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Draft review: Shanahan says he couldn't pass up Cousins

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Draft review: Shanahan says he couldn't pass up Cousins

The Redskins finished the NFL draft on Saturday by making seven picks in the final four rounds. Mike Shanahan said that he was pleased with the draft, which yielded the team a total of six offensive players and four on the defensive side of the ball.The pick that raised the most eyebrows on Saturday was that of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was taken in the fourth round with the Redskins first pick of the day. With Griffin already on board, the selection of another quarterback was seen as odd, especially for a team with many areas in need of shoring up.Cousins was viewed by many as someone who could eventually compete for a starting job if he was drafted into the right situation. That clearly is not the case in Washington after the team drafted Griffin, who Shanahan has repeatedly referred to as the teams franchise quarterback.Shanahan said that he told Cousins, I couldnt pass you up.Sure he knows hes going to be a backup, Shanahan said. But hes only one play away or two plays away from being the starter.Soon after the selection of Cousins, the Redskins released John Beck, who started three games at quarterback last year. Shanahan explained that the wanted to give Beck as much time as possible to find a new team.With the selections of Griffin and Cousins, the Redskins became the first team since 1988 to draft two quarterbacks in the first four rounds of the draft. Quarterback has been a problem area for the team for years and it is not surprising that multiple players would be picked there.While the quarterbacks got most of the attention, the Redskins also invested heavily in the offensive line in the draft. After taking SMU guard Josh LeRibeus in the third round on Friday night, they followed up with Iowa guard Adam Gettis in the fifth round and South Dakota tackle Tom Compton in the sixth. This is the second time since the draft went to seven rounds that the Redskins have taken three offensive linemen. Shanahan and the Redskins took three two years ago.The rash of injuries in the offensive line last year made adding depth to the unit a priority, said Shanahan. It also appeared that flexibility was important at the position. Shanahan said that both Gettis and LeRibeus could play either guard or center and that Compton could play either tackle spotThe Redskins brought in several veteran defensive backs in free agency to try to shore up that area and now two rookies will be in the mix. Their two seventh-round picks were defensive backs as they selected Richard Crawford of SMU 213th overall and then tabbed Jordan Bernstine of Iowa with their last pick, 219th overall.Shanahan said that Crawford will play cornerback and Bernstine will play safety.Besides the quarterbacks, the only offensive skill player taken was running back Alfred Morris of Florida Atlantic.He can cut on a dime and he has the ability to make people miss, said Shanahan.The coach said that Morris will play tailback, although he has the size to be able to play fullback as well.Linebacker Keenan Robinson played on the outside at Texas but he said that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett gold him that he will play inside backer for the Redskins.We liked his speed, said Shanahan.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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