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Need to Know: 5 NFL draft notes including the Redskins' pick at 34

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Need to Know: 5 NFL draft notes including the Redskins' pick at 34

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 16, 22 days before the NFL draft.

Nickel coverage

Here are five thoughts on the Redskins and the NFL draft, which eventually will get here, I’m told.

It’s not a grocery list, people. You don’t grab your cart and head to aisle five to pick up a tackle first then zip over the produce to find a fresh cornerback after that and so on. You really don’t know what your board is going to look like when you’re on the clock. Even if you think you desperately need a starting right tackle it does you no good to just take a tackle if there isn’t one on your board who is capable of starting. Or if there is another player who is much better at his position than the tackle you’re staring it. You have to take the better player.

—With all of that said, I still wouldn’t be surprised if the factors of need and best available player magically melded together in the form of Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouankjio. I’m putting my (figurative) money on him to be the Redskins’ pick at 34.

—Since they are picking near the top of each round the Redskins should get someone who is capable of starting in 2014 with their top pick and someone who can start by 2015 with their third-round pick. The four players they pick on Saturday will be depth, special teams, and maybe, if they’re lucky, a 2015 or 2016 starter.

—The Redskins might like to trade down in the second round to pick up some additional selections. But it’s not like going up the window at a bank to get a ten and two fives for a $20 bill. You can’t call Roger Goodell and say, hey, I’d like two thirds and a fourth for this second rounder. There has to be a team that is willing to trade up. And in a draft that’s deep like this one is, teams may be reluctant to give up picks to move up. Don’t be surprised if the Redskins try to move down but fall.

—We will be getting our first look at how Bruce Allen drafts when he has the final say over personnel. In his first job as a GM in Oakland, Al Davis always had the final word. And in Tampa Bay, Jon Gruden already had a Super Bowl ring so he had plenty of influence in the process. Here Allen has the control and while he will take input from Jay Gruden, Scott Campbell, and others it’s his call. It takes a while to build up a history to see what Allen looks for so this is just a first step.

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Timeline

—It’s been 108 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 144 days until they play another one.

Days until: First veteran minicamp 13; NFL Draft 22; Training camp starts 98

In case you missed it

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuttered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.

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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.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

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

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: