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Need to Know: Five key questions that will impact the Redskins' draft

Need to Know: Five key questions that will impact the Redskins' draft

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 17, 21 days before the NFL draft.

Nickel coverage

The draft does not happen in a vacuum. Future plans for veteran players impact draft day decisions. Here are the top five questions about their current team the Redskins need to answer before next month’s NFL Draft:

Do they plan on signing Brian Orakpo long term? If they are, there is no need to bring in a pass rusher with one of their top picks. If they are going to let him walk after playing under the franchise tag this year they should try to maneuver into position to take Orakpo’s replacement.

How long will Ryan Clark play? I have heard him say he’d like to go for two or three more years. He is, however, under a one-year contract and he will be 35 before the Redskins’ bye week this coming season. How soon will they need to replace him?

Will Kirk Cousins play out his rookie contract in Washington? Cousins has two years left on his rookie contract. If they don’t plan on trading him this offseason or next they are set at backup quarterback until 2016. But if the talk that they aren’t interested in trading him is just some sort of smokescreen, they will need to consider taking a late-round QB to develop as a backup.

Can Tyler Polumbus start for another year? Many Redskins fans will cringe at this thought but Chris Cooley recently said that he was the second-best offensive lineman on the team last year and that it wouldn’t be a disaster if he was the starting right tackle in 2014. If the Redskins agree they can take their time in trying to replace him. If they want to try to upgrade immediately, a high draft pick is the only option at this point.

How much of his contract will DeAngelo Hall play out? Hall will be 31 by the time the season is halfway over and nobody really expects him to play out all four years of the contract he signed before free agency started. His base salary jumps from $1.25 million this year to $4 million in 2015. Will a 32-year-old corner be worth that much? They can always use depth a cornerback but how much they need this year might depend on Hall’s future status.

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Timeline

—It’s been 109 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 143 days until they play another one.

Days until: First veteran minicamp 12; NFL Draft 21; Training camp starts 97

In case you missed it

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a roster move just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.