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OPEN THREAD: Do the Redskins have an age problem on defense?

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OPEN THREAD: Do the Redskins have an age problem on defense?

The Redskins revamped their defensive line this offseason, bringing in two new starters in Stephen Paea and Terrance Knighton to team up with Jason Hatcher. GM Scot McCloughan brought in Knighton and Paea to beef up a unit that had been largely ignored in Washington, and while the play up front should improve, by adding through free agency the Redskins may have set themselves up with a new problem: Age.

Presumed starter Paea is 27, Knighton is 29 and Hatcher is 33 years old. Youngest of the three, Paea is hardly long in the tooth, but a position as physically demanding as interior line, the years add up fast. Knighton only turned 29 in July, but for a man like "Pot Roast" the games add up. Free agency showed what the warket was like for Knighton, where he signed with the Redskins on just a one-year deal after many expected the nose tackle to garner major interest and a big money deal. With weight control concerns, not to mention the mileage on his body, the market proved the questions about Knighton. And then there is Hatcher, a physcial specimen at 6'6" and 300 lbs., but also on the wrong side of 30. Hatcher missed three games last season with injury, and registered only 5.5 sacks in the games he did play after logging 11 in 2013.

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So while age is not a dire concern along the defensive line, it is something Washington needs to watch. Jay Gruden understands that.

"I think they still have a lot of football left in them – all those guys," Gruden said. "To have a veteran group on the defensive line is not a bad thing."

McCloughan worked fast to overhaul the Redskins defense in his first offseason, and over time, it's likely more young players will get added to the mix up front. In his first draft, the GM added two new offensive lineman in Brandon Scherff and Arie Kouandjio. Perhaps a similar investment will come at next year's draft on the defensive line. For now, the 'Skins seem confident in the guys they've got.

"They can all still play," Gruden said. "Eventually we’ll have to probably get a younger guy in here to develop but right now we feel good about the depth of our defensive line."

Just as most experts commended McCloughan for working to revamp the 'Skins defensive line, concerns pop up about age. Are they warranted? Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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Doug Williams: Redskins trading down from 15 is a 'great possibility' for NFL Draft

Doug Williams: Redskins trading down from 15 is a 'great possibility' for NFL Draft

ASHBURN -- Doug Williams offered a piece of advice for those focused solely on which player the Washington Redskins might select with the 15th overall selection.

The pick could be on the move. If so, the odds are stronger in one direction.

“I’ve said all along the chances of trading up is a lot slimmer than trading back,” the Redskins’ senior VP of Player Personnel said Monday

Williams spoke from Redskins Park as the team wrapped up its pre-draft media availability before the NFL Draft. The three-day event begins Thursday with the first round.  

<<2019 NFL MOCK DRAFT 21.0: WILL NICK BOSA STEAL NO. 1 FROM KYLER MURRAY>>

“I’m going to go on the record and say that it’s a possibility that we won’t trade up,” Williams continued. “But it’s a great possibility that we trade back if that opportunity came.”

Now, preferring a trade down rather than moving up isn’t unique -- but that’s not what Williams said. He spoke in terms of preference but also likelihood and opportunity.

“We got a chance to trade back,” Williams said. “It all depends on who’s there.”

The “who’s there” angle goes both ways, of course. 

The Redskins might covet a specific quarterback, pass rusher or other prospect and, therefore, punt on the idea of trading out if that player is available.

That it is far more difficult this year to pin down a short-list of targets compared with 2018 when the Redskins selected Daron Payne speaks to the team’s list of needs but also the balance of prospects in the 15 to 40 range. There are scenarios where Washington might choose a path that lands extra draft picks or players.

Last year the Saints traded picks 27, 147 and their 2019 first-round selection to the Packers for the 14th overall selection. In the same draft, the Bills shipped 21, 158 and offensive tackle Cody Glenn to the Bengals for 12 and 187. Buffalo then made another deal to acquire the No. 7 selection from Tampa Bay.

In the draft, you cannot be sure which player or position inspires a bold move. New Orleans wanted pass rusher Marcus Davenport. Buffalo drafted quarterback Josh Allen at seven.

If the Redskins jump up, the logic is a passer or pass rusher. The thought here throughout most of the 21 NFL mock drafts centered on the Redskins not focusing on a QB and seeing which edge option remained on the board.

As for a trade down scenario, there are a few names to keep in mind.

♦ With Kyler Murray the likely first passer off the board, quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones are obvious potential targets. The teams potentially moving up for those players, less so. The Giants have six and 17. My mock drafts continue giving New York a defense player at six, leaving the quarterback in play at 17. Don’t hold your breath thinking two division rivals would make such a deal. However, it’s possible another team wants to jump the Giants. That other party could be one of the squads with an older QB (Steelers, Chargers, Packers, Patriots). Perhaps the Raiders, who could jettison Derek Carr after this season, package some combination of their three picks in the 24-35 range.

♦ The Redskins need an edge rusher. So do the Panthers (16), Giants (6 and 17), Titans (19) and Ravens (22). It's possible Florida State’s Brian Burns and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell are the only top rated options available by the time we reach the middle of the first. 

<<2019 NFL MOCK DRAFT 21.0: WILL NICK BOSA STEAL NO. 1 FROM KYLER MURRAY>>

♦ Teams wanting to be in front of a position run might want to jump into the middle of the first. That’s when the wide receivers (D.K. Metcalf, Marquise Brown), cornerbacks (Greedy Williams, Deandre Baker, Byron Murphy) and offensive lineman (Jonah Williams, Cody Ford, Andre Dillard) might start flying off the shelves. Williams said Monday the Redskins need a "go-to guy" at receiver. 

♦ The Redskins don’t have a glaring need for Clemson defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, but others may covet their interior power.

♦ One of the true wild cards in the first round is Mississippi State’s Jeffrey Simmons. The defensive lineman was considered a potential top-5 selection before suffering a torn ACL earlier in 2019. Simmons remains a likely first-round pick. Where depends on when a team feels long-term value trumps that of the healthy prospects.

The idea of trading the pick outright to Arizona for Josh Rosen remains intriguing should the quarterback become available with the Cardinals selecting Murray first overall. Some fans are skeptical about dealing 15 for the second-year passer. Should the Redskins trade down from 15 yet remain in the first, that selection might be enough to entice the Cardinals while allowing Washington to get additional assets.

The likelihood is the Redskins stick at 15 and choose a player. Based on their needs and overall draft projections, edge rusher, offensive line, Michigan inside linebacker Devin Bush or that elusive long-term quarterback seems like the logical options.  Williams stated Monday that if there’s movement, the Redskins are going down. It just depends who is available when the clock starts ticking at 15.

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Dwayne Haskins on being drafted by hometown team: 'Definitely HTTR'

Dwayne Haskins on being drafted by hometown team: 'Definitely HTTR'

The count down until NFL Draft Day is on for fans and draft hopefuls alike. Of those hopefuls is the quarterback out of Ohio State, Dwayne Haskins.

ESPN's Adam Schefter sat down with the QB to discuss his plans for Thursday night, the role of his mentors and potentially playing for his hometown team.

If drafted in the first round, as expected, Haskins will become the second Ohio State quarterback ever to go that early. However, he is not putting too much pressure on Draft Night. He plans to be with family and friends bowling so he is not glued to the TV. "I'm sure I will get a phone call before the pick is in so I can stop everything I am doing to watch it", Haskins joked. 

Leading up to the draft, the quarterback met with five teams: Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Washington Redskins. 

How does Haskins feel about the idea of playing for the Redskins? "Definitely HTTR." Haskins has an inside look of the Redskins organization via his mentor Shawn Springs, who was with the team for five seasons. "Football is taken very seriously down there and they are itching to win. If they draft me I hope I can add to the franchise and bring some wins to that organization." 

Draft Night is a dream come true for Haskins who will graduate in May. "Just to be able to hear my name called on Draft Day is something that I dreamed of for years...just to realize that all the work was worth it. That's going to be an unbelievable moment for me," said Haskins.

Haskins received plenty of advice about how to mentally and physically prepare for his NFL career. Watching film and preparing his body is half the battle. Haskins knows, "You do what you need to do to last in the league."  For now, he is enjoying the process, the last piece of advice given to him by his mentors. 

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