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Feeling a Draft

Feeling a Draft

It used to be that the advent of April meant the spots talk around Washington focused almost exclusively on the release of the Redskins' schedule and the NFL draft. Now, with the Wizards in playoff contention and the Nationals about to take the field for the first time, the talk of the town is, you guessed it, are the Skins going to open at home or on the road and what they will do with the ninth pick.

OK, there is some love for the Wiz and certainly there is a loud and growing buzz about the Nats. But this hasn't detracted from Skins talk; it just means that there's more talk going on overall.

This draft is still a very fluid situation. By this time last year, the Skins were in the fifth spot and honed in on choosing one of two Miami Hurricanes, tight end Kellan Winslow and safety Sean Taylor.

This year, however, the choices aren't nearly that clear. To be sure, a large part of the difference is that the Redskins are drafting ninth instead of fifth. Still, this draft is much more unsettled than the last for a few reasons:

  • There isn't a consensus number one pick. Last year, it was Eli Manning; in fact, going back to Michael Vick in 2000, the top pick has been a quarterback for the past five years and seven of the last eight. From March on it's generally been a scenario where we knew who would go first, it was just a question of if the team in the top spot would deal the pick. Cal's Aaron Rodgers and Utah's Alex Smith just haven't been able to grab the bull by the horns and become The One. We have the unusual scenario of the top pick being dependent on who's using it.
  • There are a three running backs rated in the top ten players. Auburn's Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams and Texas' Cedric Benson, all currently projected to go in the top ten picks, may slide back. This would not be because of any perceived flaws by the two. It's just because teams may want to move up to take another player that it wants and the team trading out of the position might believe that it can get a running back later in the draft. Prize RB's aren't a dime a dozen, but you don't have to spend a high first-rounder to get a good one. The Skins could find one of the top rock toters fall into their lap at #9. They would then desperately seek to deal the pick, being locked into a deal with Clinton Portis.
  • The Skins don't have a glaring need. While the Skins might want to replace some of their recent losses by free agency and trade, it appears that they will be perfectly willing to go into the season with Walt Harris at corner, Santan Moss and David Patten at receiver and Lamar Marshall at middle linebacker. If the top two corners and top two receivers in the draft are gone by the time the nine hole rolls around, what do the Skins do--take the third-best at either position or take the best player available?
  • There is unlikely to be a player so good that the Skins would be fools to pass him up. Last year safety wasn't an area of great need--it rarely is on any team. But the consensus was that Taylor, a defensive back with linebacker size, was just too good a combination of skills and accomplishments to pass up. There won't be such a player at 9 this year.

Things will begin to gel as April 23 approaches, but there still is likely to be plenty of suspense at sunrise on draft day. Stay tuned.

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Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

RICHMOND - Jordan Reed will start Redskins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

The team's PR informed the media that Reed is experiencing pain and soreness in one of his big toes. The move to PUP was characterized as precautionary and they want to ensure that issues don't linger into the regular season. 

DeAngelo Hall, Houston Bates, and practice squadder Kendal Thompson will join Reed on the PUP list. 

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER

For Reed, an integral part of the Redskins offense, there is a long history of injuries. In 2016, he missed time with a separated shoulder and a concussion.

Before Redskins fans freak out, remember Reed took part in minicamp and looked dominant. The PUP list also allows the Redskins to activate Reed once he's capable of practicing. 

Reed did not take part in voluntary OTAs with the Redskins in May, but was a full participant with the team at June's minicamp. 

Asked about injured players taking part in practice during Wednesday's press conference, head coach Jay Gruden opened up:

I think the injured guys are injured guys. We’re never going to change how we treat them. It’s the trainers’ job to tell us when they can go. I’m not going to keep a guy out of practice just because I think he might be injured. It’s up to the trainers and up to that player to let me know whether they can go or not. But like you said, we do have a luxury of having 88 or 87 healthy bodies where we can practice and function without somebody who is injured. That’s the trainers’ job​.

Expect much more on this development.

UPDATE:

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Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

RICHMOND - Jay Gruden expects the same effort and production from Kirk Cousins, regardless of the now two-year long contract saga between the quarterback and the Redskins.

"The thing about Kirk is you’re never worried about his preparation. It’s not going to vary from day in to day out," the coach said. "He’s not going to come in and be a different guy every day. He’s the same guy every day. [He’s] a great competitor, wants to get better."

Talks between Cousins' represenatives and the Redskins seemed more congenial this offseason, though the result remained the same. Cousins will be paid $24 million this year on the franchise tag, after making $20 million in 2016 on the same tag. 

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

Redskins team president Bruce Allen explained in a statment that his organization made an offer to Cousins that included $53 million guaranteed. Considering the funny money nature of NFL deals, the offer really only guaranteed another season at about $28 million for Cousins before a series of advantageous terms for the franchise. The deal had no chance of completion considering Cousins' leverage.

Still, Gruden thinks his quarterback will deliver. 

"He has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to be coached and it’s fun to coach him."

If Gruden sounds confident in Cousins' ability to compartmentalize, he should. The quarterback did just that last season, passing for nearly 5,000 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

The Redskins, and Cousins, struggled in the red zone in 2016, and that's something Gruden wants to see improved. 

"The contract status will take care of itself eventually, hopefully, but right now it is what it is and we’re happy to have him for 2017."

Long-term deal, or not, it's time for Gruden to coach and Cousins to quarterback.

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