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Redskins Draft Countdown: Duke G Laken Tomlinson

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Duke G Laken Tomlinson

The NFL Draft is just over 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.

Laken Tomlinson
Guard
Duke

What they’re saying:
"Some scouts see upside with him, but I think what you see is what you get. Clunky in a phone-booth type." -- NFL director of scouting "He was really impressive matching up against true power players at the Senior Bowl. He made Danny Shelton quit on a couple of reps when he couldn't get any push against Tomlinson." -- AFC general manager

via NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan are both going to move the Redskins towards more of a power blocking rushing attack, although there will be some zone plays incorporated. Power is what Tomlinson is about so he would be a good fit in that respect.

Last week Gruden talked about the right guard position and he indicated that he was comfortable going into OTAs with Chris Chester, who has been the starter for the last four years, and second-year player Spencer Long. But Chester is 32 and in the last year of his contract and Long is an unknown quantity. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Scot McCloughan draft a big guard and let him and Long battle it out with Chester possibly ending up as a cap casualty.

After this season, one of the younger guards could be a fit on the left side. Shawn Lauvao’s salary jumps up to $4 million per season after this year and the Redskins could go with a younger and cheaper pair of guards in Tomlinson and Long.

Potential issues: Gruden and Callahan aren’t going to go strictly with a power running game; like most NFL teams, they will mix in some zone plays. Tomlinson has issues on the second level so those will need to be worked out.

Bottom line: Tomlinson is one of the sharpest players in the draft. He is on track to graduate with a double major in psychology and evolutionary anthropology. His aspirations to go to medical school and become a surgeon will go on hold for him to pursue an NFL career. There is not doubt he will be impressive in interviews and that is an aspect that McCloughan values highly.

He is projected to be a second round pick and that may be too high for a guard. It’s a pretty strong draft for the offensive line so perhaps the Redskins will look for a guard later. Then again, the strength of the O-line draft may push Tomlinson down in the draft if other teams have the same idea. If he’s on the board when the Redskins pick in the third he could be hard to pass over.

It seems that Tomlinson would be a good fit with the Redskins and we’ll see if he’s on the board where the Redskins might think he’s a good value.

In his own words:

Tomlinson on doing film work:
“I pick up a lot from watching film, especially with a defender, you want to know what technique or what body posture he tends to go to for certain stunts or blitzes. So film work is real important . . . It’s something that over the years has been more and more important. As you play more, you have more of the experience to apply it to the game.”
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.

Vikings @ Lions

Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.

Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.

Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.

Chargers @ Cowboys

Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.

Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues. 

Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that. 

Giants @ Redskins

The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.

Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.

RELATED: NEW AND IMPROVED WEEK 12 FANTASY RANKINGS

Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.