Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 1, 27 days before the NFL Draft.
—The Redskins last played a game 82 days ago. It will be about 163 days until they play another one.
—Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 17; 2016 NFL draft 27; Redskins training camp starts 118
Less than an hour after I hit the “publish” button on this post about how Scot McCloughan is operating a lot like Packers GM Ted Thompson the news that the Redskins had signed 32-year-old tight end Vernon Davis broke. That was a decidedly un-Thompson like move. So why did McCloughan do it?
For one thing, tight ends are become scarce these days. Spread offenses don’t use them and so the number of quality tight ends coming out of the college ranks seems to shrink every year. McCloughan undoubtedly would rather obtain tight end depth through the draft but it’s possible that he has looked at all of the prospects and decided that the chances of landing one he wants in a place in the draft where he could be the best available player were extremely slim.
It’s also important that McCloughan knows Davis well. He drafted him in San Francisco in 2006. One of the things that McCloughan said that he didn’t like about signing free agents is that you didn’t know how they will fit in the locker room. McCloughan worked with Davis for five years so he knows that the player will fit right in to the Redskins’ culture.
It’s similar to last year when McCloughan acquired just one player over the age of 30, Dashon Goldson. The safety came in a trade but the reasoning is the same. Safety is a tough position to fill in the draft (the better athletes are gravitating to cornerback, where the money is better) and McCloughan knew Goldson from their days together in San Francisco.
Fan question of the day
how can the redskins improve their defense from last season?https://twitter.com/Mrjones1756/status/715249914717061122
I can only scratch the surface of this here but here are the two improvements they can make that I think would have the most immediate impact.
—Increase their sacks and interceptions I don’t see their defensive backfield becoming a shutdown unit so the pass defense will depend on pass rush. The addition of Junior Galette and what should be further development for Preston Smith should help. More pressure will help the defensive backs in coverage and the Redskins may be able to double their interception total from last year.
—Stop the run on first down Sure they need to stop the run all the time. But they were the worst in the NFL on first down, giving up a little over 5 yards per attempt. This is a matter of simple, fundamental defense, with the front seven being where they are supposed to be and not missing tackles.
(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)
In case you missed it
- Knighton on the move—again
- NFL Mock Draft 7.0: Pondering NFC East decisions
- Knighton tweets edited photo in new uniform, confirming D.C. exit
- Redskins sign TE Vernon Davis
- Gruden: Blackmon to serve as 'jack-of-all-trades' defensive back in 2016
- Terp idolizes Taylor, says playing for Redskins 'would be great'
- Redskins' McCloughan doing things the Packers' way
- If there is a Knighton signing it won't affect the Redskins' draft plans