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McCloughan casts doubt on Leonard Williams' top ranking


McCloughan casts doubt on Leonard Williams' top ranking

Was Leonard Williams really the best player in the draft?

You heard that the USC defense lineman was the best of the bunch so often between January and last Thursday that it just became the conventional wisdom. Mock drafts and big boards all over the web had Williams at or near the top.

But it appears that on the only big boards that matter, those belonging to the 32 NFL teams, Williams wasn’t necessarily on top of all of them, particularly those of the teams picking near the top of the draft. And in the only draft that wasn’t mock, Williams was the sixth player chosen.

You only need to look at how the draft unfolded to see that the media analysts may have been off base about Williams. Quarterbacks went with the first two picks, but that was more a reflection of how signal callers are overdrafted than it was of the quality of the other players in the draft pool. The draft really started with the third pick when the Jaguars took—Florida edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. Williams apparently wasn’t the top player on their board.

Then the Raiders, who need help everywhere, bypassed Williams to take Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. Perhaps that can be written off to the team desiring a top-quality target for second-year QB Derek Carr.

But then the Redskins went on the clock. According to multiple reports, their draft board had Fowler rated first, Cooper second, and Brandon Scherff third. So Williams was their fourth-ranked player at best.

The telling moment for Williams came when the Redskins were on the clock. General manager Scot McCloughan was looking to make a deal.

“I was hoping to be able to move back there and it didn’t happen,” he told reporters during his post-draft news conference on Monday. “Everybody was talking about trading up to our spot, but it was all for Fowler. Once Fowler went, then all the talks went off the board.”

And then Scherff went off the board with Washington’s selection. So not only did the teams draft third, fourth, and fifth not jump at the chance to take Williams, the interest in trading up for him when the fifth pick came up was minimal.

It’s all academic at this point. Williams landed in a good spot with the Jets, who have a defensive-minded head coach and we will see how his career goes. Maybe the Redskins and the other four teams that passed on him will be kicking themselves in a few years. But whether it was concern over his surgically-repaired right shoulder or perhaps questions about film showing him taking some plays off from time to time, a lot of NFL GMs were not as impressed with Williams as were the media talking heads. 

RELATED: [Redskins' McCloughan prefers power conferences]

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Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington

Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.

Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.

“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”

The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”

“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”

Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.

“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.


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2018 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots prove they still got it, Rams remain top dog

USA Today

2018 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots prove they still got it, Rams remain top dog

In a thriller in Foxboro, the Patriots handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.

It wasn't pretty but the Rams slipped past the Broncos to remain the lone unbeaten in the NFL.

Remember when the Lions beat New England on Sunday Night Football and folks were ready to bury the Patriots? Yeah... how did that 'hot take' work out?


Will the real Redskins please stand up? A win over the Panthers moved the Skins up three spots. Give the Redskins this, they are consistently unpredictable.

The Ravens are on the rise and Marcus Mariota is happy the Titans won't have to play Baltimore again.

So the Cowboys have an offense now? Or does Jacksonville not have an elite defense anymore?

And the Bears let Brock Osweiler throw for 380 yards. Yes. You read that correct. 380 yards. 

How far will the Bears drop because of that dreadful defensive performance?