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Redskins Draft Countdown: Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson

The NFL Draft is four 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.

Garrett Grayson
Quarterback
Colorado State

Note: Grayson was unable to participate in the combine drills or Colorado State’s pro day due to a hamstring injury. He did a workout for NFL teams last week; here are his numbers from that session:

  • 40-yard dash: 4.72 and 4.78 seconds
  • Vertical jump: 34 inches
  • Broad jump: 10 feet, 1 inch
  • Short shuttle: 4.35 seconds
  • 3-cone: 6.97 seconds

What they’re saying:
Strengths: Good instincts for the position. Keeps his eyes downfield and shows good spatial awareness to slide up and laterally in the pocket to avoid rushers and extend the play. Good overall athleticism for the position, showing balance and coordination when asked to roll out, as well as good accuracy.

Attempts to lead receivers away from hits, showing above average accuracy in doing so. Good touch on deep passes, including wheel routes, post-corners and verticals . . . Grayson is rarely mentioned among the top quarterback prospects but his vision, pocket mobility and accuracy are intriguing.

Weaknesses: Grayson has a unique wind-up and delivery of the ball that could irk some scouts. His delivery is slower than most and he holds the ball further back, theoretically leaving it all the more vulnerable for defenders to slap away.

He wasn't often asked to drive the ball to the sidelines in CSU's offense and shows only average velocity when doing so.
Rob Rang, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: With so many colleges running the spread offense and its various offshoots, it is getting harder and harder to find an NFL quarterback prospect who ran something similar to an NFL offense. Although the Rams didn’t run a classic West Coast offense, the system Grayson played in was about as close to a pro offense as you’re going to find. As Jon Gruden said, "There's a lot of parts of Colorado State's system that I recognize, unlike a lot of college football."

The Redskins do have three quarterbacks on the roster but none of them is under contract past 2015. If Robert Griffin III can’t show some substantial progress as a pocket passer and if Kirk Cousins can’t shake his interception issues they could be wearing different uniforms next year. It might be a stretch to think that Grayson could be ready to be a starting quarterback in 2016 but the team would be wise to get someone in the quarterback room. Grayson has the potential to fit the system and perhaps develop into a starting quarterback.

Potential issues: Given the way that desperation for quarterbacks can often lead to teams drafting them much higher than they should be, the Redskins may have to use their third-round pick to get Grayson. He might last until the fourth but almost certainly not beyond that. With a lot of needs, can the Redskins afford to use a mid-round pick to add a player who is unlikely to be able to help out at all in any aspect of the game this season?

Bottom line: It will be interesting to see just what Scot McCloughan’s philosophy regarding drafting quarterbacks is. When McCloughan was a scout with the Packers, GM Ted Thompson took a QB almost every year. Some of them, like Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks, became trade bait. Others faded into oblivion like late-round picks often do.

When McCloughan making the draft picks in San Francisco, he used his very first pick on quarterback Alex Smith. In the five subsequent drafts for the 49ers, he tabbed just one QB, Nate Davis in the fifth round in 2009.

If McCloughan is thinking that he’s going to draft quarterbacks frequently, Grayson might be a good one to start with. As noted, dropback quarterbacks with NFL potential are rare and are not going to become any more common in the foreseeable future. It might be wise to get one in the system.

In his own words

Grayson on where he ranks among the QBs in this draft:
“We’re all competing to be the (No.) 1 guy. We obviously know, 1 and 2 guys are kind of at the top of this class, but as a competitor, you’re always trying to be that No. 1 guy. So every one of us – none of us are working to be the third guy, we’re all working for that No. 1 spot. You set out your goals and every day you go to the gym and every single one of us is working to be that No. 1 guy taken.’’
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

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USA TODAY Sports

Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

LANDOVER — At times during the Redskins' 20-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins and Washington's offense performed at a level somewhere between sloppy nausea-inducing.

There was that awful sequence where the offense botched a fourth-and-1 more than they normally do.

There was also No. 8's slightly off-target throw to a running back he barely knows that ended up as six points for New York. And there were plenty less notable, but still gross, plays before and after those.

But Cousins' first touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder was far from gross. It was beautiful. It was creative.

And it showed how the 29-year-old is still developing as a quarterback:

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

"The touchdown he had to Crowder was one of his best touchdown passes that I've seen since I've been here," Jay Gruden said about it afterward.

He's right.

By now, you know the boxes that Cousins checks off as a passer. He has the requisite arm strength. He's usually able to move an offense, even one like the Redskins' 2017 version that includes a ton of spare parts, up and down the field. He has the work ethic and leadership skills. 

But a common knock against him is that he can't extend a play and find a receiver when things aren't there during his initial dropback. And that weakness becomes a glaring one in the red zone.

Yet on Thanksgiving night, there Cousins was, avoiding an edge rusher, stepping up, rolling right and then nailing Crowder right on the numbers for a crucial TD. Like his head coach, Cousins was proud of how that score unfolded.

"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes down field," he said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."

MORE: ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE THANKSGIVING WIN

Cousins' final stats don't stack up to some of his past performances, such as his Week 11 effort in New Orleans where he shined or his pretty perfect evening vs. the Raiders in Week 3. Regardless, this one was encouraging in its own way, because it provided another grlimpse at how the signal caller is becoming more comfortable when things around him become uncomfortable.

Like most of his fellow starters in the league, Cousins has flaws. But the more he plays, the more those flaws diminish. Gruden sees it, he sees it, and you should see it, too.