Jay Gruden is telling the media that the Redskins trust Colt McCoy to start in 2019, but the reality is Washington must draft a quarterback in April.
The Redskins are smart to admit that it’s very possible they’ll need to start a quarterback other than Alex Smith in 2019. The idea that Colt McCoy might be that signal caller is significantly less intelligent.
That’s precisely the idea Redskins coach Jay Gruden is peddling this week at the NFL Combine, but Redskins fans should fervently hope he’s just trying to keep the rest of the league in the dark about the franchise’s future plans.
Gruden insists that everyone associated with the Redskins “feels very good” about the idea of McCoy being the starter next season. Of course, he followed that up by openly admitting that taking a quarterback in the draft “is a possibility for sure.” The latter idea is really the only reasonable course of action for the franchise.
While it’s possible Smith could someday return to his prior form, that’s not something the Redskins can afford to bet on. The combination of his age (34) and the severity of his injury make a comeback unlikely. Even if he can come back in 2020, he’s not a player Washington should build their offense around.
The idea of handing the offense over to McCoy is even less inspiring. He’s never been nearly as good as Smith. 32-year-old quarterbacks don’t suddenly find the ability to play at a Pro Bowl level for the first time in their careers. The harsh reality for Gruden and his coaching staff is that McCoy is just an adequate backup quarterback. Casting him as anything more than that would only set the team up for failure.
The Redskins do have the option to try to address the position via free agency. Someone like Nick Foles could absolutely give Washington a major boost. Unfortunately, he and other quarterbacks of his ilk are going to be looking for big money in free agency. Washington can’t really afford to dole out another big deal to a signal caller after what they’re already paying Smith.
That leave the draft as the only logical solution for Gruden’s issues at the quarterback position. The Redskins really need to make the bold decision to add a quarterback in round one. The team could try to hedge their best by acquiring a prospect in the middle of the draft, but fortune favors the bold in the NFL. Waiting until Day Two or Day Three to find a player capable of competing with McCoy would be an overly conservative decision.
That means the Redskins must decide which quarterback they like best and do what it takes to acquire him. The consensus top three prospects at the position are Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray and Drew Lock. Waiting for Haskins or Murray to fall all the way down to No. 15 would be big time gamble by the team’s front office. If Lock is the real object of their affection, they might be able to snap him up without making a move up the draft board.
No matter what, the Redskins cannot afford to head into their Week 1 match up in 2019 with McCoy as their starting quarterback. If they make that fatal mistake, Washington will miss the postseason and Gruden could be forced to find a new job.