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How Redskins, Jay Gruden decided to draft Dwayne Haskins

Consider the Redskins' quarterback situation back in December of last year, and Joe theismann's no.

Alex Smith suffered a compound fracture in his right leg four days before Thanksgiving. Backup QB Colt McCoy broke his leg two weeks later. Mark Sanchez, who was signed up for a one-year contract after Smith went down, started in Week 14, and then journeyman QB Josh Johnson, who had not played since 2011, took the reins for the last three weeks of the year

Washington went into the offseason without much thought, when, and maybe even, Smith would come back, and a little less. In a cruel twist, Johnson injured in the spring during a game with AAF's San Diego Fleet, eliminating him as a backup option.

Sometimes, we say teams are starting scratch at quarterback. This offseason, the Redskins actually were.

"The status of Alex was huge," coach Jay Gruden said Saturday night, driving home after the team finished his rookie minicamp. "We just do not know the timetable on Alex. So [the quarterback position] had to be addressed. And with Colt having his injury, we had no healthy quarterbacks on our roster. Josh Johnson was hurt as well. We did not throw anyone in OTAs. So we've had to get somebody. "

Gruden executed as deep a dive into quarterback scouting as he's done since he held his first full-time position in the NFL, with the Bengals back in 201

1. While hoping that McCoy can come back

Washington has not really hit on a first-round quarterback since 1937, when the team picked Sammy Baugh. So no pressure, Dwayne Haskins.

We're into the quiet part of the NFL calendar, but we've got plenty of you for this week's MMQB, including …

• A couple of Seahawk icons explaining what Kam Chancellor and Doug Baldwin meant to be the franchise.

• An explanation of the NFL's ambitious, grassroots effort to make an athletic talent out of the UK, and build its fan base from the ground up that way.

• Stories from the past […] knew what they had in a darkhorse player coming out of rookie minicamp weekend.

• A few players to watch this year.

And much, much more.

Patrick McDermott / Getty Images Sports

Washington, DC -Haskins grew up in New Jersey, but starred at the Bullis School in Bethesda, Md. In high school-without knowing how to approach the position globally, amid all the uncertainty entering the offseason. And there are two points to get to there.

First, the Redskins knew all along they would be in the market for a quarterback early. But the team did not want to be in a spot where it would be. not no if none warranted the pick.

Second, Gruden made a massive investment in studying the quarterbacks to see if one warrant Washington's first-round pick. "Just just Dwayne and not just Kyler [Murray]but all of them, from [Clayton] Thorson to [Jarrett] Stidham to [Ryan] Finley, [Will] Grier. All those guys. "

" Watched every game, every throw they made, how they handled themselves under pressure, "Gruden said. "That's the big thing, you try to find good defenses that gave them pressure, see how they handled pressure, and go through all their throws. And if you have more than one season, you go back and watch another season. Dwayne only had one [season]Kyler only had one. "

The Redskins then deal with the quarterbacks at the combine, all of them with offensive coaches (Grandsighly attended per days at West Virginia and, yup, Ohio State) and used eight of the 30 in-house visits teams are allotted to bring quarterbacks to Washington. Haskins, Stidham, Thorson, Finley, Grier, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones make it late in the process.

For Gruden, the most important thing was knowing this class Andy Dalton in the second round.

Here's how all that work led him to Haskins, in the coach's words …

Haskins's presence. Because of the depth of the work Gruden did before the 2011 draft and for this year, he often uses the '11 class as a point of reference. Haskins reminds Gruden of a quarterback from classroom in classroom knowledge or personality.

"They're all pretty confident kids, bright-eyed. I was impressed with the entire class, "Gruden said. "But [Haskins] has a demeanor and aura about him, Newton coming out of the cam, just an aura of confidence. There's something about him. OK, he's going to be successful, because he believes it.

"He believes in himself, and you can tell people around him, Talking to other players like Terry [McLaurin] and Parris Campbell, and some other guys at Ohio State. "

That, of course, is always important for a quarterback, but even moreso when that quarterback might start in Year 1. And McLaurin, the team wound up taking him in the third round to a pair with his old quarterback.

What Gruden could see on tape , Having been a quarterback himself, Gruden's expertise has always been in this particular position, and two things about Haskins jumped out of the Buckeyes' offensive tape. First, Gruden saw that Haskins game would translate easily to the pros. "[Coach] [Ryan]" Did not do a great job there with their offense, "Gruden said. "It's not just an RPO-type game. They were doing all kinds of dropback and quick game and play action, things that conceptually are very similar to what we do. So it was just him, watch him progress. "

The second thing? Gruden knew that Haskins had a howitzer-that's what he put on first-time consideration in the first place.

"He has a cannon of an arm, but he does not throw it all the time like some quarterbacks," Gruden said. "Those guys are getting in trouble, they just want to throw it hard every time. He can take a lot off it, sometimes to a fault, he puts too much touch on it sometimes. So he can make the difficult throws, the deep throws, the deep out routes, left hash-to-right hash on a line.

"So he has the arm strength but he has the talent to be accurate and anticipate throws and throw with touch. "

What Gruden could not see on tape. Gruden's offensive coordinator, Kevin O'Connell-who worked with San Francisco under Chip Kelly in 2015-could help. While Gruden recognized a lot of carryover from the Ohio State open to his candid, O'Connell "could relay all the concepts. He knew what was going on. "

Grush dig into the details on Haskins when he talks to Haskins's Day. Gruden found what he said in the early part of this year. "Haskins was carrying a heavy load mentally, proof positive of how capable a learner he was as a one-year starter."

Sometimes when you watch tape, they get to the formation, you look at the guidelines and the coaching are calling everything, "Gruden said. "We had to talk and make sure that was not the case. Dwayne was doing a lot at the line himself, making changes that were necessary. "You just try to get a gage for where they are in their development and we felt pretty that, despite only playing one year, he had a pretty good knowledge of protections, pass concepts and all that."

Handling the spotlight. Gruden saw the first hand of the pressure on the Redskins quarterback affected Robert Griffin III. Of course, it's hard to get another 20-something deal with that. But where Haskins played-and how he dealt with archival Michigan, first coming in as a backup in 2017, and then starring in '18 -was no small plus in that respect.

"Good thing about being at Ohio State, they're gonna have plenty of those big games, "Gruden said. "And he performs well in all of them. … He played in plenty of big games at Ohio State.

So now Haskins is in the building, and thanks to Gruden's study these past few months, he knew

"He's very calm, very poised," Gruden said. "He has a lot of work to do as far as terminology, calling plays in the huddle-he's never really had to call plays in a huddle. But I've been impressed with his makeup, his ability to talk to his teammates and rally people around him. He can make the throws, and he takes accountability when he misses a throw. All that stuff, it's been fun. "

Haskins will start. When OTAs kick off later this month, Haskins and Keenum wants to split the first-team reps. McCoy jumps back into the fray-I'm told he hopes to get ready for the Redskins break for summer in mid-June. So Haskins might start Week 1. He might not.

But the promise he brings is undeniable and a new feeling for Gruden in his sixth season as the Redskins' coach. Remember what happened in Washington, Kirk Cousins ​​what a year in a year he was the starter and Smith was at age 34, then almost immediately got hurt.

Conversely, when you draft a quarterback in the first round, a team is hoping to have him for 15 years. If you hit the pick, it means job security for everyone. It changes everything.

"That's the hope," Gruden said. "Keenum or Colt McCoy either. They're gonna have a chance, an opportunity to compete to win the job, and it might be a year, it might be two years, it might be three years. These guys have a skill set that's pretty appealing as well, as well as their ability to rally teams around them and compete. "

" But it's exciting to have a quarterback here that you're gonna have for at least five years you know you can grow with. You can build your open mind around his skill set. … It's exciting, for sure. "

Gruden's had the last six years. Redskins' quarterback situation in December.

 Doug Baldwin Richard Sherman


We knew Kam Chancellor what was probably done playing football, that was the whole of 2018 season due to injury, and that Doug Baldwin might be finished as well. Jarring to see jarring to see

The Seahawks have made the difficult decision to terminate / failed physical Kam Chancellor and Doug Baldwin. These are two of the most iconic players in franchise history, and both were integral to establishing our championship culture.

Aside from the logistics-the moves actually benefit the players, allowing them to keep their bonus money-this felt Seattle looks away from its Super Bowl team and to its future. Yes, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are still there. But the rest hardly resembles the team that reprises a consecutive conference title and a world championship.

Cliff Avril got proof of that when Baldwin's release, he asked a team photographer. The photographer texted one from the 2017 Pro Bowl, 28 months ago. There were seven Seahawks posing together.

"There's two guys on the team right now from that," Avril said, "which is crazy."

Given that, I reached out to Avril and Richard Sherman this weekend to discuss the two guys who got released, and the group as a whole. Demaryius Thomas in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVII.

"I think that's when we realized, 'OK, the game's over with ', "Avril said. "He did not want to catch any more balls across the middle, and that was early on in the first quarter. … Came him slipping, hit him pretty hard and I do not think Thomas got another ball across the middle [the rest of the night]. "It's a wrap."

"It definitely changed the way their players played," Sherman said.

The Seahawks are aspiring to play and who they are. In that way, Baldwin and Chancellor could be tied together. One brought edginess to the defense.

"The Minnesota freezer game, the playoff game, has this crazy one-handed catch in the freezing cold, "Avril said.

It's still a little hard to say right now this team wants to be remembered. Those Seahawks were a throwback in an era moving almost in another direction-a team that won with its running game and defense, as quarterback salaries were spiraling into new stratospheres, and passing-game records were falling regularly. And to me, that makes what they did not all the more remarkable. The best comp might be the '80s Bears, a group that carved out an indelible legacy while winning just one championship.

"I'd hope they'd say that's the best defense in football, "Sherman said. "That's what we've priced ourselves on. We led the league in scoring defense for four years straight. And we just took a lot of pride in what we did on every level. We really cared, and we ate each other and brought to the table. And I think that's a lot of guys would say, we'd hope we're respected that way. "

" I think it's one of the most dynamic teams ever, especially on the defensive side of things. " the ball, "Avril said. "I'd say top three defenses ever, that's pretty hard to do in the NFL."

"Most teams, you gotta win with a quarterback that puts up 5,000 yards every season. We won it in such a unique way. And really, we won games completely different from your New England, your Denvers, we won games in such a different way. We want to meet people as well.

And it's completely possible we never see a team win that particular way again.


Ex-Giants star Osi Umenyiora started working for the NFL in 2015, and it was just doing his third week on the job when he made a statement that […] You ' You will never grow the sport to your ambitions until you have had British players. .

In one way, this week's announcement that the NFL Academy is launching in the UK later this year is outgrowth of that moment.

"Four years ago, we were looking for ways to take it to the next level," NFL's UK Managing Director, Allistair Kirkwood, said from his London office this week. "We'd done some good stuff. But what about a sense of national pride and identity? We could not offer that. "

So what started with the Player Pathway program is now expanding into the academy, which will open in September. League officials are in the midst of recruiting what they want to wind up at 80-player crops of 16-18 year olds.

Tryouts are set for June 15, June 22 and July 2, and the league got over a thousand applicants in the 48 hours after announcing the venture (all those who would like to apply to, and get into school at Barnet and Southgate, too). Kirkwood's group, for now, has focused on plucking from the UK's youth ranks (as are 84 organized teams in the UK), as well as trying to lure kids out of basketball and rugby.

Why is this needed? Well, one challenge the NFL has faced in other countries is that American football is not an Olympic-recognized sport, and most nations fund pilot programs in other sports as a form of medal chasing.

"We believe there's an unbelievable athletic talent here," Kirkwood said. "Most of these people are not playing the sport at all because there is not a pathway. During the conversation, Kirkwood brought up the example. "Yeah, that's someone we've got a real interest in."

of Panthers DE Efe Obada as a model for what they are looking to do. Aden Durde introduced Kirkwood to Obada-a 6 '5 ", 270-pound hulk with five percent body fat and zero experience playing the London Warriors club team in 2014. [19659002] Obway has been trafficked into the UK with his sister as a child, growing up in a group of homes and foster care and looking for what he needs in trusting others He bounced on and off practice squads in 2015, '16 and '17, then made the Panthers roster last year. In Week 3, he had a pick and a sack against the Bengals, and NFC Defensive Player of the Week better, he's married and living a good life.

"If you have opportunities, and if you have the," says Kirkwood right structure, and someone taking opportunity d, you can do great things.

The league's centering program in the North London neighborhood of Tottenham, and The NFL made an eight-figure investment in Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium, which is fully equipped for American football and wants to host two regular-season games per year starting this fall.

And it's bolstered the project with player ambassadors in three categories. One is made up of stars with viral appeal (Jill Ajayi, Obada, Umenyiora, Jason Bell) and another will be alumni capable of going overseas during the football season (Jerry Rice).

The hope is those guys bring awareness to the program. The plan is to start this year with some intrasquad scrimmages, and next year's play against club teams across Europe, with a goal to eventually play games against United States. high school. The best players, they hope, wind up getting into the American pipeline, by earning college scholarships on our side of the Atlantic.

Kirwood and Co. are doing over there is ambitious. But I'd say the thought in doing it is correct-without kids playing over there, there's a ceiling on how to do it in the NFL can do. And this, obviously, is an effort to lift the roof.


1. The Steelers' trade-up for Devin Bush in the NFL draft was the first move up in the first round of the team since 2006, and the first for a defensive player since 2003. The former target was Santonio Holmes, who wound up winning a Super Bowl MVP before wearing his welcome in Pittsburgh. The last was Troy Polamalu, who does not need any qualifiers on his legacy there. It's clear Pittsburgh loved Bush and targeted him early-and-the-clincher, I'm told, what a dinner Mike Tomlin and GM Kevin Colbert had with Ann Arbor the night before his / her day.

Similarly, the Steelers circled Toledo receiver Diontae Johnson and Kentucky Benny Snell early in the process. Johnson, in part because he returned return ability, which actually graded as the highest value of any receiver on Pittsburgh's board (and they're pretty decent at evaluating receivers, you might've heard). And Snell was seen as being very fit for what they want to be offensively. The Steelers got those two with 66th and 122nd picks, so if they're right on them, this year's Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown left. As always, stay tuned.

2. Kyler Murray in his first work in his new colors (though his cleats caused a few problems). Obviously, everyone wants to see his improvisational ability and raw athleticism in full bloom, and he'll take that action. But the coaching staff was impressed. "The ball gets there in a hurry and with accuracy," one staffer said.

3. In the spring, but the Cowboys' first two picks-second-round defensive lineman Trysten Hill and third-round guard Connor McGovern encourages the big and athletic system fits. It would be pretty huge for the team if those two were hits, given that Dallas' de facto first-round pick was Amari Cooper. Remember, as good as Cooper might be, it'll be expensive to keep him. Dallas in the process of taking care of.

4. Mike Cowber, who tweaked his knee on the first day of rookie camp and required MRI. Weber, who has been practicing on Sunday, has more of a shot on making it than most players drafted in the seventh round. Tony Pollard Zeke Elliott, the battle for the third spot on the depth chart is wide open. Weber is a more traditional tailback than Pollard (more of a slash-type player), which gives him the chance to add some value to the roster depth-wise.

. 5 After all that Dolphins GM Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores have done that for the program, the risk that Miami's taking on Mark Walton might seem antithetical-but I can assure you it is not. Walton, a talented 2018 fourth-round pick from the Bengals, arrested three times this offseason before Cincinnati decided to quit him. What Grier and Flores are doing is signing him in New England. When the Patriots Take Charges, they're pretty much always buying low on guys, either in the draft or on the veteran market. The guys they invest first-round picks or big money on, on the other hand, are usually their types. Xavier Howard and first-round pick Christian Wilkins. And the low-cost dice roll on Walton. If it does not work, it would be pretty easy for the Dolphins to walk away, which is the key here.

6. Jaguar's linebacker Telvin Smith said he would skip the 2019 season, saying he needs to "get my world in order." The situation continues to be strange-I'm told the team has not had any one-on -one communication with him. So where this goes next is anyone's guess. Keenly monitoring the situation. It's a strange one.

7. Mike Klis of KUSA reported on Saturday that the Broncos will not trade Chris Harris, and I can understand why it would be great. Harris only has one year left on his deal-he's due $ 7.9 million ($ 7.8 million base, $ 100,000 workout bonus), which is a bargain for a player of his caliber, of course. But if you treat him as a one-year rental (or he'll even treat him as one), or paying him long-term at the top of the market with 30th birthday in a month away. Getting premium capital for a player in that circumstance, no matter how good he is, always wants to be a tough ask. So the Broncos are trying now to resolve this. I'm told both GM John Elway and chief negotiator Mike Sullivan have talked to Harris' agent, Fred Lyles, over the last few days. Lyles has laid out what Harris wants. And this week, the Broncos wants to come back with a counter. Denver gave Kareem Jackson (three years, $ 33 million, $ 33 million, with only really guaranteed past his $ 12 million in 2019).

8. This post from Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith got my attention on Sunday. Tom Brady wants almost sure shatter that record, which makes me think that we don Tom Brady's doing. (By the way, last week's game plan explored how to compensate all the older quarterbacks, now that the rules seem to have changed at the position about what constitution … old.)

9. This is a deep inside football thing, but it's worth noting that of the 10 or so first-round picks that have signed so far (including Murray). In the 2011 CBA era of slotted, it is probably one of the few negotiating battlegrounds in the United States rookie contracts.

10. It's notable that teams are attractively in this area. Dante Fowler tore his ACL in Jacksonville's rookie minicamp in 2015 and good on other teams for dialing back what they're doing by doing these teaching camps. After months of training for the combine and per days, players are not quite in football shape. Plus, the real value, for most teams, in these camps is looking at the undrafted guys, and maybe finding a tryout guy or two worth keeping. More on that in a second.



"What I shocked with Odell? No, honestly, not. They felt like he was a problem the whole time. Ever since they started playing with them, they felt like a problem, I felt like from the outside. … We loved him. Odell is my brother. He is not that child of guy, or what he thinks. I do not know why. "

Redskins / Ex-Giants S Landon Collins. This is a pretty eye-opening piece of candor from a guy who is a team captain with the Giants. GM Dave Gettleman, coach Pat Shurmur or owner John Mara, I would not dismiss what he said here in any way-it's a pretty fair he did.


So this is not a football tweet.


49ers offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey, the centerpiece to this tomfoolery, wears no. 69 …

… As does Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari. Because I've got the maturity of a 12-year-old, a lot of times I wonder if 69. And now I have my answer on one of the NFL’s best tackles, and another of its most promising. Good work, fellas.

Is this guy wearing 69 too? (Probably)

Thanks to the Colts for sharing this excellent look inside draft weekend. It’s 20 minutes long, and I know it’s hard for anything to be worth 20 minutes of your time in 2019 (since that’s what I ask for on Mondays and Thursdays), but this absolutely is. One highlight here was from April 17 (at the 11:30 mark), when they show a draft meeting where GM Chris Ballard said, “The debate probably ought to be (Ben) Banogu versus (Bobby) Okereke.” A scout asked, “so who do we take?” Ballard responded, “Both of them.” Indy got Banogu, a pass-rusher from TCU, at 49, and Okereke, a Stanford linebacker (who we wrote last week) at 89. And after they got the latter, coach Frank Reich yelled in the war room, “Could not have gone better!”

Another good one, this from Buffalo, with good detail on how the trade up to get Oklahoma tackle/guard Cody Ford (who was in play as high as 11) with the 38th pick.

And because I love you guys, here’s a fifth video – shout out to draft prospect “Deuce Dominguez. He’ll fit right in with the Packers.


So based on the reaction … I guess they don’t do the nutcracker drill anymore, huh?

S/O TO …

Panthers TE Greg Olsen. This is legitimately awesome. Greg and Kara Olsen’s son TJ was born with a congenital heart disease, and they have used the experience to create a lot of good over the years. But this one is above and beyond—a $2.5 million donation to establish a new Cardiac Center at Levine’s Children Hospital in Charlotte. And this one hit me personally. My wife Emily has been a nurse on the Cardiac ICU at Boston Children’s the last seven years, and just knowing what they do, and hearing the stories I do, it’s truly God’s work that the doctors and nurses on these units do. The Olsens could not have given to a more worthy cause.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott. Those in the Cowboys building have remarked on how much the two-time NFL rushing champion has grown up over the last 15 months or so. And maybe he’d have done this anyway – but it’s a good example of him doing good. In case you missed this one, Jaylon McKenzie, a promising eighth-grade football player, was hit and killed by a stray bullet leaving a party in Elliott’s hometown of St. Louis two weekends ago. Elliott offered to pay for his funeral, and it was McKenzie’s family, not Elliott himself, that made sure it got noticed. Good work, Zeke.


1. If you’d told me the Celtics would wind up in an impossible situation with Kyrie Irving two years ago, I would have said you were crazy. But here we are. Do you try to re-sign him, and to a max deal, given how the series against the Bucks ended? If you don’t, what do you do? You’re still capped out. This, I’d say, is where Danny Ainge earns his money.

2. The best outcome would probably be making a hard run at keeping Irving. That way, the team can go get Anthony Davis, and try to convince him to sign long-term. If this was the NFL, I’d approach it completely differently. But it’s not. You can’t win in the NBA without superstars, and there’s no guarantee that Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum—who are both a lot easier to root for than Davis or Irving—make it there.

3. Hard to have sympathy for LeBron James. Is he caught in a mess? Yup, he’s knee-deep in one. But no one would’ve looked at the Lakers’ last half-decade and said that was the best basketball situation for James last summer. He knew that, and while it’s strong to say he signed up for this, not one thing that’s happened since last July is that far afield from how we’ve seen that franchise operate.

4. File this name away from 2023 or so: DJ Uiagalelei. The rising senior quarterback at St. John Bosco High, Josh Rosen’s alma mater, committed to Clemson last week. And the way quarterbacks people talk about him, it sounds like we’ll be hearing from him plenty the next few years. (Also, as my buddy Pete Thamel wrote last summer, his dad’s story is fantastic.)

5. 2019 NHL Playoffs > 2019 NBA Playoffs … is what I wrote last week. And then Steph Curry happened. And C.J. McCollum happened. And Kawhi Leonard happened. And Bruins 6, Hurricanes 2 happened. And Sharks 6, Blues 3 happened. And I temporarily withdraw my statement.

6. Sports!


I know I wrote the contrary, but there is value in rookie minicamp! There are some things teams can legitimately see in the two or three days out there—mainly whether they made a grave mistake, or maybe hit on a later-round pick or free agent moreso than expected.

“You have your ‘oh no’ guys, and your ‘oh wow’ guys,” ex-Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik said. “But most of them, it’s, ‘O.K., that’s what we expected. Most of them, you don’t know right away.”

It’s easy to uncover the stories about players who were revelations during the first or second weekend in May. Rumors about Derek Carr making a run at the Raiders’ starting job, after the team said he’d absolutely be redshirted, began this weekend. Everyone remembers how the legend of Russell Wilson started at one of these, too.

Want some more good stories? Dominik, ex-Jets GM and Dolphins EVP Mike Tannenbaum and ex-Seahawks Scot McCloughan agreed to hook us up.

Dominik’s came in 2010, with a seventh-round linebacker out of Florida State.

“I can remember Dakoda Watson,” he said. “He came to minicamp and immediately jumped out—a super athlete, with elite movement skills. And he’s 10 years in. He showed up, the pure athleticism, you’re like ‘Wow, he moves at a blur pace, he’s super quick and long.’ So immediately, we knew he’d be dominant special teamer,’ and could develop as a linebacker.”

Watson wound up signing a three-year, $6 million deal with the 49ers in 2017—great money for a special teams guy—before being traded to Denver last month. And Tannenbaum’s also involves a guy in the third phase of the game.

“James Ihedigbo, I think he had pretty severe cramps, but he made it through the whole camp,” Tannenbaum said. “His toughness popped out right away—how it important it was to him. So from the get-go, we knew he’d make it.”

And he did. The undrafted free agent from UMass played 10 seasons in the NFL, getting to a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2011, after four years as a Jet, and winning one as a Raven.

But the best story we got was from McCloughan, who brought up an undrafted receiver from the class of 2011. He was working as Seattle GM John Schneider’s right-hand man at the time, and got good info on a receiver that Stanford assistants David Shaw and Pep Hamilton had endorsed, despite what then head coach Jim Harbaugh had said. So he put a draftable grade on Doug Baldwin.

Others inside the Stanford program, as it turns out, knew too.

“Harbaugh was the reason he didn’t get drafted,” Sherman told me. “Harbaugh didn’t have a great relationship with Doug or me, he talked bad about me through the draft process. Even though Doug was our No. 1 receiver his junior year, he made Doug spent the whole time on scout team. He just didn’t like Doug. And the only reason Doug played his senior year was because all of our receivers, all the way down to the walk-ons, got hurt and he didn’t have a choice.

“If Doug got to play, and had a normal career like anyone else, he probably would’ve been a second-day pick. … I knew if he got a fair shot to thrive, he’d take advantage of it.”

And did he ever, right from that first minicamp.

“You saw the quickness, the hands, the speed, the demeanor, the makeup right there at the rookie camp,” McCloughan said. “He dominated. He was the alpha as an undrafted free agent.”

That draft class, by the way, had Sherman, Wright, Byron Maxwell and Malcolm Smith. Three of those players started in Super Bowl XLVIII. The other was the game’s MVP.

So most of the time, there’s not much to take from the minicamp. But sometimes, there’s a little something to file away.

Question or comment? Email us at [email protected]

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