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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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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

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.