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Big-name RBs set for free agency, but will the Redskins pursue Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles?

Big-name RBs set for free agency, but will the Redskins pursue Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles?

Fantasy football players from five years ago would be shocked, though in 2017, the pending release of running backs Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles should bring with it little surprise. Both players hit incredible highs during their careers, but some time has passed since for both guys, and it makes business sense for their teams to move on. 

Peterson will be 32 when Week 1 comes around this fall, and has basically missed two of the last three seasons for the Vikings. In 2016, he suffered another knee injury, and while he has proven his ability to come back from surgeries, the years are adding up. 

Charles will be 30 for Week 1, and has started just five games over the last two seasons while he dealt with injuries.

At one point, the case could be made for either player as the best running back in football, but that ship has likely sailed.

In Washington,  Robert Kelley emerged as the No. 1 RB last fall, and rushed for more than 700 yards in just nine starts. Jay Gruden said that Kelley will remain the top runner in the 'Skins offense in 2017, and players like Matt Jones, Mack Brown remain on the roster while Chris Thompson is expected back from restricted free agency. 

Still, the Redskins have no dominant running back. Could they make a run for Peterson or Charles?

It seems unlikely. Scot McCloughan has made clear he prefers to add players via the draft instead of free agency. And the GM is known not to like to spend money on players 30 and older. 

Both players have signed large contracts in their careers, so it would seem like they will set their sights on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Sure, the Redskins could make a deep playoff run, there are always surprises in the NFL, but that would be unexpected, even with Kirk Cousins back at quarterback.

Then there is the offensive system. Peterson is a volume back that's not a great pass blocker. That just doesn't sound like a fit in the Washington system. Charles excelled in the pass game, and would make more sense for the Redskins, but still seems like a long shot.

This offseason is crucial for the Burgundy and Gold. Cementing their quarterback position remains the highest priority. The organization put the exclusive tag on Kirk Cousins, perhaps meaning a long-term deal will get worked out. The team also must really work to rebuild their defense. Spending on a big-name, veteran running back just doesn't seem like it fits the team's list of needs. 

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Doug Williams: Redskins trading down from 15 is a 'great possibility' for NFL Draft

Doug Williams: Redskins trading down from 15 is a 'great possibility' for NFL Draft

ASHBURN -- Doug Williams offered a piece of advice for those focused solely on which player the Washington Redskins might select with the 15th overall selection.

The pick could be on the move. If so, the odds are stronger in one direction.

“I’ve said all along the chances of trading up is a lot slimmer than trading back,” the Redskins’ senior VP of Player Personnel said Monday

Williams spoke from Redskins Park as the team wrapped up its pre-draft media availability before the NFL Draft. The three-day event begins Thursday with the first round.  

<<2019 NFL MOCK DRAFT 21.0: WILL NICK BOSA STEAL NO. 1 FROM KYLER MURRAY>>

“I’m going to go on the record and say that it’s a possibility that we won’t trade up,” Williams continued. “But it’s a great possibility that we trade back if that opportunity came.”

Now, preferring a trade down rather than moving up isn’t unique -- but that’s not what Williams said. He spoke in terms of preference but also likelihood and opportunity.

“We got a chance to trade back,” Williams said. “It all depends on who’s there.”

The “who’s there” angle goes both ways, of course. 

The Redskins might covet a specific quarterback, pass rusher or other prospect and, therefore, punt on the idea of trading out if that player is available.

That it is far more difficult this year to pin down a short-list of targets compared with 2018 when the Redskins selected Daron Payne speaks to the team’s list of needs but also the balance of prospects in the 15 to 40 range. There are scenarios where Washington might choose a path that lands extra draft picks or players.

Last year the Saints traded picks 27, 147 and their 2019 first-round selection to the Packers for the 14th overall selection. In the same draft, the Bills shipped 21, 158 and offensive tackle Cody Glenn to the Bengals for 12 and 187. Buffalo then made another deal to acquire the No. 7 selection from Tampa Bay.

In the draft, you cannot be sure which player or position inspires a bold move. New Orleans wanted pass rusher Marcus Davenport. Buffalo drafted quarterback Josh Allen at seven.

If the Redskins jump up, the logic is a passer or pass rusher. The thought here throughout most of the 21 NFL mock drafts centered on the Redskins not focusing on a QB and seeing which edge option remained on the board.

As for a trade down scenario, there are a few names to keep in mind.

♦ With Kyler Murray the likely first passer off the board, quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones are obvious potential targets. The teams potentially moving up for those players, less so. The Giants have six and 17. My mock drafts continue giving New York a defense player at six, leaving the quarterback in play at 17. Don’t hold your breath thinking two division rivals would make such a deal. However, it’s possible another team wants to jump the Giants. That other party could be one of the squads with an older QB (Steelers, Chargers, Packers, Patriots). Perhaps the Raiders, who could jettison Derek Carr after this season, package some combination of their three picks in the 24-35 range.

♦ The Redskins need an edge rusher. So do the Panthers (16), Giants (6 and 17), Titans (19) and Ravens (22). It's possible Florida State’s Brian Burns and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell are the only top rated options available by the time we reach the middle of the first. 

<<2019 NFL MOCK DRAFT 21.0: WILL NICK BOSA STEAL NO. 1 FROM KYLER MURRAY>>

♦ Teams wanting to be in front of a position run might want to jump into the middle of the first. That’s when the wide receivers (D.K. Metcalf, Marquise Brown), cornerbacks (Greedy Williams, Deandre Baker, Byron Murphy) and offensive lineman (Jonah Williams, Cody Ford, Andre Dillard) might start flying off the shelves. Williams said Monday the Redskins need a "go-to guy" at receiver. 

♦ The Redskins don’t have a glaring need for Clemson defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, but others may covet their interior power.

♦ One of the true wild cards in the first round is Mississippi State’s Jeffrey Simmons. The defensive lineman was considered a potential top-5 selection before suffering a torn ACL earlier in 2019. Simmons remains a likely first-round pick. Where depends on when a team feels long-term value trumps that of the healthy prospects.

The idea of trading the pick outright to Arizona for Josh Rosen remains intriguing should the quarterback become available with the Cardinals selecting Murray first overall. Some fans are skeptical about dealing 15 for the second-year passer. Should the Redskins trade down from 15 yet remain in the first, that selection might be enough to entice the Cardinals while allowing Washington to get additional assets.

The likelihood is the Redskins stick at 15 and choose a player. Based on their needs and overall draft projections, edge rusher, offensive line, Michigan inside linebacker Devin Bush or that elusive long-term quarterback seems like the logical options.  Williams stated Monday that if there’s movement, the Redskins are going down. It just depends who is available when the clock starts ticking at 15.

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Dwayne Haskins on being drafted by hometown team: 'Definitely HTTR'

Dwayne Haskins on being drafted by hometown team: 'Definitely HTTR'

The count down until NFL Draft Day is on for fans and draft hopefuls alike. Of those hopefuls is the quarterback out of Ohio State, Dwayne Haskins.

ESPN's Adam Schefter sat down with the QB to discuss his plans for Thursday night, the role of his mentors and potentially playing for his hometown team.

If drafted in the first round, as expected, Haskins will become the second Ohio State quarterback ever to go that early. However, he is not putting too much pressure on Draft Night. He plans to be with family and friends bowling so he is not glued to the TV. "I'm sure I will get a phone call before the pick is in so I can stop everything I am doing to watch it", Haskins joked. 

Leading up to the draft, the quarterback met with five teams: Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Washington Redskins. 

How does Haskins feel about the idea of playing for the Redskins? "Definitely HTTR." Haskins has an inside look of the Redskins organization via his mentor Shawn Springs, who was with the team for five seasons. "Football is taken very seriously down there and they are itching to win. If they draft me I hope I can add to the franchise and bring some wins to that organization." 

Draft Night is a dream come true for Haskins who will graduate in May. "Just to be able to hear my name called on Draft Day is something that I dreamed of for years...just to realize that all the work was worth it. That's going to be an unbelievable moment for me," said Haskins.

Haskins received plenty of advice about how to mentally and physically prepare for his NFL career. Watching film and preparing his body is half the battle. Haskins knows, "You do what you need to do to last in the league."  For now, he is enjoying the process, the last piece of advice given to him by his mentors. 

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