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Redskins Combine countdown: Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt

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Redskins Combine countdown: Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt

The NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis in just 11 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.

Cody Prewitt
Free safety
Ole Miss

Height: 6-2
Weight: 212

What they’re saying
Strengths: Looks the part of an NFL safety, sporting a well-built frame with long limbs. He is an alert, active defender with good vision and the athleticism to handle deep coverage responsibilities. He changes directions fluidly and is a smooth accelerator.

Weaknesses: Possesses good (but not great) top-end speed and can get himself in trouble with aggressive pursuit lines that leave him little room for error.
Rob Rang, CBS Sports

This tweet came from Senior Bowl practices.

How he fits the Redskins: This could be a case where need meets the best available player. Prewitt is likely to be there when Redskins’ second-round pick comes up and if things fall right he could be available in the third. They would have to take a long, hard look at him to plug in as the starting free safety in training camp and take care of that position for the next half dozen years or so.

At 6-2, he has the height that Scot McCloughan wants in defensive backs. Prewitt may have to add on a few pounds but not at the risk of losing much speed.

Potential issues: Although Prewitt gets accolades for his “football I. Q.” and was a team captain at Ole Miss, McCloughan will do some deep digging to see if he is willing to do what it takes to correct the flaws in his game. The Redskins have had plenty of safeties who have taken the wrong pursuit lines and have made other mistakes over and over again.

You will see this theme a lot in this series. Just to narrow it down to defensive backs, the team had some last year that have a reputation for studying a lot of film and others that did the bare minimum. For the most part, the ones you saw blowing coverages were those who left the building early. McCloughan wants a collection of players who will put in the work. Which group if Prewitt in?

Bottom line: Under some previous regimes in Ashburn where drafts were guided by need and who the best player is right now you could put Prewitt very high on the list of second-round possibilities for the Redskins. But with McCloughan looking for the best available player and guys who can develop and be better than they are now, it’s a tougher call. The amount of interest the Redskins have in Prewitt is likely to depend more on interviews at the combine at with his coaches and athletic trainers in Oxford, Mississippi than on the stopwatch reading when he runs the 40.

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

The Redskins are set to interview Dennis Thurman for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Here is a look at Thurman’s qualifications for the job.

Before becoming a coordinator: Thurman played in the NFL for the Cowboys from 1978-1985. Redskins fans may best remember him for trying to break up the “Fun Bunch” celebration in a 1983 game. He played for the Cardinals the last season of his career. He coached the secondary for the Cardinals for two years before going to USC and holding the same job there from 1993-2000. Thurman then returned to the NFL as a Ravens defensive assistant and secondary coach. He moved to the Jets to coach the secondary there before getting promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Note: If you want more complete stats on Thurman’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2013 Jets (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,359 (11th), points 387 (19th), takeaways 15 (31st), 3rd down 38.8% (13th), DVOA -5.6% (12th)
Notable players: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Antonio Cromartie*, S Ed Reed

The Jets traded away their best defender, Darrelle Revis, during the offseason. Wilkerson led a good pass rush as he racked up 10.5 sacks and LB Calvin Pace had 10. It should be noted that head coach Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded head coach and he certainly had influence in what went right and what went wrong on that side of the ball.

2014 Jets (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,235 (6th), points 401 (24th), takeaways 13 (32nd), 3rd down 45.2% (30th), DVOA 3.5% (21st)
Notable players: DT Sheldon Richardson*, DE Quinton Cooples

If you want to know how a team can finish in the top six in yards and in the bottom 10 in points allowed just look at the lack of takeaways and the porous third-down defense. An offense with Geno Smith at quarterback couldn’t keep thinks afloat and Thurman was fired along with Ryan after the season.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

2015 Bills (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,702 (19th), points 359 (15th), takeaways 25 (12th), 3rd down 40.5%, DVOA 8.6% (24th)
Notable players: DE Mario Williams, DE Jerry Hughes

Ryan and Thurman both moved to upstate New York when they were hired by the Bills. This unit ranked fourth in both yards and points the year before Ryan and Thurman arrived and they obviously didn’t maintain that. It didn’t help that 2014 first-team All-Pro Marcell Dareus got into some legal trouble during the offseason and his production plummeted from 10 sacks in 2014 to two.

2016 Bills (7-9)

Rankings: Yards 5,712 (19th), points 378 (16th), takeaways 18 (23rd), 3rd down 40.0%, DVOA 8.0 (26th)
Notable players: LB Lorenzo Alexander*, CB Stephon Gilmore

Former Redskin Alexander had a good year, racking up 12 sacks and making the Pro Bowl but there wasn’t much else to talk about on defense. They essentially spun their wheels and Ryan was fired with a game left and Thurman soon followed him out the door.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Ever wonder how B-Mitch became a Redskin?

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Real Clear Sports

New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Ever wonder how B-Mitch became a Redskin?

The SportsTalk Live crew of Rob Carlin and Brian Mitchell joined JP Finlay to talk Redskins football, the defensive coordinator search and the constract situation of Kirk Cousins on the latest edition of #RedskinsTalk the Podcast. The talk begins, however, with B-Mitch telling the story of how he ended up with the Redskins after not getting an invitation to the Senior Bowl or the East-West Shrine Game. It's a must listen. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!