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Redskins 2019 7-round mock draft: #1 The 'Living on the Edge' Scenario

Redskins 2019 7-round mock draft: #1 The 'Living on the Edge' Scenario

Projecting a one-round NFL mock draft with accuracy in mind is lunacy. Doing so for seven rounds should mean an immediate elementary school-type timeout. Offering up three versions of a seven-round draft with undrafted free agents in tow for the Washington Redskins probably demands an intervention.

Before gathering folks together, take a moment to understand there’s a method to this mock draft madness.

Presented here is simply a look at three different scenarios for the Redskins, pick by pick. These choices are based on a combination of conversations with league sources, homework, intuition plus remaining needs.

While not an interactive article or the latest season of “Black Mirror,” consider this akin to a “Choose your adventure” book. While the Redskins have four of the top 97 selections, their list of needs is lengthy.

Want an edge rusher and safety in the first two rounds? Cool, but then here’s what you’re staring at with guards, wide receivers and corners from there. Think there’s no way they should pass on a long-term quarterback at 15? Fine as long as you realize the pool of sack masters, inside linebackers and tight ends drop off after round two.

Though the April 25-27 extravaganza is rapidly approaching, plenty can change with the overall draft board and the Redskins’ situation. There’s a possible quarterback trade for Josh Rosen out there, for example. Free agency is still in play even though the marketplace turned library quiet.

Hopefully, some of you nod along. Those who see red as you read, critique away. Just understand there’s a method to the madness.

PATH 1 -- Living on the edge

First Round, Pick No. 15: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

The need for more help on the edge following Preston Smith’s free agency exit is obvious and not at all. Does the organization believe Ryan Anderson can handle such duties in his third season? Let’s just say the jury is out and therefore the verdict here is to get another pass rusher. Assuming Montez Sweat isn’t available we’ll go with Burns. The 6-foot-5 speed threat needs more power, but he racked up 14.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss during his final two seasons with the Seminoles.

Second Round, Pick No. 46: Darnell Savage, S, Maryland

Just like the aforementioned OLB scenario, the need for free safety depends on whether the organization truly believes there’s bounce-back potential with Monte Nicholson. Beyond the arrest late in the season, don’t forget the Redskins traded a fourth-round pick for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in-season to replace Nicholson. Plenty of safety options exist on Day 2 including Savage, who brings instincts, cover skills and 4.36 speed.

Third Round, Pick No. 77: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

Patience with the receivers in this draft pays off. Public big boards typically rank around 15 wideouts among the top 110 overall selections. Here that means the 6-foot-2 Harmon, who some consider a possible top 35 pick, but other sources deem more of a late Day 2 selection because of speed and quickness concerns. The three-year starter brings strong hands and a physical presence, traits the Redskins' receivers lack. Whether it’s Harmon, Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or another interesting prospect, viable options will remain on the board in this range.

Third Round, Pick No. 97: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia

This slot could prove wildly off for Grier, who I had going 46 to the Redskins in recent mocks, but his Senior Bowl and Combine work didn't help his draft cause. ESPN and CBS both rank Grier outside the top 100 prospects. He lacks a big arm but is willing to take risks and doesn't shy away from leading the offense. We know the Redskins lack a long-term option at quarterback. Depending on Alex Smith’s recovery from a serious leg injury any rookie selected might be the only QB on the roster entering 2020 free agency. Best bets on Grier’s landing spots: Redskins, Giants, Panthers.

 

Fifth Round, Pick No. 154: Drew Sample, TE, Washington

My guess is Sample goes off the board in the 3-4 round range based on conversations with league and team sources, yet several big boards rank him lower than 154. Sample stood out with an impressive showing during the Combine workouts in Indianapolis, where the Redskins brought him for a formal meeting. Would help more as a blocker initially. Washington probably keeps only three tight ends, but maybe not considering Jordan Reed’s injury history and Vernon Davis’ age.

Fifth Round, Pick No. 174: Nate Herbig, G, Stanford

This monster of a prospect, the 6-foot-3, 335-pound Herbig earned 2nd team All-Pac 12 honors in 2018 despite playing only seven games because of injuries. This came after a 1st team selection in 20017 with starts at both guard spots. Perhaps all of that experience propels Herbig into the left guard battle in Washington. That the Redskins might need a Day 3 pick to start shows the downside of waiting on guard. Again, can’t solve all their needs with early selections.

Sixth Round, Pick No. 208: T.J. Edwards, ILB, Wisconsin

Inside linebacker remains a long-term need for the Redskins. Will Reuben Foster make it through a season without incident? Does Mason Foster return for 2020? Are Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton eventual starters in this league? This isn’t a major investment, but Edwards, a four-year starter, led the Badgers with 113 tackles last season.

Seventh Round, Pick No. 229: Darrin Hall, RB, Pittsburgh

The 5-foot-11, 225-pound back with 4.4 40-yard speed is coming off a senior season with over 1,100 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground. League-wide interest increased after an impressive pro day.

Seventh Round, Pick No. 255: Cortez Broughton, DT, Cincinnati

The Redskins are generally good along the defensive line, but depth additions are always worth exploring. Broughton’s up-and-down college career ended with a positive note as the 282-pound tackle had 7.5 sacks.

UDFA: Jackson Barton, OT, Utah

This 6-foot-7 lineman made 28 starts for the Utes and received all Pac-12 first-team honors in 2018. Despite the experience, Barton is on the 7th round/UDFA line.

Summary: This version checks off the needs one by one starting with the conventional pass rusher angle and a playmaking safety next to Landon Collins. Adding Harmon, Grier and Sample specifically in the middle rounds would make this a strong haul overall. However, in this scenario the Redskins remain without a clear starting left guard on the roster and do not add corner depth.

Path 2 -- No passing on the future (Thursday) 

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5 questions facing the Redskins as the Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins QB battle begins

5 questions facing the Redskins as the Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins QB battle begins

The Redskins have a quarterback battle. Repeat, the Redskins have a quarterback battle. This is not a drill. It is an open competition. 

When the team gathers in Ashburn on Monday for offseason training activities, it will be the first time that veteran passer Case Keenum and first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins will be on the field at the same time. Incumbent backup QB Colt McCoy should be present as well, but not active as he works back from multiple leg surgeries this offseason. 

The team has plenty of questions for the 2019 season, and the answers will start coming as early as this week. No question is bigger than the signal caller though.

  1. QB Battle - Every major factor in the Redskins organization has been clear that Haskins will get a chance to compete for the starting job. That means every throw between Keenum, the presumed starter after the 'Skins traded for him in February, and the Ohio State rookie will be over analyzed. If McCoy was healthy, he would have a jump start in the competition because he knows head coach Jay Gruden's offense. McCoy isn't healthy though, and that means more reps and work for Keenum and Haskins. This battle will be ongoing throughout the summer, but on Monday with the media present, it will be very interesting to see what player gets more work with the first-team offense.
  2. Who's still hurt - Speaking of the first-team offense, a number of players will be working back from offseason surgery. Will Paul Richardson be out there? Trent Williams? How healthy is Jordan Reed, and what about Derrius Guice? Brandon Scherff? There are a lot  of questions, and some of them will be answered simply by seeing guys run around. Second-year wideouts Cam Sims and Trey Quinn both finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve; will they be ready to go? There are a lot of people to watch out for. 
  3. STARTING DEFENSE (LATIMER VOICE*) - Landon Collins was the prize of free agency, and Monday he will be on the field barking directions at teammates. How will he fit in with Josh Norman, and how does Quinton Dunbar look? When Dunbar went down with a leg nerve injury last season, the Washington defense fell apart. If he is all the way back would be big news for Greg Manusky's defense. There's also Reuben Foster. This will be the first time for the media to see Foster on the field in a Redskins uniform after his controversial acquisition last November. Presumably Foster will answer questions after the OTA session, stay tuned for that.
  4. Camp is over for the rookies - Beyond Haskins, the Redskins have nine other draft picks taking part in OTAs. The rookies went through their own private minicamp last week, but this will be quite different. Rookie minicamp is about letting the new players get acclimated to the new facility and team; OTAs are about real work. Will Montez Sweat take the field with the Redskins first-team defense? What about the two rookie receivers in Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon? There will be hiccups for the rookies, that's inevitable, but now is the time to prove they belong. With all the injuries on the offensive line, Wes Martin has the inside track on a starting job. 
  5. Absent, but not hurt - Never forget that OTAs are voluntary for players, and usually a handful of guys don't show up. That will likely happen tomorrow and some fans might react negatively. Don't be one of them. 

* If you don't get that reference, go watch The Program. 

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How did the Redskins end up as the favorites to be featured on Hard Knocks?

How did the Redskins end up as the favorites to be featured on Hard Knocks?

There's a solid formula to land on the HBO series Hard Knocks, and a rookie quarterback can play a big role. Last year, HBO picked the Cleveland Browns, and much of that was to showcase No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. Three years ago, HBO did the same thing with the Rams and Jared Goff. 

This year, the No. 1 overall pick landed on a team that can't be shown on Hard Knocks, as Kyler Murray will play for new coach Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona. Teams with coaching changes are ineligible for the show, as are teams that made the playoffs the previous season. 

Well, the Redskins didn't make the playoffs last year and didn't make a coaching change. What other QBs were taken in the first round?

The New York Giants took Daniel Jones with the sixth pick, and the Redskins took Dwayne Haskins at 15. 

Hmmm.

For years, the idea of the Redskins on Hard Knocks seemed far fetched. Team president Bruce Allen is not particularly fond of the media or inside access for television cameras. Allen comes by that honestly, his father Hall of Fame coach George Allen liked to practice in complete secrecy. Like father, like son. And as much as HBO and the NFL can force a team to do Hard Knocks, if the team doesn't want to be a part of it, the access can be very limited. 

So, has that changed? Maybe. 

Oddsmakers have established the Redskins as the betting favorite to land on the show, with the Oakland Raiders and the Giants just behind them. Both the 'Skins and Giants have rookie QBs, but the reception around each rookie has been quite different. While generally, Washington fans are very excited about Haskins, the New York crowd seems non-pleased with Jones. 

The NFL rarely does things that upset the Giants, and in an offseason of turmoil for Big Blue, it's hard to see the team wanting the increased scrutiny of the documentary show. Between trading Odell Beckham, drafting Jones at six, and a series of odd quotes about Eli Manning's future, New York GM Dave Gettleman has become a national punch line. It seems highly unlikely Giants ownership wants their GM on national television, especially in an unguarded format like Hard Knocks, and usually, when Giants ownership wants something, they get their way. How many cold weather cities have hosted an outdoor Super Bowl again?

There's also the Raiders. 

Jon Gruden would be a star because he already is a star. The team traded for Antonio Brown, who is also a star. The Raiders would make great television.

But wouldn't they rather go on Hard Knocks next season when the team moves to Las Vegas? How glitzy is that? There won't be a coaching change — Gruden is armed with a 10-year contract — and the team should be better as their three first-round draft picks will have a year of experience. The Raiders on Hard Knocks in 2020 seems like a slam dunk. 

The Lions and 49ers are also options, but less appealing. Detroit is a perennial also-ran, and San Francisco lacks sizzle. 

So back to the Redskins. 

The team would be appealing for HBO. Washington has a huge fan base across the country, and the television network is already familiar with the team's Richmond training camp setup. In 2015, HBO chronicled the Houston Texans' training camp, and that included a trip to Richmond for joint practices. Everybody remembers that trip. 

But if the Redskins didn't want Hard Knocks before, why is this time different? Oddsmakers think things have changed, and digging in, maybe they're right.

By all accounts, the 'Skins had an excellent 2019 NFL Draft. They added their quarterback of the future in Haskins, and aggressively traded back into the first round to grab Montez Sweat, a potential beast of a pass rusher. The team also signed Landon Collins this offseason to an $84 million contract, and have pieces in place for a Top 10 defense. Offensively, Adrian Peterson is going into the Hall of Fame and second-year RB Derrius Guice should return from a knee injury to push for carries. 

Maybe, just maybe, the Redskins are willing to let HBO inside their walls because they want to brag a little bit. 

In the weeks after the draft, Allen did appearances on ESPN's First Take along with a host of national radio interviews. Stephen A. Smith interviewing Bruce Allen was wildly unexpected, and it corresponds to a noticeable increase in accessibility with the Redskins front office boss. Allen has conducted more media availabilities this offseason than he had in the previous two years combined. 

For all the talk of dysfunction that gets thrown around at Redskins Park, the reality is quite different. At least on the football side. The team did fire a number of high ranking business executives late last year after employing them for less than a season. That was an ugly scene.

On the field, however, things have been fairly steady for years. The team is aggressively mediocre in the Jay Gruden era, which is more stable than the franchise has been for the last 25 years. And Gruden would be hysterical on Hard Knocks, along with Rob Ryan and Jim Tomsula. 

Maybe going on Hard Knocks will change the perception around the team that owner Dan Snyder calls all the shots. Maybe going on Hard Knocks will get fans excited for the Haskins era, and get those fans to buy tickets. FedEx Field was noticeably empty last year. Maybe none of it happens too. 

Despite being the betting favorite, it is far from certain the Redskins land on Hard Knocks later this summer. But there are reasons to believe maybe this could be the year. 

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