This make-or-break season for the Washington Redskins is all about quarterback Robert Griffin III taking the next step in coach Jay Gruden's quick-rhythm passing offense.
To help RG3 improve as a more conventional pocket passer, consider new general manager Scot McCloughan's first draft a throwback nod to the Redskins' championship past. McCloughan focused on making the team bigger, tougher and stronger in the trenches, beginning with the fifth overall pick, Iowa's Brandon Scherff, who will start at right tackle. Then McCloughan, who places a premium on building through the draft, added fourth-round guard Arie Kouandjio and seventh-round center Austin Reiter.
In a need-based draft, McCloughan gave RG3 everything he needed to improve.
Think of the 2015 Redskins as The Hogs 2.0 (they can only hope) after McCloughan infused the offensive line with the same smash-mouth mentality that helped the Joe Gibbs-coached Redskins win three Super Bowls behind blockers like Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic and Russ Grimm.
"Just get back to the old days — the ground-and-pound football, which will open up the passing lanes," 6-5, 319-pound Scherff said. "I think that's what they want to start doing, and that's what we will start doing from Day 1."
"We want to be able to run the football. It sets up everything else for us," said McCloughan, who seemed to have a solid, meat-and-potatoes first draft. Scherff and second-round pass rusher Preston Smith project as immediate starters."
McCloughan's picks gave new offensive line coach Bill Callahan the resources to revamp a leaky group that also allowed 58 sacks last season. Couple that with a successful running game, and it should take pressure off RGIII. Unfortunately, that game plan won't necessarily make for great fantasy QB production, and Griffin comes in 20th in our rankings. But it could be good news for RB Alfred Morris, who once again shapes up to be a safe RB2 option in the third or fourth rounds of fantasy drafts.