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Redskins 2016 draft possibilities: Three corners who could be on the radar

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Redskins 2016 draft possibilities: Three corners who could be on the radar

With the busy portion of the free agent signing period over, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2016 NFL Draft and, specifically, holes Redskins GM Scot McCloughan still must fill. (And, yes, there are many.) Over the next few weeks, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will examine the prospects who could be a fit in Washington. 

Up today…

Cornerback

Depth chart: Bashaud Breeland, Chris Culliver, Quinton Dunbar, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Jeremy Harris, Dashaun Phillips and Al Louis-Jean. 

Current situation: A quick glance at the cornerback depth chart underscores the team’s pressing need at this position. Breeland, after a breakout sophomore campaign, is a bona fide starter. After that, however, there are many questions.

Culliver is on the mend after tearing his ACL and MCL in late November. The team hopes he’ll be ready for Week 1. The team expects Dunbar, a wide-receiver-turned-corner, to take a big step this offseason, his first full offseason as an NFL defensive back. Blackmon might get some reps at safety, another area of immediate need. Ditto for Everett, who is also a standout special teamer.

Harris, Phillips and Louis-Jean? Who knows? Louis-Jean is the most experienced of the trio (nine career games) but he didn’t even play last season.

So, yeah, cornerback is an area that General Manager Scot McCloughan needs to shore up. The only question, it seems, is whether he'll target a surefire starter in the first round or a seek to uncover a gem in the mid-to-late rounds.

Either way, it would be surprising if this year’s haul didn’t include a corner (or two) following a season in which Washington’s pass defense ranked 21st or worse in yards permitted, yards per attempt allowed, passing touchdowns yielded and interceptions.

Three possibilities:

Listed at 6 foot 1, 199-pounds, Apple possesses good size, length and speed and projects as a potential No. 1 corner. In two years as a starter, he produced a combined 86 tackles, four interceptions and defended 17 passes. Mock drafts have him going anywhere from 13th overall to 25th.

Kendall is the fourth Fuller brother to suit up for the Hokies. But after strong freshman and sophomore campaigns in Blacksburg, he suited up for only three games in 2015 because of a meniscus injury that required season-ending surgery. Good thing for him teams have outstanding tape from 2013 and 2014 to evaluate. Listed at 5 foot 11, 187-pounds, Fuller racked up eight interceptions and defended 24 passes his first two seasons at Tech. Projected as a second rounder.

  • Jonathan Jones, Auburn

At 5 foot 9, 186-pounds, Jones lacks the size that McCloughan prefers in his corners but he does possess good speed (high school sprinter and hurdles champion) and hands. He enjoyed a breakout season as a junior in 2014, snagging six interceptions and defending nine passes. As a senior had one pick and 13 passes defended. The Redskins reportedly met with Jones at his pro day. Projects as a 4th-6th round pick.

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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USA TODAY Sports

As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

Want more Redskins? 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!

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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