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Redskins draft countdown: West Virginia WR Kevin White

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Redskins draft countdown: West Virginia WR Kevin White

The NFL Draft is just over six weeks away and I’ll continue researching draft prospects. 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.

Kevin White
Wide receiver
West Virginia

Height: 6-3
Weight: 215
40 time: 4.35 sec.

What they’re saying:
Strengths: Has desired NFL frame for the position. Goes and gets the ball with consistency. Had issues with drops in 2013 after transferring in from JUCO, but caught everything in sight in 2014. High points the ball. Asked to run more types of routes in 2014 and delivered with increased productivity.

Weaknesses: Pigeon-toed and runs heel to toe. Allowed to play in space and must learn to get off line of scrimmage against press coverage. Must answer questions abound about his top-end speed.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: I know that many of you are going to scream that wide receiver is not a need and the team can’t waste the No. 5 pick on a pass catcher. The first thing I would say to that is that you’re not paying any attention to McCloughan, who says that he will take the best player available. I’ve also said that need often does factor into the grade that determines the best available. But in this case that doesn’t matter because the team does have a need to draft a wide receiver.

You have to keep in mind that a draft is more about seasons 2-4 years from now than it is about the coming season. Even that high in the draft, the emphasis is on the future. Let’s look at the current top of the depth chart at wide receiver. Pierre Garçon will be 30 by the start of the 2016 season and DeSean Jackson will be 30 by the end of it. Their salary cap costs combined will come in at a little under $20 million. It will be time to replace at least one of them.

Once you establish the need the rest is easy. He’s the big, fast, physical receiver the team hasn’t had in, well, forever.

Potential issues: He’s only had one big year at the collegiate level. After starting out at a junior college he transferred to West Virginia. In 2013 he had just 35 receptions for 507 yards and five TD’s. Then in 2014 he exploded with 109 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. It’s fair to have concerns that he was a one-year wonder.

Bottom line: The conventional wisdom is that the Redskins will take an edge rusher at five and you can count me in as a fan of both Randy Gregory (Countdown profile here) and Dante Fowler Jr. (profile here). But I don’t necessarily see McCloughan going what the Mel Kipers and Mike Mayocks of the world think he will do.

It will be hard for McCloughan to resist White’s upside. I’d rate it as a mild surprise but not a complete shock, if he pulled the trigger on the big, fast wideout.

In his own words:

On what was behind his jump in production from his junior to senior years:
Motivation. My junior year I put bad film out there. That's not the kind of receiver, the kind of player I am. Going into my senior year, I just put everything on the line and do what I had to do . . . Like I've been telling teams. It finally clicked. I'm going to do what I have to do. I'm going to work hard and do anything and everything possible that I can.
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

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.