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Redskins will host Kyler Murray even though he very well could be the first overall pick

Redskins will host Kyler Murray even though he very well could be the first overall pick

As the draft continues to creep up, now just two weeks away, the Redskins continue to bring in multiple quarterbacks for pre-draft visits. Northwestern's Clayton Thorson visited on Wednesday, and Duke's Daniel Jones is set to visit Thursday.

But the quarterback coming to visit Washington next week may be the most important one of them all.

That's when former University of Oklahoma quarterback and 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray is scheduled to come to Washington.

In his lone season as a starter for the Sooners, Murray threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns while leading Oklahoma to a College Football Playoff berth. He additionally ran for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground.

Murray is truly a threat both with his arm and his legs, which is why many NFL teams are intrigued by the 5-10 signal caller.

Even if the Redskins fall in love with Murray during the visit, they will most likely have a difficult time being able to select him. Washington will likely have to trade up in the draft in order to take Murray.

Many mock drafts, including NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig's, have the Arizona Cardinals selecting Murray with the No. 1 overall pick. 

The Redskins are doing their due diligence on all of the top quarterback prospects, which is smart considering there are several ways the draft could shake out.

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Former All-Pro LB Aldon Smith reportedly signs with Cowboys after four-year absence from NFL

Former All-Pro LB Aldon Smith reportedly signs with Cowboys after four-year absence from NFL

After a four-year absence from the NFL, former All-Pro pass rusher Aldon Smith is back. According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, Smith has signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys worth $4 million. 

Selected by the 49ers with the seventh pick in the 2011 draft, Smith quickly became one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL, tallying 14 sacks as a rookie and 19.5 sacks the year after in 2012. He and Colin Kaepernick were the main reasons the 49ers went to the Super Bowl that year. 

Unfortunately for Smith, it was mostly downhill from there. He recorded 8.5 sacks in 11 games, but his season was derailed after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. Smith voluntarily entered a rehabilitation facility after Week 3 and missed the next five games.

Then in 2014, Smith was suspended nine games for violating the league's substance abuse policy and recorded just two sacks in seven games. He was arrested the following summer for a third DUI and the 49ers released him. 

The Raiders took a flier on him in 2015 and he played in nine games, but the NFL then suspended him for one-year following a hit-and-run in 2015. Smith applied for reinstatement but ended up sitting out 2016 and 2017. The Raiders released him in 2018.

Smith still needs to be reinstated before playing a game for the Cowboys, though according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Dallas is confident the league will reinstate him. 

The now 30-year-old will now attempt to revive a career that showed an immense amount of promise early on, only to be hampered by off-the-field issues. If he can reclaim a portion of his San Francisco form, it'll be bad news for the Redskins and the rest of the NFC East teams who will have to face him twice a year. 

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New Redskins RB JD McKissic wants to 'create a hazard' for opposing defenses

New Redskins RB JD McKissic wants to 'create a hazard' for opposing defenses

The Redskins signed running back JD McKissic with a pretty specific role in mind, but the wide receiver turned runner might have bigger designs than just being a third-down back. 

"I love to run between the tackles," McKissic said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters. "I want to create a hazard for the defense."

That's great, but it's not why Washington brought in the fifth-year back out of Arkansas State. In college, McKissic played wide receiver and played it well. In four seasons for the Red Wolves he caught 289 passes for nearly 3,000 yards with 11 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had more than 100 catches and 1,000 yards.

He was a very legitimate receiving threat in the Sun Belt Conference, but in the NFL, that just wasn't in the cards, particularly at 5-foot-10 and 195 lbs. So he switched to running back and has stuck in the league since 2016, when he signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. 

Now in Washington, McKissic is focused on being a running back but won't let his roots go. 

"I will always feel like I'm a receiver just because I've done it my whole life," he said. "I never want to lose my receiver ability. I feel like it's kept me in the league to do something different. That's what sets me apart from a lot of other guys."

In new Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner's scheme, receiving ability has a lot of value for a running back. Throwing to backs has always been a staple of the Turner offense, even when Scott's father Norv Turner ran it throughout the 1990s and 2000s. It's a way to create mismatches against the defense and get more defensive backs on the field, which can in turn open up more room to run the football. 

McKissic spoke with Turner about the offensive plans and liked what he heard. 

"The running back position is very important to him," McKissic said of Turner. "He mentioned Christian McCaffrey had 100 catches [in 2019]. He told me I'll get a couple but I won't get that many."

Last season in Carolina, McCaffrey cooked.

He didn't just catch 100 passes, McCaffrey caught 116 passes. He accounted for nearly 2,400 yards of total offense through the air and on the ground, and that was with Norv and Scott Turner running the offense. 

Now, to be clear, McKissic isn't McCaffrey. Last year with the Lions, McKissic caught 34 passes for 234 yards and accounted for about 440 yards of offense.

There will be a similar McCaffrey role available in the new Redskins offense though. 

Of the Redskins running backs under contract, and there are a lot, McKissic has a similar body type to McCaffrey and is best known as a pass-catcher. There will be competition for that job, and the position group has a lot of options. As far as third-down back though Adrian Peterson is unlikely to be in the running, which leaves McKissic, Derrius Guice and Bryce Love. The Redskins also signed Peyton Barber this offseason but the former Bucs running back has never been much of a pass-catcher in his four-year career. Guice and Love are coming back from significant knee injuries, so McKissic could have a leg up on the competition, and he's certainly the only back that used to play receiver.

When new Redskins coach Ron Rivera took over the top job in Washington, he promised competition at every position on the field. By adding two free agent running backs to a group that already included Peterson, Guice and Love, Rivera's got plenty of heat in the backfield. 

"That's what's it all about, competition man," McKissic said. "We understand the business, we know the game."

While he said he's "honored" to be in the same group as Peterson, the best way for McKissic to make an impact is through the air. 

"I got to keep my route running up. I can't let them forget that I was a wide receiver."

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