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Could the Redskins land DL Robert Nkemdiche in the second round (or later)?

Could the Redskins land DL Robert Nkemdiche in the second round (or later)?

It’s not a secret that the Redskins would like to land a big defensive lineman, maybe two of them, in the upcoming NFL draft. One of the linemen they interviewed during the scouting combine was Ole Miss tackle Robert Nkemdiche. We don’t know how that particular interview went but Nkemdiche did not impress every general manager he talked to.

You didn’t need to be in one of the private interview rooms in Indianapolis to hear him say some alarming things; he said plenty during his scheduled session at the podium with the media. One was about his play on the field:

“There are times I didn’t finish,” he said to the media at the combine. “I was lazy on some plays at times, but I told them I’m going to keep growing as a player.”

The honesty was refreshing but admission was startling. He’s not the first college player who underutilized great physical tools; indeed, the player with a “high motor” is more the exception rather than the rule. But Nkemdiche’s low level of production at Mississippi was suspect given his native ability so the open admission of the “lazy” characteristic is a red flag.

Nkemdiche’s account of an incident in an Atlanta hotel last December raised some eyebrows as well. He was arrested for marijuana possession after he fell out of a window in the hotel. That prompted the Rebels to suspend him for their bowl game.

He did take some responsibility for what happened, saying he was drunk when he fell out of the window. But he denied that the marijuana in the hotel room was his.

“There were more people in my room,” he said. “The hotel was under my name. Nobody wanted to take the fall. It had to go under my name. It just happened to play out like that.”

He even named names, saying that Ole Miss teammate Laremy Tunsil, the offensive tackle who is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick, was in the room when it happened.

The performance at the podium, along with the game tape, did not impress NFL scouts and general managers. There is talk that Nkemdiche could take another fall, this one perhaps worse than the one he took in Atlanta. He could start to fall in the draft.

Here is where things could get interesting for McCloughan and the Redskins. Suppose Nkemdiche is still there when their pick rolls around in the second round? Or even the third? While the organization stayed away from players with character questions in the draft last year, at some point the upside of the talent could outweigh the character risk.

For McCloughan, events like the incident in the Atlanta hotel and the player’s performance on the podium in Indianapolis won’t decide whether or not he will consider Nkemdiche at any point in the draft. That decision will be made by the game tape and by a deeper look into Nkemdiche’s background.

If he is somewhere on the Redskins’ board, there could come a point in the draft where the talent of the player and the need at the position makes him too much of a value to pass up.

Sometimes teams are rewarded for taking character risks in the draft. The Bengals have gotten good play, including a Pro Bowl appearance, out of Vontaze Burfict, who went undrafted out of Arizona State due to numerous red flags. But the Cowboys took a chance on Randy Gregory last year and he is going to be suspended for the first four games of 2016 due to multiple failed drug tests.

I suspect that the Redskins aren’t in the position to gamble with a pick in the first three rounds of the draft. But at some point, a player’s talent could make the risk worth the reward.

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Need to Know: The five Redskins under the most pressure entering camp

Need to Know: The five Redskins under the most pressure entering camp

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 21, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 201 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 51 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 20
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 29
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 43

Five Redskins who are under pressure going into training camp

QB Kirk Cousins–Going first with the most obvious. He’s under pressure to get this team back to the playoffs. Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine will help the running game and perhaps the defense will improve. But this team still will rise and fall by scoring points through the air. From his point of view, he’s on a one-year deal. If he is going to get a record long-term deal next year–or get the Redskins to cough up $35 million on the franchise tag–he’s going to need to play well.

WR Terrelle Pryor–He also is in the one-year contract situation so he needs to impress all 32 teams to drive up his value. He’s also being counted on to replace the 1,000-yard production of either Pierre Garçon or DeSean Jackson. Or maybe both. That’s a lot to put on the plate of a player in just his second full-time year at his position.

CB Josh Norman–Cousins has the highest 2017 salari on the team but Norman has the biggest contract on the team and he didn’t have the impact to match it last year. It’s not that he had a bad year but it’s reasonable to expect more interceptions and fewer penalties. It’s fair to give him a pass with it being his first year in the system. However, the Redskins have a window to release him without a debilitating cap hit after this season and if the value isn’t there you can’t rule out them pulling the trigger.

S Su’a Cravens–Everyone knows that Cravens is perhaps a step slow for a safety. He needs to make up for it with anticipation, which means paying attention to all the details in practice and doing a lot of extra film study. There is no questioning his work ethic but it’s a lot to absorb in a hurry.

OLB Preston Smith–When he is on, few are better. When he’s off, he can disappear for games on end. Consistency is the key for Smith this year. If he catches on and starts playing at his best all the time, he may be in line for a lucrative contract extension next offseason. If he falters, Trent Murphy, Junior Galette, and Ryan Anderson all will be waiting to lay claim to his snaps.

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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Rob Kelley hopes cutting out his favorite fast food restaurants means a better 2017

Rob Kelley hopes cutting out his favorite fast food restaurants means a better 2017

While his job and athletic ability separate him from most commoners, Rob Kelley is just like you and me when it comes to his diet. Well, when it came to his old diet, actually. 

Like many, the second-year Redskins running back loves him some crispy fried chicken, buttery, pillow-like biscuits and piping hot french fries. He also can get down with piles of nuggets, double cheesburgers and creamy milkshakes. 

But during this offseason, Fat Rob is looking less and less so, and that improvement is largely due to some new eating habits.

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"Changed the diet up," Kelley told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay this week at the former's youth camp (full video above). "Slowed down on the fast food and processed food and tried to eat more healthy."

When asked what places he's specifically cut out from his rotation, Kelley answered with a laugh. It wasn't a happy laugh, though — it was like one of those laughs people let out when they're feeling major pain but not trying to show it.

"Popeyes. McDonald's," he said. "Not trying to discredit those fast food places, but just, it's not working well for me."

Limiting trips to those establishments can no doubt be a difficult task (it's OK to nod your head in agreement) but it's also working for the 24-year-old. He told Finlay he thinks he's lost about six pounds since OTAs and now checks in at 229 thanks to his workouts and an increased reliance on Whole Foods, vegetables and his grill. 

But just because he's shedding pounds doesn't mean he's shedding the moniker that caught on during his rookie campaign. He may be trending closer to Svelte Rob than he is to Fat Rob these days, but No. 20 is going to keep his nickname moving forward anyway.

"It's always accurate," he said.

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