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Need to Know: Five possible Redskins second-round picks

Need to Know: Five possible Redskins second-round picks

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 12, 14 days before the NFL draft.  

Five Redskins second-round possibilities

There has been plenty of attention paid to who the Redskins will take in the first round of the draft. While the second round is much harder to predicts, here is a look at five who might fit. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—This was Ben Standig’s pick in the most recent mock draft here on NBC Sports Washington. He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most in school history, playing both guard spots his first three years and then 14 games at center last year. He could play in the middle for the Redskins but it seems that Jay Gruden likes Chase Roullier there so Price probably would fit at left guard. He was one of the cleanest prospects in the draft until he suffered a partial pectoral muscle tear at the combine. That should be only a minor issue. 

RB Sony Michel, Georgia—Along with some others, I’m starting to lean more towards Michel’s former teammate Nick Chubb as the better running back prospect. But I think Chubb could well be gone and Michel would be a fine consolation prize. He has vision and toughness needed to get yards between the tackles. While he’s not a home-run threat he moves north-south and maximizes most of his gains. 

DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford—If the Redskins bypass the defensive line in the first round, Phillips could be a good get in the second. Last year he was a redshirt junior and he racked up 17 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, and five forced fumbles. He combines power, good instincts, and a high motor to shed blocks and make plays. 

G Austin Corbett, Nevada—This redshirt senior started 49 games at left tackle for Nevada, earned All-Mountain West his last three years, and he was a team captain his last two years there. He will move inside to play guard in the NFL. His has used his extensive experience to master many of the techniques that will serve him well at the next level. 

CB Carlton Davis, Auburn—In a passing league you can’t have too many cornerbacks or edge rushers. This is not a good draft for the latter so if the Redskins see a good corner on the board they could make the move. Even though he was a three-year starter at Auburn, his skills are unrefined. That would be OK with the Redskins since they don’t need a player they can put on the field immediately. 

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

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 4
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 105
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 150

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Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.

A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury. 

Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.

Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.

That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:

Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.

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The Redskins aren't big on analytics but the numbers are likely to influence their top draft pick

The Redskins aren't big on analytics but the numbers are likely to influence their top draft pick

There are always surprises in the NFL draft, but the 2018 edition may be the most unpredictable in years. There are a few factors at play here and they will affect who is available to the Redskins in the first round and who they end up drafting there. 

One factor is analytics. Not all teams have a big analytics department but all 32 are aware of the trends in the game. One is that teams no longer emphasize establishing the run early in games. Teams pass in the first quarter on about 57 percent of the snaps. That run-pass ratio is about the same as it is during the other three quarters. It’s still a passing league from the opening kickoff until the clock hits 0:00. 

So why, then, is Vita Vea, a pure nose tackle who likely will be of limited help against the pass, a possible top-10 pick who the Redskins reportedly would like to take at 13? 

The way it looks now, Vea is going to be one of the best available players with a significant drop off to any players associated with the passing game except quarterbacks—wide receiver, left tackle, edge rusher, and outside cornerback. 

The Redskins might rate Vea as more valuable than other teams because of how weak their rushing defense is. Teams ran at them on 47 percent of first-quarter plays, taking advantage of the weakness. This kept up through all four quarters; teams ran against the Redskins on 46 percent of the plays compared to 42 percent of all plays league-wide. Washington’s vulnerability against the rush may push Vea and probably Da’Ron Payne up on their draft boards even if they are of limited utility in the nickel defense. 

Here is one more example of the numbers and talent affecting this draft. Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick played a variety of positions in Alabama’s secondary. The consensus opinion is that his best NFL fit is slot corner. Traditionally, that is not a first-round position because it’s has been a role, a part-time position. 

But the view is shifting. Offenses take 62.6 percent of their snaps with three or more wide receivers on the field. That number only counts true wide receivers, so you can add a percentage point or two in for when a running back or tight end lines up out wide. As you would expect, a comparable number of defensive snaps (65.3%) are with five or more defensive backs on the field. The Redskins were in line with this. Slot corner Kendall Fuller played nearly 66 percent of the snaps last year. 

Since you will utilize your slot corner on nearly two-thirds of your plays, if you can get a good one with the 13th pick you shouldn’t hesitate just because of the old view of the position. When you add in the fact that Fitzpatrick can play safety and outside corner as well the Redskins could well pull the trigger if he’s still there. 

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