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Scouting the playoffs: Possible Redskins targets in the Raiders-Texans game

Scouting the playoffs: Possible Redskins targets in the Raiders-Texans game

The Redskins have a substantial amount of salary cap space and a ton of needs to fill. During the NFL playoffs, CSN Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take a game by game look at the best unrestricted free agent prospects playing for each team.

First up, Tandler looks at the AFC wild card game between the Raiders and Texans.

Houston Texans

The Texans have most of their core players locked up at least through 2017 but there are a few intriguing names to watch.

—The biggest name on their list of free agents is NT Vince Wilfork and he seems much more likely to retire than to move on to another team.

—Given how the Redskins are always looking for help at safety they might take a look at S Quintin Demps. He has started 26 games the last two years and he had six interceptions in 2016. But he will be 32 before training camp starts and he has been with five different teams in nine seasons in the league. Bringing him in to the Redskins would have the feel of another patch job at a position that has had too many of those.

TE Ryan Griffin could get targeted as many as half a dozen times today. This season he caught 50 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns. That’s not significantly less production than the Redskins got from Vernon Davis in 2016. At age 27, he could be a relatively inexpensive alternative to Davis or a good addition to the tight end corps.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have a few more pending free agents on display today; here are a few who might be of the most interest to the Redskins.

—If the Redskins’ new defensive coordinator moves the team to a 4-3 base defense they will need an outside linebacker or two to fit the new scheme. OLB Malcolm Smith has started 30 games for the Raiders in the last two seasons. You may have heard of him; he was the MVP of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win following the 2015 season, mostly for returning an interception 59 yards of a touchdown. Smith, who will be 28 before training camp starts, was a 2011 pick of the Seahawks, a time when Scot McCloughan was a personnel executive in Seattle.  

CB D.J. Hayden was a first-round pick of the Raiders in 2013, the 12th pick overall. But things have not gone well for him in Oakland as he has started just 25 of a possible 64 games. He still has talent and he’s only 26; if he is willing to sign a deal as a depth player the Redskins could give him a look.

—An alternative to Demps as a Band-Aid at safety could be S Nate Allen, who is a couple of years younger. He has seven years in the NFL with the Eagles, who drafted him in the second round in 2010 (using the pick acquired from the Redskins in the Donovan McNabb trade) and Raiders. The Redskins may look to see what he has left.

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With 2 TDs in 2 games, Josh Doctson headlines Redskins stock report

With 2 TDs in 2 games, Josh Doctson headlines Redskins stock report

After an important road win in Tampa, the Redskins stock is soaring. The team is 6-3 and two games up in the NFC East.

For individual players, Josh Doctson headlines the stock surge but a pair of defenders are moving the other way. Let's dig into the Redskins stock report.

Stock up - Josh Doctson - The third-year wide receiver has scored in two straight games and has caught seven of 10 balls thrown his way. The yardage numbers don't jump off the page, but all four catches in Tampa were important. Further, Doctson rebounded from a tough game against Atlanta where he dropped two passes and got flagged for a (wrong) taunting penalty. Most impressive with Doctson? The touchdown in Tampa came off schedule and showed that he kept working back to his QB once the play broke down. That will garner more trust from Alex Smith, and maybe more chances for big plays down the backstretch of the year.

Stock down - Danny Johnson - For an undrafted free agent out of Southern, Johnson has had a remarkable season. In Tampa, he did not have a remarkable game and got replaced on the field by Greg Stroman. Let Jay Gruden explain, "Danny had a good week of practice. He filled in for Stroman when Stroman had the hip issue last week and we thought we'd give Danny a shot to start. Danny was playing a little soft [coverage] there for a little while, so we decided to give Stroman a crack at it." Once Stroman got in, he grabbed an interception and had a nice pass breakup downfield. Johnson has a firm roster spot - the Redskins just released Josh Holsey - but looks like he fell behind Stroman on the depth chart. 

Stock up - Kapri Bibbs - With Chris Thompson on the shelf and a murky timetable for his return, Bibbs is getting more and more chances on the field. And increasingly, he's delivering when he gets looks. Against Tampa, he ran the ball three times for 28 yards and added two catches for 13 yards. He also had a huge gain just before halftime, the Redskins first big chunk play in weeks that Bibbs took after a screen pass, but it got called back on a holding flag. 

Stock down - Pernell McPhee - No player wants to be a healthy scratch, but that's just what happened to McPhee last week in Tampa. Jay Gruden explained: "Unfortunately I had to sit McPhee, not performance related, but just I had to get another body on the offensive line because we're banged up." It was mostly a work of roster construction that landed McPhee on the inactive list, but still, Cassanova McKinzy made the active roster after being on the practice squad. McKinzy showed some ability rushing the passer, and he can play special teams. This could be a situation worth monitoring. 


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Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers


Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

Lost in the fact that Tress Way is having a stellar season is that his fellow specialist, Dustin Hopkins, is getting it done, too.

The Redskins' kicker has made 17 of 19 field goals so far in 2018, giving him an 89.5-percent conversion rate on kicks. Against Carolina, he nailed a career-long 56-yarder, plus he's 17-for-17 on extra points.

But on Tuesday, a report came out saying that Hopkins is "a bit banged up." As of now, the Redskins don't know if they'll have Hopkins or not this weekend vs. the Texans, which is why they worked out five kickers five days before the Houston matchup, per Field Yates.

Among the group of free agents was former 'Skin Kai Forbath, who made 32-of-38 three-pointers for the Vikings in 2017. He was with the Burgundy and Gold from 2012-2014 and also briefly in 2015. 

Washington also reportedly tried out two maligned kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Blair Walsh. 

The Bucs drafted Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft but he flamed out in Tampa and was gone after a single year and poor 2017 preseason. Walsh, meanwhile, hasn't been the same since missing a 27-yard game winning playoff attempt versus Seattle while he was with Minnesota.  

Rounding out the group was Sam Ficken and Jon Brown.

The Redskins have been very reliant on both Hopkins and Way this season, seeing as their offense has had its issues. They've needed Hopkins to cash in on field goals to avoid wasting points and Way to help win the field position battle each week.

For some franchises, losing a kicker for a week or two wouldn't be much of a problem. And while Washington could very well be OK without Hopkins, they'd rather not have to bring in a new foot for any amount of time.