Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 2, 35 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

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Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 27
—NFL Draft (4/27) 84
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 220

Question of the day: Draft for D?

Today's question of the day comes via Twitter:

The short answer to your question is yes, it's entirely possible that their first-round pick will not play any of thos positions. There are several things that could cause the Redskins to go in another direction at No. 17.

First and most importantly, the league has not gone through free agency yet, from either side. Suppose they lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson to free agency? If they don’t sign a No. 1 or at least a No. 2 type of free agent receiver you could put receiver on the list of positions that could be considered.


What if Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged, signs the tender, and it becomes clear that he has no intention of signing a long-term deal after the 2017 season? Wouldn’t they have to consider a quarterback? I know that right now it looks like anyone worth taking in the first round is likely to be gone by the time pick No. 17 comes up but you never know what will happen over the next 84 days. In any case they will have to look hard at a quarterback they could groom over the course of the year and have as their starter in 2018. 

Also, we don’t know what needs the Redskins will fill in free agency. They could re-sign Chris Baker and add Bennie Logan and Nick Fairley in free agency. That would detract from the urgency of getting someone for the line and another position could take its place on the “must” list. Inside linebacker, anyone?

Finally, it’s Scot McCloughan’s draft. He has said over and over again that he will take the best available player. And his idea of the best available may not what you or I or Mel Kiper or Mike Mayock have in mind. To be sure, need is a tiebreaker and need does play a role in determining grades. But if, say, Alabama tight end O. J. Howard is on the board and he is graded as the best available player and the second best has a markedly worse grade it would not shock me to see McCloughan take him even though Jordan Reed is a Pro Bowl tight end.

With all that said, I do believe that the odds favor a defensive player being the top pick and likely in one of the positions mentioned in the question. But it’s too far out to rule out anything and even when we get to the point where the Redskins are on the clock with their first pick things still could take a totally unexpected turn.

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