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Need to Know: How the addition of Adonis Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart

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Need to Know: How the addition of Adonis Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 13, 13 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The defensive backs depth chart with Adonis Alexander

The Redskins drafted a versatile defensive back on Wednesday when they took Adonis Alexander in the supplemental draft. He had experience playing both cornerback and safety at Virginia Tech. His makeup is more in tune to that of a safety. 

"At safety, I feel like my strength is just being an instinctive player,” he told reporters on a conference call on Thursday. “Being physical would definitely be my strength in playing safety, coming down to tackle and stuff.”

Alexander also played cornerback, starting in two games last year. 

“As for corner, my competitiveness, instincts, like I said, would definitely be a strength at corner because as far as playing corner, it’s a one-on-one thing with you and the receiver,” he said. “I’ve definitely tried to win everyone at a one-on-one battle."

Right now, the Redskins are leaning towards playing him at cornerback. But no firm decision will be made until they get him out of the practice field to see what he has at each position when lined up against NFL-level competition. 

If he plays corner, he will join a group that consists of a couple of proven veterans and others who are prospects, to varying degrees. Josh Norman and Orlando Scandrick have a combined 208 NFL games played. With them, there is Quinton Dunbar, who has 40 NFL games under his belt, Josh Holsey, Fabian Moreau, and Greg Stroman. Moreau and Holey are second-year players who saw very little action on defense last year. Stroman was Alexander’s teammate with the Hokies last year. 

In other words, there is opportunity there for Alexander. The team generally keeps six cornerbacks and Alexander puts seven in the group. That could put Holsey or Stroman on the bubble. Or perhaps a reserve at another position on offense or defense could be in jeopardy of being released. 

At safety, the veteran is D.J. Swearinger, who has played in 75 games. Montae Nicholson showed Pro Bowl ability but he missed half of the season with injuries. They are designated as the starters with Deshazor Everett, who is viewed as more of a special teams players, rookie Troy Apke, and first-year player Fish Smithson likely competing for two backup roles. 

The Redskins could keep Alexander as a fifth safety. Last year, their first roster after the cut to 53 had five safeties on it. That didn’t last long as Su’a Cravens abruptly “retired,” but carrying five safeties was their intention. They could do the same this year. 

The bottom line for Alexander is that he will have to compete for a roster spot. He will be behind the others as he will go into training camp without the benefit of having participated in the offseason program. Alexander will have to hit the ground running in Richmond. 

Of course, the Redskins would like for him to make a strong case to stay on the 53-man roster. They would then have to decide among several young, talented defensive backs. And that’s a good problem to have, the type of problem that good teams have.  

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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Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 13
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 27
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 55

The Redskins last played a game 194 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 58 days. 

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

While the rumors about the Redskins potentially trading for Marvin Jones from over the weekend were total nonsense, a reason they resonated so much with fans is because many believe Washington needs major help at wide receiver.

But during a segment of Monday's Redskins 100 show, analyst Trevor Matich assessed the position group and actually thinks that, as a whole, the team should be relatively pleased with the talent it has outside.

"I like it better than I have in recent years, especially if Paul Richardson stays healthy," Matich said.

His "especially" qualifier is a common one, and that's because Richardson is the most established wideout currently on the roster — and he still has just 1,564 career receiving yards to his name. However, a healthy Richardson (which the 'Skins never really saw in his first year, considering he got injured early in training camp and was never the same) provides Jay Gruden the field stretcher he loves to have.

Richardson isn't the only player Matich is anxious to see, though.

"Terry McLaurin, their draft choice from Ohio State, is legitimately a 4.3 guy," he said. "He gets deep down the field and catches the ball in space."

One of the biggest issues for the 2018 Redskins was a lack of speed at every single spot. In Richardson and McLaurin, the Burgundy and Gold now have a pair of pass catchers who can fly past corners, do damage 30-plus yards down the sideline and open things up for other targets as well.

Overall, in reacting to the Jones storyline, Matich really doesn't see a huge need for the organization to make any additions to that collection of pieces. 

"I think that when you take a look at all the other guys, Trey Quinn in the slot, things like that, this receiving corps is fine," he said. "It's not desperate. They don't need to invest resources to bring extra people in."

Now, is "fine" and "not desperate" the level the front office and coaches want their receivers to be? Of course not. But Matich's stance is intriguing, because he's content with who'll be lining up there while plenty of others absolutely don't see it that way and feel a trade would be prudent.

If you're in that second group, recent history indicates this is the dead zone for NFL deals. So try not to waste your time refreshing Twitter over and over and over.

Perhaps Washington gets to Richmond and, after a few weeks of practices and a couple of exhibition contests, realizes their depth chart could use another name. Or maybe an injury happens and forces their hand. But according to Matich, as of now, the offense can function with the parts it has in place.


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Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

There's a reason the Redskins invested their No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft in quarterback Dwayne Haskins: They expect him to be their franchise quarterback of the future.

His former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer also believes Haskins has all the tools to succeed in the NFL.

Appearing on the Bow Tie Chronicles Podcast, Meyer praised Haskins, calling him the "most accurate passer I've ever had."

Haskins' numbers from his lone season as the starter at Ohio State support Meyer's claim. He completed 70.0 percent of his passes, which was best in the Big Ten this past season. He shattered the Big Ten record for most passing yards in a season, throwing for 4,831 yards, more than 1,000 yards more than the previous record holder. Additionally, Haskins broke Drew Brees' Big Ten record for most passing touchdowns in a single-season, as Haskins tossed 50 in 2018, compared to Brees' 39.

Although he only had one season as the Buckeyes starter, it is not unreasonable to say that Haskins is the best passing quarterback in Ohio State history.  

So, it makes sense that Meyer had only positive things to say about Haskins.

"He's going to be great," Meyer said on the podcast. "He’s very intelligent. His only issue is that he played just one year. Every other thing, he’s got it."

The Redskins begin training camp on July 25th, and Haskins will be in an open competition with Case Keenum for the starting quarterback position.

NBC Sports Washington's J.P. Finlay noted that during minicamp, Keenum did look like the better option at times. But that does not necessarily mean that Keenum will be the Week 1 starter. Head coach Jay Gruden already announced that Haskins will have the chance to win the job.

There's no secret that Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback very soon. It's a matter of when he becomes the starting QB, not if. How quickly that happens is up to Haskins and his progression.