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Redskins Draft Countdown: Miami OT Ereck Flowers

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Miami OT Ereck Flowers

The NFL Draft is just a week 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.

Ereck Flowers
Offensive tackle
Miami (FL)

What they’re saying:

Strengths: Big, athletic frame carrying more than 320 pounds with ease. Ascending mauler in the run game. Bender who is low man off snap and pops hips into block to leverage defender at the point. Combines hips, arm extension and upper-body power to consistently turn his man when base blocking. Once he gets upper hand in run game, he usually sustains and finishes. Secures combo block with a vengeance. Has feet to become solid zone blocker. Mean and highly competitive. Wants to dominate and gets surly when beaten on a snap.

Weaknesses: Pass protection needs plenty of work. Footwork gets sloppy and undisciplined, causing base to narrow. Ducks head into contact and is a leaner in pass pro, creating balance problems. Rarely flat-footed upon initial hand contact. Throws hands rather than firing authoritative punch. Hands ride too high and too wide. Content to become grabby around framework of defender. Flagged for six holding penalties over last two seasons.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: Robert Griffin III recently recounted a conversation he had with Scot McCloughan about the Redskins getting “tough in the trenches”. If that really is their goal they should take a close look at Flowers. I particularly like the parts in the strengths description above where Zierlein talks about Flowers being “mean and highly competitive” and says that “he usually sustains and finishes.” You don’t always find those traits in such big players.

He looks like someone the Redskins could drop in at right tackle opposite Trent Williams and have bookends for the next five years or so. And, although most Redskins fans don’t like to think about this, should Williams depart in free agency after this season, Flowers has the ability to move to left tackle.

Potential issues: His technique is sloppy, particularly in pass protection. It’s odd that he is very light on his feet (at times he moves like someone who is about 30 pounds lighter) but he still has plenty of problems with his footwork.

As we’ve noted here, it’s not unusual for big college players to have some poor fundamentals. They can physically dominate regardless of hand placement or other such technical details. When they get into the NFL and football becomes a full-time job the coaches can work with them to clean up the issues. It will be up to McCloughan to determine if Flowers will be willing to put in the time and if he will be responsive to the coaching.

Flowers also had an oddly ineffective game against Virginia and their edge rusher, Eli Harold. Harold is projected to be a second-round pick so he’s a solid player. But if you have an off day against him you aren’t going to get your quarterback seriously injured. If you have a bad day when Jason Pierre-Paul or J.J. Watt is lined up against you, it could be a different story.

Bottom line: Flowers has visited Redskins Park so there could be some interest there. Earlier in the draft process many projected him to be a second-round pick. But now it looks like he might not last past the middle of the first round. If the Redskins trade back to the middle of the first, Flowers could well be on their radar.

Previously in Draft Countdown:

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The Cardinals could be the cure to the Redskins' pass rushing issues

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USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals could be the cure to the Redskins' pass rushing issues

The Redskins have not had a very good year when it comes to sacking the opposing quarterback. They have 31 sacks for the season, 17th in the NFL.

They had a then-NFL best 32-game streak with at least one sack came to an end in Week 10 against the Vikings.

Ryan Kerrigan is doing well with 9.0 sacks to his credit. Preston Smith has five but only a half since Week 6. Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen were forming a solid interior pass rush tandem early in the year but Allen went on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury and Ioannidis suffered a broken hand that limited his playing time and effectiveness.

MORE REDSKINS: IS GALETTE ON HIS WAY OUT?

But the cure to the Redskins’ pass-rushing ills just may be coming to town on Sunday in the form of the Arizona Cardinals and quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

The Cardinals have given up 44 sacks on the season; that’s 31st in the NFL.

Things have gotten worse in the last couple of weeks, with Gabbert going down a combined 15 times against the Rams and Titans.

If you think that the Cardinals may have hit rock bottom, consider that two starters, left tackle Jared Veldheer and right guard Earl Watford, won’t be playing due to injuries.

Will Holden, a rookie fifth-round pick, will start at left tackle and Evan Boehm, who lost his job to Watford earlier this season, will be the right guard.

Of course, the Redskins have to go out and make it happen. The entire Cowboys offense was slumping until they met the Redskins a couple of weeks ago. They can’t be a haven for a struggling unit once again.

In any case, it is an opportunity that is in front of the Redskins. It’s up to them to take advantage of it.

RELATED: REED LIKELY TO STAY IN 2018

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.

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Need to Know: State of the Redskins, Week 15—Looking for motivation

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Need to Know: State of the Redskins, Week 15—Looking for motivation

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 14, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Cardinals at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences and open locker room after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 10
—Redskins @ Giants (12/17) 17
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 133

State of the Redskins

Top storylines

Jobs on the line? It’s been the conventional wisdom that the jobs of Jay Gruden and his staff are safe, barring a complete collapse at the end of the year. Well, after two ugly losses we are 40 percent of the way to a complete collapse. The Redskins don’t even have to look good down the stretch, they just need to win two of the final three and be competitive in the other. Gruden might be able to survive a couple more games like the Cowboys and Chargers debacles but if that happens I wouldn’t want to be him on January 1, the day after the season ends.

Shutdowns started—Jordan Reed going on injured reserve could be the first of a few moves to end the seasons of players who won’t be healthy in time to play in more than one or two games. It lets the player dive into rehab and it lets the team sign and get a look at a player who can stay on the roster through the offseason and compete for a roster spot in 2018. There could be more coming up until Week 17.

Playing out the string—Last week, when the Redskins were technically alive for the playoffs they apparently couldn’t muster enough motivation to prepare properly. It will be interesting to see how they react this week with their playoff odds reduced to zero.

Last three games

Sunday vs. Cardinals (6-7)—The Cardinals have fallen even further than the Redskins. Two years ago, they were on their way to a first-round bye and an appearance in the NFC title game. This season they are 6-7 after suffering from a raft of injuries, including losing their starting QB and All-Pro running back David Johnson. Can two teams with nothing to play for put on an entertaining show?

Christmas Eve vs. Broncos (4-9)—And in comes another team that has fallen even further and harder. The Broncos were lifting the Super Bowl Trophy two years ago. Now, the defense that spearheaded that run is still solid but without a reliable quarterback, they are having issues. At this point, your guess at if it will be Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, or Brock Osweiler starting at quarterback is as good as mine.

New Year’s Eve @ Giants (2-11)—Will this game be bye-bye to Eli? Changes are coming to New York and Manning, sometimes a Redskins nemesis and sometimes a player who gift-wrapped wins for Washington, could be on the way out. The Redskins could be playing to avoid the kind of upheaval that has already begun in the Big Apple.

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.

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