After taking Jonathan Allen in the first-round of the NFL draft, the Redskins not only found themselves with one of the top players in the draft. They found themselves with some freedom as they navigate their final nine picks of this draft.
Regardless of how much the Redskins may talk openly about just letting the draft come to them and taking the best available player regardless of need, they needed to come out of this draft with serious help on the defensive line they would be in trouble. A line that hasn’t been very good for a while lost its two best players in Chris Baker (free agency) and Ricky Jean Francois (released). Although they did bring in free agents Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain they still wouldn’t have felt comfortable going into the season with the linemen they had.
They also came in looking for an edge rusher. That's still a need but Allen's ability to get after the quarterback from the inside will help if they can't land a player who can rush from the outside.
And Allen was their only real shot at getting that D-line upgrade in the first round. After they took him off the board with the 17th pick there were edge players taken during the remainder of the first round but no player who can play inside in a 3-4 defense and be effective against the run and rushing the passer.
What this does for the Redskins later today and tomorrow is allow them to do what they said they would do in the first place—take the best available player. They can go for a “luxury” pick like a running back if one is there. They don’t have to be concerned about the line if they look at getting an inside linebacker with an eye towards 2018, when Will Compton, Mason Foster, and Zach Brown. With a deep draft in the defensive backfield, if there is a safety or cornerback they want they can grab him, knowing that they line has not been neglected. If a wide receiver represents an upgrade over the depth that they have they can turn in the card on him.
MORE REDSKINS: Redskins not concerned about Allen's shoulders
It also should be noted that there still is plenty of room to add another D-lineman or two. Besides losing Baker and Francois they have not re-signed Cullen Jenkins or Kedric Golston. More youth and energy added to the line would be welcome. One of those linemen should be a nose tackle, although with Allen in the house they now can slide McGee into the middle if they don't get a nose in the draft.
In short, the pressure is off. They can use their last nine picks to try to add some good players at any position or they can earmark some to move up the draft board to try to land some targeted players.
ATLANTA -- It seems like a copout when a team suggests that it's "team defense" that was at fault in a key playoff loss because coaches and teammates don't want to single out one guy as the weak link, but that was exactly the case in Game 4 for the Wizards. They had a road game in hand with a chance to go up 3-1 vs. the Atlanta Hawks.
Instead, they returned to D.C. tied 2-2 after a 111-101 loss on Monday at Phillips Arena.
Dennis Schroder didn't score all 18 of his points in the second half, after going scoreless in the first 24 minutes with foul trouble, because John Wall was an open door. There were breakdowns everywhere, from Bradley Beal to Jason Smith to Markieff Morris to Kelly Oubre and others.
The Hawks shot 12 of 31 on threes for 38.7%. The reason Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Ersan Ilyasova and Tim Hardaway knocked them down is because of they were given too much space when the Wizards went under screens and relied on the help to switch onto the shooters.
The evidence is ample and this is an area the Wizards will likely change or be much more aggressive in how they execute if they hope to close out tonight in Game 6:
The switches were late or they were too often indecisive on when to say when. That's a relatively easy fix for the Wizards, but it's those small details that'll determine whether this series ends tonight or goes to a Game 7 on Sunday.