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Redskins draft countdown: Will Roquan Smith be the best available player at No. 13?

Redskins draft countdown: Will Roquan Smith be the best available player at No. 13?

The Redskins hold the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With draft day roughly a month away, our countdown of potential picks continues with Georgia lineback Roquan Smith

Redskins 2018 NFL Draft Countdown

Roquan Smith

— Linebacker
— Georgia 

Roquan Smith is fast and mean. He changes direction quickly and has a knack for finding the football. These are traits you want in a linebacker who will go high in the draft.

Smith performed on the big stage, playing for a Georgia team that came very close to winning it all. The football instincts he developed in the SEC will serve him well at the next level.

— Height: 6-1
— Weight: 236
— 40-yard dash: 4.51

Projected draft round: 1st


How he fits the Redskins:

There was a lot of talk about Smith to the Redskins while inside linebackers Mason Foster and Zach Brown were unsigned. Now both are in the fold. So why would the Redskins need another ILB?

For one thing, both Foster and Brown missed time with injuries last year. Having a first-round pick come off of the bench if either player is nicked up is an excellent situation to be in. And Smith may be the best available player on the board and if players at other need positions are on the board, he may be the smart pick.

And both Foster and Brown will turn 30 next year. That’s not necessarily the end of the line on today’s NFL but it’s the point where you have to start looking towards the future. Having a young player like Smith in team control for five years would be excellent succession planning.

Are there potential issues? Sure, and we’ll look at them below.


Film review: vs. Auburn, vs. Oklahoma

—Smith usually lined up four yards off of the line of scrimmage, about where a 3-4 inside LB usually lines up in the NFL.

—Teams did not have much luck running jet sweeps with Smith on the field. He’s just too fast getting to the edge

—Smith can get to the quarterback. Against Auburn, he was blitzing from the outside, was blocked, kept fighting, and he eventually got the sack when the QB scrambled up the middle. In the playoff game against the Sooners, he was through the A gap in a flash and forced Baker Mayfield to scramble into a sack.

—He also can affect the passes of other players. He reacted to an end around pass play quickly, forcing the player to throw incomplete.

—Against the Sooners, he did a lot of spying on Mayfield. It was hard to tell if he was supposed to be staying with Mayfield on the play just before the end of the half when the QB caught a touchdown pass on a trick play (similar to the Eagles’ play in the Super Bowl, maybe it could be dubbed the “Sooner Special”).

—Smith takes some false steps and sometimes reacts too quickly. He is fast enough to make up for it most of the time, but he could benefit from some extended time in the film room. He won’t be able to get away with that as

—He also could use time in an NFL weight room. Shedding offensive linemen is a problem for him, as it is for many inside linebackers. Smith isn’t always the best player to have in on runs up the middle.

—It looked like the Bulldogs were in zone coverage frequently and in the games, I watched he wasn’t challenged often so his pass coverage was hard to judge. Against Oklahoma he did a good job in man coverage on a back, taking away Mayfield’s safety valve to set up a sack.

—Also against the Sooners, he made a key play in overtime, flying in on a second and 10 swing pass to get a tackle for a loss.


Potential issues:

The Redskins do have a lot of needs on both sides of the ball and taking a player at a position where they have two good players under contract for two years may be considered a luxury that they can’t afford.

Smith is somewhat undersized, and he might be better suited to playing the Will linebacker spot in a 4-3 defense. While he was able to thrive on sheer speed in college, he will have to refine his game to succeed in the NFL.

Bottom line:

We will see how this plays out. No team drafts based strictly on need and none go purely with the best available player. There is a good chance that Smith will be the best player on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 13. Will they see enough need at the position to justify the pick? Or will they reach a bit and get another player they can plug in as an impact starter right away?

Redskins 2018 NFL Draft Countdown

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Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 13 and 17 vs. Eagles

Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 13 and 17 vs. Eagles

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the two games against the Eagles. 

Week 13 December 3 (Monday night), Lincoln Financial Field

Week 17, December 30, FedEx Field

2017 Eagles: 13-3, First in NFC East, Super Bowl champions 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 10.5

Early line: Week 13, Redskins +7.5; No lines established for Week 17

Key additions: DE Michael Bennett, WR Mike Wallace

Key losses: DE Vinny Curry, WR Torrey Smith, RB LeGarrette Blount, DT Beau Allen

Notable: Quarterback Carson Wentz is aiming to be ready for Week 1 after suffering a torn ACL late in the season.  

Biggest questions: 

  • If Wentz isn’t ready, the Eagles have Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles ready. Is the real Foles the one who has been a journeyman or the one who starred in the playoffs? And will Wentz continue the freewheeling style that helped make him successful after the injury?
  • After winning Philadelphia its first Super Bowl, will the Eagles suffer from a hangover? 

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 82-75-6; the Eagles won both meetings last year after Washington had won five straight. 

Series notables

The first time: October 10, 1937, Griffith Stadium — With the Redskins trailing 7-0, rookie Sammy Baugh twice led the Redskins deep into Eagle territory. Washington couldn’t push it across the goal line either time, though, and Philly got out with a 14-0 win.

The last time: October 23, 2017, Lincoln Financial Field — The Redskins took a 10-3 lead midway through the second quarter, but Wentz and the Eagles took over after that, scoring 21 unanswered points. The Redskins got it back within a touchdown and on a third and eight play early in the fourth quarter, it looked like they had Wentz sacked. However, he scrambled out of trouble and ran for the first down. That drive ended with a touchdown pass and Philly went on to win 34-24.

The best time: January 5, 1991, Veterans Stadium — After getting pummeled by the Eagles in the Body Bag Game (see “The worst time” below), the Redskins qualified for the playoffs and got their shot at revenge. The seedings called for the Redskins to return to the scene of the crime, Veterans Stadium, for a first-round playoff contest.

A near turnover that wasn't was the game's turning point. The Redskins had taken a 7-6 lead and were driving for more when the ball popped loose from Earnest Byner's grasp when he was tackled at the Philadelphia six. CB Ben Smith scooped the ball up and ran 94 yards for an apparent TD. 

Fortunately for the Redskins, instant replay showed that the ground caused the fumble and the call was reversed, with the Redskins retaining possession. The reversal became a 10-point turnaround as Chip Lohmiller connected on a short FG and instead of a six-point deficit, the Redskins had a four-point lead. The Eagles' offense never could get untracked and the Redskins won 20-6.

The worst time: November 12, 1990, Veterans Stadium — As the Redskins went into 1990, the core players on the team, Art Monk, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Charles Mann, Darrell Green, Don Warren, and Monte Coleman, were on or approaching the over the hill side of 30.  The team had gone from Super Bowl Champs in 1987 to a losing record in ’88 to out of the playoffs again in ’89. They were facing their last stand as they went into The Vet for a November Monday night game.

This one became known as "The Body Bag Game". Five Redskins had to be carted off of the field as Buddy Ryan's team knocked a total of nine out of the game, including both of the active QB's. The carnage induced one Eagle to yell, "Do you guys need any more body bags?'' as yet another injured Redskin was lying on the turf. The Eagles and Ryan taunted the Redskins after the game, a 28-14 Philadelphia win that was not nearly that close.

Redskins schedule series

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

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Sprinkle as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

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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An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 


Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

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