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Redskins Draft Countdown: Clemson edge defender Vic Beasley

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Clemson edge defender Vic Beasley

The NFL Draft is six weeks away and I’ll continue researching the prospects throughout the lead-up to the draft. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.

Vic Beasley
Edge defender
Clemson

Height: 6-3
Weight: 246
40 time: 4.53 sec.

What they’re saying:
What I liked:  You are looking for pass rushers with explosion who will transform themselves on occasion to an absolutely unstoppable force.  Out of his stance he explodes up field and either goes right around the edge with a blur and the type of body angle that says “edge force” or he sets that up to spin back inside.  He is relentless and he cannot wait to blow up a play.

What I did not like:  It completely starts and stops with the reality that he is 6’3, 235.  Basically, he is the same size and weight as Seattle safety Kam Chancellor.  It means that he would be one of the very smallest edge rushers in the NFL and you would have to know that the second he gets there, opposing teams would run right at him.  He is not stout and he is not going to stand his ground when teams do run at him.
Bob Sturm, Dallas Morning News

How he fits the Redskins: I think that the need for another edge rusher after the departure of Brian Orakpo is pretty well established. Yes, Trent Murphy can start there if you need him to and although he works hard and can be effective he is not the sort of premiere pass rusher you want going after the quarterback’s blindside. Beasley is among a group of players who could fill that role.

Beasley is a playmaker, with 25 sacks and additional 44.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The plan would be to have him and Ryan Kerrigan, who can also be a disruptive force, make for a week of sleepless nights for opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators.

Potential issues: As Sturm noted above, Beasley is on the small side. Other than the obvious issues that might create in rushing defense, Scott McCloughan generally prefers bigger players. Compared to the other top prospects at edge rusher the Redskins might be considering with the fifth pick Beasley gives away 15 pounds to Dante Fowler and is almost two inches shorter than Randy Gregory.

It should also be noted that being a bit smaller isn’t necessarily a fatal flaw in McCloughan’s book. “I think it is a big man’s game, but I think it’s a football player’s game. It’s not about the height, weight and speed,” he said as his introductory news conference in January. “It’s about consistency and being a football player every day.”

In other words, McCloughan delivers a slightly more elegant version of the old saying that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. It’s likely that McCloughan will like Beasley’s fight.

Bottom line: Taking a stab at what might happen in a draft that isn’t for another five and half weeks is risky. But it seems to me that the three things the Redskins are most likely to do with the No. 5 pick are, from most likely to least likely, are draft an edge rusher, trade the pick, or draft a wide receiver. Beasley, Gregory, Fowlers, and Shane Ray will all go under the microscope at Redskins Park.

The odds are that not all four will cut it in the NFL, at least to the extent where using the No. 5 pick was be justified. At the very least McCloughan will have to pick out the player or players who aren’t going to make it and avoid them. If he can pick the best player out of those who remain, that’s a bonus.

So Beasley will get his shot and we will see how it works out for him.

In his own words:

Beasley on where he’ll play in the NFL:
“The majority of the teams are going to want me to play outside linebacker and I’m fine with that . . . Outside linebacker, D-end, I’m willing to play either one. Whatever the team I get picked by and whatever position they want me to play, I’m willing to move wherever they want me to move.”
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 20, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 45
—NFL Draft (4/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 232

The Redskins week that was

Jags big win could spell bad news for Kirk Cousins—If the Jaguars’ accomplishment of getting to the AFC championship game does indeed make Blake Bortles’ job safe, the laws of economics say that the amount of money that Cousins can command in a free agent contract should go down. It’s the demand part of supply and demand and if demand goes down, prices should, too. But the NFL quarterback market doesn’t follow the laws. If the Lions see fit to pay Matthew Stafford, a quarterback under whom they have had very limited success, a contract with an average annual value of $27 million without any team bidding against them, that sets the price.

Setting the odds on what happens with Kirk Cousins—Despite his happy talk at the 106.7 The Fan event earlier this month, the possibility that Cousins will play in a Redskins uniform in 2018 does not warrant a large bet of imaginary casino chips. If you missed the post, take a look and let me know what you think of my assessment.

Don't freak out about latest Zach Brown tweet—It’s that time of year. A player sends out a tweet with no context and fans assign the worst possible meaning to it. In Brown’s case, a tweet about not getting respect was interpreted as a sign that contract negotiations with the Redskins were not going well. But JP Finlay found out that the tweet was about Brown being upset that another alternate getting selected to the Pro Bowl and not him. It still is unclear if Brown will return to the Redskins but at least there are no indications of rocky negotiations at this point.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins? Brown was a solid free agent acquisition for the Redskins last year. Terrelle Pryor, not so much. Take a look at the post for the other hits and misses in free agency.

Tweet of the week

Even though the draft is over three months away there are plenty of opinions out there as this tweet drew a ton of reaction. On the offensive side of the ball, the suggestions ran towards quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield although some want a running back. It will be interesting to see how those two non-conventional quarterbacks look after they spend the next few months under the microscope of the NFL draft process. The defensive name that kept coming up was Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, a large specimen who could play the nose in base defense and move to three-technique in nickel.

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.

In case you missed it

 

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.