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Need to Know: Why the Redskins might not want to trade down in the draft

Need to Know: Why the Redskins might not want to trade down in the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 31, 30 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Why McCloughan might stay put

I get a lot of questions about the Redskins trading down from the fifth pick in the draft and fans are almost unanimous in believing that it would be a good thing for Scot McCloughan to do. But the conventional wisdom might not be the way to go here; the Redskins may want to stand pat.

Consider this from yesterday’s Monday Morning Quarterback column by Peter King:
Here’s what a few football people who were at the league meetings are thinking about the breakdown of this draft: Nine prime picks, then eight or 10 really good prospects, then maybe 30 or so of the same-level player. The top nine: quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, defensive tackle Leonard Williams, wideouts Kevin White and Amari Cooper, pass-rushers Dante Fowler and Vic Beasley, offensive tackle Brandon Scherff and cornerback Trae Waynes. After that, beauty starts to be in the eye of the beholder. I had one GM tell me: “The 17th pick on our board might be the 53rd pick on another team’s board—and that could be a team we really respect.”
In other words, even if the Redskins trade back into a pick somewhere in the early teens they could be looking at a major drop off in the quality of the player they will get in the first round.

There is always the debate over quality or quantity. The crowd that wants to trade down thinks that giving McCloughan more selections will increase the chances that he can find future contributors. But there is also something to be said for getting a single impact player who has a very high chance of being successful and who can make other players around him better.

There isn’t a player among the top nine that King lists who wouldn’t be able to have impact. The Redskins’ quarterback situation is very unsettled, Williams would upgrade any defensive line, White or Cooper could replace one of the Redskins’ aging and expensive top wideouts, Fowler and Beasley would help the secondary by getting more heat on the QB, and Scherff and Waynes would both help out at critical positions.

If the Redskins stick with the fifth pick that doesn’t mean that McCloughan will have only seven picks. They can trade down in later rounds to get more selections.

One other thing to consider here is that McCloughan’s draft board doesn’t necessarily jibe with the conventional wisdom as described by King. He might have more prospects that he deems to be top notch and he might have fewer. So he could be more willing to trade down from No. 5 or less inclined to do so.

Like everything else involving the draft, we will have to wait another four weeks and a few days before we start to find out.

Tandler talks Redskins QB's and more on PFT Live:

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Timeline

—It’s been 93 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 166 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 20; 2015 NFL Draft 30; Redskins training camp starts 121

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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.