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Need to Know: Is Tevin Mitchel a lock for the Redskins' 53?

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Need to Know: Is Tevin Mitchel a lock for the Redskins' 53?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 19, 41 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

State of the Redskins

Here are a few more thoughts on the state of the Redskins as they head into their summer break (here’s what I had yesterday):

—It may be premature to call Tevin Mitchel a lock to make the roster but I’m betting he is in. The sixth-round pick made a few nice plays in practices open to the media including an interception of a Colt McCoy pass on Wednesday. They have been working him in the slot but he could probably play outside if necessary, or at least develop into that job. Jay Gruden has been highly complimentary of his play. I don’t see Mitchel making a big impact this year but if he shows that he can help on special teams it’s hard to see him not being on the 53.

—When we think of Redskins coming into their contract years it’s usually about Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, or Alfred Morris. But Keenan Robinson is an important part of the defense and he also will be a free agent in 2016. He has looked just fine in the short and helmets portion of preparation. During minicamp he got angry with Tom Compton over what he perceived to be holding and he and Darrel Young had some sharp words for an unknown reason. He’s ready.

—I’ll have posts on both Bill Callahan and Matt Cavanaugh in the coming days. They were both entertaining during their media sessions on Wednesday. Cavanaugh talked about the difference between dealing with a QB room with all experienced starters like he has now and one with a quarterback who has never taken a snap and is anxious to get his turn. Callahan appreciates history as one of the first things he did after taking the job here was to put a picture of the Hogs up in his office at Redskins Park. These are two impressive additions to the coaching staff.

—Pierre Garçon is a very solid professional. He doesn’t get written about much this time of year because he just goes about his business preparing for the coming season. When he makes a tough catch, reporters don’t always make a not of it because it’s what we’ve come to expect. He is the perfect role model for younger receivers, or young players at any position, for that matter.

—I think some fans should tamp down expectations for Preston Smith in terms of having an immediate impact. Many were disappointed when Trent Murphy was just OK last year and I see higher expectations for Smith than I saw for him. He’ll be fine, he’ll make some plays and he’ll make some mistakes. Don’t look for him to dominate right off the bat.

Timeline

—It’s been 173 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 86 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 41; Preseason opener @ Browns 55; final cuts 79

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."

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Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

The Redskins aren’t in the quarterback business, so it’s highly unlikely that they will look to trade up in the first round of the draft on Thursday. But their phones will be open for business to move down. 

Speaking at the team’s pre-draft press conference, Doug Williams didn’t rule out trading up from the team’s first-round spot at 13thoverall but he doesn’t think it’s likely. 

“The chances of trading up might be a little slimmer than trading down,” he said. 

Williams said that the phones in the room will be ringing and that they will listen to any offers. But usually the team that wants to move up initiates the call and because the Redskins are set at one particular position they probably won’t pick up the phone. 

“If we were in the quarterback business, which is what this league is about, if we were in the heavy quarterback business we’d talk about moving up,” he said. “At this time, we can sit back and see what comes up if we stay at 13.”

The Redskins are set at quarterback after they traded their third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for veteran Alex Smith to replace the departed Kirk Cousins. Williams thinks that the Redskins already got good value from the pick. 

“When I think about Alex Smith, I say we got the best third-round pick in the draft,” he said. “I don't care what nobody says. You can't get a better third-round pick.”

Because they think they got a good player, albeit an older one, with that pick, the Redskins are not necessarily looking to make a deal to move back and recoup that pick on draft day. 

Williams emphasized that in order to move back, you have to have a team that wants to trade up. Often that is easier said than done. 

“They don’t just call you to ask you, they have to get a player that they want,” said Williams. “At that particular time, they’re afraid that somebody else might pick him. They might call you to ask you if you want to move back . . . If we move back, that’s because somebody called us to see if we want to move back.”

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