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Scot McCloughan offers high praise of Jay Gruden, the talent evaluator

Scot McCloughan offers high praise of Jay Gruden, the talent evaluator

Inherent tension usually resides between NFL coaches and front office types. The coaches want players that will help win immediately, where front office folks have to juggle player development with salary cap constrictions. Add that to the fact that most scouts don't fully trust coaches with personnel evaluation, and often it's a situation rife with pressure.

As much pressure may fill the halls of Redskins Park, one such area it didn't was between former general manager Scot McCloughan and head coach Jay Gruden. In fact, McCloughan believes Gruden to be the best talent evaluating coach he has worked with, and that includes some high company.

I was with [Mike] Holmgren. He didn’t want any part of it. Pete Carroll didn’t want any part of it. Mike Nolan didn’t want any part of it. Mike Singletary didn’t want any part of it. But Jay really, really studies. He watches a lot of tape and he can identify, which helped me out quite a bit. Because you can always use good opinions from people that can see it. Because it’s not an exact science.

Gruden has worked in football his entire life, but it took him a long-time to make it as an NFL head coach. Combined with his years in the Arena League, never making it to the NFL as a player, might have helped hone his eye for scouting.

It also doesn't hurt that Gruden's father, just like McCloughan's, was a scout. The Gruden family grew up watching football like scouts. That doesn't just go away.

"The thing that’s cool about this organization – because I’ve been in three other ones – the head coach in Jay is a good evaluator,” McCloughan said. “He can see it and identify it. I leaned on him, he leaned on me."

McCloughan's comments came Tuesday speaking on Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here), and in an odd way, showed agreement with Bruce Allen. The Redskins team president, Allen had the final say to fire McCloughan, yet both men spoke highly of Gruden's talent evaluation skills. 

Both McCloughan and Gruden said they will be rooting for the other as events move on. Gruden will continue to do so from his seat as Redskins head coach. McCloughan's future holds more questions, but as usual, his scouting opinions will be in high demand. Already he has started back up his personnel business, just like he did before his tenure with the Redskins. 

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

Today we are continuing to reveal the list of the players we ranked from 16-30.

Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—The team’s top draft pick (but not the second pick, who is in a higher-ranked group).  

—Two of the anticipated starting offensive linemen

—The team’s leading rusher from 2016

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second-leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skill set was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 

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