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Need to Know: Five running backs who could be on the Redskins' radar post-combine

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Need to Know: Five running backs who could be on the Redskins' radar post-combine

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 4, 11 days before NFL free agency starts.  

Five running back draft targets for the Redskins

Doug Williams didn’t just tip the Redskins’ hand when talking to the media at the NFL Combine last week; he practically laid the cards on the table when it came to upgrading the team’s running back position.

He didn’t completely rule out signing a veteran free agent back but the focus clearly is on the draft. Williams talked about how deep the draft is at the position.

“With this draft and what you already have, you get one in second, fourth round, third round, that’s a pretty good running back to go with what you already have,” he said.

While you have to take what is said at the combine with a giant grain of salt, let’s take Williams at his word and look for some good running backs who might be available in rounds 2-4. Although the Redskins don’t have a third-round pick they could acquire one in a trade.

Sony Michel, Georgia—The four-year player did not create much buzz with his 4.54 time in the 40; that placed ninth among running backs. However, he has never relied on speed, averaging 7.9 yards per carry as a senior with his power, shiftiness, and being able to pick the best path.

Rashaad Penny, San Diego St.—You may not have seen much of Penny if you live on the East coast as the Aztecs were not part of the Saturday afternoon or prime time TV fare. But you should learn more about him. Penny led the nation in rushing with 2,248 yards and he has the ideal size (5-11, 220) to be an every-down back at the next level. His 4.46 in the 40 was fourth among running backs at the combine.

Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—The SEC offensive player of the year will wait and run the 40 at his pro day. He did do most of the other drills including an impressive 40-inch vertical jump. Johnson is good a shifting gears and he can deliver punishment to his tacklers. I’ve seen him rated as anywhere from a first to a fourth-round pick so we will have to see when he is available.

Ronald Jones, USC—He doesn’t have ideal size (5-11, 200) but he could be the key player in the “by committee” approach at running back that Williams talked about. He has excellent running instincts, with a natural ability to skirt the line and then burst forward when the finds an opening. His 4.65 time in the 40 was well back in the pack but he plays plenty fast enough.

Derrius Guice, LSU—You might expect Guice and Jones to be gone by the time the Redskins’ second-round pick comes up. But the depth of the running back group just might keep these late-first round talents around until the Redskins’ second-round pick goes on the clock since teams know that if they miss out on one of these guys there are others to be had later. Guice is a good blend of speed (4.49 in the 40) and sheer running ability.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 53
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 189

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2018 NFL Power Rankings: Titans rising, shake-up in Top 10

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2018 NFL Power Rankings: Titans rising, shake-up in Top 10

The most surprising outcome from Week 10 in the NFL season was the Tennessee Titans 34-10 thrashing of the New England Patriots.

How far did New England fall? How high did the Patriots rise?

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Despite missing three starting offensive lineman and several other key contributors due to injury, the Redskins got back in the win column with a 16-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a two game lead in the NFC East, their stock rose a tad.

Coming off their bye week, the Eagles fell to the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. How were each of their rankings affected?

The Saints won their eighth straight, while the Steelers won their fifth straight. Where do these two rank in the Top 5?

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The battle for No. 32 is perhaps more interesting than the battle for No. 1, but the Raiders stay in control of the bottom spot for now.

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Adrian Peterson is fifth in rushing and, oh yeah, he finally feels fully healthy now

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Adrian Peterson is fifth in rushing and, oh yeah, he finally feels fully healthy now

The version of Adrian Peterson the Redskins have been getting this year — the one who currently sits as the NFL's fifth-leading rusher and the one who has been the team's only consistent offensive threat — hasn't even been the fully in-shape version, according to Peterson.

If you take him at his word, that's a pretty frightening thought for non-Redskins defenses to ponder.

After practice on Wednesday, the 33-year-old was asked about how he's feeling after dealing with ankle and shoulder problems earlier in the season. Those problems are apparently now all behind him.

"Last week, I actually started feeling all the way healthy," he said in the 'Skins locker room. "My shoulder, I'm back to bench pressing. I hadn't done that in three weeks. And so I'm back to doing the normal things that I was able to do. My ankle's feeling good, my body's just feeling refreshed."

Oh, so the guy who's been averaging nearly 75 yards per game on about 17 carries per game and the guy who's scored four total touchdowns through nine contests is only just now back to normal?

Damn.

"Second half has been a blessing to me, you know?" he said. "It was a grind the first eight weeks, and here now, as I stand in front of you, my body's feeling amazing."

Must be nice to be one of the sport's best players of this generation, huh?

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