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NFL Draft 2018: College playoff prospects to watch


NFL Draft 2018: College playoff prospects to watch

Five New Year’s Day bowl games means five opportunities to TV scout potential draft selections for the Washington Redskins. Part 1 focused on prospects in Outback, Peach and Cirtus bowls including LSU running back Derrius Guice. Now, here are the names to watch in the Monday’s two national semifinal games with virtually all listed likely going in the first or second round.

Rose Bowl: Georgia-Oklahoma

Nick Chubb, running back, Georgia

Measurables: 5-foot-10, 220 pounds

Projection: 1-2 round

Need: Even if the pass-catching Chris Thompson returns to form following his season-ending leg injury, the Redskins still have questions with early down work. It’s also quite possible the decision to give the Robert Kelley-Samaje Perine combo another run this season.

Analysis ( “Chubb is averaging 7.1 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns. The senior has two receptions for 20 yards as well. His production is suppressed by Georgia splitting the carries among a huge stable of backs. Scouting sources have liked what they've seen from Chubb this year, and he looks back to his old form. Chubb is faster, more physical, tougher to tackle, and more decisive than he was in 2016. 

Roquan Smith, inside linebacker, Georgia

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 225 pounds

Projection: First round

Need: Washington’s top three inside linebackers are 2018 free agents. Even if one or two return, the defense could use an impact player in the middle. Smith, the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker, qualifies.

Analysis (Albert Breer, “I think Roquan Smith will be a huge part of the Bulldogs’ plans to pin Baker Mayfield in the pocket and prevent his normal theatrics. Do yourself a favor and watch Smith. He’s got the “I know where the play’s going before it goes there” thing that so many great ’backers have, and he could be an instant impact guy for a team that needs one (like Oakland) next year. I had him going 12th.

Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 209 pounds

Projection: First round

Need: There’s no need if Kirk Cousins signs a long-term deal. There would be the rationale for selecting a passer for the future if Cousins is only back for a one-year tag. Should he leave altogether, Washington could absolutely seek a replacement in the first round. Projections have 4-6 quarterbacks in round one.

Analysis ( “Mayfield has completed 71 percent of his passes this season for 4,340 yards with 41 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has five rushing touchdowns. Mayfield led Oklahoma to an impressive road win at Ohio State, lost a shootout at home to Iowa State, and led the Sooners to an epic win over Oklahoma State, in which Mayfield threw for 598 yards on the Cowboys. Mayfield has accepted an invitation to play at the Senior Bowl, which was a smart move as he is very likely to help himself by participating in Mobile. 

Sugar Bowl: Alabama-Clemson

Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle, Clemson

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 310 pounds

Projection: 1-2 round

Need: Adding Jonathan Allen provided the defensive line with a game-changing talent. As evidenced by the way Washington’s run defense cratered after the 2017 first rounder suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 5, they could use more beef up front. Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell may hear his name called among the top 10 picks, but his teammate could be a solid fallback plan.

Analysis ( “In 2017, Wilkins has 45 tackles with seven tackles for a loss and four sacks. All year, he has played well, using speed and athleticism to cause disruption at the point of attack. In speaking with sources at multiple teams, they see Wilkins as a future first-rounder. He is a fast interior pass-rusher who can collapse the pocket and provide an inside pass rush. Wilkins dominated Miami in the ACC Championship.”

Read more here.

Ronnie Harrison, strong safety, Alabama

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 214 pounds

Projection: First round

Need: The Redskins found a nice piece in free agency last off-season with D.J. Swearinger. They also made a nice discovery with fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson, who ended up missing half the season with injuries. With DeAngelo Hall likely moving on, Washington could view a safety addition as a “best available” type move.

Analysis (USA Today): A hard-hitting defender with a prototypical frame for a pro safety, Harrison’s combination of athleticism and physicality have made him a constant headache for opposing offenses.

Harrison’s size and physical playing style make him a terror in the box, but his fluidity and athletic ability allow him to also hang with pass-catchers down the field. 

Others: Damien Harris, RB, Alabama; Rashaan Evans, ILB Alabama; Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma; Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE, Oklahoma.

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 19, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass rushers are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ pass rush productivity metric, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this we looked at the best teamsreceivers,running backs, and quarterbacks

1. Calais Campbell, Jaguars—If he gets a sack against the Redskins in Week 15, many fans will once again rue draft day in 2008 when the Redskins took both WR Devin Thomas and TE Fred Davis in the second round while Campbell was still on the board. He has been a consistent pass rusher since coming into the league, averaging eight sacks a season. Campbell is coming off of a career-high 14.5. 

2. Demarcus Lawrence, Cowboys—He had nine career sacks going into last year and then he broke out in a big way with 14.5. He got three sacks against the Redskins last year and has five in six career games. He actually ranked ahead of Campbell in the PFF pass rush metric, but I put Campbell ahead of him because we’re not sure if Lawrence is a great pass rusher or if he just peaked in his contract year. 

3. Chandler Jones, Cardinals—He posted double-digit sacks in four of the last five years including a league-leading 17 last season. His 2017 performance earned him first-team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. Jones does more than get sacks. He has 16 career forced fumbles; only five players have forced more since he came into the league in 2012.

4. J.J. Watt, Texans—Injuries have limited him to eight games over the past two seasons. Even if the missed time has him beneath his peak years of 2012-2015, when he was first-team All-Pro every year and defensive player of the year three times, he will be difficult to deal with. 

5. Brian Orakpo, Titans—His career with the Redskins was a mixed bag, with two Pro Bowls and two seasons with double-digit sacks. After Orakpo missed 23 games from 2012-2015, the Redskins didn’t make him a competitive contract offer and he left to sign with the Titans. He hasn’t missed a game in three seasons in Tennessee and has averaged eight sacks per season. 

Best of the rest: Yannick Ngakoue, Jaguars; Clay Matthews, Packers; Vic Beasley, Falcons; Jason Pierre-Paul, Buccaneers; Cam Jordan, Saints

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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Redskins six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was born on this date in 1988.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 7
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 21
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 44

The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 52 days. 

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes


Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion