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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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Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins coaches appreciate Niles Paul. Not just for the immense physical skills, a 6-foot-1, 225 lb. college receiver turned NFL tight end and fullback. He works hard every day at practice, and demands the same from his teammates. 

Last season, Paul landed on the injured reserve after an injury in London during a Week 8 tie against the Bengals. Because of that, some speculation emerged that Paul could be the odd man out in the Redskins tight end group, behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and fighting with 2017 draft pick Jeremy Sprinkle, not to mention veteran Derek Carrier. 

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS MAKE RUN AT NICK MANGOLD?

After two preseason games, it's clear Paul is ready to fight for that spot. Against Green Bay on Saturday night, Paul logged a touchdown catch and a fumble recovery on special teams, showing the versatility that makes him so valuable to Washington. 

For Paul, he's just happy to be back on the field. 

"I got my season cut in half last year. I just want to be back on the field by any means necessary. I've just been missing it. I've been missing football in my life," Paul said after the game (full video above).

Paul's acrobatic TD grab showed that he still has the explosiveness to help the offense, but his special teams play is what will keep him on the roster. It also helps that head coach Jay Gruden complimented Paul for an outstanding camp and work ethic. 

"His speed looks where it was before the injuries. I mean, I think he's had an outstanding training camp so far. He's done so many different things. And that's one of the toughest positions," Gruden said of Paul. 

The Redskins offense hasn't hit full cylinder yet, but Paul thinks the return of Jordan Reed will help. 

"We're missing a major piece and that's Jordan Reed," he said. "We got some fine tuning to do."

Considering Reed's injury history, and backup tight end Vernon Davis starting the season at 33, a healthy Paul is a luxury for the Redskins. He stands to make nearly $2.5 million this season, but he also brings versatility. Paul is happy to play fullback, a role that seems to be growing, as well as all over the field on special teams. 

Washington will absolutely keep Reed and Davis. With his play this preseason, Paul seems a sure thing too. And if the squad wants to keep their draft pick in Sprinkle, who has tremendous size and has shown promise, four tight ends on the 53-man roster looks like the future. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

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USA Today Sports

With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

News broke late Monday night that Redskins' center Spencer Long underwent a minor knee scope and is expected to miss two weeks. That timetable spells good news for Washington, as that would bring Long back to the team before the first regular season game against the Eagles on September 10th. 

In the meantime, expect rookie Chase Roullier to take over at center for the Redskins. A 6th round draft pick, Bruce Allen and the Washington brass moved up to select Roullier, and the young player out of Wyoming had a strong training camp. 

RELATED: NILES PAUL FORCING HIS WAY TO A ROSTER SPOT?

"He’s done a great job, he really has. For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Roullier in early August. 

Still, Jay Gruden has been very clear about the need for a backup center on the roster. Last season the team brought in veteran John Sullivan during the year to provide depth at the position after Kory Lichtensteiger went down with injury.  Sullivan ended up starting one game for Washington, and is now playing with the Rams. 

With Long on the mend, the only other center on the Redskins roster is Roullier. Ronald Patrick is listed with the more generic OL designation though he has played center too.

It seems likely the team will move quickly to add another center, and one name that will get suggested is Nick Mangold. An 11-year veteran that played his entire career with the Jets, Mangold has more experience than Long, Roullier and Patrick combined.

He's also played the position at a very high level. Twice named to the NFL's All Pro team, Mangold has made seven Pro Bowls, most recently in 2015.

It's not entirely clear why Mangold isn't on an NFL roster already. He worked out for the Ravens this offseason, though some reports suggested Mangold wanted more guaranteed money than was discussed. 

A quick look at his Twitter feed does not suggest a guy missing the NFL life. A big soccer fan, Mangold seems very dialed in to London's Tottenham Hotspur and the New York City Football Club. (Check his Twitter out here)

If the team truly believes Long should not miss any regular season action, Mangold is probably not a fit. At 33-years-old with an impressive resume, Mangold likely doesn't want to come back just to be a backup, and Gruden has repeatedly talked about Long's ability and potential in the middle of the line. Should Long suffer a setback, the equation could change. 

Other names are likely to pop up for tryouts, as the 'Skins must consider more interior line depth. Making a run at Mangold might be something fans want to do, though it might not make sense at this point.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!