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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a non-Heisman QB?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a non-Heisman QB?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 2, 28 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Nickel Coverage

Five thoughts on the NFL draft, which gets underway in Chicago four weeks from today:

—Earlier this week I touched on why the Redskins might not want to trade down in the draft this year. I have come up with another reason why they might want to stay put with the No. 5 pick. Scot McCloughan is not as prepared for this draft as he usually is. He spent the fall in the Pacific Northwest doing consulting work for NFL teams. He was not on the road getting the nitty-gritty about prospects. He also is working with a personnel staff he’s not very familiar with. This could be his worst draft with the Redskins. McCloughan may just want to play it straight this year and wheel and deal for multiple picks starting in 2016.

—Here is why I like Dante Fowler more than the other big-time edge rushers in this draft. He might not be quite as good a pure pass rusher as Shane Ray or Vic Beasley but he will be better setting the edge against the run. Maybe you’d rather have Ray or Beasley in there on third and ten. Problem is, it’s often going to be third and three because offenses will run right at them. Fowler can stop the run on first and second downs and then do a more than adequate job getting after the QB on third down.

—I will be somewhat surprised if the Redskins don’t take a running back sometime between the second and fourth rounds. Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska and T. J. Yeldon of Alabama are two guys I’m looking at right now but I need to start looking deeper. I’m not sure they’re sold on Chris Thompson and Silas Redd. Gruden has spoken highly of them recently but he doesn’t have much choice right now since they’re the only depth on the roster behind Alfred Morris. As Stephen Stills would say, this is a case of “Love the One You’re With”.

—Will McCloughan go through seven rounds without taking an offensive lineman? I know that the team doesn’t perceive the need there to the extent that the fans do and I don’t think McCloughan is the type to force a pick. On the other hand, they need bodies. The Redskins went with 10 offensive linemen last year. Out of that group, Tyler Polumbus is gone and Josh LeRibeus is on the bubble. If Spencer Long wins the starting job at right guard the organization may not want to keep Chris Chester around as a $4 million dollar backup. There are three potential openings right there. I think McCloughan will grab one or two at some point. Perhaps he’ll get them later on, sometime on Saturday afternoon, and rely on Bill Callahan to coach them up.

—The chances are pretty good they take a quarterback, one not named Mariota (he’ll be gone by pick No. 5). It would be borderline irresponsible to go into the season with no quarterbacks under contract for 2016. Will they be the team that overdrafts either Brett Hundley or Bryce Petty in the third round? Perhaps they’ll be patient and get rewarded with Garrett Grayson, more of a pocket passer out of Colorado State, sitting there in the fourth round.

Timeline

—It’s been 95 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 164 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 18; 2015 NFL Draft 28; Redskins training camp starts 119

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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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

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

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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