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One stat that shows why Jay Gruden likes Rob Kelley so much

One stat that shows why Jay Gruden likes Rob Kelley so much

As Rob Kelley started to emerge as an undrafted rookie last year in training camp, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden made it clear he liked the young running back. Slowly, Kelley earned game snaps, and eventually took over the top running back spot on the roster.

Matt Jones did plenty to lose that job in 2016, especially fumbling, but don't dismiss Kelley's arrival as just a replacement for Jones. Repeatedly throughout the season Kelley showed an ability to make defenders miss, particularly in the backfield, on plays that Jones did not make. 

The folks at Pro Football Focus quantified that exact stat.

Kelley is in some elite company at gaining yardage despite taking on defenders behind the line of scrimmage. That success goes hand in had with Kelley's elusive rating, another PFF stat.

He landed No. 2 in the NFL with a 61.5 elusive rating, behind only Dolphins Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi and ahead of names like LeSean McCoy and David Johnson. On 168 carries, Kelley made 35 defenders miss, and he averaged 2.8 yards after first contact per attempt. 

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins are running low on cap space

Those numbers are why Gruden talks about Kelley in gushing terms.

"It’s exciting to see how far he’s come in a short period of time," Gruden said of Kelley. "It’s just natural to him. He can be a runner and he’s very gifted in that regard as far as finding holes and running through people."

A lot of folks assumed fourth-round rookie RB Samaje Perine would immediately push Kelley for the starting job. While there will undoubtedly be increased competition, don't expect Kelley to lose the job easily.

Remember, he can make people miss. 


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NFL Draft prospect Deionte Thompson to miss combine following wrist surgery

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NFL Draft prospect Deionte Thompson to miss combine following wrist surgery

Starting Tuesday, all 32 NFL teams will have a chance to asses some of the best talents in the upcoming draft at the NFL Combine. However, one of the better safety prospects available will be noticeably absent in Indianapolis.

University of Alabama safety Deionte Thompson will reportedly not participate in combine activities after having surgery on his wrist Friday to mend a torn ligament, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Rapoport did mention that the injury is not believed to have a serious impact long-term. 

Thompson is coming off a junior season at Alabama in which he recorded two interceptions and 78 tackles while earning Consensus All-America honors.

As the draft approaches, the safety is being regarded as one of the better secondary options available for teams. In NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig's latest mock draft, Thompson is projected to go 24th overall to the Oakland Raiders.

Though the projection doesn't have Thompson ending up as a member of the Burgundy and Gold, he is still a realistic option for the Redskins. With a few questions marks in the secondary following the departure of D.J. Swearinger Sr. and the unclear future of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Redskins could very well see Thompson as a viable target at No. 15.

If Thompson's impending recovery time leads to his draft stock falling, there is a slight chance he may even be available in the second round when the Redskins pick at No. 46.

Currently, there is no timetable for his return. Alabama is scheduled to host its Pro Day on March 19, which could be the next time Washington and other teams will get a chance to evaluate Thompson.


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The Redskins' free agency strategy nets more 2019 compensatory picks than expected


The Redskins' free agency strategy nets more 2019 compensatory picks than expected

It's a very small consolation, but on Friday, the Redskins finally picked up their compensatory third-round pick for losing Kirk Cousins in free agency last year.

That's not the only new selection they now have in their arsenal for the 2019 NFL Draft, though.

In addition to that third-rounder, Washington also netted a fifth-rounder, a sixth-rounder and a seventh-rounder, too. The four picks is a bit of a surprise, as most expected the Burgundy and Gold would be awarded with only three.

Bruce Allen has explained in the past how the 'Skins value compensatory picks, which teams receive based on the contracts their own free agents sign with new franchises. Last offseason, the Redskins saw Cousins, Ryan Grant, Spencer Long and Trent Murphy all cash in on the open market.

In total, Washington now has nine picks in the upcoming draft, with two each in the third, fifth and seventh rounds. They traded away their fourth-round spot for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Losing homegrown players like Cousins and Co. is certainly not ideal, but by letting those types of guys depart, the Redskins do set themselves up for more swings in April. 

That part of the strategy has paid off. The next step? Making those picks count.