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Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown

Sony Michel

Running back
Georgia

Sony Michel is a solid north-south runner who also can bounce outside and pick up yardage. He shared playing time with Nick Chubb last year and still ran for 1,277 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry, and scored 16 touchdowns against SEC competition. Michel also showed his bona fides in the passing game, catching 64 career passes and showing that he can handle pass protection. 

Height: 5-11
Weight: 220
40-yard dash:4.54

Projected draft round:2

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins have made no secret of their desire to draft an upgrade at running back. They would prefer one who can catch passes out of the backfield and gain yardage between the tackles. Sony Michel can do both as well as pop for yardage on the outside. There is a good chance that he will be on the board when the Redskins draft in the second round. Since they don’t have a third-round pick, this may be the last chance to get an upgrade in this draft. 

Film review: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Alabama

—The first thing to say here is that the Bulldogs had a quality run-blocking offensive line. Michel frequently had big holes to run through. For his part, Michel maximized his gains when he had a big opening, hitting it quickly and working north-south. 

—He also can pick up yards through just a small crease, again by hitting it with urgency and gaining momentum to drive for the final few yards. 

—Michel didn’t do a whole lot of pass protection in the plays I watched, but he was solid when he did. On one play against Notre Dame, he put a blitzing defensive back on the ground. Against Alabama, he got in the way of likely first-round pick Da’Ron Payne long enough to allow the quarterback to get off a deep pass. To be sure, he didn’t blow Payne away but his block was effective.

—Besides the O-line, Michel also got quality blocking from his receivers. Again, he took advantage, reading the blocks and maximizing the gain. 

—He also can get it done without much help. On third and 20 against the vaunted Alabama defense, he headed up the middle and quickly went outside when he saw no running room. He headed to the sideline with four Alabama defenders and no blockers in sight. Michel found another gear and accelerated down the sideline to convert the third and long.  

—He later converted a third and 10 on a draw play, quickly getting up to speed and zipping through traffic to move the sticks. 

Potential issues: Although he has decent speed, he’s not the home run threat you might want in a back taken in the second round. And Michel isn’t really a power back either, although he can fight for extra yards. 

Despite his limitations, there is chatter that Michel might be drafted early in the second round or perhaps even late in the first. It’s hard to separate the smoke and speculation from reality as we sit a week before the draft starts. But he’s a talented back and if Derrius Guice goes off the board earlier than most expect, a run on runners could include Michel. 

Bottom line: Saquon Barkley is the obvious top running back and he surely will be gone when the Redskins pick in the first round. After that, the Redskins have plenty of options. They like Guice but 13 may be too high for him and he is likely to be gone when their pick in the second is on the clock. Michel is one of a few possibilities there, a group that also would include Michel’s former teammate Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones of USC and others. Without a peek at the draft board in Ashburn, we will just have to wait and see. 

Redskins draft countdown

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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The Redskins need these three to be at their best in Week 2 against the Cowboys

The Redskins need these three to be at their best in Week 2 against the Cowboys

Come about four o'clock on Sunday afternoon, the Redskins and their fans will either be feeling quite good with a 1-1 record or the exact opposite of quite good thanks to an 0-2 start.

Washington will of course need Case Keenum to try and come close to replicating what he did in the opener against the Eagles and could really use a vintage Adrian Peterson Performance. 

Beyond them, though, who needs to be on point for the Redskins? These three absolutely qualify.

Ryan Kerrigan

The Burgundy and Gold's defensive line is down two players already and will be relying upon a couple of guys who basically just arrived. They may have trouble generating pressure up the middle thanks to that, meaning Kerrigan better be ready to do so on the edge.

If the home team allows Dak Prescott to stand in the pocket and pat the ball like Carson Wentz did in Week 1, then it'll be another long day for the entire unit. But if Kerrigan, who plays especially well against division foes, can be a constant threat to Prescott, then that'll make a big difference.

In 2018, Kerrigan forced a game-changing fumble at FedEx Field when facing Dallas. Hopefully he can follow that up with another productive outing this year.

Paul Richardson

Richardson had a fine stat line versus the Eagles, but he did have one drive-killing drop and didn't come up with any of the deep catches he's being counted on to create. Terry McLaurin was clearly the star of the receiving corps, while Richardson played more of a supporting role.

Now, perhaps McLaurin will shine again. Even if he does, Jay Gruden would still love for Richardson to also contribute with a splash play or two. Keenum showed he's willing to take chances downfield, so Richardson will need to use his speed and give Keenum a target for those chances.

The Redskins' most obvious path to a win Sunday will be to pound the ball with Peterson and control the clock as best as they can. That said, if Richardson can flip the field and help the offense score quickly instead of trying to string together 10-play drives, that'll make an upset more likely.

Greg Manusky

Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, after just one game in the role, is drawing comparisons to Sean McVay. He brings his offense loaded with playmakers to Landover for Week 2, and will be squaring off with Manusky's group. It's on Manusky to match Moore.

Manusky had a tumultuous offseason and the defense's Week 1 showing in Philadelphia didn't do much to improve his standing as defensive coordinator. And as mentioned earlier, he'll be rolling out a D-line that's missing some major talent as well as a secondary that has injury issues as well.

Those won't be viable excuses for another game in which his players can't get off the field on third downs or force any turnovers, though. His defenders simply have to play better, sure, but he's going to have to put them in positions to succeed as well, or else he'll be scrutinized even more. 

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NFC East Week 2 Preview: It may be early, but this week is monumental for Redskins' playoff hopes

NFC East Week 2 Preview: It may be early, but this week is monumental for Redskins' playoff hopes

The NFL season is only 16 games, meaning each outcome every week carries a large amount of weight.

But it is still a long season, overreacting to Week 1 is for the most part unwarranted. There are still 15 games left, and no team is eliminated from postseason play after just one loss.

The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles opened up their 2019 campaigns with victories over divisional rivals, the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, respectively. 

Here is what to expect from each team in Week 2.

Week 2 NFC East Preview:

Dallas Cowboys (1-0, 1-0 in NFC East):

The Cowboys opened their season in a dominant fashion, jumping out to a 25-point lead on the Giants in the third quarter. Dak Prescott turned in arguably the best game of his career, throwing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns. 

This week, Dallas travels to FedExField for a second-straight divisional clash. In his three years as the starting QB for Dallas, Prescott has absolutely owned Washington. He's won five of six starts versus the Redskins, throwing for six total touchdowns and zero interceptions. He's also added four rushing touchdowns on the ground over that same span.

Dallas will look for that same production out of their fourth-year QB as they hope to continue their recent dominance over their rival. 

They did fall in Washington a year ago, as the Redskins held running back Ezekiel Elliott to just 33 rushing yards. The Cowboys will certainly need more from their star running back to leave Washington victorious.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0, 1-0 in NFC East):

A dominant second half was enough for the Eagles to escape an upset bid from the Redskins in Week 1. Now, they travel to Atlanta for a Sunday Night Football clash against the Falcons.

Atlanta was one of the more disappointing teams from Week 1, failing to score any points until the fourth quarter in a 28-12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Falcons will certainly need more production from their star wide receiver Julio Jones, who mustered just 31 receiving yards in the team's opener.

The Eagles secondary struggled at times against Washington, allowing rookie Terry McLaurin to eclipse the 100-yard mark in his NFL debut. Heck, Case Keenum finished with 380 passing yards against them in the loss. This group will certainly have to be better in Atlanta if they want to leave the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a win.

Washington Redskins (0-1, 0-1 in NFC East):

It may just be Week 2, but Sunday's clash against Dallas feels like a must-win. After failing to hold on to a 17-point lead in Philadelphia a week ago, Washington simply cannot afford to go 0-2 to start the season, especially because that would mean two division losses as well.

To do that, they'll have to beat a Cowboys team that has had tremendous success at FedexField. In the 22 matchups on the Redskins home turf, Dallas has won 14 of them. Washington did, however, hold off a late Dallas comeback at FedExField a year ago, winning 20-17.

Stopping Ezekiel Elliott will be crucial for Washington, who will be without one of their best defensive players in Jonathan Allen. In the Redskins victory over Dallas a year ago, Elliott ran for just 33 yards. In his other four games against Washington, all Dallas victories, No. 21 has rushed for an average of 112.8 yards against the Burgundy and Gold. 

The injury bug has already bit Washington in 2019. Besides Allen, the Redskins will be without running back Derrius Guice, tight end Jordan Reed and defensive lineman Caleb Brantley against Dallas.

New York Giants (0-1, 0-1 in NFC East):

The Giants, simply put, looked like one of the worst teams of football in Week 1. A couple of late touchdowns made the final score a little more respectable, but have no doubt about it, they were outplayed by the Cowboys in all three phases in a 35-17 loss.

After defeating one New York team, the Buffalo Bills will look to defeat the other in Week 2 when they travel to Metlife Stadium for a second week in a row. Second-year QB Josh Allen engineered a 16-point comeback over the Jets a week ago, giving the Bills their first win of the season.

For the Giants to earn their first victory of the season, they must feature Saquon Barkley more. Their dynamic running back had a strong opener against Dallas, rushing for 121 yards. The issue was he only received 11 carries, as the game flow forced the Giants to dial-up an aerial attack after falling behind early.

Thankfully for Giants fans, the Bills offense should not put up points the way the Cowboys' offense did a week ago.

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