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Need to Know: Are there other draft trade back scenarios for the Redskins?

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Need to Know: Are there other draft trade back scenarios for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 29, 32 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I get a lot of good questions during the week that don’t require an answer long enough to make a whole post. So on the weekend I clear out the inbox, Quick Hits style. Let’s get rolling.

We have done a few posts on that subject lately. The free agency market has pretty well dried up. It looks like Jay Gruden would like to let Spencer Long and Chris Chester battle it out at right guard. And he’d like Morgan Moses and Tom Compton to compete at right tackle. It appears that any further additions to the line will come in the draft. Gruden mentioned that he, new O-line coach Bill Callahan and Scot McCloughan are looking for a type of lineman that will fit what they want to do. Whether an O-line draft picks comes early, in the form of LSU OT La’el Collins, Stanford OT Andrus Peat, or perhaps Florida State G Tre Jackson, or later on remains to be seen.

Lefty is referring to Ted Bolser, a seventh-round pick last year. He was released in the final cuts last year and although he bounced around a couple of practice squads he didn’t catch on with anyone. Nobody has picked him up yet this offseason, although he could sign with another team after the draft. But the fact that he was released from the Redskins’ practice squad after about a month says that they think they made a mistake when they drafted him. I wouldn’t rule out a return for Bolser but I would think that if they really wanted him back they would have signed him by now. Update: Bolser has signed with the Cardinals, ht/@IIWIISkinsBlog.

If the Redskins end up taking Amari Cooper or Kevin White with the No. 5 pick a trade would have to be considered a possibility. They could decide that Pierre Garçon’s $7.1 million base salary is not worth keeping and put the “for sale” sign up on the receiver. Perhaps between the first round on Thursday and the final rounds on Saturday a deal could be done. A more likely scenario might be for the Redskins to hold on to Garçon and then see if a contending team that suffers an injury to a receiver in training camp would offer a 2016 draft pick for him in the summer.

Only seven other NFL head coaches call offensive plays (and two others call defenses) so Gruden is definitely in the minority as one who calls his own plays. I would think that eventually he will turn over the duties to McVay, who is viewed as a rising star around the league. But it doesn’t look like the change will take place this season. Usually such things are decided in January and we haven’t heard of any change at this point.

It’s always a possibility. In the last two drafts teams have traded into the top five to draft non-quarterbacks (Miami moved up to take Dion Jordan in 2013, the Bills jumped up for Sammy Watkins last year). White could draw some offers as could one of the edge rushers if a team believes that one is far superior to the others. And the other day I mentioned the possibility that the Redskins’ pick could become a hot commodity if USC DT Leonard Williams slips to No. 5. So there are plenty of possibilities but four weeks out there are no reports that a certain team is interested in trading up for a certain player. Stay tuned.

Timeline

—It’s been 91 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 168 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 22; 2015 NFL Draft 32; Redskins training camp starts 123

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

Do the Redskins have a draft need at running back? It depends on who you ask.

Jay Gruden seems to be very happy with incumbent running back Rob Kelley. Here is what he had to say last month about the second-year back, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, last month:

“Oh, man, I love Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “I thought he played great. You throw a rookie free agent into the fire like that and see him play and compete. Not one time did I feel like it was too big for him. Not once. That’s a hell of a thing to say for a kid out of Tulane who only had a couple of carries his senior year. He came right in, he competes on every play.”

[Related: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Kelley played in 15 games last year and rushed for 704 yards and scored six touchdowns. He started the last nine games and if you project his numbers in this games out over a 16-game season you get about 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s not Ezekiel Elliott or Le’Veon Bell production but it’s good for a team that is going to rely mostly on the pass.

Gruden also praised third-down back Chris Thompson and backup Mack Brown. In a telling sign, he acknowledged that 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones is still on the roster but he didn’t have much good to say about him.

Why, then, do you see so many draft analysts listing running back as one of the team’s most urgent needs? Mark Maske, who is the Post’s national NFL writer but also a former Redskins beat reporter, has them taking Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey in his mock draft. “There certainly are issues on defense for the Redskins,” writes Maske. But there also is a need at running back.”

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that the Redskins “obviously” need a running back as his rationale for mocking Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to Washington at No. 17.

So, what is it? Is Kelley adequate for the Redskins’ needs considering they call pass plays on over 60 percent of their offensive snaps? Would they run more often if they had a back like McCaffrey or Cook? And if they did run more would the offense improve?

I think that running back is like several positions with the Redskins. If they have to get through the 2016 season with what they have they will be OK. But if there is an upgrade on the board when they are on the clock they won’t hesitate to make the pick if he’s the best player available.

We will see what happens if, say, McCaffrey is still on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 17 and top defensive targets like Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick are off the board. That will be the true test to see how committed Gruden and the rest of the organization are to Kelley, Thompson, and company. 

More Redskins: When the talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags before

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When talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags in 1st round of NFL Draft

When talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags in 1st round of NFL Draft

A four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ, Aqib Talib has a long and checkered past, which includes multiple arrests and failed PED and drug tests. The problems aren't new either, the talented cornerback was first arrested as a high school student. In college at Kansas, Talib was suspended multiple times and had multiple positive tests for marijuana use. 

Why does this matter for Redskins fans on the eve of the NFL Draft?

Despite all the trouble, Bruce Allen drafted Talib 20th overall in 2008 when the current Redskins general manager was in the same role for Tampa. While Talib's legal troubles and suspensions continued in the NFL, he also proved to be a highly capable cornerback in the pro game. 

The lesson for those trying to determine the Redskins draft board: Allen might be willing to look past red flags if a player presents good value. Talib did in 2008, and there could be opportunities for Washington in 2017.

Reuben Foster jumps to mind, as the talented Alabama linebacker will enter the league in the substance abuse program. While Foster's issues pale in comparison to other allegations about some draft prospects, players like Joe Mixon, Gareon Conley and Caleb Brantley will also present unique circumstances for NFL teams to evaluate. 

GMs are thrust into the unenviable task of determining a player's character, often in short periods of time. As 'Skins director of college scouting Scott Campbell explained, the team grades every player for their football skills first, and only later adds in character information. From Campbell's comments:

When you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don’t factor in the character. You don’t grade character, you grade talent. So you don’t throw away somebody early that may have some redeeming quality, or there’s a side to the story you don’t know about. You grade football players as football players first on talent, and then when it comes closer to the draft, you start weeding all that, getting more information, deciding, ‘OK, this guy’s not our kind of guy, this guy’s not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted, but good luck to him.

Thursday night the Redskins will be forced to make a determination on the right player for the team. That decision could include judging a player's character, and that could mean balancing legal or substance abuse troubles with talent and ability.

Talib is only one pick in Allen's long personnel career, but it's one worth noting. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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