Washington Football

Quick Links

As the NFL heads to the Senior Bowl, what do Redskins need most?

will_grier_thowing.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL heads to the Senior Bowl, what do Redskins need most?

It's a bit of a weird annual tradition. Almost the entire NFL world descends upon Mobile, Alabama, a small city on the Gulf Coast far away from the big metropolises most teams call home. 

The reason? The Senior Bowl, a showcase of much of the best talent getting ready for the upcoming NFL Draft. 

Like the name suggests, underclassmen can't play in the Senior Bowl, and that means some of the most elite players that will hear their names called in the first round won't be in Mobile. But while much NFL Draft focuses on the first round, the best teams are built by day two and day three draft picks.

Mobile is the best place to find them.

The Redskins' staff heads to Alabama with many more questions than answers. The team has a major need at quarterback and all over the defense. The skill positions could use a boost too. 

Starting with the QBs, there is a lot to watch in Mobile.

Duke's Daniel Jones, West Virginia's Will Grier and Missouri's Drew Lock are probably the headliner's of the cast in Mobile, but don't count out Washington State's Gardner Minshew II. Mark Rypien's nephew, Brett Rypien, won't play in Mobile, but another intriguing name: University of Buffalo's Tyree Jackson. He's 6-foot-7 and raw, but has a cannon of an arm. 

The two biggest QB names - Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray - won't be in Mobile, but that doesn't mean all eyes won't be on the passers. The Redskins need to bring in a young signal caller, and the Senior Bowl has a deep pool to scout. 

Offensively, the team also needs to add interior offensive line players and wideouts. 

On the line, there are guys to like. Wisconsin's Michael Dieter, Oklahoma's Dru Samia and Kansas State's Dalton Risner all project as guards in the NFL. Dieter and Risner are known for a nasty streak, the same thing that got said about Brandon Scherff coming out of Iowa. Samia has great feet for a man his size.

Washington needs to address their long running weakness at left guard, and this should be the draft for that.

At wide receiver, the Redskins could lose Jamison Crowder to free agency. Beyond Crowder, the team simply isn't getting enough production on the edges.

One NFC scout talked about Missouri's Emmanuel Hal as a player with a big opportunity to impress this weekend. Two lesser known prospects to watch: UMass WR Andy Isabella, who has 4.3 speed and could play the slot, and UC Davis WR Keelan Doss, who put up huge numbers the last two seasons. West Virginia's David Sills is another wideout with video game numbers on the college level that will be in Mobile. 

Defensively, the Redskins need help on each level.

Starting up front, Washington likely needs to add another pass rusher and every football team in the universe always needs to add defensive line depth. The Redskins could lose Preston Smith in free agency, and need more speed opposite Ryan Kerrigan on the edge. 

A player to watch: Wyoming OLB Carl Granderson. At 6-foot-5 and 261 lbs, he has all the physical tools to be a menace on the outside. One Midwest scout explained that with Granderson, he could have a tremendous week of practice for NFL scouts, assuming he's locked in and focused.

A lot of buzz centers around Mississippi State's Montez Sweat, a probable first-round pick. He was a star in Starkville. 

Smaller college players like Old Dominion's Oshane Ximines and Louisiana Tech's Jaylon Ferguson produced significant sack totals, enough to get them invited to Mobile and compete with the Power 5 school players. This is there opportunity to prove they belong, much like UTSA's Marcus Davenport did last season when the Saints drafted him 14th overall. 

Washington also needs help on the back end.

Their safety situation has significant holes as the team released DJ Swearinger before the final game of the 2018 season and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is set for free agency. 

Two local players of note: Virginia's Juan Thornhill and Maryland's Darnell Savage. Thornhill had six interceptions as a senior and Savage is one of the bigger hitters in the Big Ten. Both need to improve their tackling.

Another semi-local name to watch: Nasir Adderley of Delaware. The young man flies to the football and never stops running. Want a high motor potential special team stud? Adderly could be that guy. 

Much will be learned during the week in Mobile.

The Redskins will send a full cast to scope out the talent and talk with coaches and other scouts. Teams will interview the players, and figure out which targets they want to go deeper on over the coming months of the draft process. The NFL Scouting Combine is only about a month away, and plenty of college pro days after that. 

For Washington, the first steps toward an improved season in 2019 begins this week. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers say they won't have any fans for at least their first two home games this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Lambeau Field will not be the same without our fans' energetic support in the stands," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "Given the extraordinary circumstances this year and the additional protocols in place, though, we determined it was best to take incremental steps to start the regular season. These two games will allow us to focus our attention on safely conducting games inside the stadium with all necessary participants."

That means there won't be any spectators for their Sept. 20 game with the Detroit Lions and their Oct. 5 Monday night game with the Atlanta Falcons.

Green Bay's third home game is Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Packers officials say any decision on whether to admit fans for that game would depend on the status of the pandemic, and that they'd consult with local health officials.

This announcement comes two weeks after Packers CEO Mark Murphy had said that any Packers home games this year would include no more than 10,000-12,000 spectators, if any fans were allowed at all.

All other public areas at Lambeau Field, including parking lots, the pro shop and the Packers Hall of Fame, will be closed during the home games that have no fans. The Titletown area surrounding Lambeau Field will remain open to the public, but no team-run, game-day activities will be planned.

Quick Links

Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

As the Washington Football Team continues to ramp things up in training camp, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to officially name the team's starting quarterback.

However, for Team 980 radio host Kevin Sheehan, there's only one direction the team should go at the position.

"If he doesn't start September 13th against the Eagles, it's a major indictment on Dwayne Haskins," Sheehan said Thursday on Washington Talk & Friends.

In the QB room, there's Haskins, a first-round pick from a year ago that many expect to be the eventual starter. But Washington did trade this offseason for Kyle Allen, who has spent the past two seasons under Rivera and Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner in Carolina.

Earlier this offseason, Rivera said that if there was no normal offseason program due to the coronavirus pandemic, Allen would have a "leg up" on Haskins entering camp. 

Despite all that has transpired the past several months, Sheehan doesn't want the odd, pandemic-riddled offseason to be an excuse as to why Haskins shouldn't be the team's Week 1 starter.

"I don't care what anybody says about the offseason, minicamps and OTAs missing and Kyle Allen getting traded for, [Haskins] has got to be the guy," Sheehan said. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

Earlier this week, Rivera praised Haskins for how he's handled everything this offseason. He commended the passer for how much of the playbook he's already mastered, albeit that being less than three-quarters of it.

Rivera's ultimate decision for who the team's starter will be isn't just between Haskins and Allen. Besides those two young signal-callers, there's also another QB in the mix: veteran Alex Smith. The 35-year-old is currently on the active PUP list, but has been cleared by his personal doctors to return to football activities.

Smith's journey is remarkable. After nearly losing his leg (and maybe his life) from infections that occurred as a result of the gruesome leg injury he suffered in November of 2018, Smith has worked incredibly hard to return to football. 

Even if Smith does get the clearance from Washington team doctors, Sheehan doesn't envision a scenario where the quarterback takes a meaningful snap for Washington.

"I don't see Alex Smith taking anything other than, if he takes a snap on an NFL field, it'll be ceremonial," Sheehan said. "That's what I'm hoping for, too, but I hope he gets back to where he's cleared and then decides not to play."

RELATED: DOES ALEX SMITH MAKE SENSE AS WASHINGTON'S QUARANTINE QB?

When asked why he thinks Rivera has not come out and named Haskins the starter already, Sheehan explained that the second-year passer may benefit from believing he's in a competition.

On his radio show, Sheehan spoke to former Washington cornerback Shawn Springs, who happens to be one of Haskins' biggest mentors. Springs explained to him that Haskins may benefit from not being given the title of QB1 just yet.

"[Springs] really thinks that it's better if Dwayne perceives he's in a competition," Sheehan said. "Maybe Ron recognizes that, too."

While Haskins may not be the starter just yet, plenty of signs point towards the second-year passer being Washington's Week 1 starting quarterback. And that's exactly why Sheehan and many others in the D.C. area believe he is the best direction for the team to go.

"I think he's fearless," Sheehan said of Haskins. "This thing is not above him, it's not too much for him."

Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM NEWS