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Need to Know: Assessing five Redskins mock draft selections

Need to Know: Assessing five Redskins mock draft selections

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 30, 38 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 30
—NFL Draft (4/27) 87
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 223

Assessing five Redskins mock draft picks

We’re more than seven weeks away from the first day of spring but something is starting to blossom—NFL mock drafts. Here are five Redskins first-round picks from some of the more well-known mock drafters out there and my assessment of the pick.

Malik Hooker, S, Ohio Stats, Mel Kiper, ESPN—If they put Hooker at free safety and Su’a Cravens at strong, the Redskins likely would have solved the safety problem that has been plaguing them for the past decade. They would strongly consider him if he’s available. The problem is that most others have Hooker gone somewhere in the 5-10 range so unless something changes he will be gone by the time pick No.17 goes on the clock.

Related: NFL mock draft ver. 2.0

Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State, Josh Norris, NBC Sports—Norris says simply “McDowell would really help the Redskins front.” Well, actually, there are a lot of players who would be improvements on the Washington D-line. McDowell, however, is a great combination of athleticism and size and the could be an asset against the run and rushing the passer.

Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford, Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com—The key phrase is Jeremiah’s comment on Thomas is, “His motor never stops.” That makes him Scot McCloughan’s definition of “a football player”. The fact that he’s quick and strong helps, too.

More Redskins: Breaking: DeSean Jackson is still fast

John Ross, WR, Washington, Bucky Brooks, NFL.com—Unless a wide receiver is by far the best player on the board when No. 17 comes up I have a hard time believing that the Redskins will go with that position here. If both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson leave as free agents then I might consider it. But I think the Redskins will be fine with Jackson/Garçon, Jamison Crowder, and Josh Doctson as their top three WR’s.

Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan, Matt Miller, Bleacher Report—A year ago, Peppers would have been a great pick for the Redskins. But it seems that his skills overlap with those of Cravens. If they take a safety this early it needs to be a free.

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Buffalo Bills GM believes the Redskins misused Josh Norman in their system

Buffalo Bills GM believes the Redskins misused Josh Norman in their system

When it comes to Josh Norman's largely disappointing stint with the Redskins, the blame pie for that stint has two dominant slices.

One of those slices belongs to Norman, obviously. His performance in Washington never matched the massive contract he signed in 2016, and by his last year with the team, he was essentially unplayable. 

He also was involved in lots of non-football activities — from Dancing with the Stars to appearing on pregame shows to jumping over bulls in Spain — and while NFL players absolutely deserve to live their lives the way they want, those things were easy to criticize as his on-field production waned.

However, the front office and coaches own a slice of the pie, too, and it's a hefty one. The Burgundy and Gold made Norman the highest-paid corner in the sport and then inexplicably put him in situations that didn't suit him over and over again. Instead of letting him use his instincts more in zone coverage, for instance, the Redskins left him in spots where his lack of speed was exposed. 

That idea that Norman was misused is something Bills GM Brandon Beane brought up on Thursday. Norman signed with Buffalo in March after Washington released him in February:

Some fans won't want to give Norman any excuse for what transpired during his tenure with the Redskins, but Beane definitely has a point. Even though Norman is much older now than he was when he landed in D.C., don't be surprised if he has a resurgence in 2020 as long as Beane and the Bills are true to their word and devise a better plan for him.

Now, the promising part for Redskins fans is that Ron Rivera has a reputation for getting the absolute most out of players, something that Kendall Fuller and many others have noted. So while Norman's talents were wasted to a certain extent in the past, those kinds of failures will hopefully be much more limited in the future.

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Three key takeaways from Kendall Fuller's (second) first media session as a Redskin

Three key takeaways from Kendall Fuller's (second) first media session as a Redskin

Guys like Thomas Davis, Sean Davis and JD McKissic have all gone through their first sessions with the local media this week now that they're officially Redskins. Kendall Fuller had his, too, but because he's coming back to Washington after two years in Kansas City, it was really his second first session with the beat reporters.

So, here are three takeaways from the corner's call on Wednesday, which was a very useful way to catch up with him:

1) He doesn't know yet what his role will be — and that's perfectly fine with him

Fuller was at his best in the slot with the Redskins, but he moved around with the Chiefs, taking snaps on the outside as well as at safety in addition to the action he saw inside. He's essentially as versatile as a tuxedo T-shirt, giving Washington options in terms of what they'll do with him.

As of now, he's still not exactly sure where Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio will ultimately employ him. Regardless, he anticipates making an impact no matter where lines up.

"I'm just excited to show my talent, knowing that I can play anywhere on the field," he told reporters. 

Fuller is clearly the team's highest-profile acquisition of the offseason so far, and his versatility is part of why he was such a priority for the Burgundy and Gold to bring in. Add that quality next to his age — he just recently turned 25 — and it's easy to envision him having those chances to show that talent for quite some time.

2) He, too, is well aware of what the Redskins are building up front

Thomas Davis explained in his time with the media on Tuesday how the likes of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan, Matt Ioannidis and others made joining the Redskins an enticing thought. A day later, Fuller echoed that thought.

"When you're a DB and you're looking at the front seven, you know how important that is for you and your success," Fuller said.

Of course, the franchise went 3-13 with that same crew just a year ago, but the hope is that they'll fare far better with a scheme switch and improved coaching (and, also, the possible arrival of Chase Young). Fuller believes he stands to greatly benefit from their presence. 

3) Being back home is a giant bonus for him

The Maryland native and former Virginia Tech Hokie identified Ron Rivera's reputation and the group mentioned above as things that convinced him to return to the organization that drafted him. But being back in the area factored into his free agent decision, too, as it's a place he's obviously comfortable in.

In doing so, he let slip that he used to forbid his mom from attending afternoon games to ensure she was at home preparing dinner for him. It sounds like that rule is about to be reinstalled. 

"I had to let her know that she's going to have to start doing that again," he said.

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