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Need to Know: An early look at first-round draft possibilities for the Redskins

Need to Know: An early look at first-round draft possibilities for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 17, 100 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 44
NFL free agency starts 52
First Sunday of 2017 season 237

A six pack of potential first-round draft picks for the Redskins

We’re at a nice, round 100 days until the NFL draft starts. The deadline for underclassmen to declare has passed and the first of the postseason all-star events, the East-West Shrine game, is starting up this week. It’s time to look at some possibilities for the Redskins’ first-round draft pick, which is No. 17 overall.

We’re still not sure of what defensive scheme the Redskins will run this year but it’s likely that they could fit Stanford DE Solomon Thomas into it. He’s not the classic edge rusher type but he is big (6-2, 275), violent and he can collapse the pocket.

—Michigan S Jabrill Peppers is a top-five pick according to one NFC executive but it’s a little early to put him up that high. He’s a versatile defender and he has drawn comparisons to Troy Polamalu, Charles Woodson, and Tyrann Mathieu. If he’s there at 17 the Redskins might find it hard to resist pulling the trigger.

There has been very early buzz about the Redskins having some interest in Michigan State DL Malik McDowell. He can play end in a 3-4 front or tackle in a 4-3 and provide disruption and pass rush from either spot. The 6-6, 276-lb. McDowell was a top-five prospect on many early boards but he stock has slipped to the point where he could be available for the Redskins.

The upgrade the Redskins are looking for at inside linebacker could be Florida ILB Jarrad Davis. He’s tough, tenacious, smart, and instinctive. The most important part of the combine for him won’t be his 40 time or bench press, it will be the medicals. He has missed some games with assorted injures including a torn meniscus in 2014.

Another flexible linebacker who could help inside in a 3-4 or outside in a 4-3 is Vanderbilt LG Zach Cunningham. At 6-3, 230 he plays very well in space and he shows a great ability to take on blockers. He needs work on tackling and pass rushing techniques but he has the tools to be an impact defender very quickly.

Although a defender would be a popular and logical pick here, the Redskins could go off script. After the 2015 draft, it was reported that Scot McCloughan might have taken Todd Gurley if he had been able to trade back from No. 5 overall to a little later in the first round. So I think it would be a mistake to dismiss the possibility of him going with an offensive skill player such as Florida State RB Dalvin Cook if he’s on the board and McCloughan has him rated as the best available player.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 16, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 44
NFL draft 101
First Sunday of 2017 season 237

A six pack of thoughts to start out the week

1. I think that by the end of the week the Redskins will have two new coordinators. It looks like Matt Cavanaugh will be the offensive coordinator. Haven’t heard why Bill Callahan isn’t getting the nod; it’s possible that he likes what he’s doing now and he’s getting paid as well as many coordinators.

2.  For a quick game with the $100 in imaginary casino chips on the defensive coordinator candidates, I’ll make Greg Manusky the favorite at $40 with Mike Pettine right behind him at $35. I’ll put $10 of the rest on Gus Bradley—we’ve heard of an interview with the Chargers but not anything like a hiring—and $15 on the field. The situation is fluid but that's the way it looks right now. 

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

3. On November 21, after the results of Week 11, the Redskins were 2.5 games ahead of the Packers. They were also a half-game better than of the Falcons. Those two teams are now playing for the NFC title. It’s not how you start, or even how you do in the middle of the season. It’s how you finish.

4. I’m not much of a hockey guy but I think I’ve got to get down to the Verizon Center to see the Caps. They are blazing hot and you can tell it’s a great atmosphere at the VC.

5. I have a feeling that an announcement about a new stadium for the Redskins is going to happen sometime in the next few months. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe can’t run again; he is out of office about a year from today. He’s going to want a legacy item and a state of the art stadium in the commonwealth would fill the bill. The process of approval, financing, and construction will take up most or all of the 10 years that remains on the FedEx Field lease.

More Redskins: The Redskins week that was

6. Normally having a lot of cap space to work with is a good thing but it may not be for Scot McCloughan this year. If the Redskins trim some veterans from the payroll they could go into free agency with around $70 million to spend. McCloughan would prefer to build through the draft. But the current situation almost forces the Redskins to spend. McCloughan took some heat for going into the 2016 season with $15 million in cap space and some unfilled needs on the defensive line and at safety. If they have issues again in 2017 and there is, say, $30 million just sitting there the noise will get louder. And it won’t just be coming from fans and the media; plenty of it will come from the offices of Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Is Pettine now the favorite for Redskins defensive coordinator?

Need to Know: Is Pettine now the favorite for Redskins defensive coordinator?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 13, 55 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 47
NFL draft 104
First Sunday of 2017 season 240

Coaching search update

There is so much going on right now that you can’t go out to dinner, or even sleep, without missing news. Here is a roundup from the last 24 hours or so.

Wade Phillips is not coming to interview with the Redskins on Friday. Instead, the longtime NFL coach, the favorite of many fans to get Washington’s vacant defensive coordinator job, will join Sean McVay in Los Angeles and run the Rams defense.

Why is Phillips going west instead of coming east to Ashburn, where his son Wes works as the Redskins tight ends coach? Chuck Sapienza of Breaking Burgundy reports that it was simply a matter of talent. The Rams are in good shape up front, led by All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and, when healthy, former All-Pro Robert Quinn. Despite getting no help for a miserable offense (ranked 32nd), the Rams were ninth in terms of yards allowed. The Redskins do have a few pieces in place on defense and they could add more in free agency and in the draft but Phillips saw that there is more to work with in Los Angeles.

RELATED: New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Answers, or just more questions?

—Another development in LA could affect another candidate for the Redskins’ defensive coordinator job. There are reports that former Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn is very close to finalizing a deal that would make him the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers (I know I will type San Diego Chargers at some point). Shortly after the season ended, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that wherever Lynn went, Gus Bradley would become the defensive coordinator. Bradley interviewed with the Redskins on Wednesday.

—So does the development with Lynn eliminate Bradley from consideration with the Redskins? That’s possible, but we don’t know for sure. Bradley, the former defensive coordinator of the Seahawks and head coach of the Jaguars, must do what’s best for Bradley. He is not contractually tied to Lynn in any way. He may not want to join a team that is in the process of relocating and is set to play in a 30,000-seat stadium in the next two years. Bradley also might prefer to work with an organization that has Scot McCloughan picking the players. Chargers GM Tom Telesco has been in in charge for four years and the Chargers have gone from playoff contenders to double-digit losses the last two seasons.

—All that being said, there still is a good chance that Bradley will stick with Lynn and join him in Los Angeles. And Steve Wilks, the Panthers’ secondary coach who had obtained permission to interview with Washington, is apparently going to stay in Carolina and replace Sean McDermott, the new Bills head coach, as the defensive coordinator there. So where does that leave the Redskins in their hunt for someone to run the defense?

MORE REDSKINS: If McVay leaves, don't expect Redskins to hire outsider

—Perhaps with Mike Pettine, the first candidate they interviewed for the job. The news of the meeting didn’t excite many but his resume is rock solid. He has overseen five top-10 defenses in seven seasons as either a head coach or as a coordinator. The Redskins could do much worse than to bring in Pettine.

—The search for a new offensive coordinator to replace McVay may not have as much drama attached to it. It seems that the job will go to offensive line coach Bill Callahan if he wants it or to quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. It may not be that simple—things rarely are simple at Redskins Park—but for right now it looks like the first interviews will involve a candidate that already has an office in Ashburn.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.