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

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

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 29, one day before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Setting the odds on the top pick

Yesterday, my man Ben Standig put up a post on CSNwashington.com with his idea of who the top 10 possibilities for the Redskins’ top pick are. Let’s take his top five possibilities, get out an imaginary $100 in casino chips, and lay them down according to the chance I think each one of them has of being the Redskins’ top pick. Please note that the possibilities include players who would be taken only if the Redskins trade down from their top pick at No. 5.

—OLB Dante Fowler, $35—I’d put even more chips down on Fowler if I was sure he is going to be on the board. The talk of the Jaguars taking him with the third pick makes sense and it seems to be more than a smokescreen. If he’s there I think it will take a trade offer that Scot McCloughan can’t refuse to keep him from turning in the card with Fowler’s name on it.

—OL Brandon Scherff, $25—I don't think the tough, nasty Scherff is a possibility with the fifth pick but he is a trade-down possibility if the Redskins don’t go too far back. A trade with, say, the Falcons, who pick eighth, could end up with the Redskins landing the Iowa product. If he was a sure-fire tackle, even a right tackle, I might have some more chips on him.

—DL Leonard Williams, $15—My big question about the Redskins taking Williams used to be centered on his availability. But on Monday it sure sounded to me like Scot McCloughan was practically begging teams to call him if Williams is still on the board when Washington picks. One way or the other the chances of Williams ending up in burgundy and gold look pretty slim.

—OT Ereck Flowers $15—McCloughan used the word “big” about a dozen times while describing the type of players he likes so if they trade back to the middle of the first round they could take one of the biggest players available. Flowers needs a lot of polish to his technique but he could step in at right tackle right away and if they have trouble getting Trent Williams re-signed he could eventually take the left tackle spot.

—OLB Vic Beasley, $10—His Redskins stock dropped some on Monday. In order to be a top prospect as a pass rusher, “You need to have speed and you need to have quickness but you also need to have power,” said McCloughan. “If you get all three, now you’re talking about a really good prospect.” Beasley lacks the power. There likely is some interest in Beasley but probably not at No. 5.

Timeline

—It’s been 122 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 137 days until they play another one.

Days until: 2015 NFL Draft 1; Redskins minicamp starts 48; Redskins training camp starts 92; Redskins @ Giants 148

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 Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105

Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.

Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016

(originally posted January 28)

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.

Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

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.