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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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Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

While it hasn’t been the best offseason for the Redskins organization in many respects it has been a good one for coach Jay Gruden. In the midst of turmoil over the status of general manager Scot McCloughan, Gruden got a two-year contract extension.

Although the final agreement on the deal came on March 4 in a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine, team president Bruce Allen said that talk of extending Gruden started much earlier.

“It was after the season, Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan because we’d made some changes on the coaching staff as well following the season,” Allen told CSN’s JP Finlay at the owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Gruden became the team’s head coach in 2014. His original five-year contract was set to expire after the 2018 season but now he is in the fold through 2020.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Gruden’s record in Washington is 21-26-1, not the kind of record that normally has an organization rushing to extend a head coach. But after a 4-12 inaugural season, Gruden has led the Redskins to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1 the last two years. While by many standards that is a modest achievement, it marked the first back-to-back winning seasons in Washington since 1996-1997. The hope is that Gruden will keep them moving in the right direction.

The extension is likely to be popular in the locker room as players have come to like Gruden’s style.  

“His directness, his sarcasm and at the same time he gets his coaching point in but the guys do like his sense of humor as well,” said Allen. 

It’s not known if Gruden’s extension gives him more authority over personnel. His original deal gave him very little, with first Allen and then McCloughan having the final say in personnel selection and control over who makes the 53-man roster. Some NFL head coaches have final say in free agency acquisition and in the draft while many have control over who makes the 53.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

Gruden does have some informal influence when it comes to the draft.

“He’s got a big role,” said Allen. “First of all, he coordinates all the coaches’ reports and when we set the draft board, Jay will be up there. He watches every player who will be on the draft board and he will have an opinion.”

There is a power vacuum at Redskins Park with McCloughan gone. A new general manager won’t get hired until after the draft and the authority of that GM will have will be a matter of negotiation. It would not be surprising to see Gruden ending up with roster control.

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.

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Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 28, 30 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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.

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