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Need to Know: What affect will free agency have on the Redskins' draft?

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Need to Know: What affect will free agency have on the Redskins' draft?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 15, 46 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

If you have been paying any attention at all since the Redskins hired Scot McCloughan as the general manager you know that his mantra is that he will draft the best available player on the board regardless of need.

Free agency, on the other hand, is all about filling needs. Unlike the draft, it’s more like grocery shopping. You make a list, figure out your budget, and you go to work.

Some think that because you draft the best player available free agency doesn’t have much of an effect on the draft. The best player before you added some free agents is still going to be the best player. But the definition of “best player available” will change. That is because needs are factored in to the grades that determine BPA. So free agent signings will affect the draft board.

However, just signing a player doesn’t mean that your draft board shifts in a major way. Since the Redskins signed Terrance Knighton, many fans believe that they won’t draft nose tackle Danny Shelton of Washington. But Knighton is only on a one-year deal. The presence of Pot Roast will have a minimal effect on a decision to draft Shelton or a nose tackle at any other point in the draft.

It might be another situation at cornerback. With Chris Culliver now signed and second-year cornerback Bashaud Breeland showing that he can be at least a solid starter for years to come. That will lessen the need at cornerback considerably. That doesn’t mean that they won’t draft a cornerback but that player would have to be the best on the board by a considerable margin, especially in the earlier stages of the draft.

This is something that we'll look at in more detail and name some more names as the Redskins finish up free agency and the draft gets closer.

Timeline

—It’s been 77 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 182 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 36; 2015 NFL Draft 46; Redskins training camp starts 137

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

How plausible is a draft day trade? Could the Redskins move up? And what to do about all those 'diluted samples'? JP Finlay and Rich Tandler break it all down.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins roster by the numbers: Defense

Redskins roster by the numbers: Defense

The Redskins currently have 75 players on their roster. They are about to add some more in the draft and as undrafted free agents. They can have up to 90 players on their offseason roster. Year after year the distribution of those players to positions are consistent. We can look at what they have and see what they need to sign to get through OTAs, minicamp, and training camp.

Let’s break down the numbers by position and see where they will need to add players to get to where they want to be going into training camp. Last week we looked at the offense; today we’ll look at the numbers on defense.

End

Have: 6
Need: 8

Just like in a game, you want plenty of players to rotate through the line in the heat of training camp. They could carry one or two additional players here since they are legitimately in search of players who can have an impact beyond starters Terrelle McClain and Stacy McGee and pass rushing project Anthony Lanier.  

Nose Tackle

Have: 2
Need: 4

Like with the ends, you want to have a few big guys to rotate in when it gets hot in Richmond. It would be surprising if the Redskins didn’t add a nose tackle to the mix in the draft, probably on Saturday.

Inside linebacker

Have: 9
Need: 8

If the Redskins take an inside linebacker in the draft, as many expect that will, this position would get very crowded. They could keep as many as six on the final 53-man roster if there are a couple of key special teams players in the group.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Outside linebacker

Have: 7
Need: 7

They could keep an extra one or two if they find some in the draft. You can’t have too many pass rushers, although they have kept just four on the final roster recently.  

Cornerback

Have: 7
Need: 8

It has always seemed to be a little odd to me that they’ll bring in a dozen wide receivers and only seven or eight corners.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often

Safety

Have: 7
Need: 7

The depth chart here is unusual in that all seven players have significant NFL playing time; there is no “training camp fodder” here. If the draft one, an experienced player might be let go.  

Total defensive players under contract: 38
Total needed for camp: 41

There are 34 offensive players and three specialists on the roster, making the total 75. If they don’t make deals and use all 10 of their draft picks that will leave just five spots to sign undrafted free agents. They likely will want to sign more than that meaning that some of the players currently on the roster will end up getting cut, particularly those on the defensive side.

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.