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Why Nate Sudfeld is one clear winner from Redskins 2017 NFL Draft

Why Nate Sudfeld is one clear winner from Redskins 2017 NFL Draft

For months Redskins fans debated if the organization would take a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. The question made little sense though, as Washington has three passers on the roster already.

Certainly Kirk Cousins unique contract situation brought some intrigue to the draft. Might the Redskins consider a draft day trade of their franchise quarterback, especially if the team knows a true long-term deal remains elusive? Even with a rumor floated about the Browns pursuit of Cousins, no trade materialized, as most plugged in Redskins reporters had been suggesting for some time. 

Still, at each Redskins pick national commentators wondered if Washington might look for another passer. Pittsburgh's Nathan Peterman was one name. He lasted until the fifth round when the Bills selected him, giving the 'Skins not one but two chances to draft Peterman in the fourth round. They chose Samaje Perine, a true value pick in the fourth, and Montae Nicholson, an upside play after an up and down career at Michigan State.

RELATED: Redskins deep chart preview: quarterback

Later in the draft, when the 'Skins were flush with picks, the team continued to eschew from quarterbacks. Miami Hurricanes QB Brad Kaaya didn't get picked until the 215th pick. It's possible that the Burgundy and Gold draft board never popped with a QB when the team's pick came up, just simple bad timing. But one thing was certain during the NFL Draft in Philadelphia, teams will make aggressive moves to get QBs they believe in. Washington didn't. Even late in the draft, the 'Skins moved up to get a player they liked in Wyoming's Chase Roullier. The organization wasnt afraid to go get players they liked. 

What does all this mean? It likely means the Redskins believe in Nate Sudfeld.

Drafted in the sixth round in 2016, Sudfeld showed some promise during the preseason his rookie year. At 6-foot-6 and 235 lbs., the former Indiana Hoosier has ideal size for the position. Most important, former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan was a big believer in Sudfeld's promise.

Washington showed again and again that McCloughan's input still mattered on their draft board. Early picks like Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson certainly seem like McCloughan picks - and the former GM scouted Anderson at the Senior Bowl in January. Samaje Perine, the strongest RB in the draft, fits McCloughan's physical football player mold.

Cousins is going nowhere in 2017, and maybe, just maybe, the team and their quarterback get a deal done before the July 15th deadline. Colt McCoy is locked in at backup QB, and the organization believes that he could step in for Cousins and the offense would not be particularly slowed.

And then there's Sudfeld.

Cousins is under contract for 2017, and Bruce Allen made clear the team has more options in 2018. It's entirely possible Cousins is the 'Skins QB for the next five years, a deal could get done, or the team could use the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins in 2018. Let the QB negotiate with other teams, and Washington can match or get compensated for his exit. 

By that time, Sudfeld would be two years in the Redskins system. It's likely he will get a lot of work again this preseason, and the team will be watching his development with a close eye. Should Cousins exit, it's still premature to suggest Sudfeld would emerge as the Redskins starter in 2018, as McCoy is under contract in 2018 also. 

What is clear, however, is the Redskins did not invest in another developmental quarterback in 2017's draft. They must like the development of the passer that's already in house. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles:

The Redskins have to keep the hammer down—They scored the first time they had the ball and then they had a few empty possessions. Washington took a 10-3 lead but the Redskins then got into the cycle of short, ineffective offensive possessions getting their defense back on the field too soon. The way Carson Wentz is playing, if you give him enough chances you will pay for it.

They won’t win if they don’t run—The running backs carries 14 times. Sure, the game got away in the second half, reducing their opportunities, but the rushing game was an issue throughout. In the first half they had a pair of third and ones and a third and two and they passed all three times. All three were incomplete, which led to the issues in the first item here. If the Redskins have a balanced offense they have a shot at beating almost anyone. If they don’t run the ball enough the odds are against them.

MORE: REDSKINS OFFENSIVE, DEFENSIVE MVP FOR PHILLY GAME

Redskins fans have the Cleveland Browns to thank for 10 years of Wentz—The Browns played Moneyball and traded the rights to draft Wentz to the Eagles. Like just about everything the Browns do, it didn’t work out. Now the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys will pay for the Browns’ mistake for years to come. That run out of the pack of rushing linemen was both amazing and critical. It turned a punt back to the Redskins, who were down by seven, into a first down and an eventual touchdown.

The defense needs to get itself off the field—It’s easy to blame the offense for the problems with possessing the ball. But the defense could do its part, too, by getting itself off the field. At times, it feels like the Redskins’ defense is better than it has been in years but they gave up touchdown drives of 81, 80, 80, and 75 yards. At some point you have to show you’re better and get a takeaway or just make a stop to get off the field. Until then, the group has not improved in a meaningful way. I should note that the injuries have something to do with it, for sure. Dunbar did not play poorly but they pay Josh Norman $15 million per year for a reason.

There is a lot of season left to be played—The Redskins are 3-3 and two games away from the midway point to the season. They would have to rely on an Eagles’ collapse to win the NFC East but it’s entirely possible that they could. All but one other second-place team has three losses and the Redskins get their shot at the Seahawks in a couple of weeks. Fans have every right to feel frustrated after this loss but it’s not the end of the line. There still is plenty for this team to play for. Some of the injured players aren’t coming back but if they can round into reasonably good health in the next few weeks they still have a lot that they can accomplish.

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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Instant analysis: Eagles outclass Redskins as Carson Wentz continues stellar year

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USA TODAY Sports

Instant analysis: Eagles outclass Redskins as Carson Wentz continues stellar year

Here are my observations made during the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles.

First quarter

— The Redskins’ got into the red zone on their first drive with Kirk Cousins passes to Vernon Davis for 31 yards and Jamison Crowder for 20 keying the advance. But they had to settle for Nick Rose’s first NFL field goal.

—Defensively, the Redskins dominated in the first quarter. The Eagles had no official plays before having four penalties, leading to a first and 33. Quinton Dunbar ended that possession with his first interception of the year. The Eagles got their first third-down conversion of the day in the last minute of the quarter.

Second quarter

—The Redskins gifted the Eagles three points by committing consecutive facemask penalties during Carson Wentz runs. Three weeks ago against the Chiefs, a penalty-laden drive helped KC score a touchdown. Not as costly this time but the score is tied 3-3.

—Did you have a parlay bet on Vernon Davis getting two 31-yard receptions tonight? If so, you hit it. His second such catch was the key in the Redskins’ second scoring drive. This time, they got it in from the red zone when the Eagles forgot to cover Chris Thompson, giving him the easiest seven-yard TD reception you’ll see.

—After a sack, the Eagles got the equalizer with a 64-yard bomb from Wentz to Mack Hollins. The Redskins rushed only four for one of the few passing downs so far and Wentz had plenty of time to launch the long pass.

—In the first half, Cousins was 0-3 passing on third down with one or two yards to go. He was 12-13 for 167 yards in all other situations. 

—That third failure to convert on third and short eventually cost the Redskins. A few plays after taking the punt Wentz went to Zach Ertz for 41 yards to the Washington 18. That led to a four-yard touchdown pass to Ertz to put the Eagles up 17-10 at the half.

Third quarter

—Jason Peters, the Eagles’ former All-Pro tackle who is still playing well, was carted off the field early in the third quarter with a leg injury. Meanwhile, Wentz completed four passes and scrambled for 21 to set up first and goal at the six. On third and goal at the nine, Wentz escaped a heavy rush and pitched a touchdown pass to Cory Clement. The Redskins just can’t get off the field on defense and they are down 14 points.

—At that point, the Redskins had run six plays since they took a 10-3 lead. The Eagles had run 23.

—The Redskins cobbled together a drive after getting the Eagles to go three and out for the first time since the first quarter. Cousins scrambled for eight yards, and then he passed to Doctson for 17. It was goal to go after Jordan Reed went up and caught Cousins' pass for a gain of 20 to the five. On the next play, it was Cousins to Reed for the touchdown. It was Reed’s first score of the year and it made it a ballgame again at 24-17.

Fourth quarter

—The Redskins seemed to have the Eagles stopped with another three and out but somehow Carson Wentz got out of a crowd of several Redskins, avoided the sack, and converted a third and eight. That put the momentum back onto the side wearing the green jerseys and they completed the drive with a TD pass from Wentz to Nelson Agholor to restore Philly’s two-touchdown lead.

— The Redskins’ last chance at a miracle rally ended when Kirk Cousins threw a third and six pass right into the arms of Philly safety Corey Graham. Cousins was hit on the play but it still wasn’t a good pass. There was no Redskins receiver in the area. We will await an explanation from Cousins after the game.

—Washington got a cosmetic score with 3:17 on a 75-yard drive that ended with another Reed touchdown reception.

sStay 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.