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Watson was an elementary choice for Ryder Cup

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Watson was an elementary choice for Ryder Cup

Remember this before saluting PGA of America officials for going ``outside the box'' when they selected Tom Watson as the next Ryder Cup captain.

They're the ones who built the box in the first place.

With due respect to Larry Nelson, who has more reason than ever to believe he will never be a captain, and David Toms, who looked to be the best option inside the box, it's tough to argue against Watson as the perfect pick for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland.

This is not so much a risk as a break from tradition. If there's a complaint, it might be what took the PGA of America so long.

``I was waiting about 20 years to get the call,'' Watson said.

It came at the right time. The 2014 matches will be played in Scotland, which treats Watson as one of its own. That's where he won four of his five British Open titles, and he embraced everything about the home of golf. And even as the captain of the enemy team, Watson has a short history of playing well before a crowd that wanted the other guys to win - the ``Duel in the Sun'' against Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry in 1977, and his chip-in on the 17th at Pebble Beach that denied Nicklaus a record fifth U.S. Open.

Once the PGA of America finally got out of its box, Watson was the logical choice.

For too many years, there was a feeling that a Ryder Cup captain had to be a major champion in his late 40s - old enough that he probably wouldn't qualify for the team, young enough to still be playing on the PGA Tour so that he would have a pulse on the players, their skills and their personalities.

Watson will be 65 when the 2014 matches are played in Scotland, making him the oldest captain in Ryder Cup history.

Is he still in touch with today's game?

One answer came Sunday in Sydney when Watson had the lowest score of the final round (69) in the Australian Open. He offered an even stronger answer Thursday in the Empire State Building without even being asked.

``The idea of being captain for a team of youngsters will be questioned,'' Watson said. ``I deflect that very simply by saying we play the same game. I play against these kids at the Masters. I play against them at the British Open, the Greenbrier Classic. We play the same game, and they understand that. I understand that.''

The other question about the selection was his relationship with Tiger Woods, which shouldn't be a factor and won't be.

In the months after Woods was caught having extramarital affairs, Watson didn't mince words when he said it was time for Woods to show a little more humility and ``clean up his act.'' Privately, Watson had been on Woods for his language on the golf course, even before Woods' personal life came undone.

Woods might hold grudges over little things, but he tends to take the high road on weightier matters. It was not surprising to see him issue a statement, just minutes after Watson was introduced on the ``Today'' show, to congratulate Watson and say that ``I think he's a really good choice.''

``Tom knows what it takes to win, and that's our ultimate goal,'' Woods said, adding that he hoped to have the ``privilege'' of playing for him.

Watson returned praise to Woods that was even more effusive.

``He's the best player maybe in the history of the game,'' Watson said. ``He brings a stature to the team that is unlike any other player on the team. And if he's not on the team for any unforeseen reason ... you can bet that he's going to be No. 1 on my pick list. My relationship with Tiger is fine. Whatever has been said before is water under the bridge. No issues.''

Any American team is better off when Woods' presence is minimized. Through no fault of his own, his stature is such that every U.S. team tends to be looked upon as Tiger Woods and 11 other guys. In Scotland, this will be Watson's team.

One overrated aspect of having Watson as captain is that he is far enough removed from these players that he won't coddle them, allowing them to dictate who they want as partners and when they want to play. That's easy to identify as a problem in defeat. It worked just fine for Davis Love III when the Americans had a 10-6 lead going into the last day at Medinah. If not for Ian Poulter's five straight birdies or Justin Rose making a 35-foot putt, that's not even an issue.

You want a captain who calls all the shots? That didn't work out very well for Hal Sutton, who was saddled with a team in poor form.

No matter who is captain, the players still decide who gets the gold trophy.

``The most important thing is for me as a captain is to get lucky,'' Watson said. ``I just hope I get lucky and that happens, that the players that are coming there are all playing well, and that we're playing as a team, it will put us in a good chance of winning the tournament.''

Most fascinating is the man indirectly responsible for Watson being considered - the late Jim Huber, a respected, cheerful television commentator and essayist with a passion for golf and a good story. Huber, who died in January of leukemia, wrote a book called, ``Four Days in July,'' about Watson coming within an 8-foot putt of winning the 2009 British Open at Turnberry when he was 59.

Huber's last golf assignment was the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. He gave PGA of America officers a copy of his book before he left. Ted Bishop, appointed last month as PGA president, knew he was going to be in charge of picking next the captain. He read the book on the flight from Bermuda, and he called Huber with a question when he got home.

``What would you think of Tom Watson as Ryder Cup captain in Scotland in 2014?''

For all the fuss over Nelson and Toms not getting a call about the selection of a captain, turns out they were never under serious consideration. The PGA of America was looking for the right man for the right time. And once it stepped outside its box, the choice was obvious.

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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.