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Redskins draft countdown: RB Nick Chubb can grind for yards inside or outside

Redskins draft countdown: RB Nick Chubb can grind for yards inside or outside

Redskins draft countdown

Nick Chubb

Running back

Nick Chubb ran for nearly 2,500 yards in two seasons after suffering a devastating knee injury in 2015. While the injury seems to have cost him some explosion, he still has plenty of power. Maybe Chubb is not going run away from defenders like he could as a freshman but he isn’t going to get taken down with an arm tackle, either.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 228
40-yard dash:4.52

Projected draft round:2-3

How he fits the Redskins: Jay Gruden said that he wants a running back who can gain yardage between the tackles and catch passes. Chubb certainly can do the former, combining power and good vision to blast for gains up the middle. Georgia rarely throws passes to running back so the Redskins will need to project that skill. 

Film review: vs. Tennessee, vs. Mississippi State

—You name the way that a back can gain yards after contact and Chubb has it in his toolbox. He gets his pad level low, keeps his legs driving, maintains his momentum, and moves the pile at the end with sheer determination. 

—Chubb will need plenty of work on pass protection. He usually was taken off the field on passing downs. When he was asked to pass block, he didn’t always look good. On one play action pass, he stayed back and looked confused at the QB got sacked.

—He is a grinder. Against Tennessee, he twice got three yards up the middle when there was nothing there. Then he got eight yards up the gut, again with little push from the line. 

—Chubb is not unstoppable. He got tripped up at the line with ankle tackles a few times; he could use some work on keeping his feet moving. 

—But he is nimble enough. Against Mississippi State, he took a quick pitch, kept his feet through some traffic, executed a jump cut to the outside and easily scored on a six-yard run.

—Chubb took a couple of direct snaps in Georgia’s “Wild Dog” formation. On one he saw running room off of the edge and showed good burst getting to the open field and he rolled for 26 yards and a TD. The other direct snap was just as impressive as he had to jump to field a high snap. Chubb gathered himself and dodged a tackler to pick up three yards and a first down. 

—Chubb seemed comfortable working behind a fullback in the I formation, lined up behind the quarterback in a single back look, and running out the shotgun. 

Potential issues: Georgia did not throw much to running backs. Chubb had 18 receptions as a freshman and a combined 13 his next three seasons. Even though Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back, they would like a running back taken in the top 100 to have some versatility. The Redskins will have to project Chubb’s pass-catching ability. 

The knee injury he suffered in 2015 seems to be fine, although certainly the medical information from the combine will be scrutinized carefully. The positive news out of the injury, if there is such a thing with an injury involving multiple ligament and cartilage tears, is that his ACL emerged intact. 

Bottom line: The Redskins are going to draft a running back and they want to make sure he is an upgrade over what they have. Chubb is an upgrade but is he worth a second-round pick? The lack of a third rounder hurts the Redskins here; they would not hesitate to pick him there. 

But they could take him with their second-round pick, the 44th overall, if they think he can be the guy to improve the team’s struggling running game. 

Redskins draft countdown

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Cardale Jones and the DC Defenders ready to kick off an updated XFL

Cardale Jones and the DC Defenders ready to kick off an updated XFL

The reboot is almost here. 

The second edition of the XFL, the infamous football league brought to you by WWE founder Vince McMahon for a memorable, combustible one-year run in 2001, begins play in February. It is a second chance for the league and for the players who’ve joined, including former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones.

Jones is the quarterback for the DC Defenders, Washington’s newest pro franchise that will play its home games at D.C. United’s Audi Field. The first game isn’t until February 8 after the NFL’s season concludes with the Super Bowl, but the organization opened its offseason camp at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House indoor facility on Thursday. The debut is just over two months away. 

“I love it. It’s pretty cool to be part of something that’s going to be a first, a historical moment of the return [of the XFL] and to be in [the D.C.] area,” Jones said. “Hopefully not just me, but this team can leave a lasting impression.”

It remains to be seen how much of an impact the Defenders will make on a crowded winter sports scene with the NHL’s Capitals and NBA’s Wizards playing and the World Series champion Nationals starting their title defense just across the street from Audi Field in April just as the XFL plays its final two games and its two playoff rounds. 

Jones, of course, led Ohio State to the national championship in 2014 when he came off the bench to replace two injured starters and led the Buckeyes to wins in the Big 10 championship game and two more in the college football playoffs. He started seven games in 2015 as a redshirt junior, but lost his job and turned pro after that season. 

Part of the appeal of the XFL is to get another shot at an NFL opportunity. Jones was drafted in the fourth round by the Buffalo Bills in 2016 and made his debut in a game late that season. He was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018 and spent that year on the practice squad. Jones was with the Seattle Seahawks this summer and again cut from the practice squad in September.  

“My focus is strictly on the XFL and the DC Defenders, nothing more, nothing less,” Jones said. “I do have long-term goals and aspirations, but all of them consist of being a better player and teammate to this franchise and this organization.”

Pep Hamilton is the head coach and general manager of the Defenders. Quarterback at Howard in the early 1990s, Hamilton has spent 10 years coaching in the NFL and was most recently the assistant head coach and passing game coordinator at Michigan. 

That drew a laugh from Jones, who was going back and forth with Hamilton to set up a meeting after the Defenders’ roster was announced. Hamilton still has a home in Ann Arbor so that’s where Jones, the ultimate Ohio State guy, had to go. 

“Right around the corner from the University,” Jones cracked. “So I had to drive past the Big House every freakin’ time I’d go up there. Monday through Wednesday I’d have to go past there.”

Jones laughed and said he was driving through campus one day and saw some players he recognized wearing Michigan gear. He yelled out the car window “O-H!” and sped past them cackling. Every workout Jones makes sure he has his Ohio State cleats on and Hamilton wears his Michigan shoes. 

Jones, Hamilton and the rest are all on the same team now, though, and it will take lots of repetitions throughout the offseason for players from colleges all over the country to come together and form a cohesive group. There isn’t much time. Walk throughs and team meetings began this week and continue into next week. Then come OTAs next weekend and finally a two-day minicamp on Dec. 16-17. 

“This is going to be interesting,” Jones said. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I sense a great buzz. We did a couple of appearances and some meet-and-greets with the fans and I was shocked by the response that we got and how excited people are around the city. It’s football all year round.” 


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Nate Orchard was installing windows prior to signing with the Redskins

Nate Orchard was installing windows prior to signing with the Redskins

A week ago, many Redskins fans were not familiar with the name Nate Orchard. But after No. 54's exceptional performance in the Redskins' Week 13 victory over Carolina, he's turned into a feel-good story in an otherwise tough season in Washington.

As many Redskins fans know by now, Orchard was signed just days before the Week 13 game. Due to injuries to linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat, as well as Ryan Anderson being ejected, Orchard was forced to play meaningful snaps towards the end of Sunday's victory. He finished with a sack, recovering a fumble, and two tackles for loss in the win.

The former star on HBO's Hard Knocks while he was with the Cleveland Browns had worked out for 10 (!!) teams this season, but none chose to sign Orchard until Washington did last week. It makes sense why he was so emotional postgame.

So, how was Orchard spending his time before joining the Burgundy and Gold? 

Orchard, who spent most Mondays and Tuesdays this season working out for NFL teams, was installing windows in Utah a few days during the week, according to 106.7 The Fan.

"A typical week for me, I would leave for a workout Monday, get back Tuesday night," Orchard said on 106.7's Grant and Danny"Wednesday morning, I'd hit the gym early, then go and install windows from 7 [o'clock] until about 3 [o'clock], then come back to my family and rest up. [I would] repeat that Thursday and Friday."

Orchard admitted that he questioned whether he should continue to train and wait for a call, but says his wife encouraged him to stay motivated and continue to workout.

They say hard work pays off, and Orchard's whirlwind of a season thus far ended up being very rewarding for him this past Sunday.