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How Marquise Brown, Cody Ford, and other prospects shape the Redskins' debate of supply vs. demand

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How Marquise Brown, Cody Ford, and other prospects shape the Redskins' debate of supply vs. demand

Let’s put down the Kyler Murray/Dwayne Haskins/general quarterback talk for a moment – and just a moment – to focus on other needs for the Redskins. 

Namely, what areas could Washington consider in the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft? 

Actually, we’ve done that exercise. Depending on what transpires in free agency and if any salary cap surprises are forthcoming, the list includes wide receiver, guard, edge rusher, inside linebacker, safety and, yes, a signal caller. 

What becomes interesting is the game of supply vs. demand.

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Take for example the receivers. The need is evident. 

Jamison Crowder enters free agency coming off an injury-plagued 29-catch season. The underwhelming Josh Doctson is somehow heading to a fourth NFL campaign. Speed threat Paul Richardson, last off-season’s significant addition, landed on injured reserve halfway through the year. We can talk ourselves into 2018 rookies Trey Quinn, Cams Sims, and Darvin Kidsy, but they remain unproven options. 

Examining this lot is why some draft analysts send a receiver to Washington in their mock drafts. The logic exists. Not only does the Redskins need help, but the first target likely does not off the board any earlier than the 15th overall selection owned by Washington. 

Want blinding speed and slot replacement for Crowder? Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown is the runaway option -- or at least he was before undergoing foot surgery last month for a LisFranc injury, ESPN reported Monday.

Prefer a power forward type for those plays in traffic? Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf, a hulking 6-foot-4 target, may emerge as the top-rated receiver if the medical folk are cool with his progress following a neck injury that ended his final season with the Rebels. 

For the highlight tape faction, Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry should be a familiar name after hauling in one absurd catch after another. A.J. Brown, Metcalf’s teammate at Ole Miss, NC State’s Kelvin Harmon, Ohio State’s Parris Campbell, South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, and Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside also received first-round love early in the mock draft season.

Only Marquise Brown and Metcalf are likely candidates at 15 based on consensus, but injuries cloud their upside. If they suit game-planning desires – and are genuinely among the best-player-available candidates on Washington’s big board, rock on. Otherwise, this is where the idea of quality vs. quantity kicks in.

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ESPN’s current draft prospect rankings include eight receivers among the top 52 overall prospects and 14 receivers within the top 100. CBS offers a similar breakdown: also eight receivers among the top 52 overall prospects and 15 named within the top 103. 

As a reminder, the Redskins currently have picks 15, 46 and 77 plus a compensatory third-round pick from Kirk Cousins signing with the Vikings. Washington shouldn’t wait on receiver just cause, but options exist on Day 2 if it does. 

Also, consider numerous teams have pass-catching concerns. The Browns, Ravens, Raiders, Packers, Bills and Broncos are among the teams with WR needs selecting between Washington's first and second-round picks.

The collection of defensive end/edge rushers is even more robust throughout the top 100, particularly at the top. Based on the latest NBCS Sports Washington mock draft, five options are off the board thru 15 picks. 

Outside linebacker is a potential high need should starter Preston Smith not return – minimal talks have gone created no movement, a source tells NBC Sports Washington. Considering the premium put on getting after the passer, the Redskins should rush to add help even if they believe Ryan Anderson replaces Smith in the starting lineup. Should they wait, options exist in rounds two and three.

Now consider inside linebacker. The Redskins seem likely to jettison Zach Brown this off-season, leaving Mason Foster and a group of young players, all of whom were selected with Day 3 picks. If Washington wants help, it better bounce. ESPN ranks four ILB among the top 100 including LSU’s Devin White (11) and Michigan’s Devin Bush (18).

The Redskins also have a clear need for interior offensive linemen after issues attributed to injuries and a shortage of talent over the last two seasons. 

Similar to receiver waiting works considering an ample supply of Day 2 candidates including Mississippi State’s Elgton Jenkins, Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom, and Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy. 

However, there’s a clear breakout option in Oklahoma’s Cody Ford. The 338-pounder mauler consistently grades out as a Day 1 selection with a draft range starting in the middle of round one. Ford, who played tackle at OU would address the massive hole at left guard and offer protection should injuries befall left tackle Trent Williams.

Guards aren’t typically viewed as must-have players in the first, though Quenton Nelson’s monster rookie season with Indianapolis may change minds. If a team sees the gap between Ford and the rest greater than Brown and Metcalf versus the other receiver options, invoking a quality over quantity argument works.

Mock drafts often include just one round. Those picks are the sexy selections. Alone they do not tell the whole story when it comes to adding immediate help and supply vs. demand.

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Questions facing Ron Rivera: What will cornerback look like now that Josh Norman is gone?

Questions facing Ron Rivera: What will cornerback look like now that Josh Norman is gone?

With Josh Norman no longer a Redskin and Quinton Dunbar seemingly unhappy with his standing on the team, cornerback is an issue that's rising up Ron Rivera's lengthy to-do list.

Finding a solution to the Trent Williams dilemma, making sure Dwayne Haskins has what he needs to succeed and figuring out what to do with the No. 2 draft pick are all likely ahead of fixing corner on the coach's list, and rightly so.

That said, he probably now has circled CB and drawn an upward arrow next to it, indicating its increasing prominence.

The Norman release was an easy place for the team's new leader to begin. While it would've been intriguing to see Rivera try to reinvigorate Norman's career, No. 24's age, decline in speed and salary all made him extremely expendable. Still, it does mean the franchise is now without a DB who started the overwhelming majority of games in the past four seasons.

Next, Rivera will have to get an idea about how another starter is feeling.

While Dunbar has apparently backed off his recent trade demand, it's clear he's not pleased with the money he's making and is also a bit insecure about where he stands in this new version of the organization. Can Rivera change his opinion, either by initiating a contract adjustment or calming Dunbar's mind about his future, or will the receiver-turned-defender be moved this offseason, too?

The ending of that storyline will obviously impact the entire depth chart in a big way.

Those are the two important secondary pieces who wore Burgundy and Gold in 2019 that Rivera focused on (in Norman's case) or will soon focus on (in Dunbar's case). Others from 2019, like Fabian Moreau and Jimmy Moreland, will return and contribute in their own right.

But there are also lots of guys who wore lots of different colors last year who'll soon be worth monitoring in free agency as well. Fortunately, there'll be plenty of targets for Rivera and Kyle Smith, depending on how aggressive they want to be.

There are the well-known names who are about to cash in, like James Bradberry, a former Panther who's already stated that he wouldn't mind a reunion with Rivera if he can't work out a deal with Carolina. Chris Harris also falls into this classification.

Then there are some mid-tier options, such as Bashaud Breeland. Breeland was drafted by the Redskins and recently won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs. He also was slated to sign with the then Rivera-coached Panthers a few offseasons ago before a fluky injury voided that agreement. Bradley Roby and Darqueze Dennard are in a similar place as Breeland.

Beyond those groups, there are even cheaper free agents as well as later draft picks. Looking ahead, as long as the Redskins keep the second pick in this April's draft, they won't be selecting a cornerback. That, plus the fact that they don't have a second-rounder as of now, means whatever prospects they end up with will come later in the event.

As two former linebackers, Rivera and Jack Del Rio surely understand the significance of fortifying and in turn want to fortify the front line of their defense, and they are one Chase Young choice away from doing so. They'll also be keen on improving their old stomping grounds to ensure the middle of the unit is reliable.

However, cornerback can't be overlooked. With the way the NFL has slanted toward the offense during the last decade and the continued influx of talent at wideout and tight end, having multiple corners who can match up with those pass catchers is a must. Because of that, corner should certainly be close to the center of Rivera's mind.

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2020 NFL Mock Draft 12.0: Who needs to standout in Indianapolis?

2020 NFL Mock Draft 12.0: Who needs to standout in Indianapolis?

The NFL Scouting Combine begins next week, and there are several NFL Draft prospects looking to raise their stock.

Our latest mock draft takes a look at which players could use a solid performance at the scouting combine.

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After being a frequent top-5 pick in our early mock drafts, Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy's stock has slid a little. Could a solid performance in Indianapolis reestablish the wideout as this year's best in the class, and maybe warrant a top-5 pick?

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa likely will not participate at the combine as he continues to recover from his dislocated hip. Could Oregon's Justin Herbert take advantage of Tagovailoa's absence and catapult himself into the debate of the best signal-caller in the draft alongside LSU's Joe Burrow?

Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young, who many expect the Redskins to use the No. 2 pick on, will put his incredible athletic ability on display. Could the 20-year-old make the Bengals rethink their decision of using the No. 1 pick on a QB?

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Every year, we see several prospects who come out of nowhere during the combine and establish themselves as first-round picks. We saw it last year with Montez Sweat, Juan Thornhill, and Justice Hill.

But remember, a great combine doesn't always equate to being a first-rounder. Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf stole the show a year ago at the combine but fell to the end of the second round of the draft.

Next week's scouting combine is the first major event of the offseason as the NFL shifts focus to free agency and the draft.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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