There is a long held belief that if an NFL team has a strong player at eachof the following positions secured, success should follow: quarterback,offensive tackle, pass rusher, corner. While the specific weight put on eachhas varied over the years - more than ever passers are paramount to goodfortune in this overt aerial age and some will argue the value of a left tacklehas dipped - the overall concept is one I've followed since my younger days(Ken Beatrice had something to do with this).CBS Sports NFL writer Pete Prisco used this angle to come up with his "four-prongedrankings", focusing on the 2012 season - with seemingly little to zeroemphasis on the future, on upside.Let's emphasize that last point because I feel confident it will take readersof this post, from the rabid face painters to the doom and gloomers, a fewmoments to even comprehend where Prisco's calculations put the Redskins. Let's put it this way. If you used Beatrice's catch phrase "YOURNEXT" every time a new team was revealed, you would utter it 31 times,uncovering every other NFL franchise before the Redskins popped up. After theColts and Vikings, after the Seahawks and Cardinals come the burgundy and gold.Here's how Prisco's math on the locals came to be:- the top player on each team at each position is ranked 1-32 within hiscategory (in other words, Brian Orakpo is listed but not Ryan Kerrigan). Thetop player receives 32 points and so on. However, factoring in the pass-happytimes we live in, points are doubled for the quarterbacks. - The Redskins core four of Robert Griffin III (26 among quarterbacks),Trent Williams (19), Orakpo (14) and DeAngelo Hall (31) combined for 49 points.That's two less than the Cardinals, who managed to somehow top the Redskinseven though the position of their best player (Larry Fitzgerald) is not evenpart of the equation. - The 49 points is also 86 less than the team in first. Nope, not thePackers with Aaron Rodgers (the No. 1 quarterback) or the Texans with premiertackle Duane Brown or the Jets and top pass defender Darrelle Revis. In the truestdefinition of adding insult to injury...the Cowboys finished first (rankingDeMarcus Ware tops among pass rushers helped)- Like the draft, RG3 came in one spot behind of Andrew Luck - but alsotrailed Mark Sanchez, Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel. Like I said,upside apparently meant squat. -As for Williams and Orakpo, theirrankings seem reasonable(Orakpo is ahead of the 49ers' top blitzer Aldon Smith). Truth is, so doesHall's. No doubt having to scroll down and down this list to find the Redskins was surprisingand instinctively put me into a dukes up position, at first anyway. Obviouslyif the rookie quarterback does a reasonable Cam Newton (11) or Andy Dalton (19)impression, Griffin's ranking will have been too low. Looking at the passers inany way beyond a 2012 prism changes the list, for the good, for the locals thatis.For now, RG3s low number combined with Hall receiving no help from the Russianjudge put the Redskins building blocks into the unenviable position of looking upat all others, on this list anyway.
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Final seven-round Redskins mock draft
Here we go. No trades. If you like big guys you’ll like the first four picks.
Round 1, DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama—I think that Vita Vea will be off the board; it’s looking more and more like he will go the Raiders at 10 or Miami at 11. Payne might be the better player anyway, assuming that Jim Tomsula can coach some pass rush out of him. If Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James is on the board the Redskins may have to adjust their thinking.
Round 2, OL Billy Price, Ohio State—I had a running back in mind here but the run at the position came earlier than expected. Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb were all off the board. The decision was to get a guy to insert at left guard and complete a home-grown O-line that can hopefully create running room for whatever back takes the handoff.
Round 4, RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State—I’m going with the best available running back here. The analytics types really like his combination of size (6-1, 228) and speed (4.46 in the 40 at the combine). Also, he shared carries with the Sun Devils so is a relatively low-mileage back (450 carries in four years). Ballage scored eight touchdowns in a game as a junior so he could be what the team needs in the red zone.
Round 5, DL R.J. McIntosh, Miami—The Redskins have spent so little draft capital on the defensive line over the past two decades that it’s easy to justify doubling up there in one draft. McIntosh is a project, but he has high-level athleticism and quickness and those are traits you can’t teach. It might take him all of this year and next offseason in the weight room to build up his core strength and to add some weight onto his 286-lb. frame.
Round 5, CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin—While working out for the Lions last week, Nelson suffered a torn meniscus. That dropped his draft stock from perhaps being a Day 2 pick to one who should still be on the board on Saturday afternoon. The rehab for the 2017 All-Big Ten selection has been estimated at three to four months, meaning that he could be ready for the start of training camp. One more note: he was the Badgers’ punt returner last year and he averaged 8.6 yards per return with one touchdown.
Round 6, TE David Wells, San Diego St.—While Jay Gruden and Doug Williams both seem to be confident that Jordan Reed will be healthy and ready to go by the time the regular season starts the truth will emerge in the draft. If they take a tight end early, they are very concerned about Reed. If they wait until this point in the draft and take a project like Wells, they are only moderately worried.
Round 7, WR Auden Tate, Florida State—He’s coming off of a separated shoulder and that might push the 6-4 Tate down the board. Tate would be a project; he only caught 65 passes in 22 game at Florida State. He doesn’t have blazing speed (4.68 in the 40) but he competes for the ball and he could be a good red zone asset.
Round 7, CB Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech—You can’t have too many corners or edge rushers and since there aren’t enough of the latter to go around in this draft I took a corner here. Stroman doesn’t have ideal size at 5-11, 182 but he paid attention during his four years with the Hokies and he plays with good technique.
Tandler on Twitter
In response to a suggestion that former kick returner Devin Hester should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer:
—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 16
—OTAs start (5/22) 27
—Training camp starts (7/26) 92
The Redskins last played a game 115 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 137 days.
In case you missed it
- Alex Smith will need to be a fast learner for the Redskins to be successful
- The Redskins' draft strategy is shifting
- Terrell Edmunds should be a mid-round Redskins safety target
- Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely
- Doug Williams talked about the draft, but actually explained 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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