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Redskins practice report: Day 13

Redskins practice report: Day 13

RICHMOND—This is it, folks, the last day of practice this year that I'll be able to watch and write about in any amount of detail. So follow along as I give you the highlights as they unfold.

--Yesterday I managed to make it thorough practice without my iPad crashing due to the heat. I'll try the same techniques as I did yesterday but if some time goes by without an update, that's why.

--It sure seems as though Perry Riley watches an awful lot, even during special teams drills. I wouldn't be surprised if he's a surprise cut on Sept. 3.

Callahan coaching them up.#Redskins

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--Good technique by Logan Paulsen to use his body to shield Mason Foster while catching a short route. It's stuff like that that coaches love and gives him a chance at sticking around for another season.

--There was a brief scare yesterday when Ty Nsekhe went down with what looked like a knee injury. But after a minute or two on the ground he got up and walked around. It was near the end of practice. He's back full go today.

--Jordan Reed has a knack for making little plays look spectacular.  He just made a one-handed catch of a desperation short pass that Kirk Cousins flipped in his direction. ;Just routine, he stuck out a paw and pulled it in.

--Trent Williams is not playing in full team work. He could still play against the Jets if he's able and if the coaches think he needs to, even though there is only one more full practice between today and the game.

--Seven on seven has been mostly lackluster for far. Right when I was walking up Couins hit on a long one to DeSean Jackson. I saw Josh Norman trailing him but I'm not sure how close he was or what happened on the play.

--If reps over the last few days are an indication, Dashaun Phillips is the first nickel cornerback. He is in there with the first team whenever nickel is called for. That puts Kendall Fuller at the No. 4 CB, a somewhat low status for a third-round pick.

--Will Blackmon just missed tipping a pass away from Ryan Grant. And by just missed I mean a few inches. Grant made the grab and turned upfield.

They are close to wrapping this up (Gruden said they might cut it short due to the heat) and my iPad is overheating so that will be in from Richmond. Thanks for following along.

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The Redskins drafted for need, and this time, that is just fine

The Redskins drafted for need, and this time, that is just fine

ASHBURN, Va. -- After months, and maybe years, of the Redskins front office explaining that the NFL Draft came down to taking the best player available, the organization might have veered from that strategy Thursday night.

The Redskins selected Alabama defensive lineman Da'Ron Payne with the No. 13 overall pick. It's a fine selection, but the team made it not necessarily because Payne was the best player available, but because he was the best player available at a position of desperate need. 

"There were quite a few guys that were worthy of that pick, quite frankly, but for what we were looking for and the fit, I think Da’Ron is perfect for us and what we were looking for," Washington head coach Jay Gruden said after the first round ended.

Payne should help right away on the Redskins defensive line, but plenty of fans want to know why the team didn't select Derwin James and Tremaine Edmunds at No. 13. Both freak athletes, James could have helped the Redskins' secondary while Edmunds could help at the linebacker spot and rushing the passer.

Asked specifically if Payne was on top of the board at No. 13 with Edmunds and James present, the coach wasn't quite crystal clear.

"Yeah, he was up there. There’s a lot of scenarios we tried to play through and guys were getting picked and we’re happy as heck to get Da’Ron. He’s one of our top guys."

For Gruden and the Redskins, this pick was about competing in the NFC East.

"You see what’s going on in our division with Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott and Philadelphia, the way they run the ball," the coach said. "Our [2017] ranking on defense wasn’t quite up to speed at 32nd."

The coach is right. 

The Redskins struggled mightily last season against the run, coming in dead last in rush defense. In turn, they struggled in the division, going 1-5. Dallas and Philadelphia already run the ball very well, and now by drafting Barkley second overall, the Giants could be a strong run team too. 

There is no question Payne will step in and help against the run, and that should happen immediately. Gruden even said the Redskins will use Payne at the nose tackle position, likely with Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis lined up next to him. 

The question on Payne is pass rushing ability, and he's eager to prove it's no question at all. 

"I’m going to get after the pass rush and just dominate the run every chance I get," the new Redskins said in a conference call with media. 

In thre years at Alabama, Payne logged three sacks. Read that again. It's not a misprint. 

For interior defensive line players, sacks aren't always a great measure of effectiveness. Getting good push up the middle disrupts the quarterbacks time in the pocket, and that often results in sacks off the edge. Payne should be able to help in that capacity.

"I think he's got great power, and a lot of times the sacks that don't show up on the stat board, he enabled other guys to get them because of the push of the pocket that forces the quarterback outside. I think Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Ryan Anderson will be very happy to have Jonathan Allen and Da'Ron Payne in the middle pushing that pocket," Gruden said. "Stats don't always tell a story about pass rushers."

The Redskins made a smart, safe pick with Payne. He will help the team from Day One. 

The Redskins eschewed the chance for a riskier, but maybe more rewarding pick in Derwin James or Tremaine Edmunds. And that's ok.

If Payne boosts the run defense, like he should, he will be proven worth the No. 13 pick.

If Payne boosts the run defense, and proves capable as a pass rusher, then Redskins fans will forget all about James and Edmunds. 



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Da'Ron Payne's first reaction after being drafted No. 13 by the Redskins

Da'Ron Payne's first reaction after being drafted No. 13 by the Redskins

Many top draft choices chose to head to the NFL Draft, hear their name called and get the pomp and circumstance that comes with all that is the NFL Draft. 

The Washington Reskins' No. 13 pick Da'Ron Payne was not one of those prospects. 

Instead, Payne watched the draft surronded by close friends and family.

The reaction was memorable: 

Some draft picks choose not to come for fear of slidding down draft boards, or worse: not being picked in the first round at all. 

So he doesn't get to meet Roger Goodell. He doesn't get a Redskins' jersey on draft night.

But this video wouldn't exist if the defensive tackle from Alabama chose to go to Dallas, Texas on draft night.