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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a center with their top pick?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a center with their top pick?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 28, 31 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 78 days ago. It will be about 167 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 21; 2016 NFL draft 31; Redskins training camp starts 122

Hot topic

For some reason, the idea of the Redskins drafting Alabama center Ryan Kelly in the first round has caught fire with the fan base. I have been asked about it out of the blue multiple times on Twitter. My answer is always some variation of saying that he’s a good player and they might draft him No. 21 overall. But the team needs impact players, playmakers. You don’t get those by drafting interior linemen in the first round for two years in a row.

Let me state the obvious here—it’s always good to have a great player on the team no matter what position he plays. Having a great center and a great right guard, assuming that Kelly and Brandon Scherff, who was last year’s first-round pick, both develop into great players, would be a good thing for the Redskins.

But a great center has much less impact on a game than a great wide receiver or a great running back has. A cornerback who can dominate a game is better to have than a guard who can dominate his man. There are reasons why good wide receivers generally get drafter higher than good centers and why top cornerbacks make a lot more money than top guards.

The best way to get good players at the impact positions is to draft them and, generally speaking, the higher the better. Good interior linemen can be found later in the draft. Scot McCloughan needs to look at impact positions, including the defensive line, when making this year’s first-round pick. They can either choose a center from the several options on the roster or take one later in the draft.

Fan question of the day

I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking about so I’ll take it in two directions. The defensive player who will have the green dot on his helmet, the one who gets the signals radioed in from the sideline, will be Will Compton. As the Mike linebacker, he will call the signals in the huddle. So, in that respect he will be the quarterback of the defense.

But who will be the leader of the unit, the defensive captain? That is up in the air right now. Last year it was Dashon Goldson but he has been released. There is a possibility that he may return but nothing has happened beyond just talk that the door is open. And he may or may not be the captain if he comes back.

There are two obvious candidates to replace Goldson. One is DeAngelo Hall, who was a captain for a while when Mike Shanahan was here and was one with Gruden in 2014 before he tore his Achilles in Week 3. The other is Ryan Kerrigan. He has shied away from taking a leadership role but he now has the tenure (going into his sixth season) and the paycheck (5-years, $57.5 million extension given last year) that say he should step up and lead.

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

Stat of the day

In 2014 Kirk Cousins’ passer rating on third down was 46.4. Last year it improved to 100.9.

In case you missed it

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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