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Even with Scot McCloughan gone, Redskins draft focused on size and attitude

Even with Scot McCloughan gone, Redskins draft focused on size and attitude

So much thought gets poured into the NFL Draft. Some teams value certain combine drills over others, and different franchises place different levels of importance on specific physical characteristics, often defined by position.

For the Redskins, the NFL Draft was not so much about drills or physical traits. It boiled down to two simple philosophies.

"We definitely sided towards the attitude and the size," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said after the draft.

Looking at Washington's 10 picks, the coach's comments ring true. Early in the draft, Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson have plenty of size, but also the workmanlike attitude Gruden talked about.

Samaje Perine is the strongest running back in the 2017 class. Montae Nicholson has ideal size at 6-foot-2 to play safety in the NFL. Josh Harvey-Clemons, a 7th round pick, could emerge as a quality special teamer because of his size. 

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"That's always what you're looking for. It depends on the player, but we got bigger and stronger," Gruden said. "We also drafted some speed."

Fabian Moreau and Robert Davis bring plenty of speed, as does Nicholson. All three ran 4.4 or lower in the 40-yard dash.

No draft is perfect, and eventually, the warts of the 2017 version will appear. But looking at the Redskins haul, it's clear that former general manager Scot McCloughan's impact continued.

McCloughan famously talked about big, physical teams full of 'football players.' To McCloughan - and to the Redskins current brass - combine drills came second to game tape.

Anderson is a prime example. Watch Alabama play in 2016, Anderson was all over the field. At the NFL Combine, a slow 40-yard dash time likely hurt his draft stock. 

"I really didn’t like the draft process that much," Anderson said.

Guess what Anderson enjoys? Playing football.

"As far as a teammate, he's probably one of the best I've had just from the work ethic standpoint," Allen said of Anderson. "It’s not really too many times you would catch Ryan slacking off, he's usually bringing guys to his level. As a teammate, and as a person, you can't really ask for too much better."

That's just what the Redskins want. 

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2019 NFL mock draft: History shows cost for acquiring Kyler Murray within Redskins' reality

2019 NFL mock draft: History shows cost for acquiring Kyler Murray within Redskins' reality

Here comes Kyler Murray, maybe.

Maybe the NFL, that is. Yes, though the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback announced Monday he would enter the 2019 Draft. We still don’t know whether the Oakland A’s prospect ultimately chooses the gridiron over the outfield. The smitten professional leagues will do whatever is possible for that final rose from the high-profile athlete.

Let’s assume Murray has eyes on a football marriage. He will not have much say in choosing his other half on the team level. With April’s NFL Draft a ways off, it’s the mock draft world determining the 5-foot-9 passer’s destination for now.

The draft slot range extends from the top half of the first round to a Day 2 selection. Picking football with that rumored downside seems unlikely. Murray was the ninth overall selection in the 2018 MLB Draft. Therefore we will ponder a world where the bullish win the day.

Among the mock draft’s currently projecting Murray high in the first round, ESPN’s via Mel Kiper Jr. and NBC Sports Washington’s from yours truly. Similarities between the mocks include:

  • Murray selected 13th overall by the Miami Dolphins
  • The second QB drafted after Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins
  • Three quarterbacks in the first round

Not that anyone in the DMV area needs a reminder, but the Redskins have the 15th selection and quarterback uncertainty. Plenty of time for debating remains on whether Washington should use its first on a QB (I lean no for now).

In these scenarios, Washington would miss out on the top two projected quarterbacks. The third QB named in the two mocks, Duke’s Daniel Jones, hears his name called late in round one. Missouri’s Drew Lock and West Virginia’s Will Grier are among the more prominent late first/second-round candidates.

Therefore if adding QB help in round one were the goal, the Redskins would shift focus to other prospects – unless they are love-struck with Murray or Haskins.

Quarterbacks tend to rise by draft day. It’s kind of a valuable position. Therefore sitting at 15 becomes risky if Washington wants one of the better options.

Free agency comes before the draft. At the moment, the Giants (6), Jaguars (7) and Dolphins are obvious QB landing spots. The Buccaneers (5), Broncos (10) and Bengals (11) could join such a list.

Here’s the potential cost for moving up based on recent teams originally selecting 15 or lower.

2018 

  • Cardinals trade 15, 79, 152 to Raiders for 10 (QB Josh Rosen)
  • Bills trade 21, 158 and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn to Bengals for 12 (NT Vita Vea) and 187

2017

  • Texans trade 25 and a 2018 first-round selection to Browns for 12 (QB Deshaun Watson)

2016

  • Titans trade 15, 76 and a 2017 second round selection to Browns for 8 (OT Jack Conklin), 176

Based on the price Houston paid moving up 13 spots, the cost of jumping past the Giants and Jaguars assuming those teams stay put, for Haskins would require a massive outlay. Recall the bushel of high picks Washington sent St. Louis for the right to draft Robert Griffin III just to move from six to two.

However, the cost for moving from 15 ahead of 13 is not steep relative to the QB need – and the picks at Washington’s disposal.

The trades for Rosen and Conklin are most similar to each other and the Redskins’ situation. Tennessee paid a heavier price in 2016 going from 15 to eight than Arizona did with a move from 15 to 10 last season.

What’s noteworthy from the Washington’s perspective is the ammunition available. The Redskins have their original selections except for the fourth-rounder sent to Green Bay for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and sixth used to snag Adonis Alexander in the supplemental draft. In addition, projections show compensatory picks in the third, fifth and sixth round coming their way based on three of their 2018 free agents – Kirk Cousins, Trent Murphy, Ryan Grant – signing elsewhere.

While the Redskins have a lengthy list of needs, these extra selections allow for a tick more aggressiveness if interested. Washington could make the exact same Arizona trade from last season to jump Miami for Murray or another quarterback and still own seven selections including a first, second and third.

The Redskins would still have enough selections to tab a left guard, wide receiver, safety or whatever remained on the needs following free agency in the second or third round. That’s worth keeping in mind as this discussion lurches forward over next three months.

Before such decisions, the question is whether Murray chooses the NFL over MLB. The pining football world awaits your decision, Kyler.

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Redskins have safety needs but little cash, putting Clinton-Dix in precarious situation

Redskins have safety needs but little cash, putting Clinton-Dix in precarious situation

When the Redskins traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in October, the safety position looked to be a great strength for Washington. 

The team already had D.J. Swearinger, who was playing at a Pro Bowl level, and adding Clinton-Dix was supposed to make the Redskins defense one of the elite units in the NFL

That plan didn’t work. 

Clinton-Dix never performed at a high level in Washington, and frankly probably underperformed on the relative cheap fourth-round pick price the Redskins paid to acquire him. 

In nine games with Washington, Clinton-Dix registered 66 tackles and recovered one fumble. And while it wasn't entirely on him, Clinton-Dix's arrival coincided with the Redskins defensive demise. 

Now, it's free agency time for Clinton-Dix.

Pro Football Focus rated Clinton-Dix as the 32nd best safety in the NFL, and he will be one of the bigger names on the open market. What will the money look like?

It's hard to answer because 2018 wasn't an impressive season. Clinton-Dix struggled enough in tackling that Green Bay decided to trade him, and those struggles continued in Washington. 

The Redskins have a lot of needs this offseason, and safety is one of them. 

Swearinger is gone, and the depth chart features Montae Nicholson, Troy Apke and Deshazor Everett. Nicholson finished his season suspended after being arrested for assault and Apke finished his season on IR. Everett has made plays when he gets chances on the field, but for whatever reason, he rarely gets chances.

Washington doesn't have a lot to spend in free agency, as the Alex Smith contract will eat up a lot of their cap space. 

There definitely isn't room for a high-value contract for Clinton-Dix. 

There might not be room for a low dollar contract for Clinton-Dix based on his 2018 level of play, but the position is a need. 

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