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Need to Know: What positions are the Redskins unlikely to draft at No. 5?

Need to Know: What positions are the Redskins unlikely to draft at No. 5?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 30, 31 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:

There are a few different ways to look at Jay’s question here. Are there positions they won’t draft because of need? Should some positions be eliminated from consideration because the value of the position doesn’t warrant a pick that high? And will the Redskins stay away from a particular position because there isn’t a player at that position who has a chance of being anywhere near the best available player?

We can eliminate the needs consideration because virtually any position on the team that is not an area of need this year is likely to be one in 2016. Plus I think by now everyone is familiar with Scot McCloughan’s mantra that the Redskins will take the best available player regardless of need. So let’s see how the NFL values positions in the draft.

Here are the positions played by the top six picks in the drafts from 2011-2014 (24 total players). It’s a fairly small sample size but 2011 is the first year the current rookie pay system came into place and money became less of a factor in deciding what player to select. This gives us a consistent definition of value. We’re taking the top six because any position that have been taken in that range recently is likely to one that you would value enough to draft at No. 5.

OT—6
QB—4
WR—4
DE—4
CB—2
OLB—2
DT—1
RB—1

So the positions that haven’t been drafted in the top six in the rookie pay system era (if you can call four years an era) are interior offensive line, tight end, inside linebacker, and safety. That doesn’t mean that nobody will ever draft any of those positions early but there would have to be an exceptional player there in order to justify the pick. By the estimation of most draft analysts, such a player does not exist at any of those positions in the 2015 draft.

It should be noted that all of the offensive tackles taken in the last four drafts played left tackle for their teams in 2014. The lone exception is Lane Johnson, taken fourth overall by the Eagles in 2013.

Looking at the positions of the players who have been drafted early in the last four drafts, which ones don’t have anyone worthy of the fifth pick this year? Again going by the opinions of most analysts out there, there aren’t any running backs, cornerbacks, defensive tackles or offensive tackles that would be a good value very early in the draft.

To sum it up and answer Jay’s question, the Redskins’ top draft pick if they stay at No. 5 is unlikely to be an interior offensive lineman, tight end, inside linebacker, safety, cornerback, running back, defensive tackle or offensive tackle.

That leaves quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end, and outside linebacker as the possibilities. I say that with the realization that there are surprises on draft day and anything can happen. But that is the current best guess looking at history and the current list of players available.

Timeline

—It’s been 92 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 167 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 21; 2015 NFL Draft 31; Redskins training camp starts 122

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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In case you missed it

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<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!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<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!