The matchup: Coming off their worst loss of the season the Mystics (2-6) stay out west to face the Phoenix Mercury (2-7), another squad struggling early in the season. Washington, last in the Eastern Conference, has lost 12 straight road games dating back to last season. Phoenix, playing without injured star Diana Taurasi, has dropped three straight and looks to avoid its first four-game since the 2010 season.Last time out: The turnover problem that plagued the Mystics earlier in the season returned in a 101-70 drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Sparks on Monday night. They coughed the ball up 27 times and the Mystics 19.7 turnovers per game ranks next-to-last in the WNBA. Four of the five starters had at least three turnovers, including Noelle Quinn with five. No matter the miscuing culprit, Los Angeles turned the extra possessions into decisive points.We know we have to take care of the ball, and we typically do that, so we just have to bounce back and get back to who we are and what we do best, center Michelle Snow said. That is getting people easy baskets. They had 30 points in transitionthats the game right there.Crystal light: After three straight games with more than 20 points, leading scorer Crystal Langhorne finished with a season-low two points against the Sparks, missing four of five field goal attempts. Obviously, the percentage is low, but the more alarming aspect is the paltry amount of attempts for the interior scorer. Again, turnovers are largely to blame.Its tough to get the ball to the post when they turn it over so much, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. So I think that was the main problem.In the previous three games, Langhorne averaged 14 attempts per game and shot 63 percent from the field.Snow-y June: Since moving into the starting lineup on June 8, center Michelle Snow has been the Mystics most consistent performer over the last three games. The 6-foot-5 Snow led the team in rebounding each time out and scored a team-high 15 points against the Sparks, sinking 6 of 8 shots.Mercury falling: Without Taurasi (hip flexor), the usually potent Mercury have been getting worked by their opponents, losing six of seven by an average of 18 points per game. Phoenix is allowing a league-high 87.1 points per game, but its up-tempo style lends itself to giving up points. Without Taurasi, arguably still the best player in the league, the Mercurys offense struggled, ranking ninth in scoring. Forward DeWanna Bonner picked up the slack, averaging 20.7 points and 10.7 rebounds en route to being named WNBA Player of the Week.
Florida State running back Dalvin Cook visited Redskins Park earlier this month. The Redskins did their homework on Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in advance of the draft.
All of that pre-draft work might not matter though as Cook and Mixon will be off the board before the Redskins pick in the second round. At least according to oddsmakers.
Bovada.lv set over/under scenarios for both players. Cook lands at 38.5 and Mixon landed at 42.5.
Certainly both guys can go past the numbers established by the oddsmakers, but there's a reason drinks are free in Las Vegas. Oddsmakers tend to be very, very close when they set lines.
Considering that, if Washington wants either player, the team would likely have to trade up.
Much speculation has Cook the first player off the board to the Packers with the 33rd pick. It seems like a good fit.
Mixon is more interesting. His loathsome action a few years back that was caught on video will continue to haunt him, but he will get drafted in the second round. He has the talent.
Could a package of Jones and a late round pick entice a trade? It could.
Much like Thursday night, there will be plenty to watch Friday night.
The Redskins started the draft with a bang Thursday night by selecting Alabama DL Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick.
In many ways, getting the best player available on their board that also satisfies a serious need for Washington, the franchise amassed significant capital they can spend on Friday night.
[Related: Jonathan Allen plans to model his game after two All-Pro defenders]
So, what to do next? Let's look at some top options.
- Joe Mixon - The Oklahoma running back made a deplorable decision a few years ago that was caught on tape. It will haunt his career, yet, at some point his talent is too much to pass up. The Redskins have done their homework on Mixon, and if the 6-foot-1, 226 lbs. gasher lasts to 49, the 'Skins will have a call to make.
- Malik McDowell - A top 15 talent with questions, sliding to the 49th pick might be the exact motivation McDowell needs to be his best every snap. Pairing Allen with McDowell would be a significant investment in the defensive line for Bruce Allen.
- Tyus Bowser - Want a freak athlete? This is your guy. A college hoops player at Houston, Bowser has impressive speed and torque off the edge. He can get to quarterbacks, and that's a skill every team needs.
- Terrell Basham - His name isn't as well known since he played in the MAC but this kid has big-time game. Basham impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl and is an edge rushing talent. He won't make it to the third round.
- Teez Tabor - Redskins director of college scouting Scott Campbell made clear that his organizational philosophy values game tape over combine numbers. In that case, Tabor is a first rounder. He's great on the field, has a fierce competitive streak and is a local kid. His Florida teammate Quincy Wilson could also be a fit. There will be a lot of good secondary players available for Washington at 49; Tabor might be the top of the list.
- Zach Cunningham - A tackling machine in the SEC, this could be an easy pick. No question marks. Just good talent. The Redskins played it smart Thursday night, stayed patient and took the best player on their board. Same thing could land Cunningham Friday.
- Dan Feeney - The Redskins could add depth to their offensive line and Feeney would be a good choice. A guard with good feet, he could learn the speed of the NFL in 2017 and be the 'Skins starting left guard in 2018.