Redskins draft countdown
The NFL draft is 23 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.
40-yard dash: 4.89
Projected draft round: 6-7
What they’re saying
Can orchestrate an offense with confidence and accuracy when operating from a clean pocket, but doesn't appear to have the mentality of a player willing to take the risks necessary to strike with big plays often enough on the pro level. Kessler has moments where it is easy to like him on tape, but the traits and tape look more like those of a good, career backup than playoff starter.
—Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins are very tight with secrets during the lead up to the draft but Jay Gruden has expressed a desire to land a developmental quarterback, either in the draft or as an undrafted free agent. It will be surprising if the Redskins go through seven rounds without taking a quarterback to serve as the third-string QB behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy, particularly if Scot McCloughan is able to cut some deals and pick up extra late-round draft picks.
Kessler has the traits you are looking for should you have to press your third stringer into action. He is accurate from the pocket, completing 71 percent of his passes from there. Kessler isn’t prone to making too many mistakes; he threw just 12 interceptions his junior and senior years combined. And he won’t try to do too much; he knows his limits.
Potential issues: As is normally the case with any quarterback who is available late on Saturday afternoon in the draft, Kessler has plenty of flaws. He’s 6-1, not as tall as you’d like a pocket passer to be. If he gets chased out of the pocket his accuracy drops precipitously.
Bottom line: The tough choice the Redskins have to make when it comes to choosing their developmental quarterback. Do they want someone who can be a career backup and provide a younger a cheaper alternative to McCoy or another veteran in a year or two? Or do they want someone who might serve as an alternative to Cousins should they be unable to sign him to a long-term contract?
If they want the latter, they probably should look for a quarterback earlier, perhaps in the third or fourth round. But it they want a QB who can become a reliable backup the someone like Kessler is their guy.
In his own words
On how his game translates the NFL:
The mental side for me is obviously big. Recognizing defenses. Obviously everyone can throw, everyone can play at the next level and has the arm to make it. But for me I always wanted to be a step ahead of everyone on the mental side of it. Along with my accuracy and my decision making. That’s something we were graded on at USC, and I love watching guys like Drew Brees who is so efficient with the football. His completion percentage is always in the upper 60s. I always wanted to model my game after guys that make the right plays and made good decisions. That’s somehting I want to bring with me in the NFL.
Previously in Redskins draft countdown:
- Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
- Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
- Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
- Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
- Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
- A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
- Andrew Billings, DL, Baylor
- Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
- Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
- Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama
- J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame