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Did McCloughan rule out Beasley to the Redskins at No. 5?


Did McCloughan rule out Beasley to the Redskins at No. 5?

Ever since the Redskins landed at the No. 5 spot in the NFL draft, the chances that they will take an edge rusher with that top pick have seemed to be very strong. The departure of Brian Orakpo as a free agent and the fact that there were several top edge rushers in the top end of the draft rankings seemed to add up to a great combination of need meeting the best available player. In various mock drafts over the past few months the Redskins and the No. 5 pick have been linked to Randy Gregory, Shane Ray, Dante Fowler Jr. and Vic Beasley.

However, that group has been thinned somewhat over the past month. In late March it was revealed that Gregory failed a test for marijuana at the combine. Then earlier this week Ray was cited for possession of marijuana.

Those issues could well knock those two out of consideration for the Redskins, at least at the No. 5 pick. When asked about signing veteran players with character issues, Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan was very clear.

“If there is any kind of question mark that he might be a bad guy, we’re not going to do it,” he said at the team’s pre-draft news conference on Monday.

Although he was specifically talking about signing free agents, it’s hard to see McCloughan having a markedly different attitude when it comes to draft picks, especially selections high in the first round. While many NFL organizations do not believe that marijuana use necessarily makes a player a “bad guy”, the bad timing and poor judgment of the incidents involving Ray and Gregory are red flags in the eyes of most. Taking on one of those players with a top draft pick is not a risk that a team in the Redskins’ position can afford to make.

RELATED: Redskins draft countdown—Clemson edge defender Vic Beasley

That leaves Fowler and Beasley from the list of top edge rushers. But is Beasley really in play? He is 6-3 and he played at 235 lb. at Clemson and he weighed in at the combine at 246. Even with the added weight he is very light for an NFL outside linebacker.

And Beasley is a speed player, not a powerful one. His first step and ability to get around the corner are excellent. But when it comes to setting the edge against the run and disengaging from a tackle who is blocking him, Beasley struggles.

With that in mind, here is what McCloughan had to say on Monday when he was asked about what he looks for in edge rushers.

“I like big guys, long guys, length, but you need to have speed and you need to have quickness but you also need to have power,” he said. “If you get all three, now you’re talking about a really good prospect. But some guys just have two of the things or one of the things. It doesn’t make them not a prospect for us; it’s just a different value in the draft for us. But I think it’s very important to have physical traits that allow you to dominate a guy one-on-one and get to the quarterback.”

Related: Redskins draft countdown: Florida edge defender Dante Fowler

Beasley fills the bill as far as speed and quickness. But since he lacks the size and power he is not the complete package for McCloughan based on what he says here. That might make him a target at some point later in the draft, perhaps even later in the first round if the Redskins trade back. But it’s hard to see McCloughan going for a player who is less than “a really good prospect”, one who has a “different value” than the guys in the top tier, with the fifth pick in the draft.

That leaves Fowler, who at 6-3, 261 with arms 34 inches long has the size, length, and power that McCloughan likes along with 4.61 speed in the 40-yard dash as the one edge rusher who meets all of McCloughan’s criteria.

If he is gone when the fifth pick comes around, McCloughan might look to other positions or accept a less-than-ideal offer to trade down rather than taking a player who doesn’t have everything he’s looking for at the position. 

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

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

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

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

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 defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 

Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

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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Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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