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DL A'Shawn Robinson needs work but could be a good fit for the Redskins

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DL A'Shawn Robinson needs work but could be a good fit for the Redskins

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 45 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.

A’Shawn Robinson
Defensive lineman
Alabama

Height: 6-4
Weight: 307
40-yard dash: 5.20

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying
Hard to find an interior lineman with a more well-proportioned frame than Robinson. His size and overall talent level will have NFL teams drooling and projecting him along any and all defensive fronts, but his film might leave them hungry for more. As opposed to teammate Jarran Reed who already plays with polish, Robinson is a projection-oriented two-gapper who can step in right away and help plug holes in a leaky run defense. If Robinson can improve his leverage issues and pass rushing, he has all-pro potential; however, he’s not a sure thing to become a star.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: It’s almost becoming cliché to project a defensive lineman to the Redskins in the first round. It’s an aging unit and the Redskins were one of the worst teams in the NFL when it came to stopping the run (122.6 yards/game, 26th). Add in Scot McCloughan’s preference for big guys and it all makes sense for the Redskins to take a good look at Robinson.

Robinson is nearly the perfect physical specimen for his position, especially his powerful legs, which make him tough to move. In 15 games for the Crimson Tide Robinson posted 46 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and 3.5 sacks. His performance earned him consensus All-American honors and the attention of virtually every NFL scout in the land.

Although Alabama played a two-gap approach in its 3-4 defense as opposed to the one-gap that the Redskins use, Robinson should be able to adjust.

Potential issues: Although he is large and strong, he has some fundamental issues that need to be corrected. In particular he tends to play with his pad level too high. He can get away with that against blockers in college but it’s something he’ll need to fix if he’s going to succeed in the NFL.

Bottom line: Dane Brugler of CBS Sports wrote that Robinson “is the poster prospect for the golden rule of scouting (traits over production).” It’s not as though Robinson is like Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss, who admitted at the combine that he took some plays off. But Alabama’s scheme called for the defensive line to occupy blockers to free the linebackers to make plays. The task that McCloughan has is to project his traits into the Redskins’ scheme, which calls for linemen to make some plays, and figure out how he would perform in Washington.

The draft projections have not yet firmed up so just where Robinson might fall in the first round remains to be seen. He’s probably not a top-ten pick but he could well be gone in the 10-20 range, before the Redskins go on the clock at No. 21. But if he makes it to the Redskins one would think that he would be on the short list of players that McCloughan will be considering.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!