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Need to Know: With Cousins' future uncertain, should the Redskins take a QB in the first round?

Need to Know: With Cousins' future uncertain, should the Redskins take a QB in the first round?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 3, 6 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 45
—NFL Draft (4/27) 55
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 134
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 191

A quarterback in the first round?

The Redskins made an initial contract offer to Kirk Cousins and it appears that they have a long way to go before will be able to get a deal done. In fact, they need to be prepared for the possibility that they won’t get a deal done and he will be gone in 2018. Life without Kirk Cousins may become a reality.

One NFL analyst thinks that the Redskins may begin to prepare for the possible departure of Cousins when the draft comes around. In fact, he thinks that they will do so very early in the April 27 draft.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has just posted a mock draft. With the No. 17 pick he has the Redskins taking North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. His comment:

“If the Redskins can't get Kirk Cousins signed to a long-term deal, they could opt to take a young QB to serve as an apprentice until he is ready for the starting job in 2018.”

Let’s set aside the choice of QB for a moment. It’s a pretty simple concept, right? Instead of waiting until your quarterback is gone, you prepare for the inevitable by drafting your 2018 starter and giving him a season under his belt in 2017.

You could argue that the team has a lot of needs and that one of those should be address rather than taking a player who may not take a snap in 2017. Last year they took Josh Doctson in the first round and the wide receiver played in just two games and was shut down due to a persistent Achilles issue. Having a scenario where the first-round pick contributes little for a second straight year would hamper the team’s progress.

But if you don’t have a quarterback you don’t have anything. If the Redskins have a chance get someone who they believe can be a quality starter they almost have to take it.

If they do go in that direction, is Trubisky the right guy? He had an impressive 2016 season, completing 68 percent of his passes with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions. He looks the part, and the official measurements at the combine proved that he is actually 6-2. But last year was his only season as a starter so there isn’t not a lot to go on.

The name, however, is not important. You could fill in Deshaun Watson or DeShone Kizer or another quarterback you think is better and it’s the same idea.

I’m not saying that the will draft a quarterback in the first round. But if negotiations with Cousins aren’t going well when the draft rolls around they should seriously consider it.

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 Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

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.