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Need to Know: Five Redskins who should be in the Hall of Fame

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who should be in the Hall of Fame

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 1, 96 days before the NFL Draft.

Nickel coverage

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will be selected today and announced tonight at the NFL awards dinner. Only one of the 15 finalists has any connection to the Redskins at all. Receiver Andre Reed was a member of the 2000 Redskins (the team that also brought in Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith). Reed capped his distinguished 16-year career by playing in 13 games and catching 10 passes for 103 yards.

So even if Reed gets in we can hardly say that another Redskin got into the Hall. Here are five who could warrant enshrinement in Canton, starting with the most deserving.

1. RB Larry Brown (1969-1976)—The Veteran’s Committee put Broncos running back Floyd Little, a contemporary of Brown’s, in the Hall of Fame and Brown had a very comparable career.  Little lasted one more season than Brown. The Redskins back averaged 743 per season played while Little averaged 702. Little was a first-team All-pro once, Brown had that honor twice. But most of all, Brown was the league MVP in 1972 while Little never came close to getting such an honor.

2. OT Joe Jacoby (1981-1993)—I have no issue with Russ Grimm being in the Hall but if they are only going to end up with one member of The Hogs in Canton it should be Jacoby. He played longer (13 seasons to 11 for Grimm), appeared in more Super Bowls (4 to 2) and was the more dominant player at his position. Grimm was great getting Riggins running room on the 50 Gut. But Jacoby overpowered defensive ends in the run game and protected the blindside for Joe Theismann and Doug Williams, and flipped to right tackle to form one of the best pass-blocking lines ever for Mark Rypien in 1991.

3. KR Brian Mitchell (1990-1999)—If they enshrine punter Ray Guy tonight then at some point they have to have to put in a returner, right? Mitchell is second all-time in all-purpose yards and first in punt return yards and kickoff return yards. If you’re going to put in a returner, he’s the guy.

4. C Len Hauss (1964-1977)—We’re getting into marginal candidates now but someday the Veteran’s Committee should take a good look at Hauss. He started 196 straight games, 14 years for 14-game seasons making five Pro Bowls on the way.

5. TE Jerry Smith (1965-1977)—The fact that Smith’s NFL record for touchdowns by a tight end stood from 1976 (he didn’t catch any TD’s in his last year) until Shannon Sharpe broke it in 2003 is a testament to how good he was. His case for the Hall is diminished by the fact that he made just two Pro Bowls and was first-team All-Pro just once. But if you look down on his page on Pro Football reference you’ll see his career was comparable to those of Hall of Famers Charlie Sanders, Mike Ditka, Jackie Smith, and Dave Casper.

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Timeline

—It’s been 34 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 218 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 18; NFL Free agency starts 38; Offseason workouts start 65; NFL Draft 96

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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Offensive line

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Offensive line

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts on Thursday. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here. On offense we’ve put the wide receivers, running backs and tight ends under the microscope. Today the focus turns to the offensive line.

2016 final game starters: (left to right) Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses

Due to some injuries and a four-game Williams suspension, this group started only seven games together.

Departures: C John Sullivan (UFA), C Kory Lichtensteiger (retired)

Sullivan signed after some early season injuries and he started one game. He was a good security blanket for Jay Gruden, who liked having an experienced backup for the middle of the line.

Lichtensteiger missed a combined 24 games in 2015-2016. He may not have been back even he had not decided to retire.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Projected 2017 starters: (left to right) Williams, Lauvao, Long, Scherff, Moses

The one spot in any doubt is left guard. Lauvao is in the final year of his contract with a $4 million salary. Jay Gruden has expressed confidence in him but a guard drafted in the first few rounds this week could change all of that.

Moses and Long are in the final seasons of their contracts so they may need a succession plan in place at their positions.

2017 reserves: G: Arie Kouandjio, Ronald Patrick; T Ty Nsekhe, Isaiah Williams, Vinston Painter, John Kling, Kevin Bowen

The glaring hole here is at center. With Sullivan and Lichtensteiger gone they don’t have anyone for the middle of the line if Spencer Long is out. They could try to find one in the draft but it’s possible that they will be on the lookout for a veteran on the waiver wire between now and Week 1.

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

Nsekhe is one of the best backup tackles in the league and the Redskins will be happy to have him even if he doesn’t play a single snap. Painter was on the roster for 13 games and he played just 10 snaps on offense.

Kouandjio is the only solid backup at guard and he could push for Lauvao’s starting job. If he wins the job and the team doesn’t want to pay Lauvao $4 million to be a backup, the Redskins will need a couple of guards for depth. Look for one or two to come their way in Rounds 3-5 this week.

Where can the offensive line find improvement?

The left guard spot was the weak link on the chain last year. Lauvao was charged with 32 QB hurries, by far the most on the team. Whether it’s Lauvao becoming fully healthy (a 2015 ankle injury limited him for the offseason program last year) or Kouandjio or another starter from the draft, the position has to be better in 2017.

Another factor that will help is Trent Williams being available for 16 games. Yes, Nsekhe is a very good backup. But in four starts Nsekhe allowed a sack plus 13 pressures. Williams started 12 games and allowed two sacks and 14 pressures. They are paying Williams $11.25 million this year for a reason.

Locks and bubble players

Trent Williams, Long, Scherff, Moses and Nsekhe are locks. Lauvao and Kouandjio are close but the draft could have an impact on them.

Out of the bubble players it would seem that Painter has the best shot of sticking simply because he was in the program last year. Bowe and Kling are huge and they are long shots who will draw interest if they can use their size.

The chances of any of the bubble players will be affected by the draft. There could be some fun competitions down the depth chart in training camp.

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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NFL Draft Countdown: 5 questions for Redskins Director of College Scouting Scott Campbell

NFL Draft Countdown: 5 questions for Redskins Director of College Scouting Scott Campbell

Redskins Director of College Scouting Scott Campbell will speak to the media on Monday, and there are plenty of questions as Washington prepares for the draft on Thursday.

Some of the most important topics will not be about what college players the 'Skins will target, but rather the state of the front office since the ouster of former general manager Scot McCloughan. That said, Campbell plays a huge role in draft decisions, and it will be quite interesting to inquire on strategy. 

Below are five questions for Campbell:

  1. What now - With McCloughan gone, what, if any, changes have happened in the front office? Does Campbell have more control or input on player selection? 
  2. Final say - Again, with McCloughan gone, who makes the final call on players? Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden made very clear during NFL League Meetings a few weeks back that a composite of Redskins officials work to establish a grade for each draft prospect. The team then drafts based on those grades. But eventually, the team will be forced to deviate from the draft board or make a decision on two players with similar grades. Who makes the final call?
  3. Need or talent - Redskins fans tend to grow frustrated at the suggestion of taking the best player available in the NFL Draft, but that is also the methodology the franchise has employed. That system delivered first-round picks of a guard in 2015 and a receiver in 2016; neither position had great need. Washington most needs help on its defensive line, and the defensive side of the ball overall.
  4. Sweet 17 - The entire draft is an opportunity for the 'Skins to add talent, but no pick carries as much potential as the 17th overall. The speculation is wild about what player might land with the Burgundy and Gold, and the rumors will only build this week. Is a running back in play? Haason Reddick? Could off-field concerns drop Reuben Foster to 17? 
  5. Another arm - Washington has Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld under contract in 2017. After that, however, Cousins could be gone. Will the 'Skins look to add another passer, perhaps on Friday or Saturday in the later rounds? If they do, it's unlikely the team will carry four QBs this fall, so a decision could accompany that pick.
  6. Trading places - Might a trade be in the works? Last year the Skins made a number of trades over the course of the three-day draft, and it's likely more deals get worked out this week in Philadelphia. Does that mean a mega-trade that includes Cousins? Probably not. But it would not be a surprise if the franchise traded down in the first round, like they did in 2016. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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