Scot McCloughan: The Redskins’ Latest Savior


Being a Redskins fan, there have been multiple times where a new person in town brings excitement and hope to the fan base. Hope that the team can finally change its losing ways. Hope that the ineptitude will finally end. Hope that Daniel Snyder has finally figured it out.

These “saviors” that the team brings in each come with their own set of warning flags. Joe Gibbs Part 2 was old and people wondered if the game had passed him by. He got the team to the playoffs but there was not consistent success. Mike Shanahan’s hiring got the fan base buzzing but people wondered how good he really was outside of the John Elway-Terrell Davis teams. Despite taking the team to the playoffs, the Shanahan experiment failed as well. The RGIII story was more of the same, excellent talent, but people wondered if his body could handle the NFL. After winning countless awards his rookie season, the injuries caught up to RGIII and he looks to be a shell of himself.

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The latest savior for the Redskins is the newly hired GM, Scot McCloughan. McCloughan has had consistent success in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. The warning flag against him has been his personal issues with alcoholism. That’s a risk that the team and fan base should be willing to accept.

Former Redskins GM Bobby Beathard, who was the man who hired Joe Gibbs, called McCloughan “the perfect hire.” According to Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine, McCloughan is “considered by many to be football’s best talent evaluator.” Who would have thought one of the best talent evaluators in the game would come work for the Redskins?

McCloughan was the Director of College Scouting for the Seattle Seahawks from 2000-2004. The Seahawks played in Super Bowl XL after the 2005 season with 25 players he drafted on the roster. During his tenure, the Seahawks drafted G Steve Hutchinson and RB Shaun Alexander, two potential Hall of Famers. Alexander actually won the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year award the same year the team made the Super Bowl.

From 2005-2010, McCloughan worked with the 49ers where he was first VP of Player Personnel and then GM. The 49ers were 4-12 in 2005 but by 2011, the year after McCloughan’s departure, the team went 13-3. The following year, the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl, losing a close game to the Ravens. In 2013, the 49ers made it to the NFC Championship Game.

After being let go by the 49ers, due to personal issues, McCloughan returned to the Seattle Seahawks from 2010-2014 as a Senior Personnel Executive. With the Seahawks, McCloughan worked closely with his friend, GM John Schneider. The results are clear to see as the Seahawks made the playoffs in 2012, won the Super Bowl in 2013, and are looking strong in this year’s playoffs.

McCloughan resigned from the Seahawks in 2014 and has been successfully running his own business, Instinctive Scouting, LLC. Through his business, multiple NFL teams have paid him to evaluate players for them.

Like any other talent evaluator, McCloughan has had his share of misses, but the misses are nowhere near those the Redskins have suffered through the last 10-15 years. Does Vinny Cerrato’s name invoke positive memories?

The biggest miss in the NFL Draft for McCloughan was Alex Smith, who was picked first overall in 2005. Although Smith is still a serviceable quarterback with the Chiefs, his time with the 49ers was mediocre. Aaron Rodgers was taken 23 picks later in the same draft and would have been a major upgrade for the 49ers.

McCloughan did find some excellent pieces for the 49ers though, drafting Frank Gore 65th overall in 2005, Vernon Davis 6th overall in 2006, and Michael Crabtree 10th overall in 2009. The 2007 draft was a major haul for the 49ers as well. The team selected Pat Willis (11th overall), Joe Staley (28th overall), Ray McDonald (97th overall), and Dashon Goldson (126th overall).

In free agency, the 49ers were able to sign Justin Smith in 2008 to a 6-year, $45 million contract. Smith made the Pro Bowl from 2009-2013 and is currently ranked 10th in sacks amongst active players. However they whiffed on the Nate Clements signing in 2007, giving him the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history at the time.

In his tenure with the Seahawks, McCloughan helped the team add multiple key pieces through free agency and the draft. Prior to last year’s Super Bowl, the Seahawks roster consisted of 21 undrafted guys and 16 players selected after the third round.

In 2010, the Seahawks were able to get Marshawn Lynch for a fourth and fifth round pick. In his four full seasons with the Seahawks, Lynch has averaged over 1300 yards per season and over 10 rushing TDS per year. In 2011, the Seahawks drafted both their starting cornerbacks, Richard Sherman (154th overall via trade) and Byron Maxwell (173rd overall). They also added Doug Baldwin as an undrafted free agent.

In 2012, the Seahawks were able to get their franchise quarterback, Russell Wilson 75th overall, a whole 73 picks after the RGIII selection. In 2013, the Seahawks rounded out their defense adding Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, who combined for 16.5 sacks that season.

The misses with the Seahawks included two quarterbacks in JT O’Sullivan, who then-offensive coordinator Mike Martz liked, and Matt Flynn. The two major misses at wide receiver were Sidney Rice, who was consistently injured, and Percy Harvin, who was traded from the team earlier this season.

Now with the Redskins signing McCloughan, the hope is that he can find more gems in the draft like Alfred Morris (173rd overall) and Jordan Reed (85th overall) and avoid the misses the Redskins have been plagued with. The misses include Albert Haynesworth, who was signed to a $100 milllion contract, Adam Archuleta, who the Redskins made the then-highest paid safety in NFL history, and Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El. Unlike what the Seahawks have been able to do, the Redskins have been unable to find major success in the NFL Draft. McCloughan’s draft history proves that he can provide valuable insight to the Redskins’ scouting process.

As a Redskins fan, I welcome Scot to the team with open arms. Best of luck getting this franchise turned in the right direction. Hopefully in four to five years, the Redskins are able to duplicate the success the Seahawks and 49ers have enjoyed after your blueprint was put in place. Super Bowl LIV…here we come.

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