Jay Gruden knew Washington would draft Dwayne Haskins 6 months before draft

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Kevin Brown
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Haskins pick solidified months before draft says Gruden originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Former Washington coach Jay Gruden's behind-the-scenes details about how Dwayne Haskins ended up with the Burgundy and Gold with the 15th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Reports swirled back in 2019 that there was disagreement whether to use the franchise's first pick on a quarterback, no less Haskins. But in an interview this weekend on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast, Gruden said he knew far before. 

"I knew we were taking Haskins, if he was available, six months ago before the draft," Gruden said. 

Saturday's tidbit was just the latest revelation from Gruden, who's been outspoken in recent weeks about the team's decision to draft the former Ohio State Buckeye. Earlier this month on another podcast, he said Washington was in dire need of a QB with Case Keenum on a one-year deal and Alex Smith coming off a gruesome leg injury. 

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"I just knew (team owner) Dan (Snyder) loved Haskins. He went to the same school as (Snyder's) kid," Gruden said. "He talked about him all the time every time they were on TV and we happened to have a road game and he saw him on TV, 'Yeah you probably don't like him because he's a good player.' So, he would always throw a jab at me, but he loved Dwayne Haskins. I just knew it that if he was available, we were taking him. That was a given."

Gruden was fired after an 0-5 start that season and last season head coach Ron Rivera cut Haskins before the end of the team's NFC East title-winning campaign. Still, Gruden said that though he recognized Haskins' undeniable talent, he felt it was "impossible" to have a viable three-way competition between Haskins, Keenum, and Colt McCoy. 

RELATED: A timeline of Dwayne Haskins' short tenure in Washington

Even more noteworthy is the mixed messaging Gruden received from Snyder. 

"The tough thing is when you draft a guy at 15 and the owner tells you 'No rush, let him develop. Be patient with him.' Well shit, I gotta win. We gotta win," Gruden said, who said he preferred a more under-the-radar QB in either the second or third round that they'd know would be with the second or third team that they can develop. 

The No. 15 pick, however, forced Gruden's hand. Inconsistencies in Haskins' game, particularly with the "wow" throws -- on both sides of the spectrum, the good and the bad -- ultimately made his time in Washington untenable. 

But could Gruden have started Haskins all 16 games that season to let him learn and improve on the job?

"Yeah, I would've not minded that at all," Gruden said. "Dwayne wasn't ready, and he never got himself to be ready," Gruden said. "You've got to get yourself ready. He just had a long way to go. I mean he showed talent in practice without a doubt, but he also showed he had a long, long way to go. And it was evident. I think all the players saw it, and they saw it after I left that he wasn't ready and he wasn't going to be ready for a while."