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Need to Know: Will the Redskins shift to drafting for need?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins shift to drafting for need?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 19, 39 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 29
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 54
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 66
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 118
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 175

Fan question: Will draft philosophy change with McCloughan gone?

When it comes to the draft I don’t think that any GM is 100 percent best player or 100 percent need. It’s more of a sliding scale with McCloughan favoring the BPA end of it. It’s hard to say where Allen and Jay Gruden, who will have a strong voice in the draft room, will fall on the scale.

Although Allen was a general manager in Oakland and Tampa Bay before coming to the Redskins, he has had final say in just one draft. That was in 2014 the year after Mike Shanahan, who had personnel control, left and a year before McCloughan arrived.

Let’s take a look at his top draft picks to see if we can get any clues. The Redskins did not have a first-round pick in 2014, making the last installment on the Robert Griffin III trade. They held the 34th pick but Allen cut a deal with Dallas (perhaps something to make note of). The Redskins traded back to pick No. 47 and picked up an additional third rounder, No. 78 overall, in the deal.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

OLB Trent Murphy, Rd. 2, 47th overall—The Redskins had given the franchise tag to Brian Orakpo and his presence beyond the 2014 season was uncertain. They would need an edge rusher to pair with Ryan Kerrigan. This is like McCloughan taking Josh Doctson with the top pick last year. Although it didn’t fill an immediate need, there was a good chance that DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon would leave in free agency so the need was almost certain to be there.

OT Morgan Moses, Rd. 3, 66th overall—They were set at one tackle with Trent Williams but the right side was shaky with Tyler Polumbus penciled in as the starter. Polumbus would lose that job to Tom Compton. Moses played sparingly as a rookie but he was installed as the starter after a week of training camp in 2015 when it turned out that Brandon Scherff was more suited to playing guard.

OL Spencer Long, Rd. 3, 78th overall—They had Shawn Lauvao in the second year of his free agent contract at left guard and the aging (31) Chris Chester on the right side. They certainly needed some young depth if not an eventual starter. Long played sparingly as a rookie but he came in when Lauvao was hurt early in the 2015 season and last year he shifted to center and played most of the season after Kory Lichtensteiger was put on injured reserve. It appears that he is the long-term plan at center.

CB Bashaud Breeland, Rd 4, 102nd overall—The Redskins had DeAngelo Hall at one corner and second-year player David Amerson at the other. Hall was 31 and he would need to be replaced at some point. As it turned out, Hall suffered a ruptured Achilles in Week 3 and Breeland has been starting ever since.

What makes it hard to compare here is that the Redskins were coming off of a 3-13 season had needs all over the field. Safety probably was the biggest immediate need but Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the only impact safety to come out of that draft, was gone to the Packers in the first round before the Redskins ever had a chance.

Perhaps a more defining tell for which end of the scale this Redskins draft will favor came from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Last week on ESPN 980 he said, “Right now, we might be in a situation where we’re looking for a nose [tackle] in the draft.”

If they draft a nose tackle in the first three or four rounds it’s likely a need pick. Fans should just hope it’s not too much of a reach. Nothing is worse for building your team that drafting for need and then still having the need a year later because you reached for the wrong guy.

That really doesn’t answer the question but there really isn’t enough information to answer it right now. My guess is that they will lean towards need but not because of Allen. As noted, Gruden will have a lot to say about who gets taken and coaches are more interested in filling out the depth chart than following the draft board. It’s hard to lean towards advocating the selections of guys who might not help for a few years when you could be fired in the meantime.

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

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Need to Know: What will the Redskins do after Jonathan Allen's injury?

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Associated Press

Need to Know: What will the Redskins do after Jonathan Allen's injury?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 19, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences, open locker room, after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 10
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 17
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 35

Jonathan Allen’s absence

The Redskins defensive line has been one of the most improved positions on the team. Now they have a large hole to fill in that unit.

Jonathan Allen’s Lisfranc injury will require surgery and that means he will be sidelined for the rest of the season. He likely will go on injured reserve sometime this week.

The team’s first-round draft pick had been playing very well. He has helped to provide the Redskins with pass rush up the middle, an important element that has been missing from the defense. The 17th overall pick had a sack, three QB hits and 10 hurries.

What will the Redskins do in Allen’s absence? The first thing they’ll do is take consolation in the fact that they still have Matt Ioannidis to give them some inside pass rush. The second-year player rebounded from a 2016 season where he played sparingly and is providing consistent pass rush pressure between the tackles. He has 3.5 sacks and 16 pressures.

But Ioannidis can’t do it alone. He and Allen each benefitted from the presence of the other one. And edge rushers Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have both been helped by the attention the other teams had to pay to the pass pressure threat from the interior.

With Allen gone, who will take his place?

That question has a few different answers. When Allen goes on injured reserve, a lineman will be signed to take his place. That could be rookie Brandon Banks, who has been on the practice squad all year. They could bring up A.J. Francis, who has been around on the practice squad for a couple of years but he has not been with a team since he was release in Redskins’ cut to 53 on September 2.

They also could find a veteran who is not currently working or sign a player off of another team’s practice squad. The Redskins tried out 16 players on Tuesday and the only defensive lineman among them was Owa Odighizuwa, who played in 18 games for the Giants in 2015-2016.

But whoever takes the roster spot likely will be inactive most of the time. Anthony Lanier, the second-year defensive end who has been on the team this year but has not been active for a game, will be active on Monday night. He is a pass-rush specialist and it seems likely that he will get most of Allen’s snaps in nickel situations.

In base defense, Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain will rotate in more frequently. It’s not as though they have been sitting on the bench this season. While the rotation has favored Allen and Ioannidis, McClain and McGee have played 131 snaps this year. Ziggy Hood has 155, Ioannidis 170 and Allen 159.

McClain and McGee are OK defending the run so there won’t be a huge drop off there. The spotlight will be on Lanier, who played in just four games last year before an injury ended his season, to continue to get push up the middle with Ioannidis.

He will get his chance on Monday as the Redskins take on the Eagles. In the season opener, the Redskins were able to get pressure on quarterback Carson Wentz (22 pressures on 41 pass dropbacks) but they weren’t often able to bring him down. We will see if Lanier can get to him a time or two and finish the job.

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.

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Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

By Ryan Wormeli

The Redskins eked out a close win at home on Sunday, coming away with a 26-24 final over the 49ers. One of the keys to the team's success on offense was their effective screen game. 

Doc Walker says running back Chris Thompson is the best in the NFL at catching screens and turning them into big plays. Still, he knows it takes more than just one great player to find success in the screen game.

On Redskins Gameplan, he turned to the film to break down three big plays from Sunday's victory, highlighting the offensive line in giving Thompson the room he needed to make something happen.

Play 1: Recievers getting in on the "Block Party"

Nearly half of the Redskins on the field for this play found themselves with someone to block. Walker points out how active the big guys are, shouting out Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao in particular. The receivers get some shine too, with Doc even pointing out, "You know you gotta give 11 some credit on that."

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Play 2: Trent Williams just keeps looking for guys to block

With the Redskins deep in their own territory, they once again call for a screen pass, and you know Doc gets really excited to see the big fellas move.

"Now watch the big uglies, downfield. Agile! Hostile! Getting after it! Staying on their feet, no belly floppers," exclaimed Walker. "That's the key to it."

Play 3: Brandon Scherff redeems himself later in the drive

Brandon Scherff started off this important drive with a holding penalty, costing his team valuable yards. He then saw the screen pass as an opportunity to make it up to his teammates, and he takes full advantage.

Doc has just one thing to say for players staring down an angry Brandon Scherff.

"You, my friend, are in trouble."

RELATED: WEEK 7 STATE OF THE 'SKINS

The Redskins probably hoped their game against the winless 49ers would be a bit more comfortable than a 26-24 victory. Still, when they found themselves in a dogfight, they were able to rely on their quality screen game to get them big yardage when needed, and it helped them come out with a big Week 6 win.

For more segments like this, tune in to Redskins Gameplan at 6 p.m. on Thursday.