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Need to Know: The five best players drafted with the 34th pick


Need to Know: The five best players drafted with the 34th pick

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 9, 29 days before the NFL draft.

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Here are the five best players drafted with the 34th pick since the first AFL-NFL common draft in 1966. (per the Approximate Value metric):

1. LB Jack Ham, career AV 112 (drafted in 1971 by the Steelers)—Ham went straight into the starting lineup as a rookie and started all but three games of the Steelers run of four Super Bowl titles in six years. He was first-team All-Pro six times and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

2. CB Lem Barney, 99 (1967, Lions)—A shutdown corner before the term was invented, Barney was one of the bright spots on a string of mediocre to awful Lions teams from 1967-1977. He made six Pro Bowls, was first-team All-Pro twice and he has a bust in Canton as well.

3. DB Carnell Lake, 81 (1989, Steelers)—Lake played for the Steelers from 1989-1998, a time when they were winning games but they were unable to add “one for the thumb”. They lost his only Super Bowl appearance following the 1995 season. He made four Pro Bowls with the Steelers (plus first-team All-Pro honors in 1997) and one more in Jacksonville in 1999. He finished up his career with the Ravens in 2001.

4. G Chris Snee, 75 (2004, Giants)—Snee was with the Giants for both of their recent Super Bowl wins and has been one of the more solid lineman in the league since he came to the Giants in 2004. He has four Pro Bowls and earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2008. Snee is the only active player on this list.

5. DB Tim McDonald, 71 (1987, Cardinals)—Quite the ball hawk at safety, McDonald picked off 40 passes in 13 NFL seasons. He spent the first six with the Cardinals before moving to the 49ers. After becoming the Cardinals’ starter at strong safety in 1988 he missed just five starts in 12 years. McDonald made six Pro Bowls including five straight from 1991-1995.

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—It’s been 101 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 151 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Draft 29; Training camp starts 105

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.


Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?


What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!