Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is "not even close" to being NFL ready, former Redskins inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan says.
Ryan spent just one season in Washington, but it happened to be Haskins' rookie season, which started off rocky for last year's 15th overall pick but ended with him trending in the right direction.
Owning the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Washington is likely to have its pick of either Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young or, if Ron Rivera doesn't believe in Haskins, starting over with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. As a guest of Colin Cowherd's radio show Wednesday, Ryan was asked if he would move off Haskins based on what he knows of the QB.
"I'll tell ya what, now that'll be interesting because last year the Redskins were invested in Haskins," Ryan said. "He was a little later in the first round, they picked him up, so it's not like he was the first guy taken in the draft. But there's a big investment there and the young man wasn't ready early. Like, he really wasn't."
"You saw him at practice," Cowherd noted.
"Oh yeah. I saw him at practice," Ryan said. "He's a good kid. He's got a big arm, a lot of talent, but definitely not ready for the rigors of the NFL."
Cowherd noted that, just as the Redskins were unraveling near the end of a 3-13 season, Haskins got "slightly better." He then asked Ryan if Haskins impressed him.
"Yeah he did," Ryan said. "I tell you, he got a lot better from when he was thrown into games. I remember in New York, it was awful. He wasn't ready. We threw him in the game and it wasn't fair to the kid. He just wasn't ready. So at least each week I saw him trying to get better. I saw him trying to meet with (former QBs coach) Tim Rattay, who's a real fine coach now at Oklahoma State. He was trying to get better."
"Now, is he NFL ready? No. Not even close," Ryan continued. "So it'll be interesting to see which route they go. You know, can Alex Smith come back? I know that was a gruesome injury and everybody forgets about him, but you know how Alex Smith works. I mean you know that guy's gonna want to play again. So if he comes back, now that'll be interesting to see, well now they don't have to draft a quarterback.
"But I understand what you're saying, Colin. If the organization... Kyle Smith now will be his first chance to be the GM. That's new, cause they moved on from Gruden."
When Rivera was hired in January, Smith was promoted to VP of Player Personnel. While he's as close to a GM as the Redskins have in their front office, they do not have a GM.
"All new people. You have a new coach, so you have time, if you really want to commit to a guy," Ryan said. "If you're in love with Tua as the quarterback, then you can do it. Now the though thing about that is, remember, this is a franchise that's moved up to trade for RG3. That didn't work out. And they moved up to the second pick in the draft which, ironically, this is the second pick.
"And you have a generational talent as a pass rusher. The one thing you can do, when you see Chase Young outperform (Nick) Bosa head to head, there's a pretty good resume right there that this guy's gonna be successful in the National Football League."
Asked which player he'd select second overall, Ryan said, "I'd be championing drafting that defensive player because I'm a defensive coach. But it'll be interesting because, if everybody comes back and there's a consensus of, 'Hey, let's go get the left-handed quarterback, Tua. This is our guy,' then you could see a strange thing happen."
"But I believe they'll stay with the pass rusher. I really do," he said. "There's such a premium. Quarterbacks, pass rushers or corners – that's what the league is."
"He appears to be the best pass rusher by a long shot in this draft," Cowherd said.
"No question. And really, he's probably been the best pure pass rusher in a long time come out," added Ryan. "They draft Montez Sweat last year, who's gonna be a real good player. He's got a ways to go. (Ryan) Kerrigan is a fine player, but he's getting older. And there's a guy, Ryan Anderson, who is a terrific player that plays behind him. He got better as the year went on.
"So it's actually a position of strength, but, again, you never can have enough pass rushers. San Francisco has 'em. There'll be more number one draft choices on that defense – and that defensive front – than San Francisco has, so if you want to improve your defense right away, that'd be a way to do it."