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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Cornerback

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Cornerback

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts April 27. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

So far we’ve look at the defensive line, outside linebackers, and inside linebackers. Today the focus turns to cornerbacks.

2016 final game starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland

Norman started all 16 games while Breeland started 14. They tied for the team lead in interceptions with three each.    

Departures: Greg Toler (unsigned)

Toler played 256 snaps as a nickel corner. He got more playing time as they lost faith in Kendall Fuller at various times during the season. But at other times he went for multiple games without seeing a single snap on defense. He could still be back as he has not signed elsewhere.

Projected 2017 starters: Norman, Breeland

The Redskins probably wanted more big plays out of Norman in return for their five-year, $75 million contract but they weren’t asking for their money back, either. He was by far their best pass defender, allowing a passer rating of just 74.3 when quarterbacks threw in his direction.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 8.0

Breeland played well at times. He was mismatched when he frequently was left with No. 1 receivers like Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant. The passer rating when throwing to him was 91.4, which is a little above the NFL average.

2017 reserves: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Dashaun Phillips

Fuller had an up-and-down rookie season. He was inactive early in the season, took over for Phillips at nickel corner in Week 4, and held the job until later in the season, when he played very sparingly. Dunbar also spent some time when he seemed to be in the doghouse as the team struggled to find the right combination.

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Phillips started two games early and spent chunks of the rest of the season inactive, on the practice squad, and even off the roster for one game.

Where can the cornerbacks find improvement?

This is a strong draft for cornerbacks and it would not be surprising to see the Redskins take one somewhere along the line. However, unless they go corner in the first or second round a draft pick is unlikely to bring immediate improvement to the unit.

Both starters can get better. Norman dropped some potential interceptions that were in his hands that could have been game changers. If he can hold on to a few more of those his impact would increase immensely. Breeland could take a step up in his contract year.

The player who has the most potential for improvement is Fuller. He was seen as a first-round talent who got pushed back to the third due to a knee injury. That injury slowed down his offseason and preseason development and it showed when the games started to count. If he can take the next step this year the Redskins could have a very solid nickel corner.

Locks and bubble players

Norman, Breeland, and Fuller are locks. Dunbar is close to being one but he could get pushed off.

The Redskins are likely to carry five corners so as of right now, Phillips is the fifth. But a draft pick could easily push him off of the 53-man roster.  

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

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Need to Know: With 10 draft picks, the Redskins are ready to deal

Need to Know: With 10 draft picks, the Redskins are ready to deal

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 24, two days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 17
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 29
—Training camp starts (7/27) 93
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 138

Let’s make a deal

Even though the Redskins have 10 picks going into the draft, Scott Campbell, the team’s college scouting director, said that they will still be open to making deals to add more.

Washington has one pick in each of the seven rounds plus additional selections in the fourth, sixth, and seventh rounds. Campbell said that the team will be happy to add picks if the right deal is on the table. He is not concerned about having too large a draft class competing for a limited number of competitive roster spots.

“Yeah, I don’t know if you can have ‘too many guys,’” said Campbell. “I think the main thing to get better is you want to add competition to the team and anywhere you can add competition, even positions where you think you may be set depth-wise, you know, add more competition. Get the best players in here and I think it pushes each other and makes everybody better.”

It’s a matter of improving the odds of finding players who can help them.

“It’s not an exact science, Campbell said of the draft. “You’re not going to hit on all the guys. You’d like to think you can, but I mean that’s not reality, no one’s ever done that. Just increasing the odds of adding the more players, the more guys that can help us, that’s great.”

Campbell specifically mentioned the team’s two fourth-round picks, which are the 115th and 123rd overall selections, as possible capital to move up or as bait to trade back and get more picks.

What could they do with those picks? If they make a deal that goes by the draft value trade chart, they could trade their second-round pick (17th in the round, 49th overall) and the higher of the two fourth-rounders for the 11th pick in the second (42 overall). If they see a player they like in the third, that same fourth round pick would move them up to from the 81st overall pick (17th in the round) to the 68th overall pick (4th pick of the round).

The return for moving back in the fourth round is not very high. You’re looking at a fifth-round pick in return for moving all the way back from 115th overall to the end of the fourth round. That’s OK if you’re in a range where there just aren’t any players you like but you are very unlikely to get a game-changer in the fifth.  

With 10 picks it would be surprising if the Redskins just used all 10 of them without making any moves. It’s just a matter of if there will be a blockbuster deal involving their first pick or if there are more minor deals on Saturday afternoon.

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

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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