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Jones, Crowder continue strong preseason against Ravens

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Jones, Crowder continue strong preseason against Ravens

Through all of the offseason workouts, training camp practices, and yes, drama surrounding the team, two Redskins players have consistently stood out to observers and fans alike: Matt Jones and Jamison Crowder.

The third-round pick out of Florida and fourth-round pick out of Duke have had their names brought up constantly as Redskins to watch for the upcoming season. And on Saturday against the Ravens, both Jones and Crowder continued to show the flashes of potential that have people in Washington giddy over their possible impact in 2015.

Just be sure not to go and tell the running back and the receiver that they had strong performances against Baltimore, because they don't want to hear about it. In both cases, it sounds like they're their biggest critic, and when speaking post game, it felt like they were focused more on what they didn't accomplish than what they did.

"I feel like I could have played a lot better," Crowder said. "My first time out there, I was obviously anxious, nervous. I felt good overall, but felt like I could've performed a lot better."

"Overall, I felt like I played good," Jones said later, sounding a lot like his teammate. "And I could be better."

In his first taste of real game action (he missed Washington's first two preseason games because of a hamstring injury), Crowder caught four balls for 41 yards, including a tipped pass that he took in for a 22 yard score. It was a serendipitous touchdown for the receiver, though, and he wasn't afraid to admit it.

"Yeah, that was just a case of right place at the right time," he said. "Definitely not how I expected my first NFL touchdown to be. But hey, I'll take it."

But while Crowder figures to get some decent playing time at receiver — and while he looked very comfortable there during his first shot with the offense — it looks like he could really contribute on special teams as a punt returner. Against the Ravens, though, he only got one chance to return a punt, and it went for just four yards. Again, he wished he could've done more.

"I definitely set high standards for myself and have high expectations in that department, so I was kind of disappointed in my performance there," the 22-year old said. "I slipped trying to make a break. I definitely plan to do better on my next opportunity."

Saturday was Crowder's Redskins debut. It was Jones' third contest in the Burgundy and Gold, however, and he did what he's done each time he's taken the field for the Redskins thus far: stand out.

The 6'2", 230-pound tailback led his team in rushing, toting the rock seven times for 57 yards — good for an 8.1 yards per carry average. He also had one catch for 17 yards. Pretty solid night, right?

Well, Jones wasn't completely satisfied.

"I could've scored on a couple of 'em," he said.

In the grand scheme of things, hearing that Jones and Crowder aren't letting their early successes get to their head is encouraging. In the NFL, if you're not getting better, you're getting worse, and the two rookies are obviously aware of that fact.

With that being said, it's hard not to get excited over what Jones and Crowder did at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, and about what they've done ever since they've arrived to D.C, too. There's no such thing as having too many options on offense, and it certainly appears that Scot McCloughan has drafted two guys that will help out immediately.

Will Jones and Crowder admit that, though?

Probably not. 

MORE REDSKINS: WILLIAMS CALLS EXTENSION A 'DREAM COME TRUE'

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Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would 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

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Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.

A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury. 

Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.

Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.

That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:

Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.