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How Redskins' draft picks could mesh in already packed defensive backfield

How Redskins' draft picks could mesh in already packed defensive backfield

The Redskins’ defensive backfield was crowded before the NFL draft. After the team grabbed two corners and two safeties, there will be a lot of sorting out to do between now and when the season starts in September.

Here are the four defensive backs they took on Friday and Saturday:

  • CB Fabian Moreau, taken in the third round out of UCLA, was a borderline first-round guy before he suffered a torn pectoral muscle lifting weights during his pro day. I’m not quite sure exactly what pumping iron at his pro day does for a cornerback’s draft stock, but that’s water under the bridge. Moreau said that he will be ready for full participation five months from the date of his injury, which was March 22. That will be August 22, when the Redskins are getting ready to play in preseason game No. 3.

RELATED: Grading the Redskins 2017 draft

  • In the fourth round, they took Montae Nicholson, a safety out of Michigan State who showed well at the combine but not on game tape. It’s hard to see him contributing much this year, but perhaps they can coach up the 6-2 prospect.
  • Both of their seventh-round picks were DB’s. First, they took Louisville S Josh Harvey-Clemons, who is 6-4. His NFL.com draft profile compares him to Kam Chancellor, but before he starts making Pro Bowls, he must stay on the field. Multiple failed drug tests got him kicked out of Georgia.
  • CB Joshua Hosley was a four-year starter at Auburn. It would not be shocking to see him compete for the slot corner job, which was an area of weakness for the team last year.

These players will have to fight their way onto the roster that already had 13 defensive backs with NFL experience.

Cornerbacks:

  • Josh Norman (69 NFL games)
  • Bashaud Breeland (45)
  • Kendall Fuller (13)
  • Quinton Dunbar (25)
  • Dashaun Phillips (11)
  • Tharold Simon (20)

Safeties:

  • Su’a Cravens (11)
  • D.J. Swearinger (59)
  • DeAngelo Hall (166)
  • Will Blackmon (96)
  • Deshazor Everett (27)
  • Josh Evans (49)
  • Earl Wolff (18)

It’s early to have a good handle how the depth chart will shake out. Last year, they kept six cornerbacks and five safeties on their initial 53-man roster. They may be able to stretch that to a total of 12 defensive backs, but no more than that will stay around.

At safety, the question is will the Redskins go young or lean toward keeping more experience? Will Nicholson and/or Harvey-Clemons make the team at the expense of Hall and/or Blackmon? Or will Everett be the odd man out?

If they keep six cornerbacks, the decisions to not appear to be as tough. Moreau and Hosley could join Norman, Breeland, Fuller and Dunbar.

We will see how things unfold. Injuries are almost always a factor and someone could be thrust into a much bigger role than anticipated. Moreau’s pec may not heal on schedule, making him a candidate to start the season on the PUP list.

In any case, there should be a lot of fun competition in the back end of the defense during OTAs and minicamp and in Richmond once training camp gets underway.

MORE REDSKINS: Three reasons to like the pick of Ryan Anderson 

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 regular season has not gone according to plan.

In Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his clavicle and was placed on IR, and following a Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans, the team's star defensive back Jalen Ramsey has reportedly requested a trade.

Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone got into it verbally during the loss to Houston and according to multiple reports, the fractured relationship could expedite a potential trade.

The Jaguars are reportedly asking for at least one first-round pick in return for the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

It's worth noting that Ramsey's agent, David Mulugheta, also represents Redskins Dwayne Haskins and Landon Collins. Collins tweeted at Ramsey back in April, jokingly recruiting Ramsey to D.C. after Jaguars' VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin called out Ramsey for missing voluntary offseason workouts and the latter responded

Ramsey, who was the fifth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is currently looking for a new contract. He is currently in the fourth year of his rookie deal and the Jaguars have picked up his fifth-year option in 2020.

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Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

In the early stages of Sunday's Redskins-Cowboys clash, FOX Sports' Pam Oliver dropped a bombshell on the broadcast.

"Jay Gruden, to be perfectly clear, he is still not in favor of Peterson's strength, which is a north-south running style," Oliver said. "He feels like it limits the offense and gives the defense way too many opportunities."

If true, that helps explain the decision the Redskins head coach made prior to Week 1, making the 34-year-old and future Hall of Fame running back a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.

What it doesn't explain is the reasoning behind it. Peterson, who was signed just a couple of weeks prior to the 2018 season, ran for over 1,000 yards for the Burgundy and Gold a season ago, earning the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player award.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Gruden, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay asked the head coach about Oliver's comments.

Gruden refuted the claim. 

"You want north-south running backs. I don’t think you want east-west backs, that’s for sure," Gruden said. "[Peterson] is a north-south runner....when he gets going north-south, what that does is creates a physical mentality for our offense. Our linemen love it, and it opens up our play-action passes. We do love north-south backs.”

What the fifth-year head coach did touch on, however, is the limited amount of plays that the offense can run with Peterson is in the game. That could explain the origin of where Oliver's comments came from. 

"[Peterson] is a north-south runner," Gruden said. "What that does, sometimes, ya know it’s hard when he’s in the game, like yesterday we were in 11 personnel and they but base on the field and said ‘heck you’re just not going to run it’ and you know we had to throw it." 

It's no secret that Gruden prefers a running back that can be involved in the passing game as well. While Peterson has improved in that facet, the Redskins other options -- Chris Thompson, Wendell Smallwood, and even the injured Derrius Guice -- are currently better pass-catching backs.

Of the Redskins 62 offensive snaps, Thompson, the best pass-catching running back of the bunch, was the one who played the most. Peterson played just 18 snaps, 29 percent of the team's offensive plays.

The flow of the game also could have affected this, as the Redskins found themselves trailing for the majority of the afternoon. 

Still, Gruden insists that there's a role for Peterson in the offense.

"You know, he played last year and had a thousand yards, so..." he said.

Regardless of who the running back has been for the Burgundy and Gold thus far in 2019, they largely have been ineffective.

Against Philadelphia, Guice mustered just 18 rushing yards on 10 carries. Peterson received the same amount of carries in Week 2 vs. Dallas and didn't perform much better. Sure, he found the end zone, but was not a factor otherwise, rushing for a total of just 25 yards.

Through the first two games, the Redskins have been outrushed 336-75. That is not a winning formula by any means.

When asked why the rushing attack has been so poor in 2019, Gruden couldn't point to one specific reason.

"Combination of things," Gruden said. "Philadelphia, we tried to run the ball in the second half and we had a negative play and a holding penalty. You know, there are things that take you out of the running game, and then you lose the lead and you have to try and play a little bit faster, play a little bit of catch up and you aren’t able to run the ball. So, we haven’t been able to stick with the run for four quarters and we haven’t had enough production out of the running game."

That must change immediately, starting next Monday against Chicago, if the Redskins want to turn their season around. Gruden is confident that it will.

"We had a couple of good hits, AP had a couple of good hits [Sunday] against Dallas, we can build off of that," he said. "But I also think that when you have a new left tackle and a new left guard coming in for the first time and you have the tight end issues we’ve had a little bit, I think we’ll get there."

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