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Redskins draft board: Quarterback

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Redskins draft board: Quarterback

With the busy portion of the free agency period completed, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2015 NFL draft and, specifically, needs the Redskins still have. (Yes, there are many.) Over the next few weeks, we’ll rank those needs in order from least to most important. We’ll also examine prospects that could be a fit.

No. 3

Quarterback

Current depth chart: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy.

Comment: There’s no position in football more important than quarterback. And right now there’s no question at Redskins Park more important than the following: Do they have one?

There are three quarterbacks on the roster as the offseason program begins, and none of them has proven he’s capable of being a bona fide No. 1.

Not yet, anyway.

Coach Jay Gruden named Griffin the starter in February and so he’ll get the first crack at the job, despite being benched the past two seasons. Considering Griffin’s upside—not to mention the king’s ransom the team paid to acquire him just three years ago—this should come as little surprise.

Cousins and McCoy figure to get an opportunity to compete, though from the sounds of it, they’d need an exceptionally strong performance to overtake Griffin during OTAs or training camp.

Griffin recently was quoted by NFL.com as saying General Manager Scot McCloughan has told him, “I’m going to put the 10 best players around you to maximize your potential.” Griffin also said he’s under the impression McCloughan does not intend to draft a quarterback with No. 5 overall pick. (The top two prospects—Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota—are widely expected to be off the board by then, anyway.)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported last week that the Redskins are believed to be leaning toward picking up the $16 million, fifth-year option on Griffin’s contract but will wait until after the draft—just in case Mariota falls. The first round is Thursday; the deadline for triggering the clause in Griffin’s contract is next Sunday.

What does it all mean? It probably means the Redskins’ quarterback depth chart won’t change a whole lot in the coming weeks—except for the possible addition of a mid-to-late round draft pick.

Three potential draft targets:

  • Brett Hundley, UCLA

Possesses a sturdy, athletic, well-built 6 foot 3, 226-pound frame. Passed for an average of 3,322 yards and 25 touchdowns the past three seasons, while rushing for an average of 582. Scouts, however, question his feel for the position and note that he was sacked 125 times during those three seasons. NFL.com projects him as fourth or fifth round selection.  

  • Garrett Grayson, Colorado State

Also projected by NFL.com as a fourth or fifth round pick, Grayson (6-2, 213 pounds) solidified his status as a legit prospect with a strong 2014 season. Completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 4,006 yards and 32 touchdowns. Possesses adequate arm talent, but impressed scouts with his toughness and poise in the pocket.

  • Connor Halliday, Washington State

McCloughan brought Halliday (6-3, 196 pounds) to Redskins Park for a visit. He won’t wow anyone with his arm or athleticism, but possesses traits worth developing. As a junior, he passed for 4,597 yards on an FBS-leading 714 attempts. NFL.com projects Halliday as a seventh round selection or possibly a priority free agent.

[RELATED What's the best case win total for the 2015 ] 

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Redskins make new hire at special teams coordinator, and he comes from Tampa Bay

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Redskins make new hire at special teams coordinator, and he comes from Tampa Bay

The Redskins announced the hiring of Nate Kaczor as their new special teams coach on Saturday morning. Kaczor will take over the role vacated by Ben Kotwica, who left Washington to take the same role in Atlanta.

Kaczor spent the last three seasons with the Buccaneers as special teams coordinator, but that coaching staff got let go this offseason. Prior to his work in Tampa, Kaczor coached in similar roles for the Titans and the Jaguars. 

It's not particularly easy to rank special teams, but Kotwica's groups did some things very well, particularly in punt coverage. Football Outsiders ranked all 32 special teams groups across the league based on a formula that combines field goals/extra points, kickoffs, kick returns, punts, and punt returns; The Redskins ranked 8th and Tampa ranked 29th. 

On the flip side, the Redskins had some of the lowest kick and punt return yardage in the NFL last season. The Redskins gained just 110 yards on all of their punt returns for the year. 

Head coach Jay Gruden spoke about bringing in Kaczor.

"We are excited to have Nate join our staff. We have had the opportunity to face his special teams play during his time at Tampa Bay and respected competing against him," Gruden said via press release. "He is a competitor and we have noticed and admired the intensity his units have played with through the course of his time as a special teams coordinator and assistant coach in the NFL."

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Kyler Murray is 'making a mistake' choosing football over baseball, according to Joe Theismann

Kyler Murray is 'making a mistake' choosing football over baseball, according to Joe Theismann

Joe Theismann wants Kyler Murray to have a "long, happy career" — as a professional baseball player.

In an interview with NBC Sports Washington, the former Redskins QB was asked what he thought of Murray's choice to pursue his NFL dreams over his MLB dreams for now. He didn't hold back.

"I think that he should choose baseball," Theismann said. "I think that he would struggle in the NFL."

As of now, many mock drafts are projecting the Heisman Trophy winner to be selected in the first round. His believers see him as an electric option who's entering a league perfectly suited for his skillset. 

Theismann is not in that camp, though.

"I understand a lot of guys work from the 'gun. You're away from the line of scrimmage," he explained. "But, sooner or later, defensive coaches in this league are going to figure out how to keep you in the pocket. And if you can't throw from the pocket, or you can't see from the pocket, it's going to become a problem."

Murray's height, which Theismann touched on, is a main concern for those skeptical of how he'd handle life in the NFL. Of course, being in the 5-foot-9 range matters far less on a MLB diamond.

Theismann also thinks that the Oklahoma product will need to be in an offense with a strong running attack. That's something any rookie passer needs to succeed, and without one, Theismann isn't sure if Murray can carry the load on his own.

In the end, Theismann told NBC Sports Washington that Murray is "making a mistake" by setting his sights on the gridiron. He simply doesn't see things going well for Murray as a signal caller.

"I think in professional football, it'll be a real challenge and an uphill climb for him to be able to do the things that he wants to do and a team wants him to do," he said.

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