WASHINGTON — One of the greatest developments of Redskins training camp happened miles away from Richmond, Virginia: Scot McCloughan got on Twitter. Since then, NFL fans have been treated to the unfiltered short-form thoughts of one of the best talent evaluators in the game.
Earlier this week, McCloughan came back on 106.7 The Fan for an exclusive interview with Grant and Danny.
McCloughan is candid about former prospects that he watched blossom into NFL stars, as well as the ones who have washed out for one reason or another. For him, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick falls squarely into one of those camps.
“The guy has got talent and he’s still young,” McCloughan told Grant and Danny, firmly stating that Kaepernick could not just play, but start in the NFL this season. “I don’t want to get into the politics of what he did–it’s his choice–but the guy can play football. I know that for a fact.”
McCloughan and Kaepernick narrowly missed overlapping in San Francisco, but McCloughan worked for the rival Seattle Seahawks. For several years, twice a year, Kaepernick’s skill set confounded the Seahawks.
“There’s a reason why he went to three NFC Championships and a Super Bowl: the guy can play football,” McCloughan continued. “The guy scared us every time we played him. I’ve seen it right in my face. I’m on the sideline and he’s throwing a touchdown to Vernon Davis, and I’m saying, ‘Holy smokes, how did he throw that?'”
Last season, Kaepernick made international headlines by sitting and kneeling during the National Anthem played before NFL games as a way of protesting police brutality towards African Americans. While other NFL players, including Redskins, had similar symbolic gestures, Kaepernick was the focal point for the movement.
Regardless, Kaepernick had a solid statistical season last year, throwing for 16 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
He remains a free agent and was reportedly close to signing with the Baltimore Ravens early in training camp after starter Joe Flacco was injured in the weight room. Owner Steve Bisciotti nixed the deal late in the process, candidly citing fan response to the news. The team then signed veteran journeyman Thad Lewis, who has not thrown an NFL pass in four years.
The Miami Dolphins lost starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the season and signed Jay Cutler out of retirement to return to the field.
McCloughan tried to avoid the topic of Kaepernick’s National Anthem and police protests but did say that his personal feelings did not shade his professional assessment.
“That’s his choice, and I don’t respect it at all because I respect the flag. I respect the National Anthem,” McCloughan said. “But also, it’s his choice. It’s America. They (players) have their choices to do what they want to do. But the guy can play football.”