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Need to Know: Five players the Redskins should hope slide down in the draft

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Need to Know: Five players the Redskins should hope slide down in the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 23, 15 days before the NFL draft.

Nickel coverage

Here are five players widely projected to be taken late in the first round that the Redskins should hope slip to them (as a guide I used players taken from picks 20-32 on at least one of these CBSSports.com mock drafts):

DE Dee Ford, Auburn—Let’s face facts; it will be nearly impossible for the Redskins to sign both Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan to long term deals. One or both will be gone by 2016. A defense based on an aggressive pass rush needs, well, pass rushers. Ford, who had 8.5 sacks for Auburn last year and could do better lined up at outside linebacker where he can utilize his athletic ability to elude blockers.

ILB C. J. Mosley, Alabama—He’s mocked as high as 14th to the Bears and as low as out of the first round. The Redskins could search for a long time for someone to replace London Fletcher at inside linebacker. Or perhaps Mosley, the leader of the Crimson Tide’s tough defense, could fall into their laps.

FS Calvin Pryor, Louisville—Right now he appears to be top-20 material but his physical nature could scare off some teams in search of a safety but in fear of drawing too many personal-foul flags. The Redskins, of course, have a perpetual need at safety and might be willing to risk some laundry on the field to get the problem solved.

CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State—It seems that Dennard is more likely to be taken closer to the top 10 than the second round but some have him going in the late 20’s so a further slide is possible. He could be good enough to shake up the depth chart in the whole secondary.

CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech—Fuller has gone from being a popular pick for the Redskins at 34 to someone who could be gone somewhere in the 20’s. Is his rise a result of media hype or is he actually moving up draft boards? He also could shake up the secondary depth chart.

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Timeline

—It’s been 115 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 137 days until they play another one.

Days until: First veteran minicamp 6; NFL Draft 15; Training camp starts 91

In case you missed it

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

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.