The Redskins' Senior Vice President of Player Personnel is getting a close look at prospects this week while at the Senior Bowl. It was 40 years ago that he was playing in the annual game.
While the Washington Redskins' scouting staff has been on the road for the last few months looking at some of the top talent across the country, Doug Williams on Tuesday was among those getting their first extended look at players participating in the 2018 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
This year's Senior Bowl, of course, is headlined by quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, both of whom are playing for the North Team. Washington is still in a spot to re-sign Kirk Cousins to either another franchise tag or on a long-term deal.
If the Redskins can't come to an agreement with Cousins, Washington could look to draft Mayfield, Allen or another one of this year's Senior Bowl quarterbacks. They certainly have the talent, but how they transition from their college systems to an NFL system could be the final determination of where the Redskins have these quarterbacks slotted on their draft board.
"You know, I've always said the draft is kind of like a crapshoot sometimes," Williams told Redskins.com. "Sometimes you pick the one that you think is up there and they don't make it, then the guys you pick down at the bottom are the ones who come up top, you never know. It all depends on what's in the guy's heart and how they look at this thing and how they take the game. The most important thing, if they've played this game with a lot of passion, a lot of heart, with the abilities that they do have, nine times out of 10 they are going to be successful."
While in Alabama, Williams and the rest of the scouting staff will have the opportunity to see the mental makeup of prospects during sit-down meetings similar to those that will be conducted at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
"We get a chance to sit down with them at a table, bring them in, interview [them] and kind of find out who they are, where they're from, something they've done, about their families, and school and everything else," Williams said. "And talk about the opportunity that they're here to have, interview as a professional football player and just let them know that we watched them [and] we'll be getting in contact with them. You never know which one of these guys is going to end up on your team."
Williams also takes the advice of the team's college scouts along with Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith.
"When Kyle comes in, him and I sit down and we talk about certain players in certain areas," Williams said. "The good thing about this, my college coach always told me, that the credit goes to the man in the arena and the guys that are in the arena are the guys that are out there on the road every day. So when they come in, those are the guys you need to listen to because they're the ones out there, seeing these guys every day, and doing their jobs."
Williams is still in his first year as the Redskins' Senior Vice President of Player Personnel. However, he has been around the Senior Bowl for most of his life.
Back in 1978, Williams was looking to put one final game on tape for scouting before entering the NFL Draft. Williams, of course, was coming out of little-known Grambling State and was going against players from more recognizable schools.
After a week of strong practices, Williams completed 21-of-34 passes for 254 yards during the actual game while nearly earning MVP honors.
"I was named Offensive Player of the Game, but we had a chance to win the game and if we had won the game there would have been a possibility I would have been the MVP and drove off in a Jeep," said Williams, who is in the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame. "But a good friend of mine, who was my roommate, we ended up playing together at Tampa, named Johnny Davis, fumbled on the two yard-line and didn't allow us to go in. We lost 17-14, but I had a chance to play with the great Ozzie Newsome, who's the general manager of Baltimore, he's my tight end, Wes Chandler and me, we had a great time. Man, and every time I come down to Mobile I think about 40 years ago."