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Smith, Sanchez and other draft thoughts

Smith, Sanchez and other draft thoughts

The NFL draft takes place in a week from Saturday and the Washington Redskins will be on the clock at pick number 13. They also have picks in the third (80th overall), fifth (150), sixth (186) and a compensatory pick in the seventh (243). The second- and seventh-round picks are vaporware, having gone in trades for Jason Taylor and Erazmus James respectively. The fourth-rounder was used to obtain Pete Kendall.

Those are all the picks they have for right now. There is a lot of talk about trading down to pick up some extra selections as the Redskins did last year. Of course you have to find a partner to do that and in most cases a team won't commit to trading up until the pick that they may want is on the clock to ensure that the player that they covet will be there.

If, say, quarterback Mark Sanchez is on the board at #13, the Redskins' phone could well be ringing off the hook. The Jets need a QB, and they pick at No. 17. They could slide up to get Sanchez and give up their third-round pick to do so.

They could trade out of the first round altogether like they did last year, but that seems unlikely. It would take three second-round picks to get the 13th pick and as of now no other team has the ammo to be able to pull this off.

Another way to gain up additional picks is to trade selections in future years. While I don't think that Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn are on the hot seat to the extent that some do, I wouldn't be shocked to see them pull the trigger and use the team's 2010 first-round pick a year early. The standard formula is that next year's first gets you a second this year and if there is a player that the Redskins want sitting there and a team is willing to deal, they could well do it.

If the Redskins do pick at 13, who will they take? If I had to take a guess right now—and, unlike others, I will admit that this is just a guess—I'd say Alabama tackle Andre Smith. Yes, he blew off the combine, and he appeared to be a fat tub of goo at his pro day. Yes, he was suspended from the Crimson Tide's bowl game for a violation of team rules. However, if he's there he's the best player on the board, hands down. I'll take three years of game film showing a guy who has produced more pancakes than IHOP over the past three years over a couple of months of suspect behavior. Certainly, the Redskins would have to do their homework but in the absence of any red flags prior to February of this year they should pull the trigger.

It appears that more and more teams are starting to look at film of Smith rather than examine his pro day girth, however, and Smith may not be there at 13. Another choice at offensive tackle, Michael Oher of Mississippi, is sliding in the opposite direction so the Redskins may not be able to upgrade the tackle position in the first round. The worst mistake you can make is to reach to fill a need.

Will they take Sanchez? Mel Kiper created an uproar on Redskins message boards by listing the USC product as the Skins' selection at #13. I think that there is about a 10% chance that he is right. You have to look at the fact that Jason Campbell is in the last year of his deal and the recent Jay Cutler pursuit has to make you believe that the Redskins think that they can upgrade the position. While they say that Campbell is their man, I don't think that they'll hesitate to pull the trigger on Sanchez if he's by far the best player on their board.

My dark horse for the pick is running back Knowshon Moreno of Georgia. I think that they have to have someone who can be productive in spelling Clinton Portis, and they need to look beyond the Portis era. If there is no salary cap in 2010, in fact, that era could end sooner rather than later.

Things should settle down in the next week or so and I'll post a revised guess prediction for the pick. I am planning on doing a live blog for both days of the draft so check back for details on that.

The first excerpt from my new book The Redskins Chronicle has been posted. Go here to take a look. To find out more about the book and to sign up to get notified when it gets published, go to RedskinsChronicle.com.

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 19, 54 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 46
—NFL Draft (4/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 233

Things change quickly

Two years ago today, the Redskins were in the process of picking up the pieces after their 35-18 home loss to the Packers in the wild-card round of the 2015 season playoffs. How many of the 22 players who started that game for Washington are still with the team? You may be surprised to find out just how few are likely to be with the Redskins when the season opens in September.

Offense:

WR DeSean Jackson—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
WR Pierre Garçon—Signed with 49ers as a free agent last year.
WR Jamison Crowder—Still with the Redskins
TE Jordan Reed—Still with the Redskins
LT Trent Williams—Still with the Redskins
LG Spencer Long—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
C Kory Lichtensteiger—Retired following the 2016 season
RG Brandon Scherff—Still with the Redskins
RT Morgan Moses—Still with the Redskins
RB Alfred Morris—Signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 2016
QB Kirk Cousins—Set to be a UFA, you know the story here

Of the 11 offensive starters, five are still with the team, one has retired, three are employed by other teams, and two are headed into free agency. The chances of either Long or Cousins returning currently hover under 50 percent, although things can change.

Defense:

DE Chris Baker—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
DE Jason Hatcher—Retired following the 2015 season
NT Terrance Knighton—Signed with the Patriots following the 2015 season but was cut and he hasn’t played and subsequently retired
ILB Will Compton—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
ILB Mason Foster—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Still with the Redskins
OLB Trent Murphy—Spent 2017 in injured reserve, set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Bashaud Breeland—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Will Blackmon—Released last September, currently unsigned
S DeAngelo Hall—Set to be an unrestricted free agent, likely to retire
S Dashon Goldson—Released after 2015 season, currently unsigned

Only one starter, Ryan Kerrigan, is under contract for 2018. Of the free agents, Breeland is likely to depart and things are up in the air regarding Foster, Compton, and Murphy.

To sum it up, out of 22 starters in that game played 740 days ago, only six are certain to be with the team in 2018 while nine have either signed elsewhere, spent 2017 out of football, or have retired (10 if you count Hall).

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.

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Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Most NFL teams usually carry at least six wide receivers, but going into the 2018 season, only Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis hold signed contracts with the Redskins.

That means Washington must consider adding receiver help via free agency, especially considering Harris and Davis rarely played in 2017. Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant both played with the Burgundy and Gold in 2017, and while Grant has a solid chance to return, it would seem Pryor will head elsewhere after a disappointing season in D.C. 

Like every year, a number of receivers will be available via free agency, but what guys make sense for Jay Gruden's team? Let's take a look at three different scenarios, knowing Washington likely needs to add at least one free agent wideout. 

RELATED: MOCK DRAFTS LINKING 'SKINS TO BAKER MAYFIELD

  • Expensive: Jags WR Allen Robinson - A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson posted a 1,400-yard season in 2015 and has shown the ability to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL. He's 6-foot-3 with speed and leaping ability. In 2016, his numbers dipped to less than 900 yards receiving, but that season the Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles struggled significantly. Here's the thing: Robinson blew out his knee in the NFL opener in 2017, and that might make his price tag drop a bit. Word is the former Penn State star should be fully cleared by early March from the injury, and just 24 years old, he will be intriguing. Washington showed they would spend for a wideout in 2017 with the Pryor signing, but they did so on a one-year deal. If Robinson finds the free agent market not as robust as he wants, maybe a similar short-term deal could be reached?
  • Reasonable: Colts WR Donte Moncrief - A third-round pick in 2014, Moncrief also had a big sophomore season in 2015. He grabbed 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. That was his only full 16-game season, as injuries have continued to be an issue for the 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. wideout out of Ole Miss. In 2016, only playing in nine games, he still contributed with seven touchdowns. In 2017, his numbers slipped big-time, and he posted less than 400 yards receiving in 12 games. Moncrief's problem isn't talent, it's health. That means he could be relatively cheap, and at just 24 years old, that contract might bring a strong return. 
  • Wild Card: Jets WR Eric Decker -  The Redskins have lacked a true veteran wideout since DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the team following the 2016 season. Decker will turn 31 in March and would give Washington a different presence in the WR meeting room. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons playing with Peyton Manning in Denver and went to the Super Bowl in 2013. In 2015, while teamed up with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing for the Jets, Decker again hit the 1,000-yard mark and hit the end zone 12 times. Throughout his career, Decker has been a solid red zone threat and has shown the ability to win on tough routes. He will need to take a big pay cut from the $4.5 million, one-year deal he signed in Tennessee in 2017, but that has to be expected considering his paltry production. In 16 games with the Titans, Decker logged 563 yards and only one TD. Decker might make sense, though the cost would need to be low. 

There are plenty of other names to watch, guys like Seattle's Paul Richardson or Buffalo's Jordan Matthews. Free agency opens in mid-March, and some connections between the Redskins and wideouts will start prior to that.

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