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Need to Know: Who will be the Redskins' top pick?

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Need to Know: Who will be the Redskins' top pick?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 7, 21 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 88 days ago. It will be about 157 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 11; 2016 NFL draft 21; Redskins training camp starts 112

Hot topic

The imaginary casino chips have been gathering dust lately so let’s take them out and look at the odds on who the Redskins might pick at No. 21 when the NFL draft gets underway three weeks from today. At Redskins.com they recently took a look at who some recent mock drafts had the Redskins taking. I chose five players who were mentioned most frequently and/or came in the more recent mocks in their collection.

Since it’s been a while, a refresher—it’s $100 in imaginary chips and I spread them out among the possibilities according to the chances I think each one has of actually being the pick.

Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama, $10—Reed and Terrance Knighton are very different players but I think that the Redskins let Pot Roast walk because they wanted more out of the position. Reed is younger and cheaper but I believe the Redskins will think they can do better and get a more versatile player.

Andrew Billings, DL, Baylor, $30—His combination of quickness and power give him a high ceiling. He could play nose tackle, 4-3 tackle, and possibly 3-4 end. A versatile weapon who could be a steal at No. 21.

Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama, $15—Ask me again in a week or two and he could be the favorite or he could draw the minimum $5 bet. He could be a major part of the solution to one of the Redskins’ biggest liabilities last year, rushing defense. But is he good enough to overcome the liability he could be when the other team drops back to pass?

A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama, $20—If Billings is gone, Robinson could be the best defensive lineman left on the board. He’s more versatile than Reed, probably more useful against the pass, although his ability to pressure is in question as well.

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU, $25—I hope I don’t really have to explain why receiver is a big need for the Redskins because Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are both in the final year of their contracts. But I guess I just did. Doctson (6-2) is the big WR the team has been seeking for years.

Stat of the day

Kirk Cousins’ completion percentage last year was 69.8 percent, which is No. 8 on the all-time list for that stat in a single season. Of the QB’s who had better seasons in this category than Cousins did, three are in the Hall of Fame (Baugh, Steve Young, Montana) and one, Drew Brees, is certain to make it there. The other two are Kenny Anderson and Tony Romo.

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Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 29, 29 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 19
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 44
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 56
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 108
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 156

Rule changes with commentary

—Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

Tandler: While it’s a fun play when it’s executed properly I can see the player safety angle of it. I’m not sure why teams didn’t just run some placement kicks with delayed snaps to get a free five yards because once a player has committed to the leap he can’t stop.

—Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

Tandler: One of the few times that this came into play was in Week 3 when Giants center Weston Richburg got the boot for multiple penalties against the Redskins. I suppose most Redskins fans will be fine with it until a Washington player gets kicked out of a key game. Last year the rule was experimental and this makes it permanent

—Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

Tandler: I think this is kind of a dumb rule but it's designed to reduce kickoff returns and they did go down from 1,138 in 2015 to 1,012 last season. That’s an 11 percent drop and they want to give the experimental rule another year to see if that was just a statistical anomaly. It should be noted here that the Redskins’ proposal to place a kickoff that goes through the uprights at the 20-yard line did muster 11 votes but that’s far short of the 24 needed to pass it. The No Fun League indeed.

—Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

Tandler: These are two different rules but I’m combining them into once comment—good for player safety, not sure why it took them so long to pass these rules.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

—Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

Tandler: This is good for so many reasons. We should get better, more consistent decisions (although there’s no guarantee that my evergreen “Siri, what is a catch” tweet will be retired permanently). And the time that replay uses up should be greatly reduced.

—Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

Tandler: This keeps teams from grabbing multiple receivers to prevent a Hail Mary attempt at the end of half or a game and prevents them from holding multiple players on a punt attempt to run out the clock at the end of a game. It’s a loophole that was closed, forcing a team to play defense or execute a punt instead of committing intentional penalties. The key is that the clock is reset to where it was when the ball was snapped.

—Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Tandler: This just takes the penalties that result in 10-second runoffs in the last minute of a half, mostly false starts when the clock is running, and makes them illegal any time after the two-minute warning.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

Responding to a tweet saying that the rule to put replay in the hands of official at the NFL offices:

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Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

It's never easy to say goodbye to a well-liked coworker, especially when that employee has been fired. In the NFL, that's no different. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden opened up about the departure of former GM Scot McCloughan while speaking with reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

"I was disappointed. I liked Scot. I liked working with Scot. He’s a good person, and a great talent evaluator," Gruden said.

The highly publicized demise of McCloughan as Redskins general manager made plenty of headlines, but as far the organization goes, Gruden believes the team is still in good shape.

"Any time you lose somebody that you become close with, whether it’s a coach or a GM or a player it's disappointing but at the end of the day in pro football, anybody that’s been around it long enough understands, change is going to happen and you have to react and adjust to it and move forward with a positive outlook," Gruden said.

Part of that positive outlook stems from moves the team has made this offseason.

Offensively the franchise brought in a big new weapon in receiver Terrelle Pryor. Paired with 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, assuming he's healthy, the Redskins could have two dynamic pass catchers to offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. On the defensive line, Gruden thinks new players Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee can emerge as solid players with high upside. Further, Gruden made clear he thinks new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will make the players on the 'Skins roster into better defensive linemen.

For many fans it's hard to remain optimistic after the controversy that surrounded McCloughan's ouster, but on the field, there's little reason to expect the 'Skins to slide.

In 2016, the team finished one game out of a playoff berth, losing a disappointing final game to the Giants to seal that fate. In 2017, Gruden expects to be right back in the playoff hunt.

"I think everybody in this organization has a positive outlook," Gruden said. "We are going to miss Scot, obviously, but we’re also positive that we can get things we need to get done to be successful."

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