Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 20, 8 days before the NFL Draft.
—The Redskins last played a game 101 days ago. It will be 145 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.
—Days until: 2016 NFL draft 8; Rookie minicamp 23; Redskins training camp starts 99
I thought a lot about the wisdom of taking Alabama LB Reggie Ragland with the Redskins’ first-round pick in the mock draft I did on CSN Mid Atlantic yesterday. He is a classic run stuffer and the Redskins need all the help they can get when it comes to stopping the run.
But the knock on Ragland is that he isn’t very good against the pass. Many analysts believe that he will be at best a liability in coverage and at worst a major issue against passes that a defense would have to work around. In a passing league, can they afford a one-dimensional player when that dimension does not involve defending against the pass?
But then I remembered a number I ran across while doing some research a couple of months ago. I wanted to see how many yards the Redskins gave up on first-down runs against them. So I went to the handy Game Play Finder on www.Pro-Football-Reference.com and pulled up the numbers. I didn’t think that the Redskins would rate very well but I was surprised to find out that they were the worst in the league in that stat.
The Redskins gave up 5.03 yards per rushing attempt on first down, the only team to give up over five yards a pop. The Saints’ historically bad defense was the second worst here, giving up 4.84 per attempt. For comparison, the best team in the league in yards per first-down rushing attempt was the Seahawks at 2.98 yards.
While no one number indicates a huge problem, this stat is particularly alarming. It means that when the Redskins had their base defense on the field, which should be at least competent at stopping the run, they were the worst in the league at run stopping.
Given this, I think it’s easy to justify leaning towards stopping the run when picking new talent for the defense. If Scot McCloughan believes that Ragland can help them stop the run, especially on first down, and can drop into coverage and hold his own when the other team passes, I’d say grab him if he’s there.
Stat of the day
The other side of the coin of the first-down rushing stat discussed above also was bad for the Redskins last year. They averaged 3.28 yards per rushing attempt on first down, the worst in the league.
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