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Need to Know: Can the Redskins draft an immediate starter on the O-line?

Need to Know: Can the Redskins draft an immediate starter on the O-line?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 27, three days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

A milestone

First, before we get to the post here, I’d like to note that today marks Need to Know No. 1,000. This daily dose of Redskins news and notes has been posted 1,000 straight days, every morning since July 31, 2012.

I appreciate all of you who spend a few moments in the morning to check this out. We’ve had 13.3 million page views here in the last thousand days and the daily audience continues to grow. Thanks for reading and for all of your comments here and on social media. You folks make it all worthwhile.

Now, on to what you came here for . . .

Nickel Coverage

Five thoughts about the Redskins and the NFL draft, which thankfully is just a few days away.

—The last time the Redskins had a pick in the top five was in 2012 and everyone knew the pick at No. 2 was going to be Robert Griffin III. And by this time in 2010 word had filtered out at Redskins Park that Trent Williams would be Washington’s pick at No. 4. This year things are pretty well buttoned down. There are plenty of guesses as to where Scot McCloughan will go but nothing even remotely resembling a reliable report regarding who McCloughan prefers.

—Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t get mock drafts from some of the top draft analysts—Todd McShay of ESPN among them—who have the Redskins taking Shane Ray of Missouri with the fifth pick. He’s a very good player and his toe injury doesn’t seem to be that serious. But there is plenty of debate over whether or not he has the athleticism needed to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. It seems to me that if you have any of Dante Fowler, Vic Beasley, or even Bud Dupree on the board, players you know can play the OLB position, why even think about taking Ray?

—How long will Byron Jones last? The UConn cornerback/safety generally was graded as a mid-round pick before the combine with a shoulder injury dinging his stock. Then he jumped a world-record 12 feet in the broad jump in Indianapolis and there seemed to be an irrational jump in his stock. With the Redskins in need of a free safety to play behind Dashon Goldson and to take Goldson’s job in 2016, keep an eye on Jones if he’s still there when the Redskins pick in the second round at No. 38. That may be too high for McCloughan, who is not impressed by performances in T-shirts and shorts at combines and pro days. But if Washington ends up with a later pick in the second via a trade, Jones could be the guy.

—You always have to be careful about assuming a draft pick is going to be an instant starter, or even a starter at any point. But an offensive lineman taken in the first two rounds is a pretty good bet to slide in as the primary starter as a rookie. There were 11 offensive linemen taken in the first and second rounds last year. All but three of them started at least 12 games.

—NFL.com ran a seven-round mock draft and the first three picks for Washington match up with their three top positional needs. Fowler is the top pick, offensive tackle T. J. Clemmings goes in the second and it’s defensive back Alex Carter of Stanford, who played cornerback but could move to safety, in the third. I think most Redskins fans could live with that, except for the crowd that wants to see multiple trades back and eight to 10 offensive linemen selected.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Scot McCloughan pre-draft news conference, noon, Redskins Park

—It’s been 120 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 139 days until they play another one.

Days until: 2015 NFL Draft 3; Redskins minicamp starts 50; Redskins training camp starts 94

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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For Redskins, will shorter term with full guarantees get a Cousins deal done?

For Redskins, will shorter term with full guarantees get a Cousins deal done?

The prevailing notion around the Redskins negotiations with Kirk Cousins on a long-term deal seem to center around a five-year contract, especially after the Raiders reached a five-year extension with Derek Carr, their young star quarterback. 

Much group think points to a similar deal between Cousins and the Redskins. If you're Cousins, however, why sign?

The Redskins passer has all the leverage in the situation. He's got $20 million in the bank from the 2016 season, and he's due $24 million this season on the franchise tag. All guaranteed. 

RELATED: What is the risk for Kirk Cousins in terms of a deal?

Washington team president Bruce Allen has repeatedly talked about team options for 2018. Those options would be a $28 million transition tag or another franchise tag at $34 million. Expensive options. Cousins has repeatedly talked about market value, and how he has little choice in what happens. 

One area Cousins has control: signing a multi-year contract. 

The longer this thing drags out, it seems more and more likely Cousins will play on the tag in 2017. While it might seem crazy, the Redskins have strongly suggested another tag is in play for 2018. 

That means Cousins would be in D.C. at least two more seasons. As Grant Paulsen reported, last offseason the Cousins camp was looking for a three-year deal with all guaranteed money, based on the 2016 franchise tag salary of about $20 million.

Could a similar, albeit more costly, deal get done now based on the 2017 franchise tag? Three years, $24 million per, all guaranteed?

Cousins knows, and has said, that the team can keep him at least two more seasons. The Redskins also know, should they use the transition tag to save some money, Cousins can walk with hardly any compensation next offseason. Is the organization brave enough to try a non-exclusive franchise tag in 2018? Cousins would likely be quick to sign a one-year deal at $34 million, and teams could wait for him to hit free agency in 2019.

The Redskins are low on options. Maybe less years makes more sense for Cousins, and maybe, just maybe, that can get a deal done. 

Washington might want a long-term deal, but after messing up this contract situation for two years, maybe now they should take what they can get. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

With the NHL adding a team in Las Vegas and the league's expansion draft taking place Wednesday, the internet started thinking about a hypothetical NFL expansion draft.

Since it's June and there's more than a month until training camp, why not give it a shot with the Redskins in mind? 

Remember the rules: In the NHL, no first- or second-year players were eligible for the Vegas Knights to pluck, so the same applies here. Nobody in the last year of their deal, either.

Going off of those parameters, check out this list of Redskins players who'd be wise to protect against possible expansion.

  1. Kirk Cousins - Obvious. Every team needs a QB, and with a long-term deal or not, Cousins is very likely under contract with the Redskins at least for the next two seasons. That has a huge amount of value.
  2. Jordan Reed - This contract jumps big time in 2018, but Reed is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. An elite route runner and gifted athlete, in his last 17 starts Reed has posted more than 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns. The only thing that can slow Reed is his health, and that's a guy any team would want. 
  3. Trent Williams - Five straight Pro Bowls and perhaps the best left tackle in football makes this is a gimme. Williams is under contract through 2020, and by then, the money will seem like a bargain. 
  4. Jamison Crowder - Only two years left on his rookie deal, Crowder probably has the most valuable contract on the Redskins roster. Poised for his first 1,000 yard season in 2017, Crowder should emerge as one of the best slot WRs in the NFL. 
  5. Brandon Scherff - He was drafted to play tackle but it quickly became obvious that guard was the correct spot. Even with the shift in position, Scherff made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and looks primed to do the same for the next five years. Still on a rookie deal for two more years too. 
  6. Josh Norman - Don't be surprised that the first five protected players on this list come from the offense. Norman is an elite talent, yet he's being paid as such. In 2017, he will make $20 million. From 2018 to 2020, he will make at least $14.5 million per season. His skills are undeniable, but if you're building a team from scratch, that's a lot of salary cap. 
  7. Ryan Kerrigan - Pencil him in for double digit sacks. Count on him to work hard. Oh yeah, his contract runs through 2020. This one is easy. 
  8. Morgan Moses - Fresh off a new deal that will keep him with the Redskins through 2022, Moses is developing into one of the top right tackles in football. This contract would get snatched up in an expansion draft.
  9. Preston Smith - Two years left on his rookie deal and he still has all the potential in the world. Smith flashed serious sack potential as a rookie but fell off a bit in his second season. Year 3 will tell a lot, but in an expansion situation, the Redskins would rather have him than lose him.
  10. D.J. Swearinger - New to the Redskins, sure, but he played quite well for the Cardinals in 2016. Washington is desperate for some stability in the back end of the secondary, and Swearinger should provide it. Plus, he's signed through 2019. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back