Dwayne Haskins is making a strong case for the Redskins‘ starting job. The 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft was impressive during offseason workouts and with Alex Smith recovering from a broken leg — and likely out for the 2019 season — Haskins’ competition is Colt McCoy (also recovering from a broken leg) and Case Keenum.
Coach Jay Gruden didn’t try to hide his excitement this spring.
“You see the ‘wow’ plays and you’re like, ‘Jesus,'” Gruden said during minicamp earlier this month. “When he’s on, there’s nobody you’d rather have than Dwayne. Really. It’s pretty. He stands tall; he has a cannon, and he can quicken up his release. He’s got great touch. Strong, powerful arm; strong, powerful body. But sometimes when he’s off, he’s abnormally off. It’s kind of weird.”
And while Haskins may not have Keenum’s mastery of the offense, Haskins too will be in the mix for the starting job. “Oh, for sure,” Gruden said. “I’d be silly not to. He’s put enough out there on tape to say he deserves a shot, without a doubt. I don’t know quite what he can do in the NFL in this system because it’s new to him, but his ability warrants the fact that, hey, let’s take a peek at this big son of a b—-.”
Gruden isn’t alone in his thinking. Haskins’ coach at Ohio State, Urban Meyer, expects big things out of the quarterback.
“He’s going to be great,” Meyer said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s D. Orlando Ledbetter. “He’s very intelligent. His only issue is that he played just one year. Every other thing, he’s got it. … Great kid. Very smart. He was the most accurate passer that I’ve ever had.”
In one season as a starter, Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes with a whopping 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Former Redskins quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, who is now Washington’s Senior Vice President of Player Personnel, has also been impressed by Haskins’ progress in a short period of time.
“He might end up starting, that could happen,” Williams told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche, via PFT. “I don’t want to say he’s going to start Game 1 today, but it’s been enjoyable to see what Dwayne Haskins has done. … It’s been a great offseason. To be on the sideline during OTAs and minicamp and see the young guy do what he’s done and take command of the opportunities he’s had.”
But another former Redskins quarterback thinks it’s important to pump the brakes on “Start Haskins now” talk.
“To put him out there early against those teams, it’s just a formula for disaster for the team, for Jay [Gruden], for the fans and everybody else,” Joe Theismann said during a radio appearance on 106.7 The Fan. “I think the young man is our future, and let’s protect the future, instead of throwing it out there right now and saying, ‘Okay, go get ’em.’ The schedule we’re playing is not a ‘go get ’em’ schedule.”
“To be honest, I’m more motivated now than ever,” Haskins told ESPN after he was drafted. “There is a bigger chip on my shoulder. The league done messed up.”