Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 27, 33 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.
—NFL free agency starts (3/9) 41
—NFL Draft (4/27) 90
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 226
Scot McCloughan’s five value acquisitions
Here are the five best players Scot McCloughan has either drafted or signed as a free agent. Contract cost and draft position are taken into consideration. I’ll take a look at his five worst here sometime in the next few days.
5. CB Quinton Dunbar, undrafted free agent—The converted wide receiver has had his share of ups and downs over his two seasons. But he has come up with some big plays. In particular, two end zone interceptions of Eli Manning, one at FedEx Field in 2015 and one in the Meadowlands last season were critical plays in important wins over the Giants. Any time you can get a CB who can contribute like that as a UDFA that’s good value.
4. RB Rob Kelley, undrafted free agent—“Fat Rob” went from being an unknown in training camp to a player who showed some promise in the preseason to a surprise on the initial 53-man roster to the starting running back for the last half of the season. He had his ups and downs but he was productive enough to hold on to the job. Kelley had 180 touches and did not fumble. That’s important since that is the issue that sent predecessor Matt Jones to the bench.
Related: NFL mock draft ver. 2.0
3. TE Vernon Davis, $2.4 million free agent—He is the only veteran free agent on this list. Davis was thought to be washed up after struggling during the 2015 season but McCloughan bet $1.1 million in fully guaranteed money that he wasn’t. The veteran proved to be very valuable as he caught 44 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns. With Jordan Reed missing four games with injuries, Davis provided some much-needed depth.
2. LB/S Su’a Cravens, 2nd round—He had his share of stumbles as a rookie and he will have to deal with a position change to safety in 2017. But the future looks bright for the versatile, athletic Cravens. If he can solidify half of the safety position, a problem area for the last decade, he could move up to No. 1 on this list.
More Redskins: 5 salary cap bargains in 2017
1. WR Jamison Crowder, 4th round—Crowder was bypassed in the draft because he was undersized but McCloughan saw the type of “football player” he likes in the Duke product. He quickly became the starting slot receiver and in two years he has averaged 63 receptions, 726 yards, and four touchdowns per season.
Also under consideration: McCloughan signed LB Mason Foster and DB Will Blackmon as injury replacements in early 2016 and both developed into starters . . . K Dustin Hopkins has missed some field goals but his ability to consistently pound kickoffs into the end zone has helped the special teams immeasurably. . . Since some will ask, G Brandon Scherff is a very good player but the fifth overall pick is too high for a guard, even one that makes the Pro Bowl in his second year. He will need to garner some All-Pro honors before he can justify that price.
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In case you missed it
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- Redskins salary cap outlook: A new contract for Moses?
- Missed kick in London lands on Redskins worst play list
- Poll: Will there be a long-term deal between Redskins and Cousins
- Will the Redskins run the ball more?