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Need to Know: Should the Redskins be confident that Cousins can keep it up?

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Need to Know: Should the Redskins be confident that Cousins can keep it up?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 18, 37 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Question of the day

We’re flipping into offseason mode with Need to Know. At least a few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question comes from the Real Redskins Facebook page.

First of all, it should be stated that there is never any guarantee that a player will perform well after he signs a big-money contract. Some players live up to them, some don’t and past performance does not guarantee future results.

That said, let’s look at some single-season performances of the three quarterbacks that you mentioned and compare them to Cousins in 2015. The seasons for Cassel (playing for the Patriots) and Kolb (Eagles) are the ones right before they got their big contract extensions. Foles’ (Eagles) numbers are from two years prior to his extension since that season was the basis for the contract the Rams ended up giving him.

It’s pretty easy to see that Cassel, who got a who got a six-year, $60 million contract with $28 million guaranteed from the Chiefs after the Patriots tagged and traded him, and Kolb, who got $64 million over five years with $21 million guaranteed after being dealt to the Cardinals, did not have seasons as good as Cousins’ 2015 prior to their paydays. Neither performed as well as Cousins did any any of the major statistical categories. Neither had, in Tim's words, a "great" season.

(I should note here that the salary cap has grown from $116 million when Cassel signed his contract to in excess of $150 million this year. Comparing what Cassel and Kolb got to what Cousins is likely to earn is not an apples to apples comparison. The 30 percent growth in the cap means that Cousins will get more than did Kolb and Cassel)

It appears that the Chiefs fell for the myth that win-loss records should be assigned to the quarterback. Sure the Pats were 11-5 with Cassel filling in for an injured Tom Brady. But his numbers were barely better than pedestrian even though he had Randy Moss and Wes Welker as targets. The Patriots went 11-5 more due to a top-10 defense, a top-five rushing game, and a coach named Belichick than they did because of Cassel's performance in 2008. (full career stats here).

How did Kolb earn his extension? I have no idea. You can look at his full career stats here. I guess it was just a matter of supply and demand or someone on the Cardinals thinking he saw great potential because he certainly did nothing in 2010 or prior to that to deserve a big payday.

Foles is a slightly different case. He did get paid on the basis of a very good season in 2013, his second year in the league. He found himself behind center in Chip Kelly’s very quarterback friendly offense that was like nothing the league had ever seen. Foles missed half of 2014 with a broken collarbone and got an extension (2 years, $24.5 million) from the Rams last summer in apparent attempt to make sure they would be able to keep him around and justify giving up on 2010 No. 1 pick Sam Bradford.

So Gruden and the Redskins organization have reason to be confident that Cousins will not get a big deal and then fade to mediocrity like Kolb and Cassel did (well, Kolb didn't really fade, he started and stayed mediocre). They aren’t certain because you can’t be certain. But given that it’s a gamble, Cousins is a pretty good bet or at least a better bet the Kolb and Cassel were.

Should Foles serve as a cautionary tale? Perhaps, but he had the advantage of Kelly’s very different brand of offense and LeSean McCoy leading the league’s No. 1 rushing attack. Cousins was working in Gruden’s West Coast style offense, which has been around in various forms for decades, and a running game that was 20th in yards gained and disappeared for weeks at a time. It is reasonable to assume that Cousins had a tougher road to hoe in 2015 than did Foles in 2013 and that his numbers were more of a true reflection of his abilities.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game eight days ago. It will be about 237 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 37; NFL free agency starts 52; 2016 NFL draft 101

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15 final thoughts on what could be the wildest NFL Draft in quite some time

15 final thoughts on what could be the wildest NFL Draft in quite some time

The Redskins hold the 15th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, and after a flurry of rumors and speculation about what might happen on Wednesday, we're going to keep this simple. 

Multiple talent evaluators have told NBC Sports Washington that this will be the wildest draft in recent memory. There is no consensus what happens with the first pick, no consensus on the QB rankings after Kyler Murray, and the scene looks set for a lot of trades. 

Since the first round projects to be so volatile, and because the Redskins don't pick until nearly midway through, here are 15 thoughts about Thursday night.

  1. Kyler Murray will go first overall to Arizona.
  2. The Redskins will not trade up into the Top 3.
  3. The Redskins will not trade up into the Top 5.
  4. Drew Lock will be the next QB off the board.
  5. There could be a Laremy Tunsil type of situation.
  6. Either Miami or Cincinnati will take a quarterback.
  7. Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom goes in the top half of the draft.
  8. Montez Sweat could slide in this draft, and it might not just be about medicals.
  9. The injury issue will impact Rashan Gary.
  10. The Redskins will take a defensive player with the 15th pick.
  11. Nobody knows what the Giants will do, and they like that. 
  12. Four QBs will get drafted in the first round.
  13. Five QBs might get taken in the first round. 
  14. The Redskins will not take a wide receiver in the first round. 
  15. Don't close the door on Josh Rosen landing in the NFC East.

These are thoughts. Not necessarily predictions, but much effort has been exerted in obtaining the information that went into these ideas. 

Stay. Tuned. It's going to be wild. 

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2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final version sends Dwayne Haskins to Redskins

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2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final version sends Dwayne Haskins to Redskins

We can stop the mockery.

Here is the final version of the NBC Sports Washington 2019 NFL Mock Draft. No fluff, just the straight list as we project specific marriages of teams and prospects through two rounds plus additional Day 2 selections for the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens.

For those that have been following along for the previous (gulp) 21 versions, you may notice several changes starting with the Raiders at four and including the Redskins at 15 and 46. I’ve been doing mock drafts for many years now and this is easily among the wildest. There’s always the misinformation game. The uncertainty with the quarterbacks and the large of tier talent in the 16-50 range made such projections challenging.

Anyway, thanks for the coming along for the ride over these many months. Check out all of NFL Draft coverage starting with Thursday’s first round.

First round

1             Arizona Cardinals -- Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

2             San Francisco 49ers -- Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

3             New York Jets -- Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

4             Oakland Raiders -- Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

5             Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Devin White, LB, LSU

6             New York Giants -- Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

7             Jacksonville Jaguars -- Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

8             Detroit Lions -- T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

9             Buffalo Bills -- Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson

10           Denver Broncos -- Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan

11           Cincinnati Bengals -- Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

12           Green Bay Packers -- Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

13           Miami Dolphins  -- Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

14           Atlanta Falcons -- Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

15           Washington Redskins -- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

16           Carolina Panthers -- Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

17           NY Giants (via Cleveland) -- Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

18           Minnesota Vikings -- Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

19           Tennessee Titans -- Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

20           Pittsburgh Steelers -- Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

21           Seattle Seahawks -- Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

22           Baltimore Ravens -- Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State

23           Houston Texans -- Cody Ford, G/T, Oklahoma

24           Oakland Raiders (from CHI) -- Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

25           Philadelphia Eagles -- Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

26           Indianapolis Colts -- Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi St.

27           Oakland Raiders (from DAL) – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

28           Los Angeles Chargers -- Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

29           Seattle Seahawks (via KC) -- Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

30           Green Bay Packers (via NO) -- Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

31           Los Angeles Rams -- Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

32           New England Patriots -- Darnell Savage, S, Maryland

 Second round                

33           Arizona -- A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi

34           Indianapolis (via NY Jets) -- D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

35           Oakland -- Irv Smith, TE, Alabama

36           San Francisco -- Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M

37           NY Giants -- Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

38           Jacksonville -- Jaylon Ferguson, DE, La. Tech

39           Tampa Bay -- Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

40           Buffalo  -- DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

41           Denver  -- N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State 

42           Cincinnati -- Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington

43           Detroit  -- Juan Thornhill, CB, Virginia

44           Green Bay -- Nassir Adderley, S, Delaware

45           Atlanta  -- L.J Collier, DE, TCU

46           Washington -- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

47           Carolina -- Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

48           Miami -- Will Grier, QB, West Virginia

49           Cleveland -- Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State

50           Minnesota -- Dre'Mont Jones, DE/DT, Ohio State

51           Tennessee -- Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan

52           Pittsburgh -- Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina

53           Philadelphia (via Baltimore) -- Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

54           Houston (via Seattle) -- Taylor Rapp, SS, Washington

55           Houston -- Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State

56           New England (via Chicago) -- Ryan Finley, QB, NC State

57           Philadelphia -- David Long, CB, Michigan

58           Dallas -- Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

59           Indianapolis -- Gerald Willis, DT, Miami

60           LA Chargers -- Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn

61           Kansas City -- Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

62           New Orleans -- Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State

63           Kansas City (via LA Rams) -- Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

64           New England -- Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State

77           Washington -- Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

86           Baltimore – Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia

97           Washington -- Dru Samia, G, Oklahoma

103        Baltimore -- Terrill Hanks, ILB, New Mexico State

  •  I produced 15 mocks in 2019. The breakdown of players I selected at 15: Montez Sweat (6), Brian Burns (4), Devin Bush (3), Clelin Ferrell (1), Dwayne Haskins (1). That's 14 defensive players with 11 edge rushers. The lone offensive player came in the final mock. Why the flip? There's a combination of factors.
  • Among them, the idea of the Redskins regaining off-season champ status gained steam Wednesday with various reports. While I don't buy the idea of the Redskins trading up in any significant way, I do believe there's a good chance either Haskins or Drew Lock slips to 15 if the Broncos (10) or Bengals (11) pass on a quarterback. At that point, it's not hard imagining the bigger picture winning a tiebreaker between a passer and a pass rusher like Brian Burns, who was my selection in four of the five previous mocks.
  • One source told NBC Sports Washington that the Redskins have spoken with teams in the top 10 about moving up. Not really buying that, however. The Redskins have numerous needs and need all the draft capital possible. There is a good chance one of the top four quarterbacks is available at 15. There's been reported and sourced mentions of interest in Haskins and Jones.
  • It's worth noting that the interest in West Virginia quarterback Will Grier existed at least as of Monday, according to sources. If the Redskins wait, he could be a target.
  • Skipping a pass rusher at 15 is risky because of the limited options on Day 2 and beyond. Michigan's  Chase Winovich and Georgia's D'Andrew Walker are Day 2 options.
  • The buzz with Josh Rosen remains quiet for now, but surely roars should the Cardinals select, as long-rumored, Kyler Murray.  If a trade occurs look for teams in 22-32 range to make a move on Rosen's cheap contract. One source thinks the Patriots get interested and use the 32nd overall pick.
  • Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. in round one. He is expected to be an option for the Redskins if they trade down from 15. The Colts and Patriots are two other likely landing spots.
  • Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford's draft ceiling is 11 to the Bengals. Should he drop from there, several other teams remain possible, but the OL-needy Vikings did not get the warm fuzzies from the pre-draft meeting, per source.
  • Staying with the OL, at least one NFL team has Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom inside the top 15 of their 2019 Big Board. The Falcons are interested in Clemson DT Christian Wilkins, but Lindstrom might become Plan B.
  • \Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons is one of the true wild cards since the top-5 talent comes with a torn knee ligament and off-the-field concerns. Simmons is expected to hear his name called in the first with the Eagles and Colts among the likely landing spots.
  • One potential regret: Sticking with Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery in the first over Temple CB Rock Ya-Sin. Tillery, an inconsistent but impressive talent, feels a like a slider into Day 2, but he's been my selection for the Chargers throughout the draft process.
  • Speaking of the corners, it feels like LSU's Greedy Williams and Georgia's DeAndre Baker are dropping some while Ya-Sin's projection moves into the first.
  • Michigan CB David Long's ceiling is now the 30s, per source, though his public big board status typically falls into round  3.

 

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