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NFL Draft 2018: College playoff prospects to watch

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NFL Draft 2018: College playoff prospects to watch

Five New Year’s Day bowl games means five opportunities to TV scout potential draft selections for the Washington Redskins. Part 1 focused on prospects in Outback, Peach and Cirtus bowls including LSU running back Derrius Guice. Now, here are the names to watch in the Monday’s two national semifinal games with virtually all listed likely going in the first or second round.

Rose Bowl: Georgia-Oklahoma

Nick Chubb, running back, Georgia

Measurables: 5-foot-10, 220 pounds

Projection: 1-2 round

Need: Even if the pass-catching Chris Thompson returns to form following his season-ending leg injury, the Redskins still have questions with early down work. It’s also quite possible the decision to give the Robert Kelley-Samaje Perine combo another run this season.

Analysis (WalterFootball.com): “Chubb is averaging 7.1 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns. The senior has two receptions for 20 yards as well. His production is suppressed by Georgia splitting the carries among a huge stable of backs. Scouting sources have liked what they've seen from Chubb this year, and he looks back to his old form. Chubb is faster, more physical, tougher to tackle, and more decisive than he was in 2016. 

Roquan Smith, inside linebacker, Georgia

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 225 pounds

Projection: First round

Need: Washington’s top three inside linebackers are 2018 free agents. Even if one or two return, the defense could use an impact player in the middle. Smith, the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker, qualifies.

Analysis (Albert Breer, SI.com): “I think Roquan Smith will be a huge part of the Bulldogs’ plans to pin Baker Mayfield in the pocket and prevent his normal theatrics. Do yourself a favor and watch Smith. He’s got the “I know where the play’s going before it goes there” thing that so many great ’backers have, and he could be an instant impact guy for a team that needs one (like Oakland) next year. I had him going 12th.

Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 209 pounds

Projection: First round

Need: There’s no need if Kirk Cousins signs a long-term deal. There would be the rationale for selecting a passer for the future if Cousins is only back for a one-year tag. Should he leave altogether, Washington could absolutely seek a replacement in the first round. Projections have 4-6 quarterbacks in round one.

Analysis (WalterFootball.com): “Mayfield has completed 71 percent of his passes this season for 4,340 yards with 41 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has five rushing touchdowns. Mayfield led Oklahoma to an impressive road win at Ohio State, lost a shootout at home to Iowa State, and led the Sooners to an epic win over Oklahoma State, in which Mayfield threw for 598 yards on the Cowboys. Mayfield has accepted an invitation to play at the Senior Bowl, which was a smart move as he is very likely to help himself by participating in Mobile. 

Sugar Bowl: Alabama-Clemson

Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle, Clemson

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 310 pounds

Projection: 1-2 round

Need: Adding Jonathan Allen provided the defensive line with a game-changing talent. As evidenced by the way Washington’s run defense cratered after the 2017 first rounder suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 5, they could use more beef up front. Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell may hear his name called among the top 10 picks, but his teammate could be a solid fallback plan.

Analysis (WalterFootball.com): “In 2017, Wilkins has 45 tackles with seven tackles for a loss and four sacks. All year, he has played well, using speed and athleticism to cause disruption at the point of attack. In speaking with sources at multiple teams, they see Wilkins as a future first-rounder. He is a fast interior pass-rusher who can collapse the pocket and provide an inside pass rush. Wilkins dominated Miami in the ACC Championship.”

Read more here.

Ronnie Harrison, strong safety, Alabama

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 214 pounds

Projection: First round

Need: The Redskins found a nice piece in free agency last off-season with D.J. Swearinger. They also made a nice discovery with fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson, who ended up missing half the season with injuries. With DeAngelo Hall likely moving on, Washington could view a safety addition as a “best available” type move.

Analysis (USA Today): A hard-hitting defender with a prototypical frame for a pro safety, Harrison’s combination of athleticism and physicality have made him a constant headache for opposing offenses.

Harrison’s size and physical playing style make him a terror in the box, but his fluidity and athletic ability allow him to also hang with pass-catchers down the field. 

Others: Damien Harris, RB, Alabama; Rashaan Evans, ILB Alabama; Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma; Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE, Oklahoma.

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and you will not have to wait long for pundits and fans alike to begin predicting team’s season-long win-loss record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing. Myself included. 

But don’t read much -- if anything -- into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles

2018 REDSKINS SCHEDULE NOTES:

  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
     
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
     
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
     
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December. 
     

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