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Redskins 2017 roster battles: Which cornerback will cover the slot?

Redskins 2017 roster battles: Which cornerback will cover the slot?

The Redskins go into OTAs with competition for jobs and depth chart position at several spots on the field. Over the next week, Redskins insiders Rich Tandler and J.P. Finlay look at how these competitions stand right now and they each make the case for a potential winner.

Nickel cornerback

The contenders:

The Redskins never really got settled at what is essentially a starting position in a league where three- and four-wide receiver sets are the norm. Dashaun Phillips played the slot the first few games before a combination of a hamstring injury and ineffectiveness put him on the bench. Rookie third-round pick Kendall Fuller took over and it was hoped he would seize the job for a long time. But he got lit up with quarterbacks posting a 120 passer rating when throwing into his coverage, per Pro Football Focus. Fuller wound up being a healthy scratch late in the season. Veteran Greg Toler handled the slot down the stretch.

Toler was not re-signed. Phillips and Fuller are back but it is not just a two-man competition for the nickel corner spot. While Bashaud Breeland would rather stay at one of the outside spots in his contract year (outside corners get paid more than slot guys), they could put Quinton Dunbar or rookie Fabian Moreau outside in nickel situations and have Breeland slide inside. While rookie seventh-round pick Josh Holsey is a long shot to land the job but as long as the job remains unsettled he will get a look.

And the winner is . . .

Tandler: Last year was a year to forget for Fuller. He suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee that ended his final year at Virginia Tech after three games. The injury hampered him during the offseason program and in training camp. Fuller was inactive for the first three games in part because of the knee and in part because he wasn’t ready. He struggled mightily, as noted above. But with the third-round pick invested in him, I think he gets first crack at grabbing the nickel job this year. Many analysts had Fuller rated as a first-round talent before his injury. If he is fully healthy I think that he has a very good shot at taking the job and not giving it up.

Finlay: No surprise that Tandler picked his fellow Hokie Fuller to take over the nickel cover spot. Fuller is a better player than he showed last year, but he will have to prove that starting in minicamp. Coaches lost their faith in him, particularly when he got torched by Stef Diggs and the Vikings. A full NFL offseason and a healthy knee could make a big difference. One name I would throw in that Tandler didn't mention would be Will Blackmon. The veteran was forced to move to safety in 2016 because the Redskins lacked viable options, but with an offseason that added D.J. Swearinger via free agency and Montae Nicholson in the draft, not to mention moving Su'a Cravens full-time to safety and the expected healthy return of DeAngelo Hall, Blackmon might be able to move back to corner.  Playing primary nickel corner in the second half of the 2015 season, Blackmon made plays, logging two interceptions and three forced fumbles to go with eight broken up passes. Fuller might have the inside track, but I wouldn't count out the veteran Blackmon. There's also a scenario where Fabian Moreau could force his way onto the field, likely as an outside corner. If that happens, expect Breeland to bump inside. This would likely not happen until the midway point of the season at the earliest as Moreau is working back from injury and will need to learn the NFL game. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Aaron Rodgers and Brooks Koepka, Kirk Cousins and Rickie Fowler and other QB/golfer comparisons

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Aaron Rodgers and Brooks Koepka, Kirk Cousins and Rickie Fowler and other QB/golfer comparisons

You may not immediately think quarterbacks and golfers have a lot in common, but the two types of athletes do share quite a few similarities.

They both look to rack up yardage. They both need to play their best on Sundays. And they both have to be as mentally sharp as they are physically in form.

So, with all that in mind (and, frankly, because Redskins training camp is still more than a month away), why not try to match up QBs with guys on the PGA Tour? 

FOR THE GALLERY FEATURING QB-TO-GOLFER COMPARISONS, CLICK HERE

That's the purpose of this NBCSportsWashington.com gallery, to pair up passers with golfers because of key traits they share. Who's the Patrick Mahomes on the links? Who's the Dustin Johnson of the NFL?

Those answers, and plenty more, lie in this list. So, go ahead and run through it, then head over to @PeteHaileyNBCS on Twitter to praise (or rip... yeah, most likely rip) the choices. No one will throw a flag or assess you a two-stroke penalty if you have some disagreements.  

FOR THE GALLERY FEATURING QB-TO-GOLFER COMPARISONS, CLICK HERE

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Redskins rookie Dwayne Haskins reacts to winning Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year

Redskins rookie Dwayne Haskins reacts to winning Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year

Ohio State named former quarterback Dwayne Haskins the 2019 Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, a few months after the Washington Redskins drafted Haskins in the first round. 

Washington drafted Haskins 15th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, after Haskins threw 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns with Ohio State in the 2018 season, the first season he started for the Buckeyes.

Haskins also set 28 Ohio State and seven Big Ten records in his junior year with the Buckeyes, after which he was awarded the Big Ten Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award. 

Now Haskins vies for a spot as the Redskins' starting quarterback, after attending both Washington's voluntary organized team activities and mandatory minicamp. The rookie is one of three players––including Case Keenum and Colt McCoy, who is working back from injury––fighting for that spot in the starting lineup, as Washington prepares for the preseason.  

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