Washington Redskins: Alex Smith looks to mentor another future MVP-caliber QB (PFN Film Room)

The Washington Redskins landed their guy in Dwayne Haskins with their first selection of the 2019 NFL Draft. They're going to need the help of Alex Smith, however, to develop him into the quarterback they hope that he can become.

Pocket Movement

Once again, Haskins is a bigger quarterback who tends to sit behind his tackles. Despite doing that in college, the Washington Redskins offensive line won’t be as helpful as Ohio State’s line was. Haskins will need to be able to roll out of the pocket smoothly and complete passes outside of the tackles in the upcoming season.

If we look at Haskins rolling out, his hips and larger body do not make it capable to move smoothly.

In the spring game, Haskins’ left tackle misses his block. Haskins realizes and begins to spin and roll out to the left. If we look closely, Haskins takes a wide turn that pushes him back at least 7 yards. He then turns all the way around and resets his stance so he can complete the pass.

With the Washington Redskins and in the NFL, Haskins does not have the speed to drop back 7+ yards nor reset his pose so he can throw a perfect ball. If Smith teaches Haskins how to roll out like the clip below, Haskins will be sacked less and complete more passes.

In this video, Smith makes an immediate 180 degree turn compared to dropping back 7+ yards. Smith then attacks the line of scrimmage so he can build up power and create confusion if he will run or throw the ball. This causes defenders to close in on him and open up receivers down the field.

Smith guiding Haskins with pocket movement will change Haskins from a strong rookie quarterback to a possible generational talent. The movement in the pocket with his size can make him as hard to tackle as Ben Roethlisberger.


At the NFL Combine, Haskins ran a concerning 40-yard dash. This may have been one of the reasons as to why Haskins fell in the first round and landed in the laps of the Washington Redskins. Also, he struggles to slide like Joe Flacco. At Ohio State, Haskins was willing to take a defender head-on. But with NFL linebackers, he must learn how to avoid traffic and slide correctly.

In this clip, Haskins notices his routes are covered up. Penn State is about to get a coverage sack until Haskins runs through the middle. He busts for as many yards as possible before diving head first in the ground. The risk of that can either be an injury or fumbling the ball. Instead, Smith needs to guide him in the running game too.

Smith also notices the pressure is creeping again and no routes are currently open. He tucks his head and breaks free down the middle. Smith stays small as a ball carrier then slides before contact.

If Smith can teach Haskins how to be a smaller target and how to slide, Haskins can slowly adapt to a dual-threat quarterback. Plus, the offensive scheme can begin adding RPO plays to the playbook to throw off defenses.


As of right now, Haskins is a quarterback that relies on a clean pocket. If anyone pressures the inside, he will panic, throw off his back foot and make a bad pass. He can also waste possessions by releasing too early due to pressure attacking him. Smith must teach Haskins to be more patient or move around in the pocket for a better view of the field.

Final Verdict

Smith is capable of pushing Haskins to a whole new level. With Smith’s mentoring, Haskins has the potential to be the Washington Redskins starting QB by Week 1. In addition, he could become a mobile quarterback with a 6’3″ frame.

Overall, the problems Haskins is dealing with are not red flags. But, the better and quicker the Washington Redskins fix them, the quicker they can contend for a Super Bowl.