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Redskins' Spaight: OTAs 'are make or break for me'

Redskins' Spaight: OTAs 'are make or break for me'

Martrell Spaight had a pretty good 2015 for the first eight and a half months of the year. The former Arkansas linebacker was drafted in the fifth round by the Redskins. He had a solid offseason and training camp, made the 53-man roster, and played in the season opener.

But in Week 3 he was placed on injured reserve due to a concussion and all he could do after he recovered, a process that he said took about a month, was work out and attend meetings.

Things didn’t get a whole lot better for the inside linebacker after the calendar turned to 2016. The Redskins re-signed Mason Foster, who was signed after Spaight went to IR. As expected, Will Compton was retained as an exclusive-rights free agent. They brought in Terence Garvin as a free agent. Both Perry Riley and Adam Hayward were retained despite talk that they might become salary cap casualties. Finally, Washington drafted inside linebacker Steven Daniels in the seventh round.

Spaight will face a lot of competition when it comes to making the roster and, if he does, in fighting for position on the depth chart. He is taking nothing for granted after what he calls his “redshirt year.” He sees OTAs as a critical time for him.

“I feel like it’s make or break for me, coming out here, just trying to get better day by day, just learning and trying to be a great linebacker,” he said after one of last week’s OTA sessions. “Every day I come out there, every rep I take has got to be precise, it’s got to be perfect.”

At this point, he is putting any thoughts of long-term issues that could be caused by concussions aside.

“Every athlete knows the consequences of playing this sport,” he said. “It’s just what we choose to do, what we love to do . . . If it happens, it happens. You’ve just got to make the choice on what you want to do.”

Still, it was a difficult season for Spaight. “It’s tough, it’s real tough,” he said when asked about sitting out last year. “You really want to be out there playing as a rookie and going through. I was just sitting at home watching the game on TV, I wanted to play.”

The Redskins will probably keep five inside linebackers. Right now it looks like Foster, Compton, and Riley are locks to make it. That leaves Spaight competing with Daniels, Hayward, and Garvin for two spots. Spaight and the others will be sweating it out right up until the final cuts are in on September 3.

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Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

For months, draft conversation suggested that there wasn't an offensive tackle to pick in the Top 10. And after Bradley Chubb, there wasn't an edge defender worth a Top 10 pick either. 

All of a sudden, that conversation is changing. 

Late charges from Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and University of Texas San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport are starting to influence mock drafts.

On Wednesday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted the 49ers to take McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick. Charley Casserly, in a mock draft with NBC Sports Washington on Monday, predicted the Chicago Bears take Davenport with the eighth overall pick. Reports on Landry are all over the place, but some guess he could break the Top 10 as well.

The thing to remember about the NFL: It's a passing league. Positions tied to the quarterback are the most important, and that means protecting the QB and getting after the QB is in high demand. No position will ever get over-drafted like quarterback, but it's not a surprise that teams might reach for players at tackle or edge rusher.

What does this mean for the Redskins holding the No. 13 pick?

It means great news. 

Washington will already benefit from four QBs going in the Top 10. That will likely push down an elite talent to their draft spot.

If McGlinchey, Davenport or Landry also crack the Top 10? Even better.

The Redskins need help at just about every position group on the defensive side of the ball. It's well documented how the team struggled against the run in 2017, but the defense also lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason. 

There will be a number of weapons available for Washington at 13, and that could include players like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James in addition to Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne. It might mean Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith lasts to 13 too. 

For the Redskins, Fitzpatrick or James at 13 seems like a steal. Both players present elite potential at the evolving position of nickel cornerback. They can play some corner, some safety, and James might even be able to play some linebacker. 

Regardless of the eventual destination for James or Fitzpatrick, if more surprise players sneak into the Top 10 on Thursday night, the better Washington's options become. And that includes the possibility of trading down, Vea or Payne, Smith or Edmunds.

More elite options at 13 only helps the Redskins. 

Redskins fans should be rooting for Mike McGlinchey, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport early Thursday night. The folks in Ashburn will be. 

- Mock Draft 9.0: Almost draft day
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick

Want more Redskins talk? Of course you do. Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.

A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury. 

Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.

Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.

That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:

Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.