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Redskins Draft Countdown: Kentucky edge defender Bud Dupree

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Kentucky edge defender Bud Dupree

The NFL Draft is just over two 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.

Bud Dupree
Edge defender
Kentucky

What they’re saying:
What I liked: In watching edge rusher after edge rusher in this portion of our study, it is clear that some just have the tools and technique to get the corner naturally and with ease. Bud Dupree has a certain element of “DeMarcus Ware” to his game and is as natural as you would hope. He explodes off the snap and around a tackle at times and on his day is one explosive play after another. He also had several occasions this year where on run plays he would jump through a gap before the guard/tackle could close the window and be on the running back as he takes the hand-off, leading to a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.

What I did not like: There are moments where you want more. As impressive as he is, his production level of only 7.5 sacks in 2014 and 7 sacks in 2013 does make you wonder. He really looks like he has a gear he can find at any point, but in watching 200 of his snaps or so, I would have guessed I was watching a 15-sack season this year. That did not happen for him.
Bob Sturm, Dallasnews.com

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins allowed 27.4 points per game last year, 29th in the NFL. Their secondary could be marginally better after some additions but if the pass defense is going to improve (24th in yards allowed, 32nd in TD passes, 32nd with 108.3 opp. passer rating) the pass rush will have to get better. Dupree is a very good if somewhat unpolished edge rusher, explosive and versatile. He played all over the Wildcats’ defensive front, inside and outside, left and right, on two feet and with his hand in the dirt. The Redskins could use a flexible player as new defensive coordinator Joe Barry will use multiple fronts and a pass rusher who can line up anywhere to keep the offensive will be welcome.

Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot had Dupree drop back into coverage on a significant number of snaps. He will need some work on NFL coverages; he usually just dropped back into a zone. But he does have the experience in pass coverage, something that a number of college edge rushers lack.

Potential issues: In fact, Dupree may have too much experience in pass coverage. As Strum noted, his numbers were not what one might expect from a stud pass rusher. On analyst noted Dupree spending a lot of time in coverage and that doesn’t lead to big-time sack numbers.

His tackling technique is a bit sloppy and that resulted in some missed opportunities for sacks so that might account for some of his low sack totals.

In some instances it seems that Dupree just reacts to where the ball is going rather than reading the play. As a result he ends up chasing after the ball at times where getting a half a step advantage would have had him in the thick of the play. This is something that can be helped with coaching and film study. One thing that Scot McCloughan will have to do is determine how hard Dupree is will to work to improve his impressive natural ability.

Bottom line: In a strong pool of pass rushers, most analysts have Dupree is somewhere below the elite group of Shane Ray, Dante Fowler, Vic Beasley, and, prior to the revelation of his positive drug test at the combine, Randy Gregory. But the fact that the Mel Kipers of the world rank Dupree behind those players doesn’t necessarily mean that McCloughan or other NFL GM’s will.

Still, I don’t see the Redskins taking Dupree if they stay with the fifth pick in the draft. It seems that Fowler or Beasley would be a better pick; so might wide receivers Amari Cooper and Kevin White. But a trade back to a pick somewhere in the early teens could give the Redskins a solid edge rusher in Dupree and some added picks later to fill other holes.

In his own words:

Dupree on playing in both two- and three-point stances and dropping into coverage.
I think they’ve got me at linebacker [at the combine] because they’ve seen me do the three-point stance . . . I’ve got a lot of film in the 3 point stance and standing up. I think any team can see that I can play both positions . . . I’m very comfortable [in ocverage]. I got more comfortable this year by doing it a lot at practice, covering the slot . . . I played inside linebacker from my sophomore year to my senior year.
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was 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. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

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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Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

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!