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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.

In case you missed it

 

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!