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Need to Know: Should Redskins fans believe what Doug Williams said about drafting a QB?

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Need to Know: Should Redskins fans believe what Doug Williams said about drafting a QB?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 11, 15 days before the NFL draft.  

Slim chance of drafting a quarterback

Doug Williams has been the Redskins’ senior VP of player personnel for less than a year, but he has already is beginning to master the pre-draft subterfuge side of the game. 

In an interview with the Washington Post, Williams tried to make the case that the Redskins would take a quarterback with the 13thpick in the draft if a player who might slip such as Lamar Jackson of Louisville is the best player available.

“When we get to 13, we’ve got to see who’s there,” Williams said. “If there’s a quarterback that we feel should have gone [earlier], then that’s a major discussion. To say it’s off the table, that would be unfair.”

Presumably, Williams said this with a straight face and in an earnest voice. But none of it is true. The Redskins will not draft a quarterback in the first round. Or in the second or fourth and probably not the fifth. 

The main reason the Redskins won’t take a quarterback early is because of the contract of Alex Smith. The five-year deal dictates that Smith will be the Redskins’ quarterback for at least the next three years. And unless he is performing so badly that they are willing to eat a $10.8 million dead cap charge in 2021, he will be behind center for four years if not the entire five (the final year would be his age 38 season). 

If the Redskins take a quarterback in the draft, he will be under contract for four years. That would mean that the plan would be to have a draft pick sit on the bench for the duration of his contract. A first-round QB would have a fifth-year option but the Redskins could find themselves paying that player in excess of $20 million in 2022 before he ever was the regular starter. 

Smith has been very durable for the last seven years. Since 2011, he has missed five games due to injuries. That represents few opportunities for a highly-drafted backup. 

Another issue with going QB early is that a first- or second-round quarterback would represent an opportunity cost for the Redskins. Instead of shoring up a position of need or adding a playmaker, the Redskins would be adding to a position where they already have invested their third-round pick and CB Kendall Fuller, not to mention over $21 million in salary cap space (counting Colt McCoy’s $3.6 million cap hit). Even though it’s the most important position in sports, there is such a thing as overkill. 

As JP Finlay wrote yesterday, the best course of action the Redskins could take if there is a quality quarterback on the board when they are on the clock would be to immediately put a “for sale” sign up on the pick. 

As far as the rest of the draft, the Redskins are happy with Colt McCoy as the backup and they aren’t going to give up on Kevin Hogan less than a month after trading for him to be their third-string developmental quarterback. A late-round developmental quarterback would be unlikely to make the roster.

But what about never say never? Is there a chance the Redskins would take a quarterback at some point? In this case, it’s safe to say “never” up until around their second pick of the fifth round. At that point, if there is a quarterback on the board who they did not think would be there and who would be a significant upgrade over Hogan, they might go ahead and pull the trigger there. 

While that’s possible, the chances are strong that this will be draft without a quarterback taken despite Doug Williams’ assertion to the contrary. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 5
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 106
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 151

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With 2 TDs in 2 games, Josh Doctson headlines Redskins stock report

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After an important road win in Tampa, the Redskins stock is soaring. The team is 6-3 and two games up in the NFC East.

For individual players, Josh Doctson headlines the stock surge but a pair of defenders are moving the other way. Let's dig into the Redskins stock report.

Stock up - Josh Doctson - The third-year wide receiver has scored in two straight games and has caught seven of 10 balls thrown his way. The yardage numbers don't jump off the page, but all four catches in Tampa were important. Further, Doctson rebounded from a tough game against Atlanta where he dropped two passes and got flagged for a (wrong) taunting penalty. Most impressive with Doctson? The touchdown in Tampa came off schedule and showed that he kept working back to his QB once the play broke down. That will garner more trust from Alex Smith, and maybe more chances for big plays down the backstretch of the year.

Stock down - Danny Johnson - For an undrafted free agent out of Southern, Johnson has had a remarkable season. In Tampa, he did not have a remarkable game and got replaced on the field by Greg Stroman. Let Jay Gruden explain, "Danny had a good week of practice. He filled in for Stroman when Stroman had the hip issue last week and we thought we'd give Danny a shot to start. Danny was playing a little soft [coverage] there for a little while, so we decided to give Stroman a crack at it." Once Stroman got in, he grabbed an interception and had a nice pass breakup downfield. Johnson has a firm roster spot - the Redskins just released Josh Holsey - but looks like he fell behind Stroman on the depth chart. 

Stock up - Kapri Bibbs - With Chris Thompson on the shelf and a murky timetable for his return, Bibbs is getting more and more chances on the field. And increasingly, he's delivering when he gets looks. Against Tampa, he ran the ball three times for 28 yards and added two catches for 13 yards. He also had a huge gain just before halftime, the Redskins first big chunk play in weeks that Bibbs took after a screen pass, but it got called back on a holding flag. 

Stock down - Pernell McPhee - No player wants to be a healthy scratch, but that's just what happened to McPhee last week in Tampa. Jay Gruden explained: "Unfortunately I had to sit McPhee, not performance related, but just I had to get another body on the offensive line because we're banged up." It was mostly a work of roster construction that landed McPhee on the inactive list, but still, Cassanova McKinzy made the active roster after being on the practice squad. McKinzy showed some ability rushing the passer, and he can play special teams. This could be a situation worth monitoring. 

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Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

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Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

Lost in the fact that Tress Way is having a stellar season is that his fellow specialist, Dustin Hopkins, is getting it done, too.

The Redskins' kicker has made 17 of 19 field goals so far in 2018, giving him an 89.5-percent conversion rate on kicks. Against Carolina, he nailed a career-long 56-yarder, plus he's 17-for-17 on extra points.

But on Tuesday, a report came out saying that Hopkins is "a bit banged up." As of now, the Redskins don't know if they'll have Hopkins or not this weekend vs. the Texans, which is why they worked out five kickers five days before the Houston matchup, per Field Yates.

Among the group of free agents was former 'Skin Kai Forbath, who made 32-of-38 three-pointers for the Vikings in 2017. He was with the Burgundy and Gold from 2012-2014 and also briefly in 2015. 

Washington also reportedly tried out two maligned kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Blair Walsh. 

The Bucs drafted Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft but he flamed out in Tampa and was gone after a single year and poor 2017 preseason. Walsh, meanwhile, hasn't been the same since missing a 27-yard game winning playoff attempt versus Seattle while he was with Minnesota.  

Rounding out the group was Sam Ficken and Jon Brown.

The Redskins have been very reliant on both Hopkins and Way this season, seeing as their offense has had its issues. They've needed Hopkins to cash in on field goals to avoid wasting points and Way to help win the field position battle each week.

For some franchises, losing a kicker for a week or two wouldn't be much of a problem. And while Washington could very well be OK without Hopkins, they'd rather not have to bring in a new foot for any amount of time.

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