Saturday, April 30, 2011, 9:14 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
As it turns out, the surprise of the Redskins draft weekend wasnt that they stocked up 12 picks, chose three receivers and two running backs but not a quarterback.
Taking the podium Saturday night, coach Mike Shanahan gushed over reserve quarterback John Beck on two occasions, all but producing an unofficial anointment to the starting position.
This despite the fact Beck has not taken a regular-season snap with the Redskins or played in regular-season game with any team since four starts with Miami four years ago.
When John Beck did come out in 2007, I had him as the top-ranked quarterback that year, and I didnt even think it was close, so I have a lot of confidence in him, Shanahan said. You evaluate the quarterbacks every year, and he was by far my No. 1 guy.
I think the world of him.
Beck and Donovan McNabb are the only two quarterbacks under contract for this year. Rex Grossman is a free agent.
Its assumed McNabb wont be back because of his 12 million price tag, and his fractured relationship with Mike and Kyle Shanahan.
It was assumed until Saturday that Grossman would return to keep the seat warm until Mike Shanahan thought a young quarterback was ready.
Beck was acquired from Baltimore early in training camp last year and before the preseason was over had signed a contract extension.
Even though Beck didnt get in a game last year and ran the scout team, Shanahan remained impressed.
I evaluated him throughout his pro and collegiate career and knew him quite well, he said. When you see a guy practice every day regardless of if its in your system or against our defense, you surely get to see his strengths and weaknesses. He has not disappointed me since hes been here.
Shanahan declined to go through Becks strengths but just as quickly added: What does it take to be a great quarterback? You have to love the game, have a passion, have a mind-set, and what Im looking for is a guy thats going to be first to work, last to leave and you have to be able to obviously run this offense a very high level. He can do some things with his legs that a lot of quarterbacks cant do.
As for not drafting a quarterback, Shanahan said: Youre not going to address everything through the draft.
Four quarterbacks went in the top 12, including Jake Locker (eighth to Tennessee) and Christian Ponder (12th to Minnesota).
I had heard about Locker, just maybe an hour before it happened, Shanahan said. I had heard that was a possibility, but you never know there are so many rumors that get started. Some of those things just blow you away because there are things that you dont expect. Ponder surprised me more.
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