Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 25, 13 days before the start of NFL free agency.
Is the door open for an Alfred Morris return?
—They will be paying close attention to running backs in Indianapolis but the need may not be a great when the draft rolls around as it seems to be now. McCloughan previously left the door for a return of Alfred Morris open a crack; Jay Gruden pushed it open a little bit more yesterday. “There’s not one negative thing I can say about him as a player and person,” Gruden said. He said that a return is “not a long shot”. I’ll believe it when I see it—I think the Redskins want a more dynamic player as their lead dog—but I get the feeling that if Gruden had his druthers Morris would be back.
—Don’t fall for talk of a player “shooting up the draft boards” after running a fast 40-yard dash, at least not as far as the Redskins are concerned. Scot McCloughan will throw that into the pile of data for evaluation of a player but as the draft gets closer that gaudy time will get buried underneath film evaluations and the results of character investigations. It might be a tiebreaker at some point but a run in what McCloughan derisively calls “pajamas” isn’t going to substantially alter where the Redskins might consider drafting the player.
—The Redskins’ first- and second-round picks are the only ones that are set at this point. As you know, the first rounder is No. 21 overall. The second-round pick falls at No. 53. Since they had the same record as the Texans they will alternate picking ahead of each other with the Redskins getting the 21st pick in even-numbered rounds and the 22nd in odd-numbered rounds. Among the active players drafted 53rd are Packers receiver Davante Adams, Bills running back LeSean McCoy, and Redskins defensive end Stephen Paea (picked by the Bears). I’d have to think that McCloughan would love to get a receiver like Adams, who played well as a rookie but battled injuries last year, or a back like McCoy with that pick.
—The Redskins currently have eight picks, one in each round plus an extra seventh. It seems very likely that McCloughan will do some dealing and move down for extra picks. I’ll establish the over/under on the number of picks the Redskins end up with at 10 in this draft and one in the bank for 2017.
—I get the impression that for a lot of teams, including the Redskins, the combine is more about eliminating players from their draft boards than it is about positioning players and really deciding what players deserve further study. You aren’t going to draft a player because he passes the medical part with flying colors but McCloughan will eliminate someone if it looks like that ankle fracture that ended a player’s sophomore season could cause problems down the road. He’s not going to talk to a player for the five to ten minutes allotted for interviews and decide he’s a top 100 pick but he could quickly find out that a player won’t fit in with the culture they are trying to establish.
—The Redskins last played a game 46 days ago. It will be about 199 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL free agency starts 13; 2016 NFL draft 63
In case you missed it
- Gruden: QB switch more about Kirk, RG3 injuries
- Redskins' Matt Jones' ball security is an issue that needs to be fixed in 2016
- Matt Jones is recovering from minor hip surgery
- Keenan Robinson not expected to return
- Gruden: Hatcher may be leaning toward returning for an 11th NFL season
- Gruden anticipates having both Jackson and Garçon back in 2016
- NFL Combine Preview: Risk vs reward with Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith
- Price for Broncos' DL Jackson likely too high for Redskins' budget
- Need to Know: Ragland? Henry? Who is more likely to be a Redskin?