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Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' first-round draft pick

Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' first-round draft pick

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 22, 36 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 26
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 51
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 63
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 115
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 172

Setting the odds on the pick at No. 17

Yesterday I looked at five players who were tabbed by various mock drafters as the Redskins’ pick at No. 17. Today we’re going to break out the $100 in imaginary casino chips and spread them around the five players according to how likely it is that each one will end up holding up the Redskins No. 1 jersey and giving Roger Goodell the bro hug on April 27. As always, the chips are all divided among the five players; “the field” is not an option.

ILB Reuben Foster, Alabama, $15—As I’ve pointed out before, the Redskins never taken a middle/inside linebacker in the first round of the common draft (since 1966). Not that what George Allen did 40 years ago will have any effect on what his son might do in April but it’s interesting to note. While the Redskins could think long and hard about taking him I just don’t think that the organization values the position enough to spend a first-round pick there. Also, since other organizations do value the position, he could be gone by the time the 17th pick is on the clock.

DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State, $30—I have no official stats but I’ll bet that McDowell is the player who has been mocked to the Redskins more than any player. He’s the kind of athletic presence that the defensive line has lacked forever. Yes, there are consistency questions but he wouldn’t be the first one to have the light come on when he’s playing the game for a living.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, $20—I go back and forth on the Redskins taking a first-round running back. Going back to ancient history again, they haven’t taken a running back in the first since 1967 (Ray McDonald). Recently, they have managed to get decent results from the likes of sixth-round pick Alfred Morris and undrafted free agent Rob Kelley. But they haven’t had a home run threat at the position since Clinton Portis, who was a second-round pick of the Broncos. If you want that added dimension in a running back you almost have to take one early. They saw firsthand how Ezekiel Elliot made life so much easier for Dak Prescott last year. Perhaps investing a first rounder in a RB will make it easier to win after the possible (likely?) departure of Kirk Cousins.

DB Jabril Peppers, Michigan, $15—Is Peppers too much like Su’a Cravens to make sense as a first-round pick? Or could he be a second chess piece who could be used to compliment what Cravens does? This might be the pick that would be the most fun, to see how they might mix and match Peppers, Cravens, and D.J. Swearinger. But I would look at that as a luxury that a team averaging 10-12 wins a year could make. I don’t see the Redskins, who struggle to finish over .500.

QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson, $20—Something tells me that the Cousins-Redskins standoff is not going to end with a whimper. If this happens, it would go out with a bang. I really don’t know if the Redskins are at all sold on Watson but if they are this would be a good way to resolve the QB dilemma and have a signal caller for a low salary for the next five seasons.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

On paper, Jay Gruden's tenor with the Redskins is nothing to write home about. Through five seasons he holds a 35-44-1 record, good enough for a .444 winning percentage. Looking at that, some may draw the conclusion that Gruden hasn't been what the Redskins need at the helm.

But according to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, that's not exactly the case. Taking into account the variables Gruden has dealt with throughout the five years, Gantt actually sees him as a "really good" coach.

"I have always come down of the side, maybe, of guys who are doing more with less," Gantt said recently on a Redskins Talk Podcast. "I think Jay has done a pretty good job keeping things in the middle."

Doing more with less and working in the middle essentially defines Jay Gruden's career with the Redskins. Besides his opening year in 2014 in which Washington went 4-12, Gruden's teams have consistently finished right around the middle of the pack.

In the last four seasons, the Redskins have not won more than nine games, but they also haven't lost more than nine. Hovering right around .500, they've always been around league average.

Part of the reason Gantt is willing to give Gruden praise for records that some coaches would get scolded for revolves around what he's had to work with. Gruden's time as head coach has been filled with injuries and other dilemmas both on and off the field. 

In those circumstances, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team completely flounder and spiral out of control. But, that hasn't really been the case with Gruden. Dealing with what he has, the head coach has kept the team competitive for the most part. The team hasn't been a perennial playoff contender, but it also hasn't been at the bottom of the league.

For that ability to keep the Redskins out of the basement despite all the problems he's encountered, Gruden is someone Gantt respects.

"They're able to keep it out of the ditches," Gantt said about Gruden and former NFL head coach John Fox, who Gantt followed during his time in Carolina.

"I think again in the NFL there's something to be said for that," Gantt added. "When things get sideways a Jim Zorn can lose control in a hurry. I feel like Jay just got sort of a steady hand on the wheel."

Until Gruden takes Washington back to the postseason, the critiques will continue to come, as they would for almost all head coaches in similar situations. But when looking at Gruden's time in Washington with a wide view of everything that has happened, Gantt believes the head coach deserves at least a little praise for keeping things afloat.

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Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

When Carletha "Nana" West was growing up, she began to take an interest in football. In particular, she took notice of a certain Redskins quarterback. 

"When Sammy Baugh was quarterback I liked him and I was just learning football at that time," West said. "I was young myself."

Baugh commanded the Redskins offense from 1937-1952 and became one of West's favorite player. With that, her fandom for the Redskins grew.

Decades later, her love for the Redskins remains. So for her 107th birthday -- yes, 107th -- she, of course, celebrated it with some Burgundy and Gold festivities.

Joined by Redskins President Bruce Allen, West took in her birthday on Thursday, July 18, at Brandywine in Alexandria, Va. Not only was she given a customized Redskins jersey with the number 107 and the name "Nana", but West also got a day named after her. In Alexandria, July 18 will now be known as Carletha "Nana" West Day.

West spent some time reminiscing about her years as a Redskins fan, singing 'Hail to the Redskins' and even sharing her advice on how to live a long, fulfilling life. Besides loving football, she shared some simple words of wisdom.

"Make friends," West said. "And keep them."

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