Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 14, 23 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 15
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 62
—NFL Draft (4/27) 72
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 208
Five players who can help McCloughan’s reputation
Whether it’s fair or not, Scot McCloughan’s reputation as a genius when it comes to building an NFL team has taken a hit over the course of last year. A draft with minimal returns and some free agent busts will do that. Here are five players who can revive the faith that Redskins fans had in him.
OLB Preston Smith—The 2015 second-round pick led all NFL rookies with eight sacks and it looked like McCloughan had found a star. But Smith was inconsistent last year, making some big plays and then disappearing for weeks at a time. He needs to get back to being the guy who was terrorizing opposing quarterbacks during the latter part of 2015.
WR Josh Doctson—This one is pretty obvious. McCloughan bypassed some talented defensive linemen to take Doctson, who contributed two receptions as a rookie before going on injured reserve. If Doctson says healthy and becomes a productive receiver his rookie problems will fade into distant memories in a hurry.
CB Kendall Fuller—Their third-round pick in 2016 had a rocky season. He was inactive to start the season, got in the lineup as the nickel corner and was inconsistent, and wound up back on the bench. There was talk that the if not for the knee injury Fuller suffered at Virginia Tech he would have been a first-round pick. If he can come out and start performing like a top pick he will give McCloughan another draft steal on his resume.
WR Maurice Harris—Harris represents a chance for McCloughan to look good; unlike with the others on this list, there is no real downside if Harris doesn’t make it. But if the 6-3 undrafted free agent can become a reliable fourth receiver and catch 30-40 passes that would be a feather in McCloughan’s cap.
More Redskins: Dysfunction at Redskins Park?
CB Josh Norman—It’s clear that it was a group decision to bring in Norman as would be the case with any free agent who is signed to a contract of that size. In any case, McCloughan has final say so Norman wouldn’t have come on board without his OK. And while he was a definite upgrade in the secondary in his first year with the team, for $15 million per year he needs to have more of an impact. It wouldn’t be that hard; if he had held on to some of the potential interceptions he dropped he may have repeated on as a first team All-Pro.
Tandler on Twitter
Packers haven’t talked to a key free agent? Must be trouble. https://t.co/wUnWLqEaZ3— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) February 13, 2017
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