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Redskins Combine Countdown: Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge

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Redskins Combine Countdown: Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge

The NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis in just 9 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.

Durell Eskridge
Safety
Syracuse

Height: 6-3
Weight: 203

What they’re saying
Prototypical frame with broad shoulders and room for additional muscle mass. Balanced, coordinated athlete. Accelerates smoothly and shows above average fluidity when changing directions for a player of his size. Uses his long arms to wrap the legs of ballcarriers and flashes an explosive pop. Good timing and hand-eye coordination.

Rob Rang, CBS Sports

"I haven't seen him do well enough on a game-to-game basis, and I thought another year could have helped him, especially with the safeties that decided to come out . . . With another year, he could've been right up there"

Mel Kiper, ESPN on his decision to come out of Syracuse a year early
How he fits the Redskins: A year ago, Bashaud Breeland decided to come out of Clemson with a year of eligibility left despite the fact that many analysts thought he could have used another year in college. The Redskins took him in the fourth round and he turned out to be one of the few bright spots on defense. Eskridge could be another mid-round steal for the Redskins.

At 6-3 he has the size that Scot McCloughan likes in the secondary although they will have to figure out how much more weight his frame can handle as they will want him to bulk up from his current 203 pounds. If he weighs in at closer to 210 at the combine and is a true 6-3, he could well get serious attention from the Redskins.

McCloughan also could like his background story. Eskridge had an exceptionally rough childhood with his family often homeless. The determination he showed in overcoming those circumstances could serve him well in the NFL.

Potential issues: Eskridge is far from a polished product and the downside, of course, is that he may never put it all together. It seems that at worst he will be a good special teams performer and part-time player on defense. But with a big hole in the back of the defense with no starting-caliber safeties on the roster it would be best for the Redskins if he can find his upside sooner rather than later should they draft him.

Bottom line: His size likely has him somewhere on the Redskins’ radar. If he’s still there when they are on the clock in the third round, Eskridge could well be discussed in the draft room if the intangibles check out. And if he’s still there on Saturday, McCloughan may find him hard to resist.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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