INDIANAPOLIS - After a few long days of watching prospects and speaking with NFL players, coaches, scouts and front office types, the information overload begins to set in.
Below are notes and thoughts from a bevy of conversations and observations about what the Redskins might, and might not, do in free agency and the NFL Draft.
2018 NFL Combine News and Notes:
- The organization hated trading away Kendall Fuller, but understood the necesity to acquire a QB. And the organization is very excited to have Alex Smith, at a price they think is reasonable. Bruce Allen went and got Smith, and Jay Gruden is happy with the move.
- With Fuller gone, some speculated Bashaud Breeland might be back with the Redskins. Breeland will hit free agency on March 14th, but don't expect the Washington front office to be aggressive in re-signing him. Expectation here is the same as it was in December: Breeland plays elsewhere in 2018.
- Teams are interested and excited about Trent Murphy and Junior Galette. Green Bay particularly wants to beef up their pass rush, and the Packers have been clear they want to be a player in free agency.
- Ever heard of Kirk Cousins? He was THE topic of conversation in Indy, from NFL people all the way to cab drivers. Where will Kirk Cousins land? The Jets, Broncos and Vikings seem to be the front-runners, but Arizona could make some cap space and take a run at Cousins too. This is shaping up to be an interesting decision for Cousins. The Jets will offer the most money, and I expect the Vikings to show a relative level of fiscal restraint. What will John Elway and the Broncos do? Remains to be seen. Denver and the Jets both have early draft picks and could fall in love with a QB at the Combine as well. The rest of the NFL is now grappling with the same question the Redskins dealt with for two offseasons: Kirk Cousins is good, but is he highest paid player in the NFL good?
- Gruden and Doug Williams said the Redskins must get better running the ball. Does that mean a draft pick? It could. The team walked away very impressed with LSU RB Derrius Guice, a projected first-round pick. There are other RBs that will be available later in the draft the organization liked too, and RB help could happen in free agency too.
- The Redskins really like Iowa CB Josh Jackson. The kid made plays in college and could step in Day 1 and help Washington. He will be a first round pick.
- Two different Redskins defensive coaches told me their excitement to watch Washington NT Vita Vea work out. A mountain of a man with surprising athleticism, Vea is very much on the 'Skins radar.
- Another defensive player the Redskins liked: Iowa LB Josey Jewell. He's a tackling machine that can help if the team doesn't bring back Zach Brown. Probably a Friday night pick, but if he lasts until Saturday, Washington might be in luck.
- Speaking of Brown, Doug Williams said the Redskins made an offer to the linebacker and are waiting to hear back. That doesn't sound great for the prospects of getting a deal done before free agency opens. I've long reported that the target money for Brown would look similar to the deal Bobby Wagner signed with Seattle or Alec Ogletree with the Rams. Don't get caught up in annual salaries; the number that matters is the guaranteed cash. Ogletree got $19 million guaranteed. Brown wants at least that much guaranteed, and likely more, to make a deal work.
- I was a little surprised that Jay Gruden intimated Ryan Grant will walk in free agency. Grant is a productive player for Washington and a favorite of the coaches.
- Redskins Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith is held in high esteem by a number of agents, coaches and other NFL front office folks. Some of that may come from respect for his dad, A.J. Smith, who ran the Chargers for 10 years and amassed a 95-65 record in that time. But it doesn't sound like that has much to do with it. Smith loves football the same way Sean McVay does. He doesn't have hobbies. He just goes to games and watches tape. The 'Skins have a number of young scouts with similar mindsets.
- The Redskins might want to draft a QB, and the team definitely likes Richmond Spider Kyle Lauletta. I think the price tag will be too much for Washington, however, especially without a third round pick. A late round QB, similar to the Nate Sudfeld selection a few years back, could make sense.
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