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Need to Know: What positions are the Redskins unlikely to draft at No. 5?

Need to Know: What positions are the Redskins unlikely to draft at No. 5?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 30, 31 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

There are a few different ways to look at Jay’s question here. Are there positions they won’t draft because of need? Should some positions be eliminated from consideration because the value of the position doesn’t warrant a pick that high? And will the Redskins stay away from a particular position because there isn’t a player at that position who has a chance of being anywhere near the best available player?

We can eliminate the needs consideration because virtually any position on the team that is not an area of need this year is likely to be one in 2016. Plus I think by now everyone is familiar with Scot McCloughan’s mantra that the Redskins will take the best available player regardless of need. So let’s see how the NFL values positions in the draft.

Here are the positions played by the top six picks in the drafts from 2011-2014 (24 total players). It’s a fairly small sample size but 2011 is the first year the current rookie pay system came into place and money became less of a factor in deciding what player to select. This gives us a consistent definition of value. We’re taking the top six because any position that have been taken in that range recently is likely to one that you would value enough to draft at No. 5.

OT—6
QB—4
WR—4
DE—4
CB—2
OLB—2
DT—1
RB—1

So the positions that haven’t been drafted in the top six in the rookie pay system era (if you can call four years an era) are interior offensive line, tight end, inside linebacker, and safety. That doesn’t mean that nobody will ever draft any of those positions early but there would have to be an exceptional player there in order to justify the pick. By the estimation of most draft analysts, such a player does not exist at any of those positions in the 2015 draft.

It should be noted that all of the offensive tackles taken in the last four drafts played left tackle for their teams in 2014. The lone exception is Lane Johnson, taken fourth overall by the Eagles in 2013.

Looking at the positions of the players who have been drafted early in the last four drafts, which ones don’t have anyone worthy of the fifth pick this year? Again going by the opinions of most analysts out there, there aren’t any running backs, cornerbacks, defensive tackles or offensive tackles that would be a good value very early in the draft.

To sum it up and answer Jay’s question, the Redskins’ top draft pick if they stay at No. 5 is unlikely to be an interior offensive lineman, tight end, inside linebacker, safety, cornerback, running back, defensive tackle or offensive tackle.

That leaves quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end, and outside linebacker as the possibilities. I say that with the realization that there are surprises on draft day and anything can happen. But that is the current best guess looking at history and the current list of players available.

Timeline

—It’s been 92 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 167 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 21; 2015 NFL Draft 31; Redskins training camp starts 122

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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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

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.