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Need to Know: DT Billings, WR Thomas to Redskins in latest mock draft

Need to Know: DT Billings, WR Thomas to Redskins in latest mock draft

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 25, 34 days before the NFL Draft.

I’m changing around the Need to Know format a bit. There may be some more tweaks in the coming days and weeks; your comments are welcome.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 75 days ago. It will be about 170 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 24; 2016 NFL draft 34; Redskins training camp starts 125

Hot topic

Todd McShay of ESPN has a new mock draft out (here's the link but it's behind a paywall) and many Redskins fans would be pretty happy if the top of the actual draft, which starts five weeks from yesterday, turned out like McShay predicts.

In the first round McShay has the Redskins going with Baylor defensive lineman Andrew Billings. He could fill the hole at nose tackle and play end as well. He is a load at 6-1, 311 and, as you can see in the GIF in my article on Billings, he plays hard.

In the second round McShay sends Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas to Washington. I’d like to congratulate someone in the national media for recognizing the Redskins’ need to draft a WR, with both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson turning 30 later this year and both entering the final years of their contracts. And who is going to complain about the team finally landing a big (6-3) wide receiver?

It seems that Billings will be there when the Redskins pick at No. 21. Thomas could be gone by early in the second round but you never know how things will unfold.

Fan question of the day

It’s true that Scot McCloughan wants to get more picks in the draft but it’s not necessarily because he sees a lot of defensive talent that he can stockpile. His philosophy is like that of many GMs—the more picks he has the better chance he has of hitting on them.

If you want to hit on, say, six solid players in a draft you probably aren’t going to do it with seven draft picks. You need, as McCloughan said earlier this week, more “swings”. Not all of your picks are going to succeed so if you want to build through the draft, having more picks increases the chances you will be able to do so.

This draft is strong on the defensive line but it’s just OK elsewhere on defense. There aren’t many strong edge rushers and, as seems to be the case frequently, safety is also weak.

So McCloughan’s desire for more draft picks is not about rebuilding the defense so much as it is a general team building philosophy at this phase of the team's development.

(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)

Stat of the day

Jamison Crowder set the Redskins rookie record last year with 59 pass receptions. The most receptions for a Redskins player in his first year in the NFL was 72 by Gary Clark in 1985. Clark had played in the USFL prior to coming to the Redskins so he was not a rookie by the NFL definition.

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Need to Know: The 2017 Redskins—5 reasons for optimism

Need to Know: The 2017 Redskins—5 reasons for optimism

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 22, 11 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 233 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 19 days.

Today’s schedule: Off day

Days until:

—Preseason national TV vs. Bengals (8/27) 5
—Redskins @ Rams (9/17) 26
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 33

5 reasons for optimism

Here are five reasons to be optimistic that the Redskins’ 2017 season will be successful. Tomorrow, the other side of the coin.

All starters will be healthy—They still must navigate that third preseason game but assuming they are able to do that they will field 22 of the 22 starters they have planned on since after the draft if the timetable for Spencer Long’s return from a knee scope is accurate. Except for Trent Murphy, all key reserves should be good to go. An NFL season consists of four months of attrition and starting with a nearly full complement of players is a solid advantage.

Depth—The depth is not across the board (as you’ll see in the 5 concerns post tomorrow) but at most positions, if someone gets injured the Redskins can insert an NFL-caliber player in his place. Of course, there will be a drop-off in talent at most places but that is to be expected. They should be able to survive a reasonable amount of the above-mentioned attrition.

Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson—It seems that everywhere I look someone is saying the Redskins are going to go 5-11 because they lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. And while it would be foolish to say that Pryor and Doctson are just as good, both are large, talented receivers who will be productive in Jay Gruden’s offense. They will bring strengths (red zone, third and five) that one or both of the departed receivers lacked. There may be a drop-off but it won’t be huge.

Jonathan Allen and Zach Brown—I lump the defensive end and inside linebacker together because they bring an element of speed and athleticism at their positions that the defense hasn’t had in a while. Both can go sideline to sideline and both play tough inside. Brown went to the Pro Bowl last year and Allen could develop and become the Redskins’ first Pro Bowl interior defensive lineman since Dave Butz in 1983.

Pass protection—Yes, there is concern over the offensive line’s performance in the running game. But the pass blocking looks solid, just as it has for the past two years. Between their abilities and Kirk Cousins’ knack for getting rid of the ball quickly, the Redskins again should be in the top five in the league in sacks allowed.

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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Redskins struggling O-line takes hit as Spencer Long gets knee scope, per report

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USA Today Sports

Redskins struggling O-line takes hit as Spencer Long gets knee scope, per report

The Redskins offensive line struggled through the first two games of the 2017 preseason, and more bad news arrived Monday night when CBS Sports reported that center Spencer Long underwent a knee scope and is expected to miss the next two weeks.

Long moved to center last season when Kory Lichtensteiger got injured, and the results were solid. In 2015, Long started a number of games at left guard, but at center in 2016, he seemed a natural fit as a leader and a quick learner calling the Redskins protections. 

With Long expected to miss some time, rookie Chase Roullier will take over the top center job. Rouillier played center his senior season at Wyoming and earned All Mountain West honors. At 6-foot-4 and 312 lbs., Roullier has comparable size to Long, who goes 6-foot-5 and 320 lbs. Both players also played some guard in college. 

Washington coach Jay Gruden has repeatedly talked about the importance of a backup center, and with Roullier now moved to the top line, expect the Redskins to move quick to bring a veteran in for depth. This will make sorting out the offensive line roster even murkier as the Redskins approach roster cuts after their fourth preseason game. 

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