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Jay Gruden insists rookie quarterback could start Week 1

Jay Gruden, Redskins

As incumbent starter Alex Smith continues his long, arduous recovery from a devastating knee injury, Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum seems to be the odds-on favorite to be his new team’s starting quarterback. With Washington picking in the middle of a first round that could include several quarterbacks, though, coach Jay Gruden is insisting the player who gives Washington the best chance to win will be his starting signal-caller, and “great things” will be expected – regardless of age or experience.

“There is no developmental process here. This is not Triple-A baseball where we’re trying to develop a pitcher here,” Gruden told Redskins.com. “We’re trying to win a game right now. If we feel like we draft a quarterback in the first, second, third or seventh round and he’s going to start Day 1, we expect great things from him and the players will expect great things from him.”

Keenum, along with a seventh-round pick, was acquired by the Redskins from the Denver Broncos in exchange for a sixth-round draft choice. The journeyman signed a two-year, $36 million contract with Denver last offseason after a breakthrough campaign with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, one that many thought positioned him as a potential franchise quarterback. Instead, Keenum reverted back to his prior and mediocre, at best, career norms, throwing for just 18 touchdowns and 16 interceptions during his lone season with the Broncos.

The Redskins won’t be lacking for options at quarterback come April 25th. Duke’s Daniel Jones and West Virginia’s Wil Grier are likely to be on the board when Washington picks at No. 15, and there’s also a chance Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins or Missouri’s Drew Lock will be available. Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, though, once considered a potential mid first-round pick, seems increasingly likely to be drafted first overall by the Arizona Cardinals.