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Brunell goes marching out

Brunell goes marching out

We won't have Mark Brunell to kick around anymore.

It seemed clear that this would be the case on the first day of free agency when Todd Collins signed on to return as the Washington Redskins' backup quarterback. It became official on Thursday when Brunell signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Brunell was the first player that Joe Gibbs went after when the Hall of Famer returned to coaching the Redskins. Many will say that that first decision doomed Gibbs' second run as coach to mediocrity.

The view here is that Gibbs' unwillingness to take chances—crossing the line from coaching conservatively to coaching scared—was the main issue that led to the 30-34 record from 2004-2007.

There are those who will argue that Brunell's game, mainly his lack of arm strength, forced Gibbs to play things close to the vest. It's really a chicken-or-egg argument and I can see that side of it.

Brunell did have his moments. In the second game of the 2005 season the Redskins were down 13-0 midway through the fourth quarter and looking horrible offensively. Like a bolt out of the blue, Brunell cranked out two touchdown bombs to Santana Moss, both deadly accurate thrown made without much margin for error.

But in between the high points there were way too many dump offs to a back on third and eight, way too many passes thrown to a cheerleader when there seemed to be plenty of time to continue to scan for a receiver.

They don't do approval polls for quarterbacks, but if they did it's likely that we would have found that, for most of his career in Washington, Brunell's would have matched that of other Washington residents such as W or the members of Congress.

Through it all, though, Brunell remained a class act. He cheerfully answered questions through two benchings and a demotion to third string. No teammate ever had a bad thing to say about him either publicly or off the record.

I wish him well.

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Risk vs reward when Redskins consider Alabama LB Reuben Foster in NFL Draft

Risk vs reward when Redskins consider Alabama LB Reuben Foster in NFL Draft

An undeniable talent, Reuben Foster seemed for months to be a lock for the Top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Alabama star is a sure tackler, playmaking force and winner of the 2016 Dick Butkus Award as the nation's best college linebacker.

The actual football season went great for Foster, he logged 115 tackles and was named the SEC Championship Game MVP. Since play on the field stopped, things have stalled. Foster had an unfortunate incident at the NFL Combine, where he was sent home after an altercation with a hospital worker. In the time since, it's come out Foster tested positive for a diluted urine sample and will enter the NFL in the substance abuse program. 

Still, despite a tough two months, Foster's talent is too rich to pass up for some NFL teams. And per NFL Network's Lance Zierlein, the Redskins could be that team

In his mock draft released Wednesday, Zierlein predicts Foster's draft day slide to end with Washington at the 17th pick. From NFL.com:

Foster could fall due to off-field concerns and worries about injuries, but he fits a need for the Redskins, bringing a tough playmaker into the fold.

Beyond the diluted sample and the combine altercation, Foster also has had stinger issues throughout his career at 'Bama. He has elite speed at the linebacker position and the type of athleticism defensive coordinators dream about, though some pro scouts question if he can handle the calls of a Mike linebacker in the NFL game.

The Redskins are not desperate for interior linebacker help, this season. The team added Zach Brown in free agency, re-signed 2016 defensive captain Will Compton earlier this week and Mason Foster remains under contract. All three players, however, are headed to free agency in 2018. Adding Foster would provide depth this year and a potential star in the future.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Final Redskins seven-round mock draft: Defense first, a surprise in the third

Final Redskins seven-round mock draft: Defense first, a surprise in the third

We’re a day away from the start of the NFL draft and all the questions surrounding the Redskins’ intentions will start to get answered when they go on the clock at about 10 p.m. on Thursday.

[More Redskins: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Speaking at the team’s annual pre-draft news conference, Scott Campbell, the team’s director of college scouting, stuck with the company line when he was asked about making picks based on team needs.

“I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said. “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.”

It would be a big “bonus” for the Redskins if a defensive lineman who can rush the passer and stuff the run was the best player on the board when their first-round pick comes up at No. 17. But it doesn’t look like the board will play out that way. That’s OK because the Redskins have plenty of needs.

In fact, it’s not hard to do a mock draft for the Redskins because they have needs at virtually every position. Certainly, some needs are more urgent than others. But once you get past the first couple of rounds there is enough doubt at each position, whether it’s immediate depth or possible free agency holes in 2018, to get that need “bonus” with every pick.

Campbell said that this is a strong defensive draft and this is reflected in these mock selections, with six of the 10 picks going to defense including the top two. The first offensive pick may surprise some but the talent was just too good at that point in the draft.

Go here to see the full seven-round mock draft.

Your comments are welcome, as always. Make them here in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and Facebook.  

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.