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Bigger is better, at least in the Redskins draft room


Bigger is better, at least in the Redskins draft room

Ends up bigger is better, at least that's the notion coming from the Redskins war room. Through two days and three rounds of the NFL Draft, 'Skins GM Scot McCloughan has made good on his promise to build a bigger, stronger roster.

In the first round Washington selected Brandon Scherff, a tackle from the University of Iowa. While most projections pegged Scherff to go inside the Top 10, some were surprised McCloughan tabbed Scherff at five while USC's Leonard Williams was still on the board. What is known about Scherff is toughness, and what is obvious is size. At 6'5", 320 lbs., Scherff immediately becomes the biggest guard on the Redskins roster, and ranks between Trent Williams and Morgan Moses as the biggest tackle on the roster. McCloughan and coach Jay Gruden talked about a hard nosed run game, and Scherff should immediately step in and help that cause.

Friday night, McCloughan made two more picks, and one trade. Throughout the run up to the draft process, the GM made clear his desire for 10 picks, and by trading down 26 spots in the third round with Seattle, he accomplished his 10 pick goal. The trade came after the selection of Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith in the second round.


Where Smith will play in the 'Skins 3-4 defense may still be up for debate, it looks like outside linebacker, but one thing is certain: Smith is another mountain of a man. Listed at 6'5" and 270 lbs., Smith immediately becomes the biggest linebacker on the Redskins roster, outweighing last year's second round pick Trent Murphy by 10 pounds. And Gruden said the team might like to see Smith put on more weight. 

"We feel like he’s still a young kid, growing, and there’s still a lot we can build upon with his body frame with the way it is," Gruden said Friday night. "Very long arms, he’s an explosive player."

Sure, Smith is huge, but he will not tower over other players in his position group. But guess who will: Redskins third round pick Matt Jones. A running back out of Florida, Jones is 6'2" and 235 lbs. and known for his tenacity as a pass blocker and downhill run style. Of the current backs on the 'Skins roster, none are taller than 5'10", though incumbent starter Alfred Morris packs 225 lbs. on his 5' 10" frame. Still, Washington sorely needs a back strong in pass protection, and Jones can provide that day one.

"We liked his attitude. We liked what he knew about football and his passion for the game and his running style," Gruden said of Jones. "He’s a little bit different than what we’ve had around here. He’s a downhill, smash-mouth type runner. He’s a physical kid."

Picking up on a trend here? Through three picks McCloughan is committed to making the Redskins bigger and more physical, quite a departure from the zone-blocking speed schemes of the Shanahan era. And with seven picks left on Saturday, expect more braun to head to Redskins Park. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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.


Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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.