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Free Agency: Who's left, defensive back edition

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Free Agency: Who's left, defensive back edition

Now that salary cap-gate over, what's next for the Redskins 53-man roster. According to Rich Tandler - and without factoring in potential savings by cutting certain veterans - there is around 3.8 million left to play with, some of which goes toward signing the remaining draft picks. So, what should the Shanahans do with that remaining coin? Considering the free agent options remaining are your rank and file types, there are few must-have players. Regardless, you never know what happens between now and the start of training camp and the regular season. That is why we're compiling this list of the viable and rainy day options among remaining NFL free agents. So far, we focused on the available offensive tacklelineand running backoptions. Now, the defensive backs.Tandler just wrote about the Redskins depth chartand his investigation verified this area is indeed a true work in progress. Lots of moving pieces, some interesting, some much less so. Should defensive coordinator Jim Haslett decide he needs more bodies, here are some of the names the Redskins could be calling on...

Jim Leonhard: The hard-hitting safetyisrecovering from knee surgery, but vows to be ready for training camp. Seems like the Jets could bring back their former starter, especially if a certain former Redskins safety's return from his own injury slows him down - or keeps him away from the team altogether. Kelly Jennings: The speedy 29-year-old spent one season with the Bengals after five campaigns with Seahawks. Though not a playmaker -only two interceptions in 91 career games - Jennings is a solid pass defender best suited for nickel duty as a slot cover option.Sean Jones: Spent the last two seasons playing for the Bucs under then head coach Raheem Morris, now in charge of the Redskins secondary. The strong safety lined up opposite Tanard Jackson, who the Redskins signed this offseason to take over at free safety. Not sure anyone is clamoring to reunite the tandem, but Jones did rack up over 160 tackles in his tenure with Tampa.Chris Johnson - Started 29 games over the last four seasons with the Raiders, butthe soon-to-be 33-year-old's3.5 millioncap number proved to high for Oakland. Melvin Bullitt - During his time with the Colts, Bullitt caught both ends of Bob Sanders-itis in terms of laying out ball carriers and always landing on the injury report. The 27-year-old missed all but two games last season with a shoulder injury. For a team willing to wait, this could be one worth option worth adding and stashing if the doctors approve.Others: Corners - Benny Sapp, Domonique Foxworth; Safeties - Abram Elam, Deon GrantAnd yes, Oshiomogho Atogweand Philip Buchanon remain available.

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Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Rookie camps are in the books as teams now move to organized team activities. Does that mean it's too early for fantasy football rankings? 

Probably, but seeing as the rookies are new to the scene, we might as well start projecting where and how they fit. 

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Sterling Shepard and Michael Thomas were among the rookies who produced and then some in 2016.

Based on the early rounds of the 2017 NFL draft, there’s hope for even more first-year standouts.  

Starting with the Bears selecting quarterback Mitch Trubisky second overall, 19 skill players were drafted in the first and second round.

That includes fellow first-round quarterback selections Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Several sleeper candidates followed. 

Here’s my look at the Elite Eight quarterbacks with the 2017 fantasy football season -- and beyond -- in mind.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

2017 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings:

Running Backs - No. 1, Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

* Wide receivers - No. 1, Corey Davis, Titans

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Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Nose tackle

Finlay: There's a lot to do on the Redskins defensive line, and it starts in the middle. Expect free agent addition Stacy McGee to have a big opportunity to take over the nose tackle job. McGee ranked as a +5.5 run defender last season as rated by Pro Football Focus, and at 6-foot-3 and 308 lbs., he has the size to man the middle. McGee has plenty of talent, health has been his hiccup. He has only played all 16 games in one of his four seasons, and in 2016, he played only nine games.

Beyond McGee, the Redskins have some lottery tickets. Practice squad players A.J. Francis and Joey Mbu both have the size to play nose, but neither have the experience. Could Francis or Mbu emerge for significant snaps with the Washington defense? Sure, but it would be unexpected. 

A bigger lottery ticket remains. Phil Taylor, a former first-round pick in 2012, has shown serious talent at the nose tackle position. At 6-foot-3 and 337 lbs., Taylor certainly has the size for the spot. At the same time, Taylor hasn't played an NFL game since 2014, losing both 2015 and 2016 to injury. Counting on Taylor would be short-sighted, but if he can remain healthy, there could be big value.

According to Jay Gruden, the most important piece of the nose tackle puzzle will come from new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Gruden said he expects Tomsula to "make" a nose tackle and improve the Redskins D-line. It's a tall order, but Tomsula has an impressive track record working in the trenches. 

Tandler: The organization’s refusal to get a legitimate nose tackle either in free agency or in the draft will lead to them again spend the spring and summer trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

That’s what they did last year with Ziggy Hood. He took a lot of snaps at nose tackle and he simply wasn’t a fit for the job. It wasn’t his fault that the Redskins allowed a league-worst 5.0 yards per rushing attempt on first down; he’s an end and he was much more effective there.

Matt Ioannidis, a 2016 fifth-round pick, also took some snaps at nose, with similar results. At 6-3, 308, he just doesn’t have the size to be effective.

The worst part of it here is that they really can’t get too far in identifying the 2017 nose tackle. In the spring with no pads and no contact allowed they really can’t do much besides work on technique and learn assignments. Tomsula’s effort to “make” a nose tackle won’t really get going until they get to Richmond in late August.

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