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Redskins draft countdown: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook

Redskins draft countdown: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 10 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players the Redskins will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.

I am not a scout but I will pass along my observations from watching some game tape of each of the players profiled here.

Dalvin Cook

Running back
Florida State

Height: 5-10
Weight: 210
40-yard dash: 4.49

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Explosive lower body and coordinated feet to start, stop and redirect quickly. Elusive athlete and can make defenders miss in a phone booth, showing exceptional body control and instincts in his jump cuts. Senses his surroundings well and anticipates spacing in his runs. Quick to read blocks and sets up his moves with patience and feel. Runs balanced with a low center to escape tackle attempts. Runs with better-than-expected toughness between the tackles

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: Rob Kelley is a great story and he’ll gain some yards for the Redskins. But he’s not a great running back and that’s what Dalvin Cook can be.

He averaged 6.5 yards per carry and 11.8 yards per pass reception in his three seasons at Florida State and he scored 48 total touchdowns. Last year Cook rushed for 140 or more yards in seven of the 13 games he played.

The Redskins could be in their last year with Kirk Cousins as their quarterback. If he is gone in 2018 they could struggle to move the ball through the air. A running back like Cook, who has the potential to score from anywhere on the field from anywhere every time he touches the ball, could help a new quarterback get adjusted.

Film review (2016 unless indicated): vs. Miami, vs. Michigan (Orange Bowl)

Cook ran out of a variety of formations in FSU’s pro-style offense. He took handoffs out of a single-back set, the I-formation, on either side of the quarterback in the shotgun and from the pistol.

His blend of vision and acceleration is impressive. On one play against Miami he saw a crack in the middle of a pack of blockers and defenders. He burst through it, found open ground and turned a five-yard play into a long gain.

Cook will need some work with pass protection. A lot of the time his tendency was to lean into a blitzer rather than setting his feet and delivering a block. He seemed tentative at times, perhaps because, like most star college backs, he didn’t work on it a whole lot. That will change when he gets into the NFL.

He’s not a big back but some of his more impressive runs are to the inside, where he finds some space and makes four yards when zero yards seem to be there.

In the Orange Bowl against Michigan he lined up wide left and ran a go pattern. He got a step on the defender and made the catch for a 45-yard gain. Lining up wide likely would be more of an occasional wrinkle than a regular alignment but he could give the defense something to think about.

If a defender who wants to bring Cook down, using proper tackling form is strongly suggested. He slips through arm tackle attempts with relative ease.  

Potential issues: There are a few potential red flags. One is injuries. He has had shoulder surgery three times, one on his left shoulder and two on his right. While none of them was serious, the fact that he has had three of them is a concern.

So has the fact that he has been arrested three times. Charges were dropped twice, once for robbery and once for possessing and discharging a weapon on school property. Those incidents took place when he was in high school. In 2015 he was charged with misdemeanor battery outside of a bar and he was found not guilty.

A guy can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and run afoul of the law once or twice. When it happens a third time you must at least question his judgement.

Finally, ball security was a major problem for Cook. He fumbled once every 63.8 offensive touches. To compare, Leonard Fournette of LSU lost the handle at a rate of 82.1. On the other end of the scale was Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, who coughed up the ball just once every 243.7 touches. A fumble rate of about once every 100 touches is acceptable in the NFL so Cook will have to work hard on hold on to the ball.

Bottom line: Sure, the Redskins might want a defensive lineman who is stout against the run and capable of rushing the passer to be available with pick No. 17. Maybe a stud inside linebacker would help. But there is a good chance that there won’t be one of those on the board worth the 17th pick.

So if you can’t help your defense with the first-round pick maybe the next-best thing is to help your running game. Cook could keep the chains moving and keep the defense off of their field. If the Redskins decide that the red flags are worth the talent there might not be another move that they can make that will help their defense more than drafting a back like Cook.

In his own words:

On working on ball security:

You’ve got to take care of the ball as a running back. It’s something that I watch a lot of tape on and it’s always the man you don’t see. When you’re fighting for those extra yards you’ve got to take care of that football and chinning the ball is something I worked on and I feel like I improved on it.”

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

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


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Good news Redskins fans: Jason Pierre-Paul shipped out of NFC East


Good news Redskins fans: Jason Pierre-Paul shipped out of NFC East

The Giants shipped out Jason Pierre-Paul for life as a Buccaneer, and in turn, Tampa will send a third and fourth round draft pick to New York.

Moving Pierre-Paul comes at a curious time for the Giants. The team will eat $15 million of dead money in the move, and New York also sent a fourth-round pick to Tampa as part of the transaction. 

What it definitely signals is that Big Blue looks to be moving from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 look. Additionally, with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, maybe the Giants will seriously look at NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb. 


For the Redskins, seeing Pierre-Paul leave the NFC East is welcome news. He has 12.5 career sacks against Washington QBs, the same amount he has against the Eagles and Cowboys combined. 

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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Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

The Redskins and linebacker Zach Brown agreed to a three-year contract that will require Brown to continue to play at a high level if he is going to collect all of the $21 million the deal contains.

Brown’s camp reportedly was shopping for a contract that had some $20 million in guaranteed money. The actual deal fell well short of that.

Brown, who was leading the league in tackles before an assortment of injuries forced him to sit out the last three games, got a total of $5.5 million in fully guaranteed money. He got a $4.5 million signing bonus and his $1 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed.


After that, the remaining two seasons essentially are team options. In 2019 he has a $6.75 million salary and $4.5 million of that is guaranteed for injury. His 2020 salary is $7.5 million with no guarantees of any kind.

The contract also has per-game roster bonuses available at a rate of $15,625 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster in 2018 (total of $250,000 for the year) and $31,250 per game in 2019 and 2020 ($500,000 total).

The salary cap hits per year are as follows:

2018: $2.75 million
2019: $8.75 million
2020: $9.5 million

The average annual value of $7 million ranks ninth among inside linebackers.

Brown will need to continue to play well to collect on the contract. The team will be able to save $5.75 million on the 2019 cap if they terminate the deal after one season and $8 million if they do it in 2020.


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