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Is Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland the defensive force the Redskins need?

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Is Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland the defensive force the Redskins need?

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 72 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.

Reggie Ragland
Inside linebacker
Alabama

Height: 6-1
Weight: 259

What they’re saying
Thumping inside linebacker with throwback size and tone setting mentality. Ragland is a confident and capable early starter in league who has the temperament to become one of the premier run-stopping inside linebackers in the pro game. Ragland has some coverage and speed limitations, but his instincts and overall awareness should be able to mask those issues.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: Ragland could be a good example of the team taking the best available player regardless of need. They could start the season with Will Compton and Mason Foster as the starters and have Perry Riley and Martrell Spaight as the backups. But the team needs difference makers on defense and Ragland could be one of those.

The Redskins had some big problems stopping the run (allowed 4.8 yards/rush, 31st in the NFL) and Ragland could be just the solution they are looking for. He plays downhill and is a sure tackler.

There seems to be a good chance the unanimous All-American will still be on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 21, although some mock drafts have him going somewhere in the early teens.

Related: Casserly talks about Ragland's possible fit with the Redskins.

Potential issues: One thing that an inside linebacker in Joe Barry’s one-gap system needs to be able to do is shed blocks. Playing behind the Crimson Tide’s stalwart defensive line that is not something he had to deal with consistently. McCloughan will have to evaluate if he can get coached to do it. He seems to handle himself well in zone coverage but his man to man skills are suspect.

Bottom line: An inside linebacker in a 3-4 is considered to be a relatively low value position and perhaps not worth a first-round pick unless the prospect is flawless. But a right tackle isn’t supposed to be valuable enough to justify a high first-round pick but that didn’t keep McCloughan from taking Brandon Scherff fifth overall (and subsequently moving him to guard).

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Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 18, 99 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 43
NFL free agency starts 51
First Sunday of 2017 season 236

The coordinator search and more

Did the Redskins underachieve this year? I know that a metric like Football Outsiders' DVOA is not the final word in the quality of a team but looking at it year after year it usually does work out that the teams with the better numbers in DVOA usually win more games than those with worse numbers. The Redskins finished 2016 eighth in DVOA. Considering that 12 teams make the playoffs, that could be considered a playoff quality team. Yet 15 teams finished with a better record than they did. I’m sure there are some holes in the formula for the stat but just looking at that it sure appears that the Redskins did leave some wins out on the field.

John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are prepared to switch to a 4-3 defense if that is what their new defensive coordinator prefers. They have been in the 3-4 since Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010. Whether it is because of the scheme or lack of draft and free agent resources spent on the line and at safety, the defense hasn’t been very good. As Keim notes, they will need to make some personnel changes if they do change but with a full load of draft picks and $62 million in cap space this may be the time to do it.

I expected the angst that was all over Twitter when word of the Rob Ryan interview got out. But it’s pretty dumb to get all worked up over an interview (with all due respect to readers here who may have been upset). It’s not a hiring. Look, somehow or another Ryan managed to stay employed as an NFL defensive coordinator for 12 straight seasons. I don’t know how to research it without going through some very time consuming and tedious steps but I’d be willing to bet that only about a few dozen men in the history of the league have been able to remain a defensive coordinator for that many season in a row. The organization can learn something from sitting down and talking to him for a few hours.

I understand that we want things to talk about in a relatively slow time. But I just don’t see why there is fear out there over the possibility that Kyle Shanahan will get hired as the coach of the 49ers and somehow steal Kirk Cousins away to be his quarterback. The Redskins can maintain his rights via the franchise tag. They could tag Cousins and trade him to the 49ers but there would be a heavy price in terms of draft picks. But while it’s possible, it’s unlikely. The chances are very, very good that Cousins will be in a Redskins uniform this year via either the tag or a long-term deal. 

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

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