Scot McCloughan, the new general manager of the Washington Redskins, walked into a role in which no one has succeeded since 1999 and made a controversial first pick to start his tenure. He didn't do it for owner Dan Snyder, he didn't do it for himself or his ego and he didn't do it for the fans. He did it for Robert Griffin III.
McCloughan selected Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff with the No. 5 overall pick in the draft, even with Leonard Williams - who may end up being the best prospect from this class - still on the board. Was it a reach? Yes. Did I like the pick initially? No. Am I starting to come around? Maybe.
Scherff, along with two other offensive linemen in Washington's 10 selections, indicates a clear change in organizational philosophy. The foundation will no longer be built upon aging free agents or sexy draft picks. Instead, the trenches are where this team will live or die. Coaches, analysts, fans and even high ranking officials within the Redskins' hierarchy have been split on Griffin. McCloughan is trying to surround him with enough talent to push the opinions into definitives one way or the other.
Griffin has clear weaknesses. He's injury-prone and maybe a bit pouty. He has trouble diagnosing certain defenses and his mechanics can get a bit wonky at times. But any weaknesses a QB has, whether big or small, are going to be exacerbated playing behind an ineffective offensive line.
"We need to have big guys come off the ball and move people," McCloughan said. "We're addressing this with [Arie] Kouandijo, Brandon - our big-body guys who have no problem doing the dirty work."
If Washington's new offensive line imports live up to expectations then Griffin will be the one who benefits most. We've seen him reach incredible highs and sink to depressing lows. Who he really is as a quarterback may finally be decided with better protection up front.
McCloughan recently exercised the fifth-year option on Griffin's contract, guaranteeing him north of $16 million in 2016. Obviously, Snyder isn't ready to give up on a player he traded away four high draft picks for. But McCloughan is clearly intrigued enough by Griffin's upside to give the talented-yet-embattled QB a fighting chance. Do you think his draft strategy would have revolved around the offensive line had he been ready to pull the plug as soon as he arrived in D.C.?
With some long overdue investments into the OL, Griffin will have to succeed this year or be labeled one of the bigger busts in recent memory. The onus is on him after McCloughan recognized his plight against opposing pass-rushers.
"Considering what McCloughan has done to help Griffin, the Redskins should expect much better results from a player who has delivered more catchy slogans than victories recently," ESPN's Jason Reid wrote. "Here's one that seems fitting: No more excuses."