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Need to Know: The five best Redskins second-round draft picks

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Need to Know: The five best Redskins second-round draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 25, 14 days before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel coverage

The Redskins’ first pick in the 2014 draft will come in the second round. Since the NFL merger in 1970 the Redskins have picked 30 players in the second round. Here are the best of them (per PF-Ref’s Approximate Value metric):

OT Jon Jansen (1999-37 overall)—Jansen earned the nickname “The Rock” by starting 50 straight games at Michigan. He kept it up by starting the first 80 games as a Redskin as he and Chris Samuels formed a great set of bookend tackles for a few years. A torn Achilles abruptly ended the streak during the 2003 preseason. He was never quite the same after that.

CB Fred Smoot (2001-45)—One of the few Redskins who left as free agents and then played worse than he had before leaving. He was a solid starter with 16 interceptions in four seasons in Washington before signing a free agent deal with the Vikings. There he encountered injury and ineffectiveness, not to mention the “Love Boat” incident. He then returned to the Redskins for three more seasons as a good contributor.

G Tré Johnson (1994-31)—At 6-2, 328 (and probably heavier as his career went on) he was the perfect road grader in the Redskins’ power run game. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay healthy but he was very good when he was in the lineup. He made the Pro Bowl in 1999, the only season in which he played 16 games.

DT Bill Brundidge (1970-43)—A very steady, workmanlike tackle. Brundidge played in the era before they tallied sacks but he probably would have recorded only a few per year. But he played in the heart of George Allen’s defense and it was that unit that was most responsible for getting the Redskins to their first Super Bowl and four other playoff appearances.

LB Andre Collins (1990-46)—He walked in and started 16 games as a rookie, racking up six sacks. The next year he was a key member of the Super Bowl champs, recording three sacks, two interceptions, and leading the team with 151 tackles.

Notes: The fact that the Redskins have had 30 second-round picks in 44 drafts means that they have traded away a net 14 second-rounders. Two players the Redskins picked in the second, OT Wally Kleine (1987) and DT Bob Slater (1984), never played a snap due to injuries.

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Timeline

—It’s been 58 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 194 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Free agency starts 14; Offseason workouts start 41; NFL Draft 72

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

GLENDALE, AZ—As expected, the Redskins will be without star tight end Jordan Reed today against the Cardinals.

He is inactive due to a third-degree AC joint sprain in his left shoulder.

Reed gutted it out and played the second half on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas after being injured in the first but during the week he didn’t practice at all couldn’t regain the range of motion needed to play today.

Coach Jay Gruden said on Friday that the team is planning on having Reed play next week against the Eagles.

For this week, Vernon Davis will step into the starting role.

Also inactive is reserve defensive lineman Anthony Lanier, who was kicked in the lower leg in Dallas. Gruden said that the swelling was still too severe for him to be able to play.

LIVE BLOG: WEEK 13 REDSKINS VS. CARDINALS

The Redskins’ other inactive players today:

  • QB Nate Sudfeld
  • DL AJ Francis
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Rashad Ross
  • DB Dashaun Phillips