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Redskins mock draft roundup: Edge rushers rule

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Redskins mock draft roundup: Edge rushers rule

The Redskins have a first-round pick for the first time since 2012 and not since 2011 has there been some doubt about the player the Redskins will take with that top pick. That means that Redskins fans have not been able to have fun with the mock draft game for four years. Let’s take a spin around the World Wide Web and see what the more well known draftniks have to say about who the home team will take with the fifth overall pick.

These are partial comments from the analysts; click to see the full breakdown.

Peter King, The MMQB
Trade back with Eagles
*Trade: Washington gets Philadelphia’s first- and second-round picks this year, and first- and fourth-round picks in 2016. Washington could be moving from five to 20 in the first round by doing this deal, with GM Scot McCloughan scoring points with his new boss for not giving away the store in a trade, but rather acquiring the store.
My comment: What amounts to two seconds and a fifth (picks in future years are generally discounted by a round when evaluating trade value) is not nearly enough to move back 15 spots and give a division rival their QB of the future. It would have to be an offer they can’t refuse and McCloughan could easily refuse this.

Don Banks, SI.com
DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska
With Brian Orakpo heading into free agency after his injury-shortened 2014 season, Washington goes out and lands a substantial upgrade for the pass rush in the draft’s top five.
Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports
DE Dante Fowler Jr., Florida
In the Fowler-over-Randy Gregory argument, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry had more success with the forceful edge players such as Melvin Ingram (when he was healthy) in San Diego . . .
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports
OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson
With Brian Orakpo set to hit free agency, pass rusher will be high on the Redskins' wish list. Beasley absolutely crushed the Combine . . .
Rob Rang, CBS Sports
OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa
Jay Gruden's success as the play-caller in Cincinnati came with one of the league's biggest offensive lines. He inherited one of the smallest in Washington and there is no question that upgrading the talent there will be an offseason priority.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report
Fowler
McCloughan has favored athletes with long arms and big hands in his previous stops, which is what makes Dante Fowler such a good fit here. Fowler is only 6'3", but his arm length of 33.75" is very good. Add in a 9.5" hand with an impressive 261-pound frame, and Fowler is one of the bigger edge-rushers in the class.
Ben Standig, CSNwashington.com
DE Shane Ray, Missouri
Ray recorded 14.5 sacks this season at Missouri. Not sure what the Missouri star's addition means for Trent Murphy in the starting lineup - please, don't tell me about packages-, but it should mean applying more pressure on the Tony Romo's of the world.

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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.