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Redskins Mock Draft: Addressing the need on defensive line in 2017

Redskins Mock Draft: Addressing the need on defensive line in 2017

The Redskins enter week 17 of the NFL regular season with a spot in the playoffs on the line.

A win against the New York Giants will moves the Redskins to 9-6-1 and reward them with a berth in the 2016 NFL Playoffs. 

The Redskins have been a tough team to beat at times this season, but have lacked a tight consistency on defense needed to cement themselves as one of the NFL's truly elite teams. 

One of the areas the Redskins need to improve the most is defending the run.

Through 15 games, Washington ranks 25th in the league in rushing yards per game allowed (117 ypg), and they've allowed the fourth most rushing touchdowns (18). 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

In Ben Standig's first mock draft, he has the Redskins addressing this weakness by selecting Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell with the 21st overall pick.

McDowell, who stands at 6-6 and weighs 276 pounds, was named first-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press and a second-team All-American by CBS Sports. 

In his junior season he led the defensive line with 36 tackles, despite playing in just nine games. 

Ziggy Hood and Matt Ioannidis currently line up on the interior of the defensive line and while they are fine players, McDowell would be an added boost. With defensive end Chris Baker becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2017 and Ricky Jean Francois hitting free agency in 2018, the Redskins need to begin addressing the future of the defensive line.

CBS Sports has McDowell ranked as the 18th best player in the country on their NFL Draft big board. 

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Redskins SVP of Player Development Doug Williams has a 'great relationship' with Dwayne Haskins, he's a fan

Redskins SVP of Player Development Doug Williams has a 'great relationship' with Dwayne Haskins, he's a fan

While some may be hesitant to crown Dwayne Haskins the future of the Redskins organization, Doug Williams has made his stance on the former 2019 first-round draft pick clear: He's a fan.

“I’m a fan of him. We have a good relationship," Williams told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "Like I tell him all the time, I don’t coach him, but I can coach him on a lot of other things other than on the football field and how to handle certain things. Him and I have a good relationship. "

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As the Washington Redskins SVP of Player Development, Williams has a significant role in the front office. Haskins is one of the biggest prospects taken while he's been an executive of the team.

"I hear all the media pundits and stuff talk about what we should do regarding Haskins," Williams said. "But from what I’ve seen this young man do last year, I can’t see too many people as or more talented than him.”

In Haskins' nine appearances last season, he threw for 7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and 1,365 yards. 

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Kyle Allen can handle anything, and that includes being the backup

Kyle Allen can handle anything, and that includes being the backup

Since Ron Rivera took over as the Redskins head coach in early January, he has insisted on finding competition for rising second-year passer Dwayne Haskins. Rivera found that competition when the Redskins acquired Kyle Allen from the Carolina Panthers a few weeks ago, and the two are expected to compete for the starting job come training camp.

Rivera spoke to the local media on Tuesday for the first time since the trade and explained he envisions "a good competition" between the two. But as Rivera went on to rave about Allen's character, it's clear the Redskins new head coach brought in Allen for multiple other reasons besides just competing with the Redskins first-round pick from a year ago.

Allen -- an undrafted free agent in 2018 who started 12 games a season ago -- has played every role a quarterback can possibly have at some point during his first two seasons in the league. His mindset, and the ability to handle different roles and responsibilities, is something that stood out to the new Redskins head coach.

"What he's really concerned about is doing the best job he can," Rivera said. "If he ends up starting and being the guy, great. He'll be fired up about it. And if he's not, if he's in a backup role, he'll be fired up about that as well."

Although there will be some sort of QB competition, the Redskins don't necessarily expect Allen to win the job. Rivera even said as much during a radio interview last week, as the team plans to enter training camp with Haskins as QB1. Others, such as former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, simply think Haskins is the better player.

But should Allen have to step in as the team's starter for one reason or another, Rivera has full confidence in the 24-year-old. Allen is familiar with new offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system, one he called difficult to grasp but a system that has plenty of potential once learned. 

When in Carolina, Allen spent two seasons in the same room as Cam Newton, someone Rivera referred to is having a "strong personality." Rivera was impressed with how Allen handled himself there, especially with there being constant change at the position due to multiple injuries to Newton and former Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke. 

"Having been around Kyle for two seasons, I've kind of watched him interact with the quarterbacks that were in the room," Rivera said. "He was in the room with a very strong personality in Cam Newton, and Kyle handled himself tremendously. I just know what kind of person he is and feel like he's the kind of guy going into this, he's not threatened by anything."

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Outside of Haskins and Allen, the Redskins still have Alex Smith under contract as the veteran QB continues to recover from his gruesome leg injury. While Rivera has said not to rule out Smith in the past, the move to acquire Allen was something the head coach called "insurance," as Smith is still rehabbing and a ways away from returning to the field.

When taking the Redskins head coaching job, Rivera knew he would be tasked with turning around the culture in Redskins Park, a culture that has not seen playoff success in over a decade. Turning around a culture means finding people that will buy into the team mindset and the overarching goal within the organization, and that's something Rivera thinks Allen will do tremendously.

"He's the right kind of person for that room, and that's what I felt very strongly about," Allen said. "That's why we were able to make the deal with Carolina and bring him in. I just think he's got that real good sense about him, you know, being part of something is better than being an individual."

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