Redskins

Notre Dame's Kelly wins AP coach of the year

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Notre Dame's Kelly wins AP coach of the year

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) After two seasons as Notre Dame coach, Brian Kelly decided he wasn't spending enough time doing the best part of his job: coaching players.

Kelly changed that in 2012, and he shuffled his staff. Then, with Kelly more in tune to his team and the assistants in sync with the head coach, Notre Dame went from unranked to top-ranked.

For leading the Fighting Irish to the BCS championship for the first time, Kelly was voted Associated Press college football coach of the year.

``When you're talking about the coach of the year, there's so many things that go into it,'' Kelly said. ``I know it's an individual award and it goes to one guy, but the feelings that I get from it is you're building the right staff, that you've got the right players and to me that is a validation of the program. That you put together the right business plan.''

Kelly received 25 votes from the AP college football poll panel. Penn State's Bill O'Brien was second with 14 votes. Stanford's David Shaw (four), Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin (three), Kansas State's Bill Snyder (two) and Alabama's Nick Saban (one) also received votes.

Kelly is the first Notre Dame coach to win the AP award, which started in 1998.

Of course, the Irish haven't played for a national championship since 1988 and spent much of the past two decades trying to find a coach who could restore a program that was becoming a relic of its proud past.

It turns out Kelly was the answer.

He arrived in 2010 after two decades spent climbing the coaching ladder and winning big everywhere he worked. But in the world of college football, Notre Dame is a long way from Grand Valley State - where Kelly won Division II national titles - and Cincinnati, his previous stop, for that matter.

``I think the job tends to distract you,'' Kelly said earlier this week. ``There are a lot of things that pull you away from the primary reason why you want to be head coach of Notre Dame, and that is graduate your players and play for a national championship.

``Now, to do that you have to have the pulse of your football team and you've got to have relationships with your players. If you're already going around the country doing other things other than working with your football team, it's hard to have the pulse of your team.''

Kelly said he made a point of spending more time with the team this year.

``That's why I got into this. I want to develop 18 to 21 year olds. My development as the head coach at Notre Dame this year has been about getting back to why you would want to coach college players. You want to learn about them; you want to know their strengths and weaknesses; you want to help them with leadership skills; you want to help them when they're not feeling confident in their ability.

``For me, that is why it's been the most enjoyable year as the head coach at Notre Dame, is that I got a chance to spend more time with my team.''

The first step, though, toward a successful 2012 season for Notre Dame can be traced to Feb. 10. On that day Kelly announced his coaching staff. The most notable change was moving Chuck Martin from defensive backs coach to offensive coordinator to fill the hole left when Charley Molnar became the coach of Massachusetts.

Martin was defensive coordinator for Kelly at Grand Valley State, then replaced his boss as head coach of the Division II power when Kelly was hired by Central Michigan after the 2003 season.

The move might have seemed odd to some, but Kelly, who built his reputation on offensive acumen, wanted a right-hand man who understood exactly what he wanted.

To replace Martin on the defensive side, Bob Elliot was hired from Iowa State to coach safeties. Harry Hiestand was hired away from Tennessee to replace offensive line coach Ed Warinner, and co-defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, who had been with Kelly at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, was promoted to assistant head coach.

``The voice of your coordinators has got to be in lock step with the head coach,'' Kelly said. ``Now both of these guys have been with me a long time.

``Chuck Martin on offense, I wanted a voice that went back with me to Grand Valley State. And with Bob Diaco someone that goes back to Central Michigan with me. So yeah, it was important to get that voice right.''

The last change Kelly needed to make involved Xs and Os. Kelly wanted to win now, but with a first-year starter and redshirt freshmen at quarterback. He had to adjust his style.

Out went the push-the-pace offense that had helped him reach two BCS games at Cincinnati. In came a more deliberate approach.

``We conduct the game differently,'' Martin said. ``We set out how we thought this team could win with the personnel we had and with the young quarterback. Most people say `OK, you're going to play the young guy, you're playing for the future.' We just went 12-0 with the young guy and he got yanked four times.

``The rest of the world wants 12-0 with no warts. We have plenty of warts. Somehow we're 12-0. Just goes to show the job (Kelly) did that we made it work week in and week out with what we have.''

Kelly's ability and willingness to adapt have been his greatest strengths.

``He made some of his biggest changes ever in the last year. Going away from some things that really were his bread and butter, and 12-0 later, the guy did it again,'' Martin said.

``He saw what Notre Dame football needed in 2012 and he got to know this university.''

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphdrussoap

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When is the NFL Draft 2018? TIme, TV Channel, Online Stream, Draft Order

When is the NFL Draft 2018? TIme, TV Channel, Online Stream, Draft Order

Draft week is finally here. The predictions and projections, mock drafts and prospect rankings can be put to the side.

On Thursday, April 26, the top college football players will hear their names called and find out their first destination in their professional football careers as the 2018 NFL Draft takes place.

More than 250 players will join the league this weekend, starting with the Cleveland Browns and the No. 1 overall pick.

The 2018 NFL Draft will be televised on six television channels: NFL Network, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ABC. The first round will starts at 8:00 p.m. ET on Thursday and will air on NFL Network, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

Round 2 and Round 3 start at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday and will air on four networks: NFL Network, Fox, ESPN and ESPN2.

The final day of the 2018 NFL Draft (Round 4 through Round 7), will air on NFL Network and ESPN, with ESPN's coverage simulcasted on ABC for the first time ever.

All seven round of the 2018 NFL Draft will be broadcast on national television for the first time ever.

When is the 2018 NFL Draft?

The 2018 NFL Draft starts Thursday, April 26, and ends Saturday, April 28. The first round will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday night, with the second and third rounds happening Friday night.

The final five rounds will be on Saturday.

This year's draft is being held at the Cowboys' home, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

2018 NFL Draft Schedule

  • Round 1: Thursday, April 26, 8 p.m. ET
  • Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 27, 7 p.m. ET
  • Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 28, 12 p.m. ET
     

How to watch or stream the 2018 NFL Draft:

Live coverage of the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. The draft continues at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 27 for the second and third rounds, and then again at noon on Saturday, April 28 for the final rounds.

This year's draft will be broadcast by Fox and ABC, along with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, NFL Network.

For the first time, all seven rounds of the three-day event will air live on broadcast TV.

On Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. the draft will air on five channels: NFL Network, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. 

You can also stream the draft on the WatchESPN app or the NFL Mobile app (or ESPN.com or NFL.com), along with Fox Sports Go. 

When do the Redskins pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?

As of now, these are when the Redskins will pick in the 2018 NFL Draft:

  • First Round, Pick No. 13
  • Second Round, Pick No. 44
  • Fourth Round, Pick No. 109
  • Fifth Round, Pick No. 142
  • Fifth Round, Pick No. 163
  • Sixth Round, Pick No. 188
  • Seventh Round, Pick No. 231
  • Seven Round, Pick No. 241
     

2018 NFL Draft Order:

1. Cleveland Browns
2. New York Giants
3. New York jets (via Colts)
4. Cleveland Browns (via Texans)
5. Denver Broncos
6. Indianapolis Colts (via Jets)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Chicago Bears
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Oakland Raiders
11.  Miami Dolphins
12. Buffalo Bills (via Bengals)
13. Washington Redskins
14. Green Bay Packers
15. Arizona Cardinals
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. Seattle Seahawks
19. Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions
21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Bills)
22. Buffalo Bills (via Chiefs)
23. New England Patriots (via Rams)
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Tennessee Titans
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. New Orleans Saints
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. New England Patriots
32. Philadelphia Eagles

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The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the top players in the 2018 NFL Draft pool may push the Redskins into continuing a short-term draft trend that appears to be working out fairly well for them. 

For seven straight years beginning in 2009, the Redskins went along with the conventional wisdom in the draft, taking a player that primarily impacted the passing game or stopping the other team’s passing game, with their top draft picks. 

Their top pick (whether in the first or second round) in every draft from 2008-2014 was at a traditionally high-value position associated with the passing game — wide receiver (Devin Thomas), edge rusher (Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy), left tackle (Trent Williams), quarterback (Robert Griffin III), or outside cornerback (David Amerson). 

This was the Redskins going along with the conventional wisdom. Since 2000, 62 percent of first-round NFL draft picks have been players at those positions even though they account for just 32 percent of a team’s starters. 

The Redskins have shifted away for conducting the draft focused on the passing game at the top in two of the last three drafts. The Redskins selected guard Brandon Scherff (No. 5) in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and interior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (No. 22) in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In between, they went the old way, selecting wide receiver Josh Doctson (No. 22) in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

This trend is likely to continue due in part to the makeup of the top talent in the draft.

If you’re not looking for a quarterback, the top half of the first round is very light in talented players playing the positions that are most important to the passing game — outside cornerback, edge rusher, left tackle, and wide receiver. Cornerback Denzel Ward is a top-10 player as is edge rusher Bradley Chubb. But that’s about it at those positions and there are no wide receivers or left tackles worthy of consideration in the top 15.

That leaves players like interior defensive linemen Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne and inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds as players who have the potential to be the best available players on the board when the Redskins are on the clock. Traditionally, these players play positions that teams are looking for in the latter stages of the first round at the earliest. 

They could go the non-traditional way for the third time in four years with Vea, Payne, Fitzpatrick, or Smith. In fact, unless Ward slips or they pull off a major surprise it’s likely that they will.

Scherff has worked out well and Allen was getting the job done as a rookie before he got injured so perhaps the way the draft plays out will work out well for Washington.

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