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Redskins Combine Countdown: Utah CB Eric Rowe

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Redskins Combine Countdown: Utah CB Eric Rowe

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.

Eric Rowe
CB
Utah

Height: 6-1
Weight: 201

What they’re saying:

STRENGTHS Tall cornerback with long frame. Has the ability to disrupt wide receivers off the line of scrimmage and can mirror them out of their release. Jams and disrupts shallow crossers. Will throw his body around in run support if needed. Solid tackler.

WEAKNESSES Linear body type with average play strength. Will struggle to carry NFL deep speed. Lacks an accelerator and is not a recovery-type cornerback. Limited as a man-cover corner. Has change-of-direction issues in tight spaces.

SOURCES TELL US "He's a long-strider with limited deep speed, so I see him as a Tampa-2 guy or maybe fitting with a defense similar to Seattle's where he has a good free safety helping over the top." -- AFC director of college scouting

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: The smaller, faster corners tend to come off the board on Thursday and Friday night during the draft. The taller guys, the ones who run the 4.6 forties, tend to stick around until Saturday afternoon. That is when Rowe’s name may come up in the Redskins’ draft room.

Rowe started at safety for his first three years with the Utes and then switched to cornerback as a senior to replace Keith McGill, a fourth-round pick of the Raiders. He is entering the draft looking to play corner but that will be up to the team that drafts him. The Redskins have a need at both positions so he could be on their draft board twice.

Scot McCloughan has hinted that he believes that a defensive backfield like the one the Seahawks have built, one he had a hand in building while in their personnel department earlier this decade, with bigger players. At 6-1, Rowe qualities there, although he may be asked to put on some weight.

An important factor for the Redskins will be special teams; they probably won’t take a late-round player who can’t be good at them. A few reports I’ve see check this box off for Rowe.

Potential issues: As noted, he doesn’t have great straight-line speed. Rowe is not going to get much faster so they key will be how well he deals with perhaps being a step slower than many of the receivers he will be covering. A lot of that comes down to using excellent technique and spending time in the film room so you know the other team’s tendencies. As with every player on the Redskins’ draft board, the scouting department’s interviews with his college coaches, teammates, and others who were with him at Utah will be important.

Bottom line: There will be a few taller corners on the board on Saturday, players like Rowe, Byron Jones of Connecticut, and Jacoby Glenn of Central Florida. They should be on the Redskins’ radar screens but we don’t know how McCloughan will grade them out. They aren’t going to take a bigger corner just for the sake of trying to get another Richard Sherman (who, at 6-3, is a bit taller than any of the late-round corners who are likely to be around on Saturday this year). But if they do take a corner he’ll probably be 6-1 or taller and Rowe could well get consideration.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

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Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

For the second straight season the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins. While the two sides are speaking amicably about a long-term deal, the July 15 deadline for those negotiations continues to inch closer without much expectation that contract will get signed. 

A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017, that figure goes up to $24.

If the Redskins don't get a deal done with Cousins, many think the organization would not again go with the franchise tag because the price tag jumps to an exorbitant $34 million. 

Think again. 

Asked on Monday if another franchise tag would be an option for Cousins in 2018, Redskins team president Bruce Allen was clear.

"Yes," he said. "In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract."

Those options include the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. Both franchise tags carry the same cost, but the non-exclusive allows Cousins' representatives to shop his services around the NFL. If a deal gets struck, and the Redskins don't match the contract, Washington is due two first-round draft picks as compensation for losing their franchise player. 

The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag, and the Redskins can match another contract but risk only receiving a possible 2019 third-round compensatory pick if Cousins walks.

Considering those options, another year on the non-exclusive tag might make sense. The NFL salary cap will be at least $168 million, which means Cousins at $34 million would account for about 20 percent of the Redskins' salary cap.

That's a crazy allotment for one player. Crazy. The Redskins do have about $54 million in cap space for 2018, so technically, another franchise tag could work. 

But the entire manner of the contract dealings with Cousins and the Redskins has been quite unconventional. The Redskins have already made history by franchising Cousins a second-straight year. 

"I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one," Allen said. "Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons."

At this point, it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics to understand that the Redskins and Cousins have a different picture of the quarterback's long-term value. That could change by July 15th, it could, but it doesn't seem likely. The Cousins camp has little incentive to bend, as $24 million fully guaranteed for 2017 represents a great payday.

And maybe the Redskins don't plan on bending because the option of a third-straight franchise tag doesn't worry them. Or at least the option of letting Cousins shop his services on a non-exclusive tag, and then making a decision to match a deal or receive compensation seems a worthwhile endevaor. 

For Cousins, he's not counting out any possibility. 

"People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row," Cousins said to an ESPN podcast in March. 

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Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

The Redskins’ offseason starts to move into high gear today as organized team activities, better known as OTAs, get underway at Redskins Park.

Players have been participating in workouts at Redskins Park since April 17. The first phase of those session consisted of strength and conditioning. In the second phase, they were permitted to run plays but not with the offense lined up against the defense. Finally, in OTAs, they will go offense vs. defense.

RELATED: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

The practices, however, will not resemble an August scrimmage in Richmond. The players wear helmets but no pads and contact is not permitted. While players do block other players and there are collisions between players going after passes, the action is more like pushing and shoving that it is hitting.  

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule last year and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

MORE REDSKINS: Allen says new stadium ahead of schedule 

OTAs will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each of the next three weeks. The sessions will be open to the media on Wednesday of each week. While player attendance is strongly encouraged the practices are voluntary.

The week after OTAs end the team will hold its minicamp on June 13-14. Minicamp is essentially a continuation of OTAs but player attendance is mandatory.

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.