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Redskins Combine Countdown: Nebraska DE Randy Gregory

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Redskins Combine Countdown: Nebraska DE Randy Gregory

The NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis in just 6 days. I will be there and in between now and then I’ll be doing a lot of work getting up to speed on the draft class of 2015. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.

Randy Gregory
OLB
Nebraska

Height: 6-5
Weight: 242

What they’re saying:
What I liked: He is clearly a sight to behold with very long arms and a slender build that makes you think Aldon Smith as a possibility on the edge just ruining plays. He can be a very active pass rush guy and when he sees something in front of him, he has this explosive gear that is uncommon. They also try to move him around and he can either stand or put his hand down and has some Clay Matthews explosion and versatility from all sorts of spots.

What I did not like: I really look for a high motor in my front 7 defensive players . . . We will trade motor for ability to a certain point, but for the most part, I need a guy that is always chasing. I did not see that consistently from Gregory. Some weeks, every play looked important. Other weeks, it did not.
Bob Strum, Dallas Morning News

How he fits the Redskins: Although the Redskins do have Ryan Kerrigan on one side of the line they could use a premiere pass rusher on the other side. They had 36 sacks in 2014 and 10 of them came in one game. If you throw out the Week 2 game against the lowly Jaguars they averaged just 1.6 sacks per game, well below the NFL average of 2.4 per team per game.

Getting Gregory, who said that he prefers to play standing up despite the fact that he played with his hand in the dirt most of the time in Nebraska’s 4-3 scheme, would allow the Redskins to utilize Trent Murphy in nickel situations.

In the mock draft that Mel Kiper released on Wednesday, he had Gregory going to the Redskins with the fifth pick in the draft. Kiper apparently is on board with the notion of the Redskins taking a pass rusher with their top pick. It may be a matter of choosing which of a few different prospects to take and Gregory certainly is in the mix.

The Redskins would want him to put on some weight to play the outside linebacker spot for them. Gregory said that he played at around 250 pounds at Nebraska and that he could get up to 270 if that’s what a team wanted. If he becomes a Redskin Jay Gruden and Joe Barry probably would be happy with him somewhere in the 250-260 range.

Potential issues: There are a few red flags with Gregory. One is the lack of a high motor that Strum talks about above. He also admitted that he got a case of “senioritis” his last year in high school, costing him his scholarship at Purdue. These certainly aren’t major issues but Scot McCloughan might look at them and question how much Gregory loves football.

There also has to be concern about the drop he had in production between his sophomore and junior years. Gregory went from 10.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss two years ago to seven and 10, respectively, last year. He said that it was because teams focused on stopping him more and the added attention given to him opened things up for his teammates. That is a claim that McCloughan will examine very closely on film.

On the injury front, he suffered a broken fibula just before what would have been his second season at Arizona Western Community College. That will be examined thoroughly by doctors in Indianapolis and possibly again when he visits teams in the spring.

Bottom line: There is a long way to go until the April 30 draft. McCloughan will put pass rushers Gregory, Shane Ray of Missouri, and Dante Fowler of Florida under the microscope between now and then and there is a chance he’ll take one of them. In his better moments Gregory has the ability to be worth the No. 5 pick. It could come down to a matter of McCloughan deciding if the team can correct some of Gregory’s issues or live with them.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

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For Redskins, will shorter term with full guarantees get a Cousins deal done?

For Redskins, will shorter term with full guarantees get a Cousins deal done?

The prevailing notion around the Redskins negotiations with Kirk Cousins on a long-term deal seem to center around a five-year contract, especially after the Raiders reached a five-year extension with Derek Carr, their young star quarterback. 

Much group think points to a similar deal between Cousins and the Redskins. If you're Cousins, however, why sign?

The Redskins passer has all the leverage in the situation. He's got $20 million in the bank from the 2016 season, and he's due $24 million this season on the franchise tag. All guaranteed. 

RELATED: What is the risk for Kirk Cousins in terms of a deal?

Washington team president Bruce Allen has repeatedly talked about team options for 2018. Those options would be a $28 million transition tag or another franchise tag at $34 million. Expensive options. Cousins has repeatedly talked about market value, and how he has little choice in what happens. 

One area Cousins has control: signing a multi-year contract. 

The longer this thing drags out, it seems more and more likely Cousins will play on the tag in 2017. While it might seem crazy, the Redskins have strongly suggested another tag is in play for 2018. 

That means Cousins would be in D.C. at least two more seasons. As Grant Paulsen reported, last offseason the Cousins camp was looking for a three-year deal with all guaranteed money, based on the 2016 franchise tag salary of about $20 million.

Could a similar, albeit more costly, deal get done now based on the 2017 franchise tag? Three years, $24 million per, all guaranteed?

Cousins knows, and has said, that the team can keep him at least two more seasons. The Redskins also know, should they use the transition tag to save some money, Cousins can walk with hardly any compensation next offseason. Is the organization brave enough to try a non-exclusive franchise tag in 2018? Cousins would likely be quick to sign a one-year deal at $34 million, and teams could wait for him to hit free agency in 2019.

The Redskins are low on options. Maybe less years makes more sense for Cousins, and maybe, just maybe, that can get a deal done. 

Washington might want a long-term deal, but after messing up this contract situation for two years, maybe now they should take what they can get. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

With the NHL adding a team in Las Vegas and the league's expansion draft taking place Wednesday, the internet started thinking about a hypothetical NFL expansion draft.

Since it's June and there's more than a month until training camp, why not give it a shot with the Redskins in mind? 

Remember the rules: In the NHL, no first- or second-year players were eligible for the Vegas Knights to pluck, so the same applies here. Nobody in the last year of their deal, either.

Going off of those parameters, check out this list of Redskins players who'd be wise to protect against possible expansion.

  1. Kirk Cousins - Obvious. Every team needs a QB, and with a long-term deal or not, Cousins is very likely under contract with the Redskins at least for the next two seasons. That has a huge amount of value.
  2. Jordan Reed - This contract jumps big time in 2018, but Reed is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. An elite route runner and gifted athlete, in his last 17 starts Reed has posted more than 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns. The only thing that can slow Reed is his health, and that's a guy any team would want. 
  3. Trent Williams - Five straight Pro Bowls and perhaps the best left tackle in football makes this is a gimme. Williams is under contract through 2020, and by then, the money will seem like a bargain. 
  4. Jamison Crowder - Only two years left on his rookie deal, Crowder probably has the most valuable contract on the Redskins roster. Poised for his first 1,000 yard season in 2017, Crowder should emerge as one of the best slot WRs in the NFL. 
  5. Brandon Scherff - He was drafted to play tackle but it quickly became obvious that guard was the correct spot. Even with the shift in position, Scherff made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and looks primed to do the same for the next five years. Still on a rookie deal for two more years too. 
  6. Josh Norman - Don't be surprised that the first five protected players on this list come from the offense. Norman is an elite talent, yet he's being paid as such. In 2017, he will make $20 million. From 2018 to 2020, he will make at least $14.5 million per season. His skills are undeniable, but if you're building a team from scratch, that's a lot of salary cap. 
  7. Ryan Kerrigan - Pencil him in for double digit sacks. Count on him to work hard. Oh yeah, his contract runs through 2020. This one is easy. 
  8. Morgan Moses - Fresh off a new deal that will keep him with the Redskins through 2022, Moses is developing into one of the top right tackles in football. This contract would get snatched up in an expansion draft.
  9. Preston Smith - Two years left on his rookie deal and he still has all the potential in the world. Smith flashed serious sack potential as a rookie but fell off a bit in his second season. Year 3 will tell a lot, but in an expansion situation, the Redskins would rather have him than lose him.
  10. D.J. Swearinger - New to the Redskins, sure, but he played quite well for the Cardinals in 2016. Washington is desperate for some stability in the back end of the secondary, and Swearinger should provide it. Plus, he's signed through 2019. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back