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Redskins top pick Jonathan Allen progressing slowly, by design

Redskins top pick Jonathan Allen progressing slowly, by design

We haven’t heard much about Jonathan Allen, the Redskins’ top pick in the draft, during the Redskins’ OTAs and minicamp. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Allen is struggling or behind schedule.

The nature of the offseason program is one reason why it has been difficult for Allen to stand out. The practice in conducted in helmets and shorts and there is no contact allowed. As much as any position, the defensive line is about contact.

“All we can work on right now is the work ethic and how they’re picking up the system, where they’re fitting, where they’re getting their hands on people,” said Gruden. “But as far as shedding and rushing, it’s really hard. It’s hard to go out here and coach team drills and say ‘OK, we’re competing but don’t compete because we’re not live and we can’t hit anybody.’ It’s a fine line. It’s hard to coach that.”

RELATED: Hall, Redskins agree to new contract

Like all the rookies, Allen got a late start in the offseason program. By the time he was drafted and participated in rookie camp on May 13, the veterans had been working together learning Greg Manusky’s new defense and the ways of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula for almost a month. Add in to Allen, of course, being new to pro football and he had a lot to learn.

“It’s been a lot of work, a lot of catching up to do to catch up with the guys,” Allen said early in the OTA schedule. “Really, just doing whatever I can to jump on board and get better, help the team win some ball games, that’s what it’s about.”

Tomsula, who comes in with a reputation as a defensive line guru, said that he is bringing Allen along slowly.

“There’s a big curve here,” he said. “I’m not going to throw him to the wolves, you know. I have a president and a vice president and a head coach and a defensive coordinator who agree with that. Everybody wants to see him walk in, get in that spot, and go. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to let him learn and understand what we’re doing and then go after it.”

It’s a learning curve for all of them because it’s a new defense. But that guy’s coming from college. It’s a different game. It is. Everybody can say what they want but in there at that position it’s a different game. 

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Practice report: Wrapping up minicamp

The head coach seems to be happy with the No. 17 overall pick.

“High, you know, very high,” he said when asked about his opinion of Allen’s progress. “Coach Tomsula is working him very hard. He’s going to get stronger. He’s going to do a much better job in the weight room getting himself in better shape. He works hard. Very smart football player, can play multiple spots on the line. He’s got physical, strong hands. He can shed blockers with ease. So I have been impressed with him. I think he is going to be a heck of a player for us for a long time.”

The part about the weight room and getting stronger is often overlooked. Certainly, Allen was in a top-notch conditioning program in college at Alabama. But preparing for the combine and pro days and team workouts take away from their strength conditioning. By the time the strength and conditioning staff at Redskins Park got a hold of him and the rest of the rookies, a lot of workout time had passed.

Allen still will be learning and getting stronger when training camp comes around. He could get off to a slow start but there seems to be little doubt that there will be appearing often in opponents’ backfields sooner rather than later.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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. 

MORE 2018 NFL DRAFT:
- 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

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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.