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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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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!