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Need to Know: Five players the Redskins could have had in the 2008 draft

Need to Know: Five players the Redskins could have had in the 2008 draft

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 25, 72 days before the Redskins start offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

With the report that Fred Davis is facing a six-game suspension at the start of the 2014 season, the Redskins’ draft class of 2008 is total loss. That’s in large part due to the second round, where the Redskins chose three players from whom they got minimal returns—Davis (48th overall pic) and wide receivers Devin Thomas (34th) and Malcolm Kelly (51st). Here are five players they could have had instead:

CB Brandon Flowers (drafted by Chiefs, pick 35 overall)—Flowers made his first Pro Bowl this year, an honor for which he was long overdue. He has started 87 games and has 17 interceptions.

WR Jordy Nelson (Packers, 36th)—He had more receptions as a rookie, 33, than Kelly had in his NFL career (28). Nelson has been a valuable target for Aaron Rodgers and is coming off of a career-high 85-catch season.

WR DeSean Jackson (Eagles, 49th)—You might note that this is one pick after the Redskins took Davis. Jackson would be of value to the Redskins as a punt returner alone, with his 9.9-yard average and four career touchdowns. That’s not to mention his three 1,000-yard seasons as a receiver, leading to three Pro Bowl appearances.

RB Ray Rice (Ravens, 55th)—Yes, the Redskins had Clinton Portis at the time, but it was clear that with his playing style he wouldn’t last forever. He is still a productive back while Portis has been retired since after the 2010 season.

RB Jamaal Charles (Chiefs, 73rd)—He’s been first-team All-Pro twice and, like Rice, he’s a threat as both a runner and receiver. Had Peyton Manning not had the season that he had Charles would have been a legitimate candidate for MVP in 2013. There are reports that the Redskins were strongly considering drafting him but someone decided to go with Kelly.

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Timeline

—It’s been 27 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 225 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 25; NFL Free agency starts 45; NFL Draft 103

In case you missed it

Defensive prospects at the Senior Bowl

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

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