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Need to Know: The last five players drafted with pick No. 34

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Need to Know: The last five players drafted with pick No. 34

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 22, 17 days before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel coverage

The Redskins have the 34th pick in the NFL draft, which starts May 8. Here are the last five players taken at No. 34 overall:

WR Justin Hunter, TEN, 2013—The 6-4 receiver out of Tennessee got on the field for 14 games last year. Hunter caught 18 passes but he gained 354 yards for an impressive 19.7 yards per catch and four touchdowns. It is likely that the Titans will have plans to get his hands on the ball more often in 2014.

TE Coby Fleener, IND, 2012—Many Redskins fans have a soft spot for Fleener as his full first name is Jacoby and he was named after an original Hog, Joe Jacoby. After a decent but fairly quiet rookie year he became one of Andrew Luck’s  in 2013 with 52 receptions for 608 yards and four TD’s.

DB Aaron Williams, BUF, 2011—Williams was one of the better and most valuable defensive players for the Bills last year. He started games at both cornerback and safety for the Bills in 2013 and picked off four passes.

DB Chris Cook, MIN, 2010—Injuries and some jail time for a domestic assault case have limited Cook to 29 starts in four seasons with the Vikings. He has yet to record his first career interception.

DB Patrick Chung, NE, 2009—Chung never gained traction with the Patriots after being drafted out of Oregon. He started 13 games at safety in 2010 (most of them alongside Brandon Meriweather) and picked off three passes, returning one of them for 96 yards and a touchdown. But he was in and out of the lineup after that and the Patriots let him walk to the Eagles last year.

(Had I gone back one more year, this list would have included the last player the Redskins took with pick No. 34, wide receiver Devin Thomas.)

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Timeline

—It’s been 55 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 197 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Free agency starts 17; Offseason workouts start 44; NFL Draft 75

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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