the coaches come in and evaluate, then he and I will sit down and figure out what direction we want to go."

For free agency, Smith and Rivera will lean heavily on advice from Alex Santos, the Redskins director of pro personnel. But like the draft, the final decision on free agents will also be a collaborative effort.

The first test of the Redskins new front office system will be free agency, which begins in the middle of March. But as it stands now, Smith is thrilled with the current system in place.

"I love the way things are running," Smith said. "It's very smooth. Like I said, our working relationship has been outstanding."

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