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Redskins Combine Countdown: Oklahoma NT Jordan Phillips

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Redskins Combine Countdown: Oklahoma NT Jordan Phillips

The NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis in just 4 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.

Jordan Phillips
NT
Oklahoma

Height: 6-6
Weight: 334

What they’re saying:
What I liked: Well, we start with the size.  At that height and weight, he is just not a player you would see line up at nose tackle (0 tech) right over the center in most traditional spots.  He moves well enough laterally and forward to cause some issues in the gaps and can certainly demand double team attention to keep him from ripping into the backfield.  He spins pretty well and also feeds off stunts because the off-center opportunities are seized and he is quick to pop through and make a play against Tennessee.

What I did not like: He just doesn’t move a whole lot on most plays.  In fact, some plays he doesn’t move at all.  Against TCU, his battle with Horned Frogs center Joey Hunt was a real disappointing performance where he was single-teamed a lot and did not cause any real disruptive plays all day.  As the season went along, he was on the ground a bit too much making you wonder if he was at full health as his best football was in September for sure.  For me, I want to know about the production issues.
Bob Strum, Dallas Morning News

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins have been using the undersized Barry Cofield at nose tackle since 2011. Cofield is about to turn 31, he has a high cap number and although he may survive this season his replacement needs to be found sooner rather than later. Phillips could be the player to do it.

“Big guys win” according to GM Scot McCloughan and at 6-6, 334 Phillips qualifies. But he’s not just a big body; he has the ability to use his size to great advantage with his quickness. He could at least contribute early if not become the full-time starter by midseason.

Potential issues: As Strum and others have noted, Phillips’ motor is not always running. It may be due to him being a year removed from a back injury that caused him to take a medical redshirt in 2013. Or it could be a case of him being like a lot of big players who just can’t generate the energy to keep their large mass in constant motion. In either case, Scot McCloughan has some investigating to do. The back issues will be examined by doctors in Indianapolis and then again if he is invited to Redskins Park for a visit. McCloughan will talk to a number of coaches, trainers and others in Phillips’ circle about his motivation.

His technique is flawed but that is normal for college players who can physically dominate the player lined up across from them. Coachability will be another aspect of his game that McCloughan will look in to.

As it stands now, the Redskins are not in a good draft spot to land Phillips. Right now it looks like his value is in the latter half of the first round, somewhere in the 20’s. He won’t be the right guy to take with the fifth pick and he could well be gone by the time Washington is up in the second round.

Bottom line: The demand for large, quick nose tackles always exceeds the supply. Phillips and Danny Shelton of Washington are the only two in this draft who are better than long-term projects. That may cause teams to overlook Phillips’ flaws and take a shot that he can hold down the middle.

Perhaps if the Redskins trade back to later in the first round they will take a good look at Phillips. If he is still on the board when the Redskins’ second-round pick rolls around, he may be too much of a value to pass up if his intangibles check out to McCloughan’s standards.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

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Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson’s tweet left 136 characters on the table but he didn’t need any more to deliver some good news to Redskins fans.

The wide receiver was the Redskins’ top pick in the 2016 draft. At 6-2 and an ability to high point the ball he repeatedly demonstrated at TCU, it was hoped he would add a different dimension to the Redskins’ fast but relatively short receiving corps.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

But it didn’t happen. An Achilles tendon injury flared up during preseason activities and he was very limited in OTAs. He was on the PUP list during training camp and the preseason games. Doctson was on the 53-man roster to start the season but after 31 snaps and one reception in two games he was shut down for the season.

Jay Gruden was apparently frustrated by the injury and throughout the season he wasn’t sure when Doctson would be ready.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

But last month via social media Docston sent out some pictures of him doing some strenuous work at Redskins Park. It appears that he was in Tampa today working with Jon Gruden and some other Redskins. The tweet from Doctson came a short time after this picture from one of Terrelle Pryor’s social media accounts was posted.

It should be noted that doing work in shorts a T-shirts does not equal being effective in an NFL regular season game. But it’s a good first step and considering Doctson barely took any steps last year that’s a good development.

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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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.