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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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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona. 

Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.

The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.

Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed. 

"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.

As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.

On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.

Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. 

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