Quick Links

Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook both meet with Redskins at NFL Combine

Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook both meet with Redskins at NFL Combine

Even with their red zone issues, the Redskins had one of the NFL's top offenses in 2016, finishing third in the league in yards per game. Consider that, plus the fact that Washington's defense didn't put up much resistance against their opponents, and the widespread opinion is that the team should nab a defender with their first-round pick at No. 17 in the draft.

That doesn't mean the decision-makers are just ignoring offensive players, though, and two such players — Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey — told reporters at the NFL Combine that they've both met with Washington this week in Indianapolis.

Cook and McCaffrey are two of the most appealing running backs in this year's class, and will appear in the top three of most analyst's rankings along with Leonard Fournette.

One of those analysts, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., actually has the Redskins taking Cook in his latest mock draft, so at least in his mind, Washington meeting with the Florida State product isn't just a cursory event. With that being said, the 'Skins will be vetting tons of prospects at the Combine, so these interviews certainly don't mean that fans in the DMV should start making room in their closet for a Cook or McCaffrey jersey.


If either player is indeed available when the Redskins are up to make their selection in April, the classic "best player available vs. drafting a position of need" argument would occur again. The team's backfield isn't set by any means even with contributors like Robert Kelley and Matt Jones on the roster, but on the list of priorities, running back lags far behind areas like defensive line, linebacker and safety.

Could the Redskins afford what would be somewhat of a luxury pick when there are other holes that need to be filled? That's something the front office will need to weigh. And by meeting with Cook and McCaffrey, it appears that they are in fact evaluating it, at least to some extent.


Quick Links

Poll: Three weeks out; does a Cousins deal get done?

USA Today Sports Images

Poll: Three weeks out; does a Cousins deal get done?

Three weeks from right now, Kirk Cousins will either have a new long-term deal or he will be playing on the tag. Which will it be?

Thanks for participating. Feel free to leave your comments here on the site or just respond to the tweet. Thanks. 

Quick Links

Pressure Points: New position should lead to more playmaking from Su'a Cravens

Pressure Points: New position should lead to more playmaking from Su'a Cravens

In the weeks leading up to training camp, Redskins Insider JP Finlay will look at specific people facing increased pressure for the 2017 season. 

Pressure Point: Strong safety Su'a Cravens

Cravens flashed his playmaking ability in spots during 2016, but finding the right position and injuries stunted his impact as a rookie. He lost time early in the year to a concussion against the Browns and then saw his season cut short after an arm injury in December in Philadelphia. 

Injuries can't be planned on, but in 2017, the position issue should be solved.

Cravens looks poised to open the season starting alongside D.J. Swearinger in the Redskins secondary. The rebuilt safety duo could go a long way towards an improved Redskins defense.

Swearinger established himself as a quality starter last year playing with the Cardinals. Pro Football Focus rated him the No. 8 safety in the NFL. For Cravens, however, this is the year to establish himself.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

So far, Redskins coach Jay Gruden likes Cravens' development.

"He’s doing a great job. We’re happy with his progress," Gruden said in June. "I think just the more he plays, the better he’s going to get. The more he can just go practice and watch himself on tape and watch his eye progression and his angles, that’s just going to be huge for him because he continues to develop."

One of the reasons he slipped out of the first round in the 2016 Draft was because of speed. At his USC Pro Day, he ran a 4.69. Is Cravens fast enough to play safety in the NFL? 

His 40 time might not suggest it, but the Washington secondary is not full of burners anyway. In fact, linebacker Zach Brown's 4.50 40 time at the NFL Combine was faster than any of the Redskins projected secondary (Cravens, Swearinger, Josh Norman or Bashaud Breeland). The Redskins coaches think proper positioning and communication will account for any lack of speed in their defensive backfield. 

In college at USC, Cravens played mostly safety but showed he could line up all over the field. In Washington last season, he played almost exclusively interior linebacker, mostly in dime and nickel situations.

He produced, 23 tackles and an interception in 11 games, but it seemed clear to all parties he was better suited for the secondary. Asked about Cravens late last season, one Redskins player said simply, "Su'a is a safety."

This year, Su'a is a safety.

Week 3 as a rookie, Cravens made arguably the most important play of the Redskins season, intercepting Eli Manning to secure the team's first win of the year. That pick showed exactly why the Redskins drafted Cravens. He was tight in coverage and made a leaping, athletic play on the ball to force the turnover.

As a strong safety, Cravens will inch up towards the box on plenty of snaps and will rarely, if ever, be wholly responsible for deep middle coverage. That should mean plenty more opportunities to make plays like he did in Giants Stadium. The pressure is on.


Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!