Redskins

Quick Links

Jay Gruden explains why Redskins didn't target a nose tackle in the 2017 draft

Jay Gruden explains why Redskins didn't target a nose tackle in the 2017 draft

After months of hand-wringing over the state of the defensive line, the Redskins certainly addressed the position group in the NFL Draft. The first two picks went to the front seven, first with Jonathan Allen to play defensive end and second with Ryan Anderson to play outside linebacker. 

The additions of Allen and Anderson will boost the D-line immediately. That's clear. 

Yet it's also clear that the Redskins did nothing to address the nose tackle position. Even with 10 picks, and four picks in the last two rounds, Washington chose to again ignore the middle point of the team's three-man front.

It doesn't sound like it was an accident either.

"I feel good," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of nose tackle after the draft. "I think a lot of people don’t know the guys we’ve had here or the guys there were on our practice squad."

The "guys that are here" include Matt Ioannadis and free agent Phil Taylor. The practice squad guys would be Joey Mbu and A.J. Francis.

RELATED: 2018 mock draft has Redskins taking a QB

It's entirely possible Mbu or Francis can develop into rotational pieces at the nose. Both undrafted, Francis goes 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds, while Mbu stands 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds. They have good size and work hard, in the weight room and on the field. Still, neither player has a single start in two years in the league.

Ioannadis, who is 6-foot-3 and 309 pounds, did not make a start for the Redskins last season as a rookie. In fact, he was active for only 10 games and registered six tackles. For a fifth round pick, his impact was negligible. 

Then there is Taylor, the true wild card for Washington at nose tackle. A first-round pick in 2011, Taylor is a D.C. native looking to again prove he belongs in the NFL. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons, and played just five games in 2014. Injuries derailed his career, but his first three seasons in the NFL, Taylor showed he could be a force.

At 6-foot-3 and 337 pounds, Taylor goes about 30 pounds more than the other possible Redskins nose tackles. And he's performed at a high level. As a rookie in 2012, he started 16 games, made 37 tackles and logged four sacks. 

"We added Phil Taylor. He’s an ex-first-round pick, had a couple of injuries but he’s looking good out here. He looks healthy and [he is] rolling," Gruden said. 

May is the time for optimism, and in Taylor's case, his return would be a boon for the 'Skins. He's signed to a minimal deal. If he can get back, and it's a huge if, could be true value for the defense.

Washington does not seem overly concerned about the nose tackle position. Remember Gruden explained at the NFL Owner's Meetings in March that he fully expects defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to "make" a nose tackle.

"If you look at his track record, you look at the nose guards he’s had, none of them have been priority first-round draft choices," Gruden said of Tomsula. "He’s made nose guards. He coaches that position extremely well, and I have faith that he’ll do that."

Beyond what Gruden said about Tomsula, the quotes might reveal an organizational mindset about the position. Fans might overestimate the importance of the nose, or at least what should be invested in the position.

RELATED: DB draft picks have an uphill battle for roster spots

Consider that nose tackle is one of the most physically demanding positions in football, and add in that playing nose requires serious size, particularly weight, and it can be hard for guys to maintain their endurance while carrying 325 lbs. or more year after year.

On most defenses, resources get spent in two main areas: sacking the quarterback and defending the pass. The big money goes to the edge, pass rushers and cornerbacks. Those two positions also tend to dominate draft capital. 

The Redskins are no different. The highest-paid players on Washington's defense are Ryan Kerrigan and Josh Norman. The team's first two draft picks will be expected to pressure opposing QBs, and their third-round pick is a cornerback. The team also added two safeties and another corner in the later rounds of the draft while not drafting a nose.

The lesson? Gruden's comments, and the team's action made it clear: Nose tackle just isn't the priority that some Redskins fans want it to be. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Redskins' Chase Young among NFL players featured in video requesting league condemn racism

chaseyoung_usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Redskins' Chase Young among NFL players featured in video requesting league condemn racism

Following the murder of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, many around the world have made their voices heard about the racial injustices in America. That includes athletes of all sports, along with their respective teams and leagues.

However, some statements came across as disingenuous due to the vague language and misunderstanding of what the protests are truly about. The NFL released a statement Saturday expressing condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, but it didn't touch on the racism that black Americans are constantly faced with.

Frustrated with that notion, several players teamed up to release a video voicing what they want to hear from the NFL on the matter.

Posted on Giants running back Saquon Barkley's Twitter, the message featured some of the biggest names in the sport. Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr. and others all shared the common messaging of wanting the NFL to explicitly address the racism and problems the country currently faces. Redskins rookie Chase Young was also part of the statement.

The video begins with the players wondering what it will take for the league to seriously commit itself to change in the future, feeling the current statements were inadequate. 

"What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?" the players said.

"What if I was George Floyd?" the players asked.

Those questions were followed up with the realization that their standings as professional athletes don't separate them from those who have been victims of police brutality. 

"I am George Floyd, I am Breonna Taylor, I am Ahmaud Arbery, I am Eric Garner, I am Laquan McDonald, I am Tamir Rice, I am Trayvon Martin, I am Walter Scott, I am Michael Brown Jr., I am Samuel Dubose, I am Frank Smart, I am Phillip White, I am Jordan Baker," they said. 

Then, the players submitted their call to action for the NFL. They will continue to peacefully protest, and demand the league shows support and solidarity right alongside them. No more cookie-cutter statements, but an admittance of past mistakes and accountability for the future.

"On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: 'We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,'" they said. '"We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.'"

A powerful and moving message, the stars of the NFL made one thing clear: It's time for the league to make real change. They will no longer accept the bare minimum, and instead, demand support and action.  

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NEWS:

Quick Links

Cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman fatally shot in Richmond

Cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman fatally shot in Richmond

The cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman was fatally shot and found dead in a hotel hallway early Tuesday morning, the Richmond police announced on Wednesday.

Jermaine Stroman, 30, was found by officers in a third-floor hallway of the Quality Inn and Rodeway Inn and was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Richmond Police Department has yet to find any information on the suspect, which led the Redskins cornerback to send out this tweet to raise awareness about the situation:

"My cousin, Jermaine Rayshard Stroman, was killed last night in Richmond, VA," Greg Stroman wrote on Wednesday. "Anyone that has information in regards to his murder, please contact the proper authorities at 804-780-1000."

Jermaine Stroman's death was unrelated to the nationwide protests, according to the Washington Post. Protests have been going on for several days and in all 50 states following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd on May 25.

The cornerback was originally a seventh-round draft pick of the Redskins in 2018. The former Virginia Tech Hokie played in 15 games as a rookie, finishing with 38 tackles and one interception. Stroman was waived with the designation of injured in September of 2019 after suffering a groin injury in the team's season opener. He cleared waivers and spent the rest of the 2019 season on the Redskins' Injured Reserve list.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS