Washington Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: New mock draft fills key needs for Redskins

Need to Know: New mock draft fills key needs for Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 2, 26 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 83 days ago. It will be about 162 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 16; 2016 NFL draft 26; Redskins training camp starts 117

Hot topics

Here’s a look at five of the most popular posts of the last week here and on CSNmidatlantic.com.

RG3 called Shanny?—Since this was a news story I tried to stay away from opining. But I was sure to note that this was Shanahan’s version of things. As we know, Shanahan’s version of an event and the truth can be total strangers. One indicator that he may have, uh, embellished the story is that the version that he tells makes him look better. That’s the case here so may I recommend taking his version of what transpired with a whole shaker full of salt.

Gruden on unheralded CB Dunbar: 'He’s going to be a good one'—I thought the Redskins were in big trouble in late November last year when I saw Quinton Dunbar line up across from Odell Beckham when the Redskins and Giants met in a game critical to the Redskins’ playoff hopes. But Dunbar performed just fine and he came up with a key end zone interception in the second half that kept the Giants off the board. It will be interesting to track the progress of the undrafted wide receiver turned cornerback this year.

NFL Mock Draft 7.0: Pondering NFC East decisions—Nose tackle and safety, done and done. I have to think that nearly every fan out there would be pretty happy with the real draft if it turns out like this one (although some might be a little nervious about the Eagles' top pick). Go take a look.

Can Cousins become top 5 QB?—This one drew more comments than any other post in March. I think a lot of them were confused, believing somehow that Jay Gruden was saying that Cousins is or should be one of the five best QBs in the NFL. His exact quote: “Now all of a sudden when as you’re trying to establish yourself as one of the top five guys in the NFL.” I’m not sure why there is anything controversial there. Should Cousins just settle for getting in the top half, maybe the lower part of the top 10? What happened to your reach should exceed your grasp and all that? Pressure? Come on. Nobody puts more pressure on Cousins than he puts on himself.

Will the Redskins draft a center with their top pick?—I said this in the post and I’ll say it again—them might draft C Ryan Kelly of Alabama at No. 21 but it would be a horrible idea. It’s better to have a good interior O-line than not but spending two straight first-round picks on a guard and a center just isn’t the way to go. Expending high value picks on low value positions is not a good use of the draft.

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins coaches appreciate Niles Paul. Not just for the immense physical skills, a 6-foot-1, 225 lb. college receiver turned NFL tight end and fullback. He works hard every day at practice, and demands the same from his teammates. 

Last season, Paul landed on the injured reserve after an injury in London during a Week 8 tie against the Bengals. Because of that, some speculation emerged that Paul could be the odd man out in the Redskins tight end group, behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and fighting with 2017 draft pick Jeremy Sprinkle, not to mention veteran Derek Carrier. 

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS MAKE RUN AT NICK MANGOLD?

After two preseason games, it's clear Paul is ready to fight for that spot. Against Green Bay on Saturday night, Paul logged a touchdown catch and a fumble recovery on special teams, showing the versatility that makes him so valuable to Washington. 

For Paul, he's just happy to be back on the field. 

"I got my season cut in half last year. I just want to be back on the field by any means necessary. I've just been missing it. I've been missing football in my life," Paul said after the game (full video above).

Paul's acrobatic TD grab showed that he still has the explosiveness to help the offense, but his special teams play is what will keep him on the roster. It also helps that head coach Jay Gruden complimented Paul for an outstanding camp and work ethic. 

"His speed looks where it was before the injuries. I mean, I think he's had an outstanding training camp so far. He's done so many different things. And that's one of the toughest positions," Gruden said of Paul. 

The Redskins offense hasn't hit full cylinder yet, but Paul thinks the return of Jordan Reed will help. 

"We're missing a major piece and that's Jordan Reed," he said. "We got some fine tuning to do."

Considering Reed's injury history, and backup tight end Vernon Davis starting the season at 33, a healthy Paul is a luxury for the Redskins. He stands to make nearly $2.5 million this season, but he also brings versatility. Paul is happy to play fullback, a role that seems to be growing, as well as all over the field on special teams. 

Washington will absolutely keep Reed and Davis. With his play this preseason, Paul seems a sure thing too. And if the squad wants to keep their draft pick in Sprinkle, who has tremendous size and has shown promise, four tight ends on the 53-man roster looks like the future. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

usatsi_9622427.jpg
USA Today Sports

With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

News broke late Monday night that Redskins' center Spencer Long underwent a minor knee scope and is expected to miss two weeks. That timetable spells good news for Washington, as that would bring Long back to the team before the first regular season game against the Eagles on September 10th. 

In the meantime, expect rookie Chase Roullier to take over at center for the Redskins. A 6th round draft pick, Bruce Allen and the Washington brass moved up to select Roullier, and the young player out of Wyoming had a strong training camp. 

RELATED: NILES PAUL FORCING HIS WAY TO A ROSTER SPOT?

"He’s done a great job, he really has. For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Roullier in early August. 

Still, Jay Gruden has been very clear about the need for a backup center on the roster. Last season the team brought in veteran John Sullivan during the year to provide depth at the position after Kory Lichtensteiger went down with injury.  Sullivan ended up starting one game for Washington, and is now playing with the Rams. 

With Long on the mend, the only other center on the Redskins roster is Roullier. Ronald Patrick is listed with the more generic OL designation though he has played center too.

It seems likely the team will move quickly to add another center, and one name that will get suggested is Nick Mangold. An 11-year veteran that played his entire career with the Jets, Mangold has more experience than Long, Roullier and Patrick combined.

He's also played the position at a very high level. Twice named to the NFL's All Pro team, Mangold has made seven Pro Bowls, most recently in 2015.

It's not entirely clear why Mangold isn't on an NFL roster already. He worked out for the Ravens this offseason, though some reports suggested Mangold wanted more guaranteed money than was discussed. 

A quick look at his Twitter feed does not suggest a guy missing the NFL life. A big soccer fan, Mangold seems very dialed in to London's Tottenham Hotspur and the New York City Football Club. (Check his Twitter out here)

If the team truly believes Long should not miss any regular season action, Mangold is probably not a fit. At 33-years-old with an impressive resume, Mangold likely doesn't want to come back just to be a backup, and Gruden has repeatedly talked about Long's ability and potential in the middle of the line. Should Long suffer a setback, the equation could change. 

Other names are likely to pop up for tryouts, as the 'Skins must consider more interior line depth. Making a run at Mangold might be something fans want to do, though it might not make sense at this point.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!