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2019 NFL mock draft: How many teams selecting ahead of the Redskins have a major need at QB?

2019 NFL mock draft: How many teams selecting ahead of the Redskins have a major need at QB?

Peter King inserted a major NFL Draft thought into my brain.

King, a true luminary among NFL writers and now part of NBC Sports, joined our Redskins Talk podcast crew Tuesday in Atlanta ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl. Not surprisingly, a chunk of the conversation focused on Washington’s various dilemmas. Primarily, what can the Redskins do at quarterback with Alex Smith likely out for the 2019 season?

King joined a growing chorus of voices stating Washington should draft a passer in the first round. It’s possible that three to four quarterbacks – Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones – come off the board in this range.

That does not mean the Redskins automatically get their choice (or even land one) with the 15th overall selection.

King added that one of the potential hurdles involves a number of other teams – seven – in the top 15 with “major” quarterback needs.

Having now done several 2019 mocks drafts, I’m well aware that several teams picking ahead of Washington could target a quarterback. The potential quibble involved lumping them all into a “major” bucket.

Considering the positional importance, even a modest need becomes a focus. Most thirsty teams are obvious. Think Cleveland for most of the prior two decades before selecting Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall in 2018.

Others lurk. With Alex Smith under center, Kansas City did not have a “major” need ahead of the 2017 season, yet the Chiefs traded a bushel of assets to jump from the 27th overall selection to No. 10 for Pat Mahomes.

Not all act on those desires. Last year, the Giants selected running back Saquon Barkley over one of the available quarterback prospects despite concerns with an aging Eli Manning.

Including the Redskins, here’s an assessment of the level of quarterback thirst for the teams currently holding top 15 selections.

We’re good

Cardinals (1), 49ers (2), Jets (3), Lions (8), Bills (9), Packers (12), Falcons (14)

Arizona, New York, and Buffalo spent first-round picks on quarterbacks last season. San Francisco, Detroit, Green Bay and Atlanta pay its respective starters hefty salaries for largely justifiable reasons.

Let’s run it back

Buccaneers (5), Bengals (11)

Rank the top 32 quarterbacks in the NFL. Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton make the cut. Both arguably need a change of scenery to rise into the top two-thirds. That is unlikely in 2019.

Winston, the No. 1 overall selection in 2015, is 21-33 as a starter, and Tampa Bay went with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick at times in 2018. The Buccaneers ultimately made a coaching change and hired the offensive-minded Bruce Arians in part to help turn Winston around.

Dalton, 31, completed his eighth season as the Bengals starter. If there’s a ninth, it will be under a new head coach after Cincinnati fired Marvin Lewis. The new guy, wunderkind Zac Taylor, may ultimately want to bring in his own guy. Dalton offers little inspiration, but considering the 35-year-old Taylor’s likely growing pains as a first-time head coach, it makes sense sticking with a veteran for now.

How good are we?

Giants (6), Broncos (10)

It feels odd seeing these two teams with a combined 13 Super Bowl appearances selecting in the top 10 – except this marks two years in a row both sunk this low. Despite the dips, neither situation screams rebuild. That’s a combination of those running the show seem focused on immediate turnarounds and the rosters have several headliners, namely Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller.

There’s another factor: Both teams have quarterback options, especially New York’s Eli Manning, which the organization’s decision-makers could talk themselves into thinking he’s good enough for now.

Manning is coming off a 4,300-yard season with only 11 interceptions. He also started every game for the 5-11 Giants and just turned 38. There’s some fool’s gold in those positive statistics, but it seems like New York believes there’s enough left in Manning’s right arm that it could target other needs at six.

Denver signed Case Keenum to a two-year contract last off-season. While he threw for nearly 3,900 yards, Keenum could not recapture the magic from his prior year with Minnesota.

There are reports that Broncos general manager has fallen for Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. The Broncos also have needs at tackle, cornerback and wide receiver. Players at those positions plus an improved Keenum offer more immediate hope than a rookie passer.

Hooray for Herbert, Tank for Tua

Raiders (4)

Maybe Jon Gruden becomes smitten with one of the 2019 options. The Raiders do wield power with three first-round selections.

Oakland, on the move to Las Vegas in the near future, is the one NFL team that should openly tank with the goal of landing heralded quarterback prospects Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa in 2020. Vegas loves headliners and the Raiders’ current roster lacks such pizzazz. This approach also gives Gruden one more season to resurrect Derek Carr.

Help Wanted

Jaguars (7), Dolphins (13), Redskins (15)

Assuming Miami dumps Ryan Tannehill, these three have major concerns at quarterback. Jacksonville’s pick position offers the best bet to land one without trading up.

Murray, Lock and Jones may all be available in the 10-15 range, meaning the Dolphins and Redskins could wait patiently. That ultimately depends on how many teams believe they have a “major” need at quarterback.

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The Redskins intend to be ready for 'every scenario' when the 2020 NFL Draft begins

The Redskins intend to be ready for 'every scenario' when the 2020 NFL Draft begins

Kyle Smith began his media session at the Combine Tuesday by thanking Dan Snyder and Ron Rivera for giving him his new role of Vice President of Player Personnel, others in the front office for helping him in the past and even the hosts of the NFL's offseason staple for putting on such a well-run event.

It was an impressive way for the young executive to open up his presser and hinted at how detail-oriented he is. So, it should be no surprise that Smith intends to be beyond prepared for whatever the 2020 NFL Draft may throw at him and his franchise.

"Trade scenarios, we'll talk through all that stuff. That's part of those three, four, five days leading up to the draft. We'll go through every scenario," he told reporters in Indianapolis. "We will go through every scenario of how far back would we go if that scenario came or what if this team called and what do they have available? We'll go through all those scenarios so that draft night, when those opportunities come, we'll be ready to roll."

Every Redskins fan on the planet — as well as Redskins fans on other planets, if they exist (which is something this story won't examine further, sorry) — know that the key decision facing Washington these days is what to do with the No. 2 pick. And while Smith was open with his praise of Chase Young's potential, he made sure to mention that this year's class features plenty of other strong prospects.

As for the kinds of players Smith and Rivera will target, the two leaders are already unified in what they value, according to Smith.

"Sitting down from the very first conversation we had at Mr. Snyder's house, we talked through our process and what we've been doing with the draft and the type of players we've been looking for," he said. "And he talked about his process and... we kind of meshed it together. And we'll move forward together."

In explaining how the Redskins will assemble their draft board — by the way, hardcore fans will love his full breakdown on this episode of the Redskins Talk podcast — Smith explained that he's going to run those meetings. Eventually, Smith and the personnel folks will huddle with the coaches and pass over names of soon-to-be-pros the coaches need to review.

Then, by April, the two staffs will meet once more and finalize everything. Only then will the answer to Washington's major offseason question finally reveal itself, and Young or a couple of other of top selections will join the Redskins.

Regardless of that answer, Smith expects the organization to reach it in a shared fashion.

"It's a collaborative deal," he said. "We believe in our process. We're going to talk through everything... Once the coaches come in in April, we will sit in there and literally go through each thing, each scenario and set it together so everybody's on the same page and everybody's working together."

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Redskins VP of Player Personnel Kyle Smith on Dwayne Haskins: 'He needs his time'

Redskins VP of Player Personnel Kyle Smith on Dwayne Haskins: 'He needs his time'

Dwayne Haskins knows that the Redskins starting quarterback job will not be given to him; he must earn it. Ron Rivera has made that clear multiple times since taking over as the team's head coach.

Rivera has mentioned he's excited about Haskins' future, too, but the new head coach could also be looking for the second-year quarterback to use this offseason to go above and beyond and truly take command and ownership of the job. Doug Williams, the Redskins senior vice president of development, said as much earlier this week.

Redskins vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith believes thus far, Haskins has done exactly that.

"He's ready to do everything he possibly can," Smith said to local media on Tuesday in Indianapolis, speaking for the first time since being promoted to his current role in January. "The other day he told me he's bringing the guys down to Florida to throw with them and do the things he can do. He's doing all the extra stuff that we expect of him and he's got a bright future."

Working out with teammates at an off-site location during the offseason is not uncommon for NFL players. The league has placed multiple rules and regulations on NFL teams that restrict the amount of hands-on access coaches can have with players. It's up to the players to go about it themselves and coordinate times to work out together.

In addition to reaching out to his wideouts to schedule offseason work, Haskins has remained in the building since the season ended and continued to work on his craft. That's something Smith has noticed.

"He's smiling walking around the building," Smith said. "He's excited, he's energized."

The 22-year-old is still raw when it comes to experience; he only started one year at Ohio State and seven games a year ago as a rookie. Smith recognizes this and believes time will serve Haskins extremely well.

"He also needs his time. He's a young kid, man," Smith said. "He's got the right stuff. He's a good kid, he works hard. We're all excited about Dwayne."

Haskins had more than his fair share of growing pains as a rookie, but the Ohio State product really started to catch his stride towards the end of the season. Through the final six quarters of Haskins' season, he threw for 394 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

Haskins' progression towards the end of the 2019 campaign has excited many in the building, Smith included.

"I'm really excited about Dwayne," Smith said. "Obviously, as everybody has seen, he kind of ascended as the season went on. He played in [seven] games, he kept improving. I just had a conversation with him the other day. I'm excited, man."

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