USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Could combine performances of Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds affect Redskins' free agent strategy?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 5, 10 days before NFL free agency starts.  

Monday morning five spot

1. For as much as Doug Williams talked about running back being a big area of need for his team, I’m still skeptical that they will pull the trigger on a running back in the first two rounds. Let’s be clear here that I’m not talking about what I would do, but what I think they will do. Me, I’d grab Sony Michel or Rashaad Penny in the second and be done with it. I think that Williams, Bruce Allen and company will look at the depth at the position in the draft and draft one in the fourth, or maybe the third if they trade for a pick. I just don’t think they value the position enough to take one sooner.

2. I’m more skeptical that they will go the free agency route to get a running back. Again, I’m not talking about what I would do. If they asked me, I’d recommend making a run at Isaiah Crowell or Jerick McKinnon. But they aren’t going to ask me. And there is something to be said for waiting until the draft as long as they are able to get an impact back.

3. While I think a lot of fans would be happy with a running back in the first or second round, I think many would flip out with the selection of a wide receiver early. Yes, they took one in the first just two years ago. However, you do need two of them and they are expensive to get in free agency. Ideally, either Maurice Harris or Robert Davis will develop into a legitimate starter. The Redskins can’t rely on the ideal unfolding and need to be sure that they add talent to the position. If they can sign Jordan Matthews or former Alex Smith target Albert Wilson to a reasonable deal perhaps that is the best route to take.

4. The Redskins likely will get a cornerback from somewhere. Jay Gruden said that most teams have five solid cornerbacks. With Kendall Fuller gone and Bashaud Breeland likely to go as a free agent, the Redskins have just four. And among that group only one, Josh Norman, is a proven starter. Quinton Dunbar has done well as a fourth corner and occasional starter and Fabian Moreau and Joshua Holsey saw very limited action on defense as rookies. They found Breeland in the fourth round in 2014. Perhaps they look there again this year and go after someone like Tarvarus McFadden of Florida State or Kevin Toliver of LSU.

5. Linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds put up some incredible combine performances. What is important is that what they showed in Indianapolis matches what they put on film. They’re not just workout warriors, they are fast, athletic football players. I wonder how much the Redskins will weigh the possibility of one of them being available at pick No. 13 against the contract demands of Zach Brown, who reportedly is looking for nearly $20 million in guaranteed money. While letting Brown go would be a very unpopular move, I think many fans would come around if the Redskins could get one of the two young, athletic linebackers on April 26.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Tandler on Twitter


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 42
—NFL Draft (4/26) 52
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 188

In case you missed it