20 questions in 20 days: 8 Will Morgan be worth the investment

20 questions in 20 days: 8 Will Morgan be worth the investment

By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
CSNwashington.com20 questions in 20 daysAs we count down to the first game of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.Question 8:Will Josh Morgan be worth the investment?The background:On the first night of free agency, the Redskins gave Josh Morgan a contract that will end up being a two-year deal worth a cool 11.5 million. That is a lot of money, for a player who has no more than 52 receptions in any of his four years in the NFL, who doesnt have even a 700-yard season on his resume, and whose season ended after five games last year with a serious broken leg. In choosing to lock up all of that money in Morgan (his cap hit this year is 4.75 million) the Redskins bypassed opportunities to upgrade at positions of greater need like right tackle or safety.Tandler:As of right now, it looks like Morgan is the third or fourth wide receiver behind Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, and possibly Santana Moss. He will get plenty of snaps as the Redskins will employ three- and four-receiver sets frequently. But those formations will only work if the offensive line can keep Robert Griffin III upright for long enough to find Morgan or another receiver. An investment there perhaps would have been more productive. Bottom line, the Redskins signed Morgan and released Anthony Armstrong. Morgan is clearly a better receiver than Armstrong but he will count about 4 million more against the cap than would Armstrong. I dont think that the difference between the two will prove to justify the opportunity cost of Morgans contract.El-Bashir:The argument could be made that the Redskins should have been more judicious with the money they spent on Morgan, and instead signed a veteran offensive tackle or, perhaps, upgraded the defensive secondary. But the offense amassed a woeful 18 points per game in 2011, and even with the addition of a dynamic rookie at quarterback, the team needed more weapons. Morgans size and speed could make him a dangerous one. I liked what I saw from the D.C. native this preseason as he hauled in nine receptions for 99 yards, seven first downs and a touchdown. At 6 foot 1, 220 pounds, Morgan can bowl over would-be tacklers and is ideal in short yardage and red zone situations. But his impact will depend on how often Robert Griffin III targets him, and with Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss and Dez Briscoe all in the mix, its possible Morgan will occasionally get lost in the shuffle.20 questions in 20 days20 Aug.20Will Jammal Brown play this year?
19 Aug.21Will Chris Cooley make the team?
18 Aug. 22Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
17 Aug. 23Is Garon a No. 1 receiver?
16 Aug. 24Can Trent Williams go from good to great?
15 Aug. 25Can DeAngelo Hall be a defensive playmaker?
14 Aug. 26Can Santana Moss regain his old form?
13 Aug. 27Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?
12 Aug. 28Will Leonard Hankerson break out?
11 Aug. 29Can the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
10 YesterdayHow much can Hightower contribute this year?
9 TodayWas making Billy Cundiff the kicker a good move?
8 TodayWill Josh Morgan be worth the investment?
7 TomorrowWhat can Jarvis Jenkins contribute?
6 MondayIs the offensive line depth good enough?

Depth and role players the focus for the Redskins on draft Saturday

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Depth and role players the focus for the Redskins on draft Saturday

The Redskins are going into the third and final day of the NFL draft looking for some more talent, more Scot McCloughan-type “football players” who will fit in with the culture that the GM is trying to build.

And while they should be able to find some players who will help them, both immediately and in the long term, they are unlikely to find many who will be able to start for them in 2016.

Let’s look at last year. There were 156 players selected on the final day of the 2015 draft. Of those, only nine started in at least half of their teams’ games. Far more third-day draft picks, 101 to be exact, didn’t start a single game.

The Redskins had two late-round players who started games last year. Safety and nickel back Kyshoen Jarrett started five games and slot receiver Jamison Crowder started six.

It’s not impossible to find a full-time starter on draft Saturday. In 2012 the Redskins drafted Alfred Morris in the sixth round. He started 16 games as a rookie and went on to start 72 straight games in four seasons.

And there is Kirk Cousins, a fourth-round pick the same year Morris came out, who started as a backup for two years and took advantage when he got his chance as the full-time starter last year.

But Morris and Cousins are very much exceptions. The Redskins are not banking on finding any starters, just players who will be good role players, reserves, and special teams contributors. If they find a Morris or a Cousins today it is a bonus.   

Redskins intend to be cautious with Kendall Fuller

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Redskins intend to be cautious with Kendall Fuller

Kendall Fuller could be held out until training camp later this summer as he recovers from a knee injury that cut short his junior season, Jay Gruden said.

The Redskins selected the Virginia Tech cornerback in the third round (84th overall) on Friday night.

“We feel good about his progression from his injury,” Gruden said at Redskins Park. “We think he’s going to miss rookie minicamp [next month], but there’s a chance he could be back for the OTAs [in late May]."

Gruden added: “Worst-case scenario, we think he’ll be back for training camp [in late July].”

Fuller suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee last preseason. He attempted to play through the injury for three games before opting for surgery. As it turned out, though, he injury required a season-ending microfracture procedure.

The operation was performed by famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who is also a senior medical consultant to the Redskins.

Asked if the relationship with Andrews helped the team make its decision on Fuller, Gruden downplayed the connection.

“I think every team has that information on the kid, and we felt good about his recovery,” Gruden said. “We really do. We know he’s a hard worker. We know where he is in his rehab. We’ll get him down here and help him along the way. But he’s a hard worker and he’s going to get himself ready to go.”

Gruden added: “He was too talented of a player to pass up. He can play nickel, obviously, which is a big hope for him. He can play outside. He’s got great natural football instincts at the nickel or corner position. Obviously you got great bloodlines, and I think it’s a great pick."

McCloughan bulks up secondary by drafting Fuller

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McCloughan bulks up secondary by drafting Fuller

After the Redskins signed Josh Norman, Scot McCloughan told everyone that he would not hesitate to draft another cornerback this week.

Nobody really believed him. But he made believers out of everybody in the third round tonight when he took Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller.

He immediately jumps into a cornerback depth chart that has gone from shaky to strong in the last week. Norman and Bashaud Breeland will be the starters. Fuller could come in for nickel situations. Chris Culliver is still on the mend from a knee injury he suffered last November and his status for training cap is very much up in the air. Second-year player Quinton Dunbar will work

Spinning it forward to 2017, Fuller should be able to fit in with Breeland and Norman to form a formidable starting group of cornerbacks.

Many had Fuller rated as a first-round talent before he suffered a knee injury last season. Even after that, some thought he might be talented enough to be worth a late second- or early third-round pick. Fuller is a solid value as a late third-round pick.

RELATED: REDSKINS DRAFT VIRGINIA TECH'S KENDALL FULLER IN THE THIRD ROUND