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Mike Shanahan: Redskins not taking character risks

Every year, NFL teams must weigh the risk-reward factor of drafting players who have behavioral/character issues. Sometimes these prospects go on to have stellar professional careers without any problems. Sometimes they're named Titus Young.

"If it's a big risk, we're not going there. We're not going there," Shanahan said at his pre-draft news conference, via The Washington Post's Mike Jones. "We've worked too hard to build this football team to take big risks. Now, will you take a risk? It all depends on how much research you do and you decide if it's worth the risk, and sometimes we'll look at a guy and someone will think it is a big risk but we've done our homework so, if it was that big a risk, he wouldn't be on our football team.

"So, you go ahead and do your homework, your due diligence. There's always mistakes made, but that's something that we put a lot of time in."

Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu probably is the biggest household name with off-the-field concerns. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist two years ago before being kicked off the Tigers' team for violating the team's substance abuse policy. Mathieu has been active in rehabbing his image, though a scheduled draft-day party seemed like a bad decision. He later canceled the shindig.

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Shanahan described the Redskins' background check process.

"Go back to high school. Go back to the college," Shanahan said. "Go back to the equipment man, the trainer. Not just the coaches that usually give you the standard line, 'Yeah, this guy's great.' Teachers in college. There's a lot of different people that you can find out about the true character of a guy, and usually it's the people that aren't your coach or aren't the people that are talking to the scouts.

"We try to do that, and if you do it enough and you've got scouts that work hard enough, you start eliminating mistakes, and that's what we're hoping to do."

Shanahan's plan is all good in theory, but we've seen time and time again that teams will take that risk if the talent level is high enough.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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