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Redskins draft countdown: RB Nick Chubb can grind for yards inside or outside

Redskins draft countdown: RB Nick Chubb can grind for yards inside or outside

Redskins draft countdown

Nick Chubb

Running back

Nick Chubb ran for nearly 2,500 yards in two seasons after suffering a devastating knee injury in 2015. While the injury seems to have cost him some explosion, he still has plenty of power. Maybe Chubb is not going run away from defenders like he could as a freshman but he isn’t going to get taken down with an arm tackle, either.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 228
40-yard dash:4.52

Projected draft round:2-3

How he fits the Redskins: Jay Gruden said that he wants a running back who can gain yardage between the tackles and catch passes. Chubb certainly can do the former, combining power and good vision to blast for gains up the middle. Georgia rarely throws passes to running back so the Redskins will need to project that skill. 

Film review: vs. Tennessee, vs. Mississippi State

—You name the way that a back can gain yards after contact and Chubb has it in his toolbox. He gets his pad level low, keeps his legs driving, maintains his momentum, and moves the pile at the end with sheer determination. 

—Chubb will need plenty of work on pass protection. He usually was taken off the field on passing downs. When he was asked to pass block, he didn’t always look good. On one play action pass, he stayed back and looked confused at the QB got sacked.

—He is a grinder. Against Tennessee, he twice got three yards up the middle when there was nothing there. Then he got eight yards up the gut, again with little push from the line. 

—Chubb is not unstoppable. He got tripped up at the line with ankle tackles a few times; he could use some work on keeping his feet moving. 

—But he is nimble enough. Against Mississippi State, he took a quick pitch, kept his feet through some traffic, executed a jump cut to the outside and easily scored on a six-yard run.

—Chubb took a couple of direct snaps in Georgia’s “Wild Dog” formation. On one he saw running room off of the edge and showed good burst getting to the open field and he rolled for 26 yards and a TD. The other direct snap was just as impressive as he had to jump to field a high snap. Chubb gathered himself and dodged a tackler to pick up three yards and a first down. 

—Chubb seemed comfortable working behind a fullback in the I formation, lined up behind the quarterback in a single back look, and running out the shotgun. 

Potential issues: Georgia did not throw much to running backs. Chubb had 18 receptions as a freshman and a combined 13 his next three seasons. Even though Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back, they would like a running back taken in the top 100 to have some versatility. The Redskins will have to project Chubb’s pass-catching ability. 

The knee injury he suffered in 2015 seems to be fine, although certainly the medical information from the combine will be scrutinized carefully. The positive news out of the injury, if there is such a thing with an injury involving multiple ligament and cartilage tears, is that his ACL emerged intact. 

Bottom line: The Redskins are going to draft a running back and they want to make sure he is an upgrade over what they have. Chubb is an upgrade but is he worth a second-round pick? The lack of a third rounder hurts the Redskins here; they would not hesitate to pick him there. 

But they could take him with their second-round pick, the 44th overall, if they think he can be the guy to improve the team’s struggling running game. 

Redskins draft countdown

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Redskins draft countdown: RB Ronald Jones has great instincts but he a fit in Washington?

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Redskins draft countdown: RB Ronald Jones has great instincts but he a fit in Washington?

Redskins draft countdown

Ronald Jones

Running back

Ronald Jones has the proper combination of speed and power to be a top-notch NFL running back. But what sets him apart from some of his college peers is his vision. Rarely do backs coming out of college have Jones’ ability to read blocks and his knack for taking the right path to daylight. Jones has traits that should translate quickly into solid production on the NFL level. 


Height: 5-11
Weight: 200
40-yard dash:4.65

Projected draft round:1-2

How he fits the Redskins: I’ll be looking at a lot of running backs in the next couple of weeks and I’m sure that you are familiar with Doug Williams saying that there “ain’t no doubt” they need to upgrade at running back and Jay Gruden’s promise that they will have another RB by the end of the draft. They like Chris Thompson in his role and maybe Samaje Perine can get some carries but they are looking for a quality, all-around back. Ronald Jones has the resume to fill that role. 

Film review: vs. Colorado, vs. UCLA

—Jay Gruden said he wants a back who can gain yards between the tackles. Jones can do that, and he consistently picks up three or four extra yards after contact. 

—Jones does need to get a chance to build up a little bit of steam. On several occasions, there was contact in the backfield and he generally went down easily. 

—He wasn’t asked to pass protect much. Once he had an issue with either his decision or he just made a bad block. He brushed a pass rusher in the middle of the field and then continued on his pattern, leaving San Darnold running for his life. 

—Jones also can find the edge, with a good knack for knowing when to plant his foot and turn upfield. He ran a stretch play and cut back completely against the flow to score a touchdown against the Buffalos. 

—He also can react well and bounce to the outside to pick up yardage when the inside is clogged up. 

—He doesn’t always get away from tacklers. On a swing pass, a defender was able to bring him down with one arm. 

—Jones utilizes his pad level well. Against UCLA he got low and powered in for a touchdown from two yards out. 

—Again, he’s not all about power. On a fourth and one against Colorado there was a defender right in the hole ready to make the stop but Jones made a little move to elude him and pick up the first. 

Potential issues: His 40 time at the combine was a very pedestrian 4.65 seconds, a performance that tied for 19th among running backs. Only six had slower times and none of them are thought to be first- or second-day prospects. He did pull up lame with a hamstring during that run and certainly, that had an effect. The injury wasn't healed in time for his pro day so the speed remains a question mark.

He also may be a touch small for an every-down back but some time in an NFL weight room should fix that. 

There is some debate over whether or not RB Derrius Guice is worthy of the 13th pick. There is no question that Jones would be a reach there. He is a player who could go off of the board in the late first or early second rounds, out of the Redskins’ reach. 

Bottom line: If the Redskins are not concerned about his 40 time—and he does seem to play faster than the stopwatch said—they could well go for him in the second round. 

Redskins draft countdown

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Redskins draft countdown: Will Roquan Smith be the best available player at No. 13?

Redskins draft countdown: Will Roquan Smith be the best available player at No. 13?

The Redskins hold the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With draft day roughly a month away, our countdown of potential picks continues with Georgia lineback Roquan Smith

Redskins 2018 NFL Draft Countdown

Roquan Smith

— Linebacker
— Georgia 

Roquan Smith is fast and mean. He changes direction quickly and has a knack for finding the football. These are traits you want in a linebacker who will go high in the draft.

Smith performed on the big stage, playing for a Georgia team that came very close to winning it all. The football instincts he developed in the SEC will serve him well at the next level.

— Height: 6-1
— Weight: 236
— 40-yard dash: 4.51

Projected draft round: 1st


How he fits the Redskins:

There was a lot of talk about Smith to the Redskins while inside linebackers Mason Foster and Zach Brown were unsigned. Now both are in the fold. So why would the Redskins need another ILB?

For one thing, both Foster and Brown missed time with injuries last year. Having a first-round pick come off of the bench if either player is nicked up is an excellent situation to be in. And Smith may be the best available player on the board and if players at other need positions are on the board, he may be the smart pick.

And both Foster and Brown will turn 30 next year. That’s not necessarily the end of the line on today’s NFL but it’s the point where you have to start looking towards the future. Having a young player like Smith in team control for five years would be excellent succession planning.

Are there potential issues? Sure, and we’ll look at them below.


Film review: vs. Auburn, vs. Oklahoma

—Smith usually lined up four yards off of the line of scrimmage, about where a 3-4 inside LB usually lines up in the NFL.

—Teams did not have much luck running jet sweeps with Smith on the field. He’s just too fast getting to the edge

—Smith can get to the quarterback. Against Auburn, he was blitzing from the outside, was blocked, kept fighting, and he eventually got the sack when the QB scrambled up the middle. In the playoff game against the Sooners, he was through the A gap in a flash and forced Baker Mayfield to scramble into a sack.

—He also can affect the passes of other players. He reacted to an end around pass play quickly, forcing the player to throw incomplete.

—Against the Sooners, he did a lot of spying on Mayfield. It was hard to tell if he was supposed to be staying with Mayfield on the play just before the end of the half when the QB caught a touchdown pass on a trick play (similar to the Eagles’ play in the Super Bowl, maybe it could be dubbed the “Sooner Special”).

—Smith takes some false steps and sometimes reacts too quickly. He is fast enough to make up for it most of the time, but he could benefit from some extended time in the film room. He won’t be able to get away with that as

—He also could use time in an NFL weight room. Shedding offensive linemen is a problem for him, as it is for many inside linebackers. Smith isn’t always the best player to have in on runs up the middle.

—It looked like the Bulldogs were in zone coverage frequently and in the games, I watched he wasn’t challenged often so his pass coverage was hard to judge. Against Oklahoma he did a good job in man coverage on a back, taking away Mayfield’s safety valve to set up a sack.

—Also against the Sooners, he made a key play in overtime, flying in on a second and 10 swing pass to get a tackle for a loss.


Potential issues:

The Redskins do have a lot of needs on both sides of the ball and taking a player at a position where they have two good players under contract for two years may be considered a luxury that they can’t afford.

Smith is somewhat undersized, and he might be better suited to playing the Will linebacker spot in a 4-3 defense. While he was able to thrive on sheer speed in college, he will have to refine his game to succeed in the NFL.

Bottom line:

We will see how this plays out. No team drafts based strictly on need and none go purely with the best available player. There is a good chance that Smith will be the best player on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 13. Will they see enough need at the position to justify the pick? Or will they reach a bit and get another player they can plug in as an impact starter right away?

Redskins 2018 NFL Draft Countdown

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