Free Agency: Who's left, running back edition

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Free Agency: Who's left, running back edition

Now that salary cap-gate over, what's next for the Redskins 53-man roster. According to Rich Tandler - and without factoring in potential savings by cutting certain veterans - there is around 3.8 million left to play with, some of which goes toward signing the remaining draft picks. So, what should the Shanahan's do with that remaining coin? Considering the free agent options remaining are your rank and file types, we can probably ignore certain areas (defensive line, wide receiver, outside linebacker and - for now anyway - tight end and corner). Other trouble spots (inside linebacker, safety, running back, guardcenter) were addressed in the draft or during the more vibrant portion of free agency though the depth chart is not set in stone. Regardless, you never know what happens between now and the start of training camp and the regular season. That is why we're compiling this list of the viable andrainy dayoptions among remaining NFL free agents. You never know when you have to break the glass in case of emergency. So far, we focused on the available offensive tackleline options. Today, the runners. Tandler just wrote about the Redskins depth chart. I touched on the available players earlier this month in case Tim Hightower moved on or was not brought back. He didn't, he was. Plodding veteran options exist, but unless Hightower's recovery from injury takes a step back, there is little reason to add Cedric "rap sheet" Benson, Thomas "3.1 ypc" Jones" or Ryan "no wiggle" Grant. While Benson probably has the most pop remaining of the three, I would rather add the other two ahead of him unless a truly dire scenario occurred where more of a bell cow option is required.Former Giant Derrick Ward saw sporadic time with the Texans the past two seasons. Considering his experience playing in a smiliar scheme to the what the Shanahan's run, hecould be a plug-and-play option in a quick fix scenario. "Mr. Wildcat" Ronnie Brown is also still out there. I always thought he was overrated in his heyday and that was before he started trying to pass the ball around the goal line. Former Seahawk Justin Forsett's numbers have declined three straight seasons, but he's a viable pass catcher (averaged 32 receptions over last three seasons) and could serve as an effective change of pace option if not overused. Utility back Mewelde Moore could eventually re-sign with the Steelers especially if Rashard Mendenhall's knee injury has a PUP list future in its forecast.Others: Jackie Battle (Chiefs), Jerious Norwood (Rams)

Why did the Redskins trade down one spot in the first round?

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Why did the Redskins trade down one spot in the first round?

With many anticipating the possibility of a big first-round move by the Redskins, they ended up making literally the smallest move you can possibly make.

While they were on the clock with the 21st pick in the draft the Redskins made a deal to move back one spot. The Texans moved up to pick No. 21 and gave the Redskins their first-round pick, No. 22, and their 2017 sixth-round pick.

The Texans took Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller with the 21st pick and the Redskins took wide receiver Josh Doctson out of TCU. Both teams seemed to be happy with their picks. So the question is, why did they make the trade? The reasons for making big moves up and down the board are usually obvious; one team wants a particular player, the other team is willing to stockpile some additional picks for moving down. But a one-slot move?

For their part, the Texans said that did not want to risk losing out on Fuller.

"He was a guy that we felt strongly about," Texans GM Rick Smith told the Houston media on Thursday night. "We didn’t want to take a chance on not getting him. We were aggressive. We went and made the move.”

The Redskins’ official explanation did reveal much.

“There was a lot of phone calls being made and Bruce and Scot were talking to a lot of different teams and a lot of different options,” said head coach Jay Gruden. “That’s the best one that we felt was available to us.”

If this was indeed the best deal on the table then the other possibilities must have been pretty lopsided in favor of the other team. One theory floated in the media room at Redskins Park last night was that the Redskins were trying to buy more time to make a larger deal (perhaps with the Cowboys, who said they tried to move up to get quarterback Paxton Lynch). When the deal fell through, this theory goes, they settled on Doctson.

One thing is certain—the Redskins had to be willing to risk losing Doctson to the Texans. If he was far and away the best player on their board, why would they risk losing him for a sixth-round pick next year.

The deal does make the Redskins’ 2017 draft slate nearly whole again. Last summer they traded their fifth-round pick to the 49ers in exchange for tight end Derek Carrier. Now they are back up to seven picks with none in the fifth and two in the sixth.  

Gruden: Norman signing played in to Redskins going offense in first round

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Gruden: Norman signing played in to Redskins going offense in first round

Everyone knows that if the Redskins are going to make progress they are going to need to improve their defense, which ranked 28th in the NFL last year. They took a big step towards doing that when they signed All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman last week. That gave them some flexibility to go after the other side of the ball in the first round on Thursday, when they took wide receiver Josh Doctson with the 22nd pick in the draft.

“There’s arguments there – you could take defense, but, you know, like I said before we took the best player,” Gruden told the media shortly after the Doctson pick was made. “We addressed defense the other day with Josh Norman. We gave them [the defense] a first-round pick, so they should be happy [laughter]. It’s about building a football team and taking the best players to help us and we thought Josh was a perfect fit.”

We’ll never know if the Redskins would have used that first-round pick on a cornerback or on another defensive position if the Panthers had not rescinded the franchise tag on Norman, leading to a whirlwind 48 hours that ended with him signing a five-year, $75 million deal with the Redskins. If you believe Gruden, it made the decision to go with an offensive weapon was made easier by the move.

“It played into it a little bit, getting Josh Norman the other day,” he said. “Obviously it helped with the defensive back depth. I don’t know if it would’ve matter, really, because like I said before we’re going to take the best player on the board and he was clearly up there. We’re happy to get him.”

Still, the needs on defense remain. Gruden is confident that they can be addressed later in the draft. The draft is said to be particularly deep along the defensive line, which is near the top of their needs list.

“Yeah, you look into all that – depth of other positions on defense,” he said. “It is a good draft for that. We’ll address other positions obviously later, I don’t know which ones yet, we’ll see who’s available. But, it is a very deep draft at a lot of positions for that matter. We feel like we can still add to this roster and get some quality players – second, third, fourth, fifth rounds.”

That last part is something that many fans tend to forget. There are six more rounds and there are plenty of good players left on the board. The first-round pick is very important but the rest of the draft is where Scot McCloughan earns his money and his reputation. Fans should wait until the whole picture is painted before evaluating it.

Doctson on joining Redskins: 'I'm happy and ready to get to work'

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Doctson on joining Redskins: 'I'm happy and ready to get to work'

The Redskins traded back one spot in the first round of the NFL Draft, then used the No. 22 pick to nab TCU’s Josh Doctson—the big wide receiver they currently lack.

Doctson, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, hauled in 79 passes for 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He finished his TCU career with the school record for receiving yards (2,785) and receiving touchdowns (29), despite beginning his career at Wyoming.

“My game starts with the most dominant trait a receiver should have, and that’s catching the football,” Doctson said via conference call from Chicago. “I want to make sure I catch the football in all situations if the quarterback decides to throw it to me and trusts me to catch it. I want to make sure that I have all that trust.”

Doctson is the first wide receiver to be drafted by the Redskins in the first round since Rod Gardner in 2001. The Redskins entered the draft with the No. 21 overall selection, but traded it to the Texans for the No. 22 pick and a sixth rounder in 2017. Houston selected Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller with the 21st pick.

Doctson joins a Redskins' receiving corps that includes Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, Andre Roberts and Rashad Ross. Doctson is two inches taller Garcon, four inches taller than Jackson and six inches taller than Crowder.

“Josh was obviously a very productive receiver at TCU and made a lot of big plays in his career,” Coach Jay Gruden said. “He’s got height. He’s got the mad leaping skills, which are very appealing in the red zone. And he’s another guy who is going to bring great athleticism to this offense, and we’re excited to have him.”  

Gruden added: “Josh was clearly the best on the board at that time for us.”

Gruden also said he expects Doctson to contribute immediately.

“You check all the boxes with him, as far as person [and] off the field,” he said. “He’s got great work ethic, too. We did our due diligence on that. So you bring in a receiver with the great skill set that he has, and a guy that’s willing to get better and learn and work. I anticipate him challenging for a lot of balls in this offense.”

Doctson expected to be drafted in the mid-to-late first round. He did not, however, expect to end up in Washington. But he’s glad he did.

“I wasn’t expecting it all,” Doctson said. “I met with them one time—and it was an informal interview at the combine. I didn’t really think they were interested in me at all. Which is why I’m saying it was so sudden and really abrupt, being picked by the Redskins. But, hey, I’m happy and ready to get to work.”

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