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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a center with their top pick?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a center with their top pick?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 28, 31 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 78 days ago. It will be about 167 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 21; 2016 NFL draft 31; Redskins training camp starts 122

Hot topic

For some reason, the idea of the Redskins drafting Alabama center Ryan Kelly in the first round has caught fire with the fan base. I have been asked about it out of the blue multiple times on Twitter. My answer is always some variation of saying that he’s a good player and they might draft him No. 21 overall. But the team needs impact players, playmakers. You don’t get those by drafting interior linemen in the first round for two years in a row.

Let me state the obvious here—it’s always good to have a great player on the team no matter what position he plays. Having a great center and a great right guard, assuming that Kelly and Brandon Scherff, who was last year’s first-round pick, both develop into great players, would be a good thing for the Redskins.

But a great center has much less impact on a game than a great wide receiver or a great running back has. A cornerback who can dominate a game is better to have than a guard who can dominate his man. There are reasons why good wide receivers generally get drafter higher than good centers and why top cornerbacks make a lot more money than top guards.

The best way to get good players at the impact positions is to draft them and, generally speaking, the higher the better. Good interior linemen can be found later in the draft. Scot McCloughan needs to look at impact positions, including the defensive line, when making this year’s first-round pick. They can either choose a center from the several options on the roster or take one later in the draft.

Fan question of the day

I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking about so I’ll take it in two directions. The defensive player who will have the green dot on his helmet, the one who gets the signals radioed in from the sideline, will be Will Compton. As the Mike linebacker, he will call the signals in the huddle. So, in that respect he will be the quarterback of the defense.

But who will be the leader of the unit, the defensive captain? That is up in the air right now. Last year it was Dashon Goldson but he has been released. There is a possibility that he may return but nothing has happened beyond just talk that the door is open. And he may or may not be the captain if he comes back.

There are two obvious candidates to replace Goldson. One is DeAngelo Hall, who was a captain for a while when Mike Shanahan was here and was one with Gruden in 2014 before he tore his Achilles in Week 3. The other is Ryan Kerrigan. He has shied away from taking a leadership role but he now has the tenure (going into his sixth season) and the paycheck (5-years, $57.5 million extension given last year) that say he should step up and lead.

(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)

Stat of the day

In 2014 Kirk Cousins’ passer rating on third down was 46.4. Last year it improved to 100.9.

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Need to Know: If Kirk Cousins leaves, with the Redskins rebuild or retool?

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Need to Know: If Kirk Cousins leaves, with the Redskins rebuild or retool?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 16, 57 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 49
—NFL Draft (4/26) 100
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 236

Nickel coverage—Five Redskins questions

Taking a look at some of the key questions surrounding the Redskins, sometimes coming up with more questions in the process. Yes, it's going to be that kind of offseason. 

What will the Redskins do at left guard? It would be better for the Redskins to find their left guard in the draft, but assuming that the successor is picked after the second round, they will want someone to start until the rookie is ready. That could be Arie Kouandjio or maybe a veteran free agent.

Can the Redskins make do with what they have at running back? The short answer is no. The running back situation needs attention. It’s hard to picture Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley forming a formidable tandem, or even a very good one. I’m wary of spending a high draft pick on an RB, but the success of the likes of Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette have to be factored into the thinking.

Are the Redskins OK with Zach Brown and Mason Foster at inside linebacker? For the time being they are, assuming that they are able to sign both of the unrestricted free agents, however the Redskins need to continue to build that position. That means continuing to develop Josh Harvey-Clemons to use in nickel situations and spending draft resources there. Even if Brown and Foster are back, the Redskins might be smart to grab Roquan Smith out of Georgia if he’s there in the first round.

If they are without Kirk Cousins, will the Redskins rebuild or retool? This is a key question for the organization. If Cousins leaves, do they just try to plug in the best available/affordable quarterback they can find and roll on with the same basic personnel with which they have hovered around .500 the last three years? Or will the make other changes, perhaps moving on from Josh Norman and Jordan Reed to save cap money for future seasons and give their younger players a chance to establish themselves? The latter might be the better way to go but this organization rarely considers short-term pain for long-term gain.

If Junior Galette leaves, who replaces him? While Galette did not light it up in the sack department, he put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He is likely to leave since he would remain behind Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan on the depth chart if he re-signed in Washington. Can they rely on 2017 second-round pick Ryan Anderson to take a giant leap in his sophomore season? Will they try to lock up free agent Trent Murphy and hope that he can bounce back from an ACL injury he suffered last August and regain his nine-sack form of 2016? I don’t see how they can rely on Anderson to suddenly provide pressure after recording zero sacks this past year. Whether it’s Murphy or another free agent, someone with a better track record has to be in the picture. If Anderson improves enough to move ahead of that player on the depth chart, so much the better.

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.

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?

RELATED: FORMER TERP PLAYS HERO IN VIKINGS' MIRACLE PLAYOFF WIN

Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 

RELATED: WHAT REDSKINS CAN LEARN FROM THIS WEEKEND'S PLAYOFF GAMES

Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.