Jay Gruden says Dan Snyder 'would come in off his yacht' to make draft picks

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Ryan Homler
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Jay Gruden: Snyder 'would come in off his yacht' to make picks originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In a recent story from The Washington Post, former Washington Football Team head coach Jay Gruden was quoted on his relationship with former front office executive Kyle Smith, who was hired Friday as the Atlanta Falcons VP of Player Personnel after spending a decade in Washington's front office. 

Gruden was complimentary of Smith's football intelligence, but what really stood out in the comment what his closing remark that shed light on team owner Daniel Snyder's involvement in Washington's draft strategy and selections.

“Every year that I was there, we had a pretty good draft class, with a couple exceptions,” Gruden said. “[Smith] was really good about listening to the coaches because the coaches also did evaluations. ... When it came our time to pick, we’d always talk about the picks, where we’d like to go, what happens if [the player] is gone, and did all our scenarios. And then [owner Daniel Snyder] would come in off his yacht and make the pick.”

Those are some intense words from Gruden, who worked for Snyder from 2014-19. The statement does not come as a huge surprise, however, as it was understood that in years past Snyder has had involvement in Washington's football moves.

Notably, it's been circulated that the 2019 first round selection of quarterback Dwayne Haskins was made under the discretion of the owner despite others in the organization having doubts about the passer.

Haskins was released toward the end of the 2020 regular season due to a combination of poor play and a violation of team and COVID-19 protocols. 

While Snyder, according to Gruden, may have had the final say on selections in the past, it appears that the arrival of head coach Ron Rivera has changed the dynamic. Rivera has had full control of football-related moves, evident in his decision to release Haskins. It was a choice made by the head coach that had the full support of Snyder