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Need to Know: What are the Redskins' biggest needs?

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Need to Know: What are the Redskins' biggest needs?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 17, 38 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Question of the day

We’re flipping into offseason mode with Need to Know. At least 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 comes from the Real Redskins Facebook page.

The Redskins have needs everywhere. I can’t think of a single area on the team where Scot McCloughan can look at the depth chart and say, “I’m set there, I don’t need to add a good player at that position.” Whether it’s at the top of the depth chart or as a reserve, the team needs help everywhere.

But some needs are more urgent than others. Here are a few areas where starters or key reserves will be needed in either 2016 or 2017.

Running back—It seems likely that Alfred Morris will move on and it’s not clear if Matt Jones can be the replacement. They want a dynamic back who is capable of contributing on all three downs.

Safety—Dashon Goldson and DeAngelo Hall are short-term solutions at best. Kyshoen Jarrett appears to be a keeper but they need at least two more.

Quarterback—They will lock up Kirk Cousins with either a long-term contract or with the franchise tag. But Robert Griffin III will be gone and Colt McCoy could decide to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Defensive line—They could field three decent starters here in 2016 even if Jason Hatcher does retire. But the unit needs an injection of youth and finding one or two linemen in the draft will start the rebuild process.

There are some other areas with needs of varying degrees of urgency. They will need a new center sooner rather than later. Andre Roberts is likely to move on in free agency and the top two receivers will turn 30 this year. Niles Paul’s return will help the tight end depth chart but they still don’t have a blocking TE on the roster. Looking at some of the cornerbacks the Redskins had to use later in the year, they could use some help there.

And so on. Again, there isn’t a position on the team where they couldn’t use either a draft pick or a quality free agent at the right price.

I’m going to leave the question of free agent targets alone for right now. It’s early and there are a lot of moving parts including players who are under contract who will be cut and pending free agents who will be signed. Just keep in mind that McCloughan is not one to make a free agent splash so look for him to target younger players who won’t eat up a ton of cap space.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game seven days ago. It will be about 238 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 38; NFL free agency starts 53; 2016 NFL draft 102

In case you missed it

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Jonathan Allen plans to model his game after two other All-Pro defenders

Jonathan Allen plans to model his game after two other All-Pro defenders

New Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is looking to pattern his game after two All-Pro linemen. 

"I'm a very versatile player and can do anything. I love watching Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald," Washington’s first-round draft pick told reporters on a conference call.

The Redskins will be very happy if Allen can be as productive as Atkins and Donald. Atkins has played for the Bengals since the 2010 season. He has been durable, playing in 16 games in six of his seven seasons, and effective, producing 52 sacks, a good total for a defensive tackle. 

MORE REDSKINS: A COMPLETE RECAP OF ROUND 1

Donald was a first-round pick of the Rams in 2014. He was a first-team All-Pro in each of the past two seasons, recording a total of 28 sacks in his three seasons. 

Both players combine outstanding physical talent and high motors. Allen has selected two pretty good role models to follow. 

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

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Gruden: Redskins have no concerns about Allen's shoulders

Gruden: Redskins have no concerns about Allen's shoulders

Jonathan Allen was the perfect pick for the Redskins, filling a need with a player who clearly was the best on the board.

Allen’s slide from a top-five prospect to the middle of the first round is believed to be because of issues with both of his shoulders. During his time at Alabama he suffered labral tears in both of his shoulders that were surgically repaired and he also suffers from mild arthritis in both of them. That apparently scared some teams off but not the Redskins.

“We didn't have any concerns,” said coach Jay Gruden. “We talked to Dr. [James] Andrews, he gave thumbs up on him. We feel very good about the injuries.”

Then why did a top talent slide all the way back to the Redskins’ pick?

“As far as him falling to us, their were a lot of things that happened in the draft, three quarterbacks went, a couple of receivers went pretty high, a lot of offensive players went that probably not a lot of people expected,” said Gruden. “So, some of these very good defensive players fell to us and we're happy.”

Allen told reporters that the shoulders did not cause him any problems while he was playing.

“I didn’t even wear a brace for the [2016] season,” Allen said. “So, I mean, it doesn’t even affect me. Every team I talked to, shoulders were medically cleared, no problems. Probably the best I’ve felt in the last four years, to be honest.”

Alabama team doctor Lyle Cain’s assessment of Allen’s shoulders align with those of the player and Gruden.

"He's played without any problems," Cain told NFL Media last month. "This is something that a lot of offensive linemen and defensive linemen have, things guys play with their whole careers. It's just a little earlier for him because he got hurt in college."

We will see how this plays out. It’s possible that his injury problems could limit his effectiveness or cut his career short. But clearly the Redskins saw that the Allen’s talent made the injury risk a worthwhile gamble.

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.