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Need to Know: Why did McCloughan bring the 32-year-old Davis to the Redskins?

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Need to Know: Why did McCloughan bring the 32-year-old Davis to the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 1, 27 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 82 days ago. It will be about 163 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 17; 2016 NFL draft 27; Redskins training camp starts 118

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Less than an hour after I hit the “publish” button on this post about how Scot McCloughan is operating a lot like Packers GM Ted Thompson the news that the Redskins had signed 32-year-old tight end Vernon Davis broke. That was a decidedly un-Thompson like move. So why did McCloughan do it?

For one thing, tight ends are become scarce these days. Spread offenses don’t use them and so the number of quality tight ends coming out of the college ranks seems to shrink every year. McCloughan undoubtedly would rather obtain tight end depth through the draft but it’s possible that he has looked at all of the prospects and decided that the chances of landing one he wants in a place in the draft where he could be the best available player were extremely slim.

It’s also important that McCloughan knows Davis well. He drafted him in San Francisco in 2006. One of the things that McCloughan said that he didn’t like about signing free agents is that you didn’t know how they will fit in the locker room. McCloughan worked with Davis for five years so he knows that the player will fit right in to the Redskins’ culture.

It’s similar to last year when McCloughan acquired just one player over the age of 30, Dashon Goldson. The safety came in a trade but the reasoning is the same. Safety is a tough position to fill in the draft (the better athletes are gravitating to cornerback, where the money is better) and McCloughan knew Goldson from their days together in San Francisco.

Fan question of the day

how can the redskins improve their defense from last season?

I can only scratch the surface of this here but here are the two improvements they can make that I think would have the most immediate impact.

Increase their sacks and interceptions I don’t see their defensive backfield becoming a shutdown unit so the pass defense will depend on pass rush. The addition of Junior Galette and what should be further development for Preston Smith should help. More pressure will help the defensive backs in coverage and the Redskins may be able to double their interception total from last year.

Stop the run on first down Sure they need to stop the run all the time. But they were the worst in the NFL on first down, giving up a little over 5 yards per attempt. This is a matter of simple, fundamental defense, with the front seven being where they are supposed to be and not missing tackles.

(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

RELATED: PRESTON SMITH ENTERING VITAL YEAR

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Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson’s tweet left 136 characters on the table but he didn’t need any more to deliver some good news to Redskins fans.

The wide receiver was the Redskins’ top pick in the 2016 draft. At 6-2 and an ability to high point the ball he repeatedly demonstrated at TCU, it was hoped he would add a different dimension to the Redskins’ fast but relatively short receiving corps.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

But it didn’t happen. An Achilles tendon injury flared up during preseason activities and he was very limited in OTAs. He was on the PUP list during training camp and the preseason games. Doctson was on the 53-man roster to start the season but after 31 snaps and one reception in two games he was shut down for the season.

Jay Gruden was apparently frustrated by the injury and throughout the season he wasn’t sure when Doctson would be ready.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

But last month via social media Docston sent out some pictures of him doing some strenuous work at Redskins Park. It appears that he was in Tampa today working with Jon Gruden and some other Redskins. The tweet from Doctson came a short time after this picture from one of Terrelle Pryor’s social media accounts was posted.

It should be noted that doing work in shorts a T-shirts does not equal being effective in an NFL regular season game. But it’s a good first step and considering Doctson barely took any steps last year that’s a good development.

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.