<p>One of the many concerns for a quarterback when he makes the leap to the NFL is how quickly he learns to read complex, pro-style defenses.<p><p>One play in Thursdays 7-6 victory over the Bills suggests rookie Robert Griffin III is a quick study.<p><p>Griffin brought the Redskins to the line of scrimmage having called his own number a quarterback keeper. But as he scanned the defense across from him, he noticed Buffalo had loaded up on the weak side of the formation.<p><p>So Griffin called an audible.<p><p>I just audibled to a run play, Griffin said. Its something you have to get used to. I didnt really audible that much in college. It was good to get out there and do that.<p><p>Griffin said the confidence to make that split-second judgment call at the line of scrimmage came from his growing experience and the trust the coaches have shown in him.<p><p>Its not that you walk to the line and see a defense and think, Ive got the perfect play for that defense, Griffin said. But now that were starting to game plan, the coaching staff can kind of break it down and say, If you get this specific look, you can audible this play.<p><p>Some other highlights from Griffins weekly media availability Monday:&nbsp;<p><p>--On his comfort dropping back after taking a snap under center, Griffin said: Of course I feel more comfortable in shotgun because thats what Im used to from Baylor. The drop back from underneath the center is definitely something Im getting better at. I felt comfortable in the game.<p><p>--Asked about targeting Pierre Garon so often Thursday, Griffin said: We are looking to grow as quarterback and receiver. But its not like we were calling plays designated plays for Pierre. We were just calling our base plays, going through the reads and it just so happened that his number popped up.<p><p>Three of Griffins four completions in Buffalo were to Garon, including a 20-yard touchdown.<p><p>--After watching the film of Thursdays game, Griffin said he did not second-guess himself. Im my own worst critic, he said. In the 14 plays that we got, there wasnt anything that stuck out as, Hey, I could have done this differently or couldve done that differently. Hopefully it will be the same way in Chicago.<p><p>--Asked when was the last time he got tackled, Griffin said: I have been hit in practice a few times and gone down. But I havent been hit since that Bowl game back at Baylor in the Alamo Bowl last December. I havent been hit since then. Hopefully we can keep that trend going.<p><p>Griffin was not taken down by the Bills and is not tackled in practice.<p><p>&nbsp;<p>
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 26, one day before the second and third rounds of the 2018 NFL draft.
The players the Redskins will have to choose from at No. 13
As the 2018 NFL draft unfolds tonight, the Redskins are going to look to be able to pick from a group of players when their pick comes on the board. “You’ve got about six or seven guys on that board that you’re hoping is there when you get there,” Doug Williams said on Tuesday. “If you lose one, you put another one up.”
So, who is likely to be in that group? Based on a bevy of mock drafts and big boards plus my own
analysis guessing, here are the seven players I think will wind up in that group that will be under discussion when the Redskins pick, in no particular order.
- QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
- DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
- Edge Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio
- LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
- LB Leighton Vander Esch, Vanderbilt
- S Derwin James, Florida State
- CB Joshua Jackson, Iowa
Right off the top, did I forget RB Derrius Guice? No. While the Redskins like him I don’t think he is in consideration for the 13thpick.
If Jackson is there, the move is to wait for the phones to ring. There is talk that the Ravens, who pick 16th, would like to add him. Moving back to Baltimore’s spot could potentially add a third-round pick and still have at least four of these seven players still available. The Redskins are intrigued by Jackson but with Alex Smith under contract, they aren’t going to draft a quarterback.
Payne has been a popular pick to the Redskins in mock drafts (such as the one I posted yesterday). He could be a bit of a reach at 13 and perhaps he is a better candidate to be taken after a trade back. I think that Vita Vea will be gone, probably to the Raiders with the 10thpick.
If Vea does go to Oakland and there is a top-10 surprise like Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey, a hot name lately, then there is a good chance that both Edmunds and James will be available. Let’s do the count as the Redskins would as the first 12 picks unfold. If four quarterbacks go plus Vea, McGlinchey, guard Quinton Nelson cornerback Denzel Ward, running back Saquon Barkley, and edge rusher Bradley Chubb, that leaves two other picks in front of the Redskins. I think those will be cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick and inside linebacker Roquan Smith. That would leave James and Edmunds. Of course, one or both of them could go earlier, leaving Fitzpatrick and/or Smith for inclusion on the Redskins’ list.
Any one of those four players should give the Redskins pause when it comes to trading down or taking Payne. They need impact players and all of those prospects have potential to be just that.
Their interest in Davenport may tell us how confident the Redskins are in their ability to retain Preston Smith beyond this year and their confidence in the development of Ryan Anderson. And if they select Joshua Jackson could be a signal that Josh Norman will become a 2019 salary cap casualty. The Redskins reportedly like Vander Esch but he’s a notch below the special talents like Edmunds and Smith.
If I was presented with this scenario, I’d probably take James. Yes, the Redskins like D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson but they could take James, move him around the defense and figure out some neat name for his position. He would make the defense better immediately. Other needs like the defensive line could be handled later on in the draft.
Tandler on Twitter
I saw Jay Gruden today at #Redskins Park. I asked him who they were taking in the first round and he said, “A quarterback.”— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) April 25, 2018
He was joking. At least I’m 99% sure he was.
Today’s schedule: 8:00 NFL Draft, first round, AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX
—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 15
—OTAs start (5/22) 26
—Training camp starts (7/26) 91
The Redskins last played a game 116 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 136 days.
In case you missed it
- Final Redskins seven-round mock draft
- The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they don't
- The Redskins aren't big on analytics but awareness of trends will affect their pick
- How Trey Edmunds found his way in a crowded Saints backfield
- Late push for tackles, edge rushers will help Redskins at 13
For months, draft conversation suggested that there wasn't an offensive tackle to pick in the Top 10. And after Bradley Chubb, there wasn't an edge defender worth a Top 10 pick either.
All of a sudden, that conversation is changing.
Late charges from Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and University of Texas San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport are starting to influence mock drafts.
On Wednesday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted the 49ers to take McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick. Charley Casserly, in a mock draft with NBC Sports Washington on Monday, predicted the Chicago Bears take Davenport with the eighth overall pick. Reports on Landry are all over the place, but some guess he could break the Top 10 as well.
The thing to remember about the NFL: It's a passing league. Positions tied to the quarterback are the most important, and that means protecting the QB and getting after the QB is in high demand. No position will ever get over-drafted like quarterback, but it's not a surprise that teams might reach for players at tackle or edge rusher.
What does this mean for the Redskins holding the No. 13 pick?
It means great news.
Washington will already benefit from four QBs going in the Top 10. That will likely push down an elite talent to their draft spot.
If McGlinchey, Davenport or Landry also crack the Top 10? Even better.
The Redskins need help at just about every position group on the defensive side of the ball. It's well documented how the team struggled against the run in 2017, but the defense also lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason.
There will be a number of weapons available for Washington at 13, and that could include players like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James in addition to Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne. It might mean Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith lasts to 13 too.
For the Redskins, Fitzpatrick or James at 13 seems like a steal. Both players present elite potential at the evolving position of nickel cornerback. They can play some corner, some safety, and James might even be able to play some linebacker.
Regardless of the eventual destination for James or Fitzpatrick, if more surprise players sneak into the Top 10 on Thursday night, the better Washington's options become. And that includes the possibility of trading down, Vea or Payne, Smith or Edmunds.
More elite options at 13 only helps the Redskins.
Redskins fans should be rooting for Mike McGlinchey, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport early Thursday night. The folks in Ashburn will be.
MORE 2018 NFL DRAFT:
- Mock Draft 9.0: Almost draft day
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick
Want more Redskins talk? Of course you do. Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!