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Can the Redskins pull off a draft day trade back deal?

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Can the Redskins pull off a draft day trade back deal?

INDIANAPOLIS—If you polled Redskins fans about what they want their team to do with the fifth overall pick in the draft, the “trade back” option would at least win a plurality, if not a solid majority.

There has been plenty of unconfirmed talk here at the NFL Combine that the Redskins would indeed listen to offers to drop back and pick up some more selections to get to work on filling the myriad of team needs that currently exist.

So, let’s take a look at a few scenarios here. The one generating the biggest buzz while being the least likely is the Eagles trading up to get quarterback Marcus Mariota. Chip Kelly, formerly Mariota’s coach at Oregon, believes that Mariota would be the perfect QB for his system. The buzz is that he is willing to make major deal to try to get him.

One possibility being floated around is the Eagles moving up from their spot at 20th overall to the Redskins five hole spot in exchange for their first- and second-round picks in both 2015 and 2016.

I think that if it was any other team besides the Eagles the Redskins could be very interested in this deal. But the fact that they could be setting up their division rival with the quarterback they need to be competitive for the next 15 years would make Scot McCloughan think twice, even three times, about making a deal with Kelly. In fact, the Redskins might be inclined to take a lesser deal just to make sure that the Eagles don’t get Mariota.

A small deal they could make would be with the Jets, who pick right behind them at No. 6. New York may be in the market for Mariota and perhaps the Redskins could get a third to flip with the Jets. That would give the Jets insurance that the Redskins won’t make another deal and the Redskins could still get the player they wanted at No. 5.

There are options in between the huge deal and the little deal. There is talk that the Browns, who have the 12th and 19th picks, are very interested in Mariota. According to the draft trade points value chart, the Browns would be overpaying if they gave up both of their first-round picks for the fifth overall. The value chart is just a guideline so that doesn’t mean it won’t happen but perhaps that No. 12 and the Browns’ second-rounder is a more realistic price.

Those teams seem to be the primary candidates for Mariota’s services at the moment. But as the draft gets closer, other QB-needy teams might decide to jump in. But it seems unlikely that any deal will be made before the Redskins are on the clock. Their trading partner would need to make sure that Mariota is still there before pulling the trigger on a deal.

All the Redskins and potential trading partners can do is talk about possibilities and scenarios. If Mariota is still on the board when the Redskins’ pick comes up, the bidding could begin in earnest.

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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

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