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Need to Know: Will the Redskins go offensive line in round one?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins go offensive line in round one?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 5, 22 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 12
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 37
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 49
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 149

Will the Redskins go for an offensive lineman in the first round?

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The Redskins will have some interesting options with the 17th overall pick. They could justify drafting at just about any position on defense. We all know about the line, where holes abound despite the signing of two free agents. The top three inside linebackers are all likely to be free agents in 2018. You can’t have too many good edge rushers and you can say the same about cornerbacks. Nobody is sure if the Redskins have a free safety on the roster, with both D.J. Swearinger and Su’a Cravens both possibly better suited to strong.

On the other side of the ball there has been plenty of chatter about taking a running back in the first, some of it coming from the head coach. With Terrelle Pryor on a one-year deal a wide receiver could be under consideration. And if the Redskins are certain that Kirk Cousins won’t be back in 2018 they have to look hard at a first-round quarterback.

The offensive line is another story. The tackle spots are set with Morgan Moses and Trent Williams with Ty Nsekhe as the swing backup. Brandon Scherff may not miss a snap at right guard for the next five years. They seem to like Spencer Long at center.

And while I could see the Redskins using a draft pick on someone to be Shawn Lauvao’s successor at left guard I strongly doubt it will be the first-round pick.

There are a few reasons why. For one, Jay Gruden might punch someone if the Redskins take a guard in the first round. The day after last season ended, Gruden lamented the lack of impact the team has received from first-round picks in his tenure in Washington.

"We’re getting there, but we’ve had, what, two first-round picks since I’ve been here? One of them hasn’t played a down, or played one game, and the other one is a guard," he said. "We have got to utilize our picks."

The word “guard” was said rather dismissively, almost disdainfully. He certainly likes Scherff but guard is simply not a high-impact position. Of the eight guards who were picked for the Pro Bowl last year, two of them, Scherff and Zach Martin of the Cowboys, were taken in the first round. The other six were taken, on average, in the third.

If you can get a good guard either late on Friday night or on Saturday, why take one in the first?

You mention Lauvao’s salary as a factor in taking Forrest Lamp. But the No. 17 pick in the draft will get a deal that has a $2.1 million cap hit in 2017. Cutting Lauvao would save $4 million so you’re saving just $1.9 million this year. That’s not insignificant but it’s only about 1.1 percent of the $167 million cap.

Over the course of the four years that first-round pick’s contract will rise to a $3.7 million cap hit. On the other hand, a third-round guard will carry a $670,000 cap hit as a rookie and the entire value of his deal over four years will be $3.2 million with the cap hit never going over $1 million in any season.

The better course of action would be to find a mid-round guard who can take over for Lauvao in a year. I have to think that this would be Gruden’s preferred course of action and he has a loud voice in the draft room.

With all of this said, I also was dubious that they would take Scherff fifth overall two years ago. Perhaps I am making the mistake that many analysts make in assuming the organization views my way of thinking is common sense, so why would they do otherwise? But the way Gruden said “guard” in that press conference gives me some confidence that I will be right this time around.

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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Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

FEDEX FIELD -- There's an age-old saying, 'there's no place like home.'

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder called FedEx Field home for four seasons but departed this past offseason for New York on a lucrative three-year, $28.5 million deal. At the time, letting Crowder walk did not seem like a big deal for Washington. His final season with the Burgundy and Gold was injury-shortened and unproductive, and the price tag seemed a little steep for a slot receiver.

On Sunday, Crowder returned to Washington for the first time as a visitor, and he certainly felt right back at home. The 26-year-old receiver finished with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' 34-17 victory over Washington, a game that was not really close at all.

"It means a lot. Great team win," Crowder said on the victory. "Just to come back here to FedEx [Field] against the Redskins, for me, it's a great feeling. I'm just glad to be winning."

In his first year sporting green and white instead of burgundy and gold, the slot receiver has been a valuable asset for second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. Through 10 games, Crowder has recorded 53 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns with a 73.8 percent catch rate. He's on pace for 85 catches and just under 900 yards on the season, both of which would be career highs. 

"Crowder did a great job of making catches when [he] needed to," Jets running back Le'Veon Bell said. 

Meanwhile, his former team has struggled mightily on offense, especially over the last month of the season. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins' 45-yard touchdown pass to Derrius Guice snapped a 16 quarter touchdown-less streak Washington had been on. That's four full games without a touchdown. The streak was the longest of such in nearly two decades.

Crowder, who played in a relatively high-scoring offense during his time in Washington, was asked whether he was surprised about the team's struggles. 

"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it much," Crowder said. "I think they have a really good ball team over there across the board. Especially on defense, they have a lot of guys that are really good. Offensively, they got a lot of guys that make plays, young guys that make plays. I haven't really thought about what's going on with them."

With Crowder's departure, the Redskins expected second-year receiver Trey Quinn to fill the void. Quinn has been unproductive and disappointing. He finished Sunday's contest with just two catches for nine yards, an unacceptable performance from someone who Washington counted on to make a leap in 2019. In 10 games, Quinn has a total of 198 receiving yards, with no more than 36 yards in any contest. 

Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin's emergence as the Redskins No. 1 wide receiver has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise lost season for Washington, but even his production doesn't match Crowder's. 

Crowder was certainly happy to defeat his old team but downplayed having any extra juice entering the matchup.

"There wasn't any extra motivation. I just approached it as another game," Crowder said. "It was just a little different going against the guys that I played four years with. I'm familiar with a lot of guys over there. For me, that's the only thing. For my preparation, I just approached it as another game."

Crowder may have seen Sunday as just another game, but the Redskins should look at his performance and see a player they maybe should have kept.

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In a blowout, Dwayne Haskins and Derrius Guice connect for a meaningful touchdown

In a blowout, Dwayne Haskins and Derrius Guice connect for a meaningful touchdown

Getting blown out by the New York Jets, one would think that any touchdown the Redskins would potentially score when trailing 34-3 would mean nothing. In most cases, that would be correct.

But when Dwayne Haskins connected with Derrius Guice for a 45-yard score, it was actually a very notable touchdown.

The touchdown is important for multiple reasons. One being that it is Haskins' first NFL touchdown. Making his first home start, the quarterback didn't have the performance many would have hoped for. But, he does now have one touchdown.

While it was the first for Haskins, it was also the first for Guice. The second-year running back who has missed a lot of time with injuries returned for the Week 11 battle and show the playmaking ability that has many excited to see him on the field.

Last, but definitely not least, the score put an end to the horrid touchdown-drought the Redskins had been in. Before Guice crossed the goal line, Washington hadn't scored in 16 quarters. Yes, that is the equivalent to four games.

But alas, the Redskins have a touchdown and so do Haskins and Guice. Sunday was a disappointing day, but at least there was this moment.

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