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Drafting alternatives for the Redskins, despite their need for a nose tackle

Drafting alternatives for the Redskins, despite their need for a nose tackle

The popular narrative these days in the NFL mock draft universe has the Redskins taking a running back at 17. As somebody who is part of that circuit, allow me to offer a reason why.

Anybody and everybody who ponders team needs should and presumably does recognize Washington needs defensive linemen above all. Sure, the Redskins added two new guys, but they basically just replaced the departing Chris Baker and Ricky Jean Francois. Dismal up front last year in nearly every fascet, the Redskins need more than just a wash on the DL. They truly need a nose tackle.

Problem: The 2017 draft board really just doesn't fit. There might not be a true NT selected in round one. Michigan State's Malik McDowell, a 3-4 end or 4-3 tackle, *might* land in the 15-25 range. Otherwise...? 

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The mock drafters recognize this issue and seek alternatives for the Redskins.

Inside linebacker, guard and, yes, running back are need areas. 

There are a couple if ILB types, but Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick might be gone before 17 and Jarryd Davis isn't a first round lock.

If you recall Jay Gruden's season-ending press conference, he made the idea of taking guard in the first round sound like a NSFW four-letter word. 

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That leaves the backfield. This does mesh with how analysts view this class. Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey are often considered top 10-15 prospects. The issue is teams in this era less inclined to take RB in round one. This is why the Redskins' scenario is ideal for the mock drafters. Give them either Cook or McCaffrey, thus avoiding a slide outside the top 20.

Maybe it happens for real. Both are playmakers and the Redskins can use more of that, though the run blocking let Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson down more than the other way around last year.

It's also much easier finding RB help on Day 2-3 than front-7 contributors. That's a main reason why teams often wait on runners.

In terms of 2017, Washington needs more defense. That doesn't mean the front office should reach. But all things being equal, they should lean toward adding tacklers. The thing is, the mock drafters don't care about such matters. They need to put their top prospects somewhere.

For now, that means Cook or McCaffery to the Redskins. Those guys would help. For now, slotting them at 17 helps their mocks most of all.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MOCK DRAFT 7.0

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Redskins 2017 position outlook: Wide receiver

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Wide receiver

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Wide receivers

Starters: Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Other roster locks: Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris.
On the bubble: Robert Davis, Brian Quick

How the wide receivers compare:

To the rest of the NFL: This is an unproven group, with Pryor in his second year playing the position and Doctson coming off a lost rookie season. You don’t have to look far to find receiving groups with more proven production. The Giants have added Brandon Marshall to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard to form one of the top groups in the NFL. It’s arguable that the Cowboys have a better corps. But Pryor has produced a 1000-yard season, Crowder improved from his rookie year to last year and Doctson is a recognized talent. They’re outside of the top 10 but not too far down the list, somewhere in the teens.

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To the 2016 Redskins: The Redskins became the first team to lose two 1000-yard receivers in a single offseason when both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left in free agency. They managed to recover about as well as could be expected by signing Pryor and having Doctson in the wings. And maybe the backups could be better than they were last year. Ryan Grant has been catching everything thrown near him in practice and Maurice Harris will have his rookie year out of the way. But the harsh reality is that you don’t easily replace receivers like Garçon and, especially, the speedy Jackson easily. This group must be considered a downgrade until we see production on the field that indicates otherwise.

2017 outlook:

Biggest upside: Doctson was off to a great start in training camp before he suffered a hamstring injury. His talent for high-pointing the ball could make him a favorite red zone and third down target.

Most to prove: Ryan Grant has been a favorite of the coaches since he was a fifth-round pick in 2014. But he had only nine receptions in 16 games last year. If he wants an NFL future here or elsewhere, he needs to catch passes.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

Rookie watch: Sixth-round pick Davis has been targeted 11 times in two preseason games and he has 20- and 31-yard receptions. He is going to have to fight off Quick to remain on the roster but he appears to be ahead in that battle. Davis is helping his case by working as a gunner on the punt team.

Bottom line: There is no doubt that the team will miss the ability of Jackson to go deep, opening things up underneath. But it also is clear that the bigger, more physical receivers will help move the chains and increase red zone productivity. The size does not necessarily compensate for the loss of speed but Kirk Cousins still should find quality targets.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Ryan Grant:

He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent. Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right. No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do – he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them. He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is.

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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Report: Despite off-field turmoil, NFL close to extension with commissioner Roger Goodell

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USA Today Sports

Report: Despite off-field turmoil, NFL close to extension with commissioner Roger Goodell

Despite off-field turmoil and a seemingly endless list of controversies, the NFL plans to extend the tenure of commissioner Roger Goodell, per a report from the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. 

Goodell took over the top NFL job in 2006, replacing the long-tenured Paul Tagliabue. The extension reportedly will extend his era as commissioner through 2024, though Garafolo said the league and Goodell have a few "minor issues" to work through.

In 2016, Goodell reportedly made $34 million as commissioner. 

Under Goodell, the league has seen a windfall of cash, but also numerous off-field controversies.

The commissioner's role with player punishments has dramatically increased, and seems to grow more litigious year after year.

RELATED: ALL-PRO WIDE RECEIVER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Things seemed to hit their peak when the NFL suspended New England Patriots QB Tom Brady four games for possibly deflating footballs, though the evidence was far from concrete.

There have been plenty of other major controversies during Goodell's leadership: the ongoing concussion lawsuits and settlements, Ray Rice's domestic violence incident, Michael Vick's dog-fighting ring, Ben Roethlisberger's sexual assault allegations, and more. 

This year — right now — Goodell is in the middle of dealing with an announced six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott and the ongoing controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick's inability to land a job in the NFL. 

Ultimately, it appears cash matters most for the league and its commissioner. 

It's also worth adding that the NFL has not lost any games due to labor stoppage under Goodell's leadership. That could change, however, when the next collective bargaining agreement comes up after the 2020 season. NFL Player's Association leader DeMaurice Smith has talked of a possible strike or lockout, and some vocal critics of Goodell and the NFL, like Richard Sherman, have said that the players need to be prepared to strike to elicit actual change. 

There was some speculation that NFL owners, particularly Robert Kraft in New England and Jerry Jones in Dallas, might push for a change at the top as Goodell's autocratic disciplinary style found league stars suspended. Assuming a contract gets done, that speculation appears to be false. 

Goodell was commissioner in 2012 when the NFL penalized the Redskins $36 million against the salary cap for overspending during the uncapped 2010 season.

Redskins officials adamantly denied any wrongdoing, and the penalties had a significant impact on the team's ability to compete for free agents and roster depth. 

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