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Need to Know: Setting the early odds on the Redskins' first-round pick

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Need to Know: Setting the early odds on the Redskins' first-round pick

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 6, nine days before NFL free agency starts.  

Playing the odds on the Redskins’ top draft pick

The draft is still over seven weeks away but after the combine things are beginning to take shape. Let’s get out the $100 in imaginary poker chips and spread them out according to the current chances of what position the Redskins will take with their first-round pick. We are going to assume that they do not trade out of the 13th overall pick.

Interior D-line, $30 One thing to keep in mind is that we’re going into this blind regarding free agency. We don’t know if the Redskins will sign Dontari Poe or Bennie Logan. But when Super Bowl odds are laid down before the season starts, we don’t know who is going to get injured and how strong the schedule will turn out to be but you make your picks anyway. So we’ll just factor in the chance that nose tackle will be handled by the time the draft rolls around. I don’t think they will want to spend the money and will wait for the draft.

Inside linebacker, $30 Looking at history, I’m going out on quite a limb here. The Redskins have not drafted a middle or inside linebacker in the first round since the merger. But rarely is there a chance that two spectacular prospects the likes Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds will both be available when the Redskins are on the clock. Even if they re-sign Zach Brown the talent could be too good to bypass.

Wide receiver, $15 The question here could be if Calvin Ridley slides back and is available at No. 13 and if players like Smith, Edmunds, and Vita Vea are off the board. Even if they sign a receiver in free agency they will need depth and to prepare for the possible departure of Jamison Crowder as a free agent.

Running back, $10 Doug Williams’ admission that the running back corps needs a talent infusion has me convinced that they will take a running back somewhere along the line. But his talk of the depth of quality players at the position also has me convinced that they will go elsewhere in the first round and circle back to take a running back later on.

Guard, $5 The Redskins will want to find a candidate to be their starting left guard in the draft but they will only fill that need in the first if Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame falls back to No. 13. Remember, nobody thought there was a chance Jonathan Allen would still be on the board at 17 a year ago.

The field, $10 This covers the chances that a player like Nelson but at another position falls into the Redskins’ laps. They have enough needs across the board that they can’t turn down a talent that is head and shoulders above the rest of the players on their draft board. That group could include DB’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James. Could it include a quarterback? I doubt it, I think that since they likely are tied to Alex Smith for three years they would try to make a trade if, say, Baker Mayfield is available.

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) 41
—NFL Draft (4/26) 51
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 187

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Offense

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 22, four days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Training camp preview: Offense

Here are some of the big topics surrounding the offense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday. 

Alex Smith

The subheadline here doesn’t need any elaboration. The Redskins gave up a top-100 draft pick, a promising player, and $71 million in guaranteed money to get him. When asked about the timetable for Smith picking up the offense, Jay Gruden said, “He has got to get it down by the first game.”

That first game is seven weeks from today. Of course, the process has already started as Smith appeared to have a solid grasp of things in the offseason practices. There is every reason to think that he will look good in Richmond. 

The question is, how much will the coaches push him? Will they focus on him having success on shorter, easier throws to build his confidence? Or will they call plays that test his ability to throw deep? Last year in Kansas City his ability to hit on long passes helped transform him from being an above-average quarterback to an MVP candidate. The Redskins need him to be effective deep starting Week 1 and training camp needs to be the starting point. 

The running back rotation

This is primarily about Derrius Guice, who is the most anticipated rookie running back in team history. The Redskins were 28th in rushing yards last year and they bring back the same offensive line (although hoping for better health) and three of the same running backs. They are counting on Guice to be the difference maker. 

But Guice can’t do it by himself. Gruden will be wary of overworking his rookie, who has an aggressive running style and who was banged up for a lot of his last year at LSU. He also may give Guice a light load if he struggles in pass protection early on. Chris Thompson’s role is set. Where do Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine line up? Does one or the other take most of the first-team reps when Guice is getting a rest? 

The difference between being the third back and the fourth is big. The fourth back on the depth chart is unlikely to be active most game days. The active back could get five to 10 carries per game.

Who’s at left guard?

Is Shawn Lauvao going to be the left guard? It doesn’t seem logical that they would put all their eggs in Lauvao’s injury-prone and frequently ineffective basket. Will Ty Nsekhe line up there? Do they think that Tyler Catalina or Kyle Kalis can push for the starting job? Is a trade in the offing? 

Jordan Reed’s health

This does not need much explanation if you’ve been paying attention the last several years. It would be both a good sign and a major surprise if he starts camp healthy and doesn’t miss any time due to injuries. If he’s out there, there is no question that he and Smith will quickly develop chemistry. 

Wide receiver depth chart

The stakes at wide receiver are similar to those at running back. The top backup behind the three starters, who could be any of Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick or Try Quinn, will have a regular role in the offense line Ryan Grant had last year. The fifth guy will rarely play, the player who has the sixth spot will rarely play, and the seventh won’t have a job. 

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 and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Apparently, some teams are worried that their players are playing too much of the video game Fortnite. No, seriously.

Timeline 

Happy birthday to Redskins running back Quinton Dunbar, who was born on this date in 1992.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 4
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 18
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 41

The Redskins last played a game 203 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 49 days. 

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Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

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USA Today Sports

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

Yahoo! Sports ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Washington Redskins fans may not be too happy with where Jay Gruden ended up.

Entering his fifth year as head coach, Gruden was ranked as the No. 27 head coach in the NFL. Here's Yahoo!'s rationale behind his ranking:

"Four years, one playoff berth, one plus-.500 season, one franchise quarterback run out of town."

All that is ... not false, but the whole franchise quarterback being run out of town thing is at least debatable. And even if the ranking is fair, it's still okay to be upset because it's the middle of July, training camp hasn't started yet and the offseason is the perfect time to get irrationally angry about things like these.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur checks in at No. 23, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is No. 17 and the Eagles' Doug Pederson is No. 2.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Belichick was ranked No. 1; he may be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, if not already. The top five rounds out with Pederson at No. 2, New Orleans's Sean Payton at No. 3, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer at No. 4 and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin at No. 5.

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