Redskins draft countdown
The NFL draft is 72 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.
What they’re saying
Thumping inside linebacker with throwback size and tone setting mentality. Ragland is a confident and capable early starter in league who has the temperament to become one of the premier run-stopping inside linebackers in the pro game. Ragland has some coverage and speed limitations, but his instincts and overall awareness should be able to mask those issues.
—Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
How he fits the Redskins: Ragland could be a good example of the team taking the best available player regardless of need. They could start the season with Will Compton and Mason Foster as the starters and have Perry Riley and Martrell Spaight as the backups. But the team needs difference makers on defense and Ragland could be one of those.
The Redskins had some big problems stopping the run (allowed 4.8 yards/rush, 31st in the NFL) and Ragland could be just the solution they are looking for. He plays downhill and is a sure tackler.
There seems to be a good chance the unanimous All-American will still be on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 21, although some mock drafts have him going somewhere in the early teens.
Related: Casserly talks about Ragland's possible fit with the Redskins.
Potential issues: One thing that an inside linebacker in Joe Barry’s one-gap system needs to be able to do is shed blocks. Playing behind the Crimson Tide’s stalwart defensive line that is not something he had to deal with consistently. McCloughan will have to evaluate if he can get coached to do it. He seems to handle himself well in zone coverage but his man to man skills are suspect.
Bottom line: An inside linebacker in a 3-4 is considered to be a relatively low value position and perhaps not worth a first-round pick unless the prospect is flawless. But a right tackle isn’t supposed to be valuable enough to justify a high first-round pick but that didn’t keep McCloughan from taking Brandon Scherff fifth overall (and subsequently moving him to guard).
Every team in the NFL would love to add to their pass rush, and the Redskins are no exception. The team withdrew its contract offer to Junior Galette, spurring rumors that they were looking elsewhere.
The Redskins recently had linebacker Pernell McPhee in for a visit, and rumors are swirling that the former Bear is close to joining the Burgundy and Gold.
Nothing has been confirmed, but if McPhee does come to Washington, it would be in the hopes that he can provide a boost to the team's pass rush. The linebacker has proven himself capable of getting to the quarterback in his seven seasons in the NFL, recording 31.0 sacks in his career, with 21.5 of those coming in the last four years. He's also forced at least one fumble in each of the past five seasons.
Playing in the DMV again would mark a homecoming of sorts for McPhee, who played in Baltimore for 4 seasons after being drafted by the Ravens in the 5th round of the 2011 draft before signing in Chicago as a free agent.
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the 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.
Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.
Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.
Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.
Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.
Tweet of the week
Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.
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.
—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169
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