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

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

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 19, 11 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today I’m going to empty out the inbox and answer some good questions that don’t require a full post to answer. Let’s get rolling with the Sunday Quick Hits:

I would say that it’s Spencer Long. I think that he was close to moving up into a starting role last season but he couldn’t quite push Chris Chester aside. Given a full offseason (he was limited last year by a knee injury he suffered as a senior at Nebraska) he should be able to break through and become an upgrade over Chester. I don’t think that it will be a disaster if Trent Murphy starts; I think he’s the type of player who will work to continue to improve every year. Even if he didn’t have the issue of the Lisfranc injury Morgan Moses still might not be ready to start so a draft pick who can compete with Tom Compton at right tackle is almost a necessity.

A few things here. First, he’s an NFL head coach and that is a pressure-packed job. I don’t think Gruden is undergoing any more scrutiny than any coach who won just four games in his first year. But the stories that he is almost certainly out after this season are not based in anything other than sheer speculation. Dan Snyder is not anxious to pay off the final three years of Gruden’s fully-guaranteed contract. Nor are Snyder, Bruce Allen, and Scot McCloughan inclined to tear things up by the roots and start all over again. As long as Gruden shows improvement in terms of handling his job and some of the team’s on-field problems start to go away, Gruden is safe.

Roy, I’m not sure what it’s going to take to persuade fans like you that the Redskins are going to draft the best player available. Here’s McCloughan from his introductory presser: ““I’m never under the assumption that you draft for need. You draft the best available football player on the board.” And Gruden from the combine: “We have a lot of areas that we need to look at, and we’re just going to look at the best available player, period.” Add to that the fact that both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon both will turn 30 next year and will cost nearly $20 million against the salary cap, creating a need at WR and I don’t think there is any smokescreen involved here. If Kevin White or Amari Cooper is the best player on the board, that’s who McCloughan will take.

This is the question that everyone wants the answer to but we really don’t know. It’s been well established that McCloughan has let it be known that he is open to trading the pick but there are a lot of variables beyond that. Who is still on the board that someone might want to trade up to get? How much are the teams willing to give up to move up? If a player like Leonard Williams, perhaps the best player in the draft, is still on the board, do the Redskins abandon any notion of a trade and make the pick? For the time being, we know that McCloughan will make a deal if the right one is there but beyond that we’re just going to have to wait and see how it unfolds.

Timeline

—It’s been 112 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 147 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 1; 2015 NFL Draft 11; Redskins minicamp starts 58

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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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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