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Need to Know: Haslett makes case for 'elite' Orakpo

Need to Know: Haslett makes case for 'elite' Orakpo

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 20, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Nickel coverage

Five notes and quotes from Thursday's press conferences.

1.Nothing against former Denver center J. D. Walton, who the Redskins claimed off of waivers yesterday. But this transaction makes no sense. “No, I think this is for the future. He would not play this week or next week,” said Mike Shanahan (complete news conference transcript). That might be fine except that Walton’s rookie contract expires after this season. So he will be a Redskin for two games. And he gets to walk in to an environment where distractions are many and playoff possibilities are zero. Strange.

2. I was one of the few who didn’t object when Kyle Shanahan (complete news conference transcript) called a play-action out of the Redskins’ end zone. Even though it ended up being picked off, I liked the aggressive style. “I always feel if you punt when you’re backed up, I look at that as we as an offense just gave the other team three points. All they need to do is go about 10 yards after they catch that punt and they already have a field goal, so I feel it’s very important when you’re backed up to get a first down. We’re not just going to play conservatively to not get a safety.

3. Jim Haslett (complete news conference transcript) made the case that Brian Orakpo is an elite pass rusher. He made a valid point that while he doesn’t have the sack numbers that others do he doesn’t rush the passer on every down. “I don’t know what you’re calling elite, but I’ll say sack-wise, numbers-wise, he’s got 10, and you’ve got [Green Bay linebacker Clay] Mathews has 16 who rushes every down, [Rams defensive end Robert] Quinn who has 15 I think, he rushes every down — I don’t know who else is in between — but I would say that’s fair because he doesn’t rush every down. He rushes every time on third down or nickel, but he does drop into coverage.”

4. Aldrick Robinson has been more productive in the last two games than he was in the first 12 combined. Kyle hopes he can use his speed to open up other things. “Aldrick, everybody knows he’s our fastest player and you usually like to send your fastest player deep over your slower players, but there’s not really a play in our offense that just says we’re throwing it deep. I kind of want them to cover Aldrick deep. Please cover him so we can throw it to open people underneath, as long as we’re sucking up the linebackers on a play-fake.”

5. It seems that most of the players have picked up this message from Mike Shanahan; the effort from all but a few has been solid. “No, it’s not really, not if you’ve got the right guys, you’ve got the right character. You’re getting full-speed effort. They understand that this is their profession and if they don’t handle it that way, then the chances of them being around for any length of time is not very good.”

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Stat of the day

—On first and 10 this year the Redskins have run 179 times for a 3.6 average per play and they have passed 191 times for an average of 7.2 yards.

Timeline

—Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 2; Redskins @ Giants 9; Opening Sunday 2014 262

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan news conference and player availability after practice (approx. 1:15)

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Haslett talks about Romo 

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QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

Quarterbacks will come off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. That much is certain. Where those quarterbacks come off the board, however, matters much more for the Redskins. 

Mitchell Trubisky will be the first passer off the board, and depending on the information, he could be drafted as high as the first overall pick, and will certainly go early.

Trubisky, though, seems like the only certainty of a QB going early. Questions plague guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Those guys could all go in the first half of the draft, but they could all slide into the 20s as well. 

For Washington, the earlier quarterbacks get drafted the better. It seems highly unlikely the Redskins make a draft day trade of QB Kirk Cousins, limiting hardly any interest in a first-round passer.

The more passers that go before the 'Skins pick at 17 means the more high-quality players slide down the draft board. Look around the internet at lists of the best prospects available. Hardly any signal callers crack the Top 20, but the positional need at QB demands the position be overdrafted.

Though the Burgundy and Gold continue to slow-play contract talks with Cousins, he is under contract for 2017 and the team holds an option for 2018. That means Bruce Allen can sit in his draft room and potentially be a trade partner for a team that wants to land a QB, or just wait patiently and watch as they come off the board and send other desirable prospects closer to 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 16
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 28
—Training camp starts (7/27) 92
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 137

Wrapping up the Redskins pre-draft presser

We’ve looked at a some of what Redskins college scouting director Scott Campbell said during his pre-draft press conference on Monday, covering possible trades, who makes the final call on those trades, and how the organization handles character issues. Here are a few more bullet points from Campbell’s presser:

—Asked if the Redskins would draft to fill needs or take the best available player, Campbell gave the stock answer. “I guess as you asked the question, you kind of framed it and the way I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.” So, there you go. That said, don’t be surprised if the best players as defined by the Redskins in the first few also happen have the “bonus” of filling one the team’s top two or three needs.

—The needs could line up well because the strength of the draft as Campbell sees it coincides with side of the ball where the Redskins need the most help. “Well, I’m excited because I think it’s one of the strongest, deepest classes on the defensive side of the ball that I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve told the guys upstairs I’m excited because we’re going to get better . . . And several different positions – sometimes it’s just maybe defensive line or outside backers or corners. Across the board on defense, I’m really excited about the class and the guys we’re going to bring in are going to help us.”

—The draft board is still used after the draft ends and the scramble for undrafted free agents starts up. “There’s going to be guys left on the bottom of that board that didn’t get drafted that we had rated as draftable,” said Campbell. “So that’s our No. 1 targets. I assign a scout to all the coaches, and really the coaches talk to the players – once the draft ends, let me be clear, it’s after the draft ends when we start making calls – the scouts are on the phone with the agent finding out what our competition is, how much.” Campbell said that money isn’t much of a factor in recruiting the undrafted players; selling opportunity is the key.

—The draft board was influenced by former GM Scot McCloughan but adjustments have been made since he was fired in early March. “Well, he certainly had influence on it because we all met as we always did the last couple of years and every team does. You meet right after the all-star games before you go to the combine and kind of get an initial ranking of how you like the guys. Of course Scot hadn’t been here since, so just like when he was here before, there’s adjustments being made to the board with the new information.”

—The 2016 draft class did not contribute a lot but does not mean that there is more pressure on the organization to do better this year. The pressure is always there regardless. “Always pressure. Every year’s pressure,” said Campbell. “I grew up in an NFL household. My dad was a coach and a player for 40 years. Pressure every year to perform, that’s what the NFL is. You’ve got to perform every year.” His father was Marion Campbell who played in the NFL for eight years and then coached for 21 seasons including stints as the head coach of the Eagles and Falcons.

—Campbell also asked for a little patience with the 2016 draft class, citing a group from a few years ago. “It takes a couple of years to develop a class,” said Campbell. “People are saying the ‘14 class had some success. Well, if I read articles and see what happened and what was said right after that draft, our grades in the mock drafts were not very good. It takes time. Morgan Moses didn’t start his first year, you know, but he’s come on to be one of the best right tackles in the league. That’s my opinion anyway. It takes time to develop. I still think with time, that class [2016] will be just fine.” I guess I buried the lede here—Campbell reads draft grades.

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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