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Redskins pre-draft depth chart review: Defense

Redskins pre-draft depth chart review: Defense

The Redskins’ depth chart is beginning to take shape after some free agency gains and losses. Let’s take a look at where they stand on each side of the ball. Yesterday we looked at the offense; today, the defense goes under the microscope.

Starters are listed first, reserves roughly in the order they would appear on a depth chart.

Defensive line: Kedric Golston (NT), Stephen Paea, Chris Baker
Reserves: Ricky Jean Francois, Kendall Reyes, Ziggy Hood, Corey Crawford, Jerrell Powe (NT), Anthony Johnson, Christo Bilukidi, James Gayle, Kamal Johnson

It seems unlikely that Golston will actually be the nose tackle Week 1 but he was identified as the current starter by Jay Gruden a couple of weeks ago so that’s who we’ll go with. This looks like a bit of a logjam but actually it’s about right in terms of numbers; they will take about 12 defensive linemen to training camp. It’s likely that there will be some roster churn here after the draft as picks and undrafted free agents take the roster slots of some of the players down the depth chart.

Outside linebacker: Junior Galette, Ryan Kerrigan
Reserves: Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, Houston Bates, Jackson Jeffcoat, Willie Jefferson, Lyndon Trail, Desmond Bishop

They could trim one or two players here but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Redskins go into training camp with most of this group intact. One change could be Murphy moving to the defensive line but that’s something that will be sorted out during OTAs and possibly training camp.

Inside linebacker: Will Compton, Mason Foster
Reserves: Perry Riley, Martrell Spaight, Terrance Garvin, Adam Hayward, Carlos Fields, Derrick Matthews

Hayward didn’t play at all last year after suffering a torn ACL during a preseason game and his roster status is up in the air. The Redskins could go into camp with the group they have now at this position.

Cornerback: Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland
Reserves: Will Blackmon, Quinton Dunbar, Jeremy Harris, Dashon Phillips, Al Louis-Jean

Culliver is recovering from a torn ACL and the best-case scenario is for him to be ready for training camp. If the Redskins don’t add a corner in the draft they will probably sign at least one or two undrafted cornerbacks. A veteran acquisition after the draft is also a possibility.

Safety: DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho
Reserves: David Bruton, Kyshoen Jarrett, Deshazor Everett

Jarrett suffered an injury that has left him with limited strength in his right arm. He has gone to visit a specialist. At the moment, he could be ready for the start of training camp and he could miss all or most of the season. In any case, the Redskins will want to bring in two or three more safeties to fill out this unit for camp.

Tomorrow: A birds-eye view of the entire roster and the adjustments that will need to be made before the start of training camp.

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.

Vikings @ Lions

Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.

Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.

Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.

Chargers @ Cowboys

Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.

Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues. 

Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that. 

Giants @ Redskins

The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.

Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.

RELATED: NEW AND IMPROVED WEEK 12 FANTASY RANKINGS

Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.