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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Who needs a quarterback?


2018 NFL Mock Draft: Who needs a quarterback?

No offense to the running backs like Penn State's Saquon Barkley or pass rushers like LSU's Arden Key or wide receivers like Alabama's Calvin Ridley, but per usual, quarterbacks are kings of the draft class. Just realize this isn't about any one passer though USC's Sam Darnold or UCLA's Josh Rosen might be the first player chosen. Several gunslingers may push their way into the first round.


Which teams jump into the fray for one of them is the intrigue.

Some organizations are dealing with quarterbacks hitting free agency, namely the Redskins with Kirk Cousins and the Saints with Drew Brees.

Others continue wandering the desert in search of help, like the Browns and Jets. Another faction must rapidly determine a long-term solution because their long-time starter is nearing the end like the Giants with Eli Manning and the Chargers with Philip Rivers.

Plenty of moves leading up to the draft will change needs, but for now here's a ranking of the teams in need from least to most likely to select a quarterback in the first round.


Saints -- Drew Brees is still awesome, but he makes a ton of money. Can the two sides agree on a one-year deal that keeps the Super Bowl hero in town and doesn't break the Saints salary cap while they remain a playoff contender? Something tells me an agreement is reached. 

Colts -- Andrew Luck is the quarterback. Season wasted by injury or not, he's the franchise. Of course, the owner apparently thinks the shoulder injury is in Luck's head. Neat. If this tinfoil hat stance becomes a true brawl -- or is real -- then Indianapolis might look to move on from Luck, in which it would move way down this list.

Broncos -- Denver hasn't come close to figuring out its quarterback situation since Peyton Manning retired -- and wasted two years of a Super Bowl contending roster in the process. If the Broncos think they're still a contender, but 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch isn't the answer, then they might be one team looking for a veteran option. 

Vikings  -- Consider this a placeholder spot until we see what Teddy Bridgewater looks like in his return from a devastating knee injury. 

Jaguars -- Yes, Blake Bortles isn't good, but, well, he hasn't been bad lately. Three consecutive games completing 63 percent or more of his passes. Oh, Jacksonville is 5-3. Keep that up and management might be cool with bringing the band back together. Any sign of Bortles being off-key and the curtain comes down. 

Bengals -- No way Marvin Lewis survives another playoff-season, right? Would a new coach think Andy Dalton is the man or be of the mindset to use a potential top-10 pick on a quarterback?

Dolphins -- There's some sense that Miami just might want to move on from Ryan Tannehill's large contract after he missed the entire 2017 season with a knee injury. He turns 30 before next season and has never quite put it altogether, but the Dolphins could do a lot worse. 

Chargers  - Philip Rivers' completion percentage is hovering just over 60 percent for the second year in a row, but he's thrown 13 touchdown passes to six interceptions. Dude is a straight-up gamer so don't expect him to walk away anytime soon. Los Angeles certainly needs to start planning for the future, but that doesn't mean automatically taking a quarterback in round one. 

Jets -- Props to Josh McCown for not just holding things down, but actually putting New York into the playoff picture. Keep him or not, McCown is no long-term answer. Is Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg? Good question. Probably not, but maybe the Jets decide they'd rather go with the same group for another year.

Redskins -- If Washington slaps a franchise tag on Kirk Cousins for a third consecutive year, remove Washington from this list. If Washington slaps a franchise tag on Cousins again but with a price tag north of $30 million, good luck keeping many of its other key free agents. If Cousins gets a taste of free agent life, look for a departure simply based on the number of other teams in need and a personal belief that he wants out. Of course, the Redskins can match offers if they use the transition tag. If you know which of these scenarios is the true future, hit me up on Twitter at @benstandig. Also drop some lottery numbers while you're at it.

Steelers -- Tricky call here in that Ben Roethlisberger is a Pittsburgh institution and not easily removed. That Big Ben admitted he thought about clocking out via retirement before 2017 means that possibility cannot be ignored. One of those team that might want a solid veteran capable of starting ahead of a kid considering their perennial contender status and having a dynamic receiver like Antonio Brown.

Cardinals -- Carson Palmer is 37 and dealing with a season-ending broken arm and his best days are clearly in the rearview. Drew Stanton is fine as a backup, but that's about it. Arizona's roster won't have the team bottoming out and the right new guy could add the needed spark. Considering the other NFC West teams have young passers -- Russell Wilson, Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo -- the Cardinals need to keep up.

Giants -- Two Super Bowl wins and countless "Eli Manning faces." What a ride, but this franchise needs to clean house with the coaching staff and the new head man should get to start over at quarterback. Whether they go for a new passer in round one largely depends on what they think of Davis Webb. Considering New York looks like a lock for a top-5 pick, this seems like a great time to start over. Then the question becomes who gets Eli???

Browns -- This season Kevin Hogan became the 28th different starting quarterback for the Browns since 1999. They passed on Carson Wentz and DeShaun Watson over the past two years. They're the Browns. 'Nuff said.


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10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

The Redskins had to improve the defensive line this offseason. The defense ranked dead last against the run in 2017, and without improvement up front defensively, the playoffs would again be out of reach in 2018. 

And for the second straight season, Washington tried. 

The team selected Daron Payne out of Alabama with their first-round pick and Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech in the fifth round. The front office also waived under-performing Terrell McClain in the offseason and moved on from veteran A.J. Francis.

Perhaps most important, the team should have 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Allen completely healthy this fall. He and Matt Ioannidis looked like a strong front in 2017 before a foot injury shut down Allen for the year in Week 5. Add in Anthony Lanier, who flashed big-time sack potential, and the Redskins have a strong, young nucleus.  

But how does it all work?

In the base 3-4 scheme, Payne might have the strength to play nose tackle. Settle definitely has the size for the nose. Both are rookies, however, and will need to learn a lot, and fast, to start Week 1. Veteran Stacy McGee, coming off groin surgery, might be able to hold off the rookies if he is fully healthy. When a nose is on the field, expect Allen and Ioannidis to line up at the defensive tackle spots. If he's not playing nose, Payne will rotate in at tackle as well. Another veteran, Ziggy Hood, will provide depth at tackle, if he makes the team. 

In the nickel package, which the team deploys more than half of their snaps, expect to see a healthy rotation of Allen, Payne, Ioannidis and Lanier. Keeping those players fresh should allow interior pocket pressure, and that could be great news for Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith

With Payne and Allen the headliners, and Ioannidis and Lanier valuable, and Settle capable at the nose, the Redskins have five D-line roster spots about locked down. 

Last year, the team kept six defensive linemen coming out of camp. If McGee is healthy, that spot will be his. If he's not, Hood likely hangs on. It's also possible the team keeps seven D-linemen, particularly as they monitor McGee's groin injury. 

The good news is last year, due to injuries and the talent on the roster, a number of players were forced into spots they didn't truly belong. Hood doesn't have the true size to play nose, but he was forced into the position. Lanier is best served as an interior pass rusher, but was forced to be a run stuffer. 

With more investments on the line, and better luck in the training room, the 2018 Redskins D-line should have more people playing where they belong. And that could go a long way. 



Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

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Need to Know: The best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 18, eight days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the running backs are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 rushing yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teamsreceivers, and quarterbacks

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys—He actually finished 10thin the league in rushing yards behind two backs who will face the Redskins. Elliott gets boosted up the list because he was suspended for six games last year. He averaged 98 yards per game played, and had he been able to play in 16 games, he would have led the league in rushing yards with over 300 yards to spare. In three games against the Redskins, he has averaged 110 yards per game and he has five touchdowns. The Redskins’ revamped rushing defense will be tested twice.

Mark Ingram, Saints—He will be coming off of a four-game suspension for Redskins vs. Saints in Week 5. Will he be rested or rusty? If he’s in any kind of form, the Redskins defense will have to be on its game. Last year against Washington in the Superdome, Ingram rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries. 

Leonard Fournette, Jaguars—The rookie did surpass the thousand-yard mark, posting 1,040. Some pointed out that it wasn’t a consistent effort as he gained 310 yards, almost 30 percent of his total, in two back-to-back games in Weeks 5 and 6. That’s fine but he still is a difficult opponent with his combination of size and speed. I look for him to have a big breakout this year. 

Dion Lewis/Derrick Henry, Titans—Lewis averaged 5.0 yards per carry with the Patriots last year and Henry gained 744 yards while sharing time with the now-retired DeMarco Murray. Lewis will play a lot of third downs and will spell Henry sometimes early in games. That will leave the 6-3, 247-pound Henry fresh to grind up the clock if the Titans have a late lead. 

Jay Ajayi, Eagles—Nobody has quite figured out why the Dolphins dealt him to the Eagles in midseason, but Philly was more than happy to add him to the offense. Ajayi became a workhorse in the postseason with 42 rushing attempts and six receptions in three games. 

I do need to mention Giants rookie Saquan Barkley here. I have to think that the second overall pick of the draft will rank somewhere on this list, but without seeing him in an NFL uniform yet it’s hard to rank him. He will be dangerous, no doubt. 

David Johnson of the Cardinals also will be tough to handle. After he missed all of last year with a hand injury it's difficult to rank him, too. If he is in his 2016 form in Week 1 the Redskins will face a tough task. 

Best of the rest: Lamar Miller, Texans, Alvin Kamara, Saints, Ronald Jones, Bucs

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Former Redskins offensive tackle Geroge Starke, one of the original Hogs, was born on this date in 1948.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 8
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 22
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 45

The Redskins last played a game 199 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 53 days. 

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