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

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

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 18, 12 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.

https://twitter.com/skinz4life1975/status/589104011057364992

Good questions but too many options here to deal with in one morning. What I’ll do here is look at possible picks if they stay at No. 5 and maybe at some point next week look at some trade down possibilities.

Let’s get out $100 in mythical casino chips and I’ll split them up over the players I think have the best chance of becoming Washington Redskins with the No. 5 pick in the draft 12 days from today.

Edge defender Dante Fowler Jr.--$30: He might not be the best pass rusher among the edge players who are considered to be the cream of the crop but he’s the best all-around defender of the group. He’s been my favorite for the pick at No. 5 for the last two months and while some things have changed Fowler remains the favorite, albiet not as much of one as he was before.

DL Leonard Williams--$25: I think there is about a one in four chance that he will be there and if he is I think that taking him is a no brainer. Of the players in this draft, he is the one most likely to become an All-Pro at some point in his rookie contract.

Edge defender Vic Beasley--$15: Fowler is the best all-around OLB prospect in the draft and Beasley may be the best pure pass rusher. If Scot McCloughan thinks that Beasley can be coached up to play the run better and develop another pass move or two he could be the pick.

Wide receiver Kevin White--$10: I know many of you insist that there is not a need a wide receiver. All I can say is that I doubt that McCloughan, looking at the ages and contracts of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, sees it that way. White could have the most upside of any player in the draft, a counter to Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper--$10: I used to have White rated ahead of Cooper due to the West Virginia product’s size and ability to catch the ball when there is not much separation. But there’s a lot to be said for being perhaps the safest, most fundamentally sound player in the draft. Cooper could be that guy.

Edge defender Shane Ray--$5: If Beasley isn’t the best pure pass rusher in the draft then Ray is. However, many are skeptical that Ray has the athletic ability needed to player 3-4 OLB. If McCloughan is among the skeptics he stays away. Since some of you will ask, I think Randy Gregory is too high risk to take at 5. He could be in play if they trade back to the middle of the first round.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota--$5: I think this is still lurking out there, enough to throw a chip on it, anyway. There are plenty of reasons for the three teams drafting in between the Bucs, who are sure to take Jameis Winston, and the Redskins to pass on Mariota. A trade can’t always be negotiated and Mariota could be there when the Redskins are on the clock. In that 15-minute period, the decision to move on from Robert Griffin III and to start to Mariota era could be made. Again, slim chance but it’s out there.

Timeline

—It’s been 111 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 148 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 2; 2015 NFL Draft 12; Redskins minicamp starts 59

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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Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 9, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and news conference and open locker room after practice approx. 2:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 15; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 23

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot),
Thursday injury report

Around Redskins Park

—The Redskins’ third-down defense is the worst in the NFL in a long time. They are giving up first downs on 48 percent of opponents’ third downs. Since 2002 only one team, the 2011 Chargers, has been worse over the course of a full season. The Redskins have a chance to improve in the last four games of the season. Their remaining opponents rank 15th, 22nd, 26th, and 27th in converting third downs on offense. So, while the damage is done perhaps they can avoid historically bad territory.

—Perhaps one of the reasons why the Redskins haven’t done well on third down is because Preston Smith, a player they were counting on to generate pass pressure and rack up sacks, isn't getting that done. He has 3.5 sacks on the year, two of them coming into one game. What are they looking for out of Smith? “Consistency is the truest measure of performance,” said defensive coordinator Joe Barry. “You have got to show up every single week . . . Preston is giving great effort, he’s trying. He just has got to show up in the statistic column.”

—Barry was candid in admitting that they were taken by surprise when the Cardinals snapped the ball on the fourth and one play from their own 34 in the fourth quarter. “I think everyone was a little shocked that the ball actually was snapped and they ran a play, but that’s football,” Barry said. The center’s hand is on the ball, ball is ready, the ball can be snapped, we have got to be ready to execute.” Should the season go south from here that play will be remembered as the turning point.

—Although whether or not the season goes south will largely be dependent on the play of Kirk Cousins, he doesn’t think about the pressure. “I just go about my business. I think you take it one game at a time, that’s the best way to manage it, and just enjoy the process,” he said. “We’ll see where we are in a few weeks but I can’t play the game today, I can’t play next week’s game today. All I can do today is prepare and go to practice and have a great practice, and I thought today I had a great practice and that’s a good step.”

—Jay Gruden wants to see the defense improve in two specific areas in addition to third downs. “Turnovers the last couple of weeks and red zone,” he said. “Those are three big time areas of concern . . . We’ve been lacking in all three of those categories of late.” They have had just one takeaway in their last three games and in their last five games teams have punched it into the end zone on 14 of 17 red zone opportunities (82.3%).

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A little more left arm use by Reed on this catch. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on

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Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

The Redskins’ injury report is looking a little better today, three days away from their game against the Eagles. 

DE Chris Baker (ankle), CB Will Blackmon (concussion), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), C Spencer Long (concussion) didn't practice today. That is a substantial reduction of the number of players who were out of practice on Wednesday.

Going from out yesterday to limited participants today were S Donte Whitner (illness), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), and DE Anthony Lanier (leg).

Also limited were TE Derek Carrier (knee), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and OLB Preston Smith (groin).

A player moving from out of practice to limited is no guarantee that he will be able to participate come Sunday but it’s a step in the right direction.

On area of concern is the offensive line. Three players who started against the Cardinals have not practiced this week. One was Nsekhe and he already was headed to the bench after the return of Trent Williams from suspension.

RELATED: Five Redskins who need to perform vs. Eagles

According to Jay Gruden, the line will have enough bodies even if Long, Nsekhe, and Lauvao are out. Second year guard Arie Kouandjio would start at guard and John Sullivan, who finished up after Long left the game on Sunday, would be the starting center. They could activate Kory Lichtensteiger from injured reserve to back up guard and center and Vinston Painter would be the backup tackle.

It appears that Reed is making progress from the AC joint separation he suffered in his left shoulder on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.

“He looked good out there today,” said Gruden. “He’s still a little sore. Right now I have absolutely no idea (if he will play).”