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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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Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

The Redskins face the very real prospect of losing receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon via free agency. Head coach Jay Gruden wants both players back, but is prepared to roll with the guys on the team if Jackson and Garçon depart. 

"Obviously DeSean and Pierre had great years. 1,000 yards each. Those are going to be hard to replace," Gruden said to reporters in Indianapolis. 

It's still possible the Redskins keep both Jackson and Garçon, or keep one of the two, just as both players could leave the organization. In his comments, it seemed like Gruden does not expect one or both guys to be back, and that the team will move on without them. That could mean losing Jackson's 1,005 receiving yards or Garçon's 1,041. 

"Coach the guys that we have. Free agency you’re never going to be able to sign everybody you want as a coach," he said. "I’d like to have Alshon Jeffery, Pierre and DeSean. Heck, give them all to me. I know that's not going to happen."

Gruden tends to joke often speaking with the media, and clearly the prospect of signing Jeffery, a star wideout for the Bears that will hit free agency next week, along with Jackson and Garçon isn't going to happen. The receiver market in free agency will be interesting to watch, as a number of top options will be available. Jeffery, Jackson, Garçon along with Cleveland's Terrelle Pryor and younger prospects like Kenny Stills and Kenny Britt. 

Asked if it was "necessary" to bring at least one of Garçon or Jackson back, Gruden bristled. 

"Would never say necessary. I’d love to have them both back, I'd love to have one back. If we are unfortunate enough to lose them both, I'm not gonna blink."

The coach explained the team has a good crop of young pass catchers already on the roster. 

"I do feel very good about Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant, Josh Doctson. I love the fact that Mo Harris got a lot of work in, he’s gonna develop."

The coach should feel good about the young receivers, their development is part of his job. Crowder looks like a future star in the slot. Still, Jackson and Garçon accounted for more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards in 2016. That's a lot of yardage to lose. 

Of course, Doctson's development will be a major theme this offseason. A first-round pick in 2016, the Redskins got next to nothing from him as a rookie as he dealt with an Achilles injury. A healthy 6-foot-2 Doctson could offset some of the lost productivity that would come with the departure of Jackson or Garçon.

And then there is always free agency. It's entirely possible Washington could sign another, perhaps cheaper, wideout on the marketplace should they lose two the same way. Gruden said the team has 'other free agents' the team could pursue.

"We have Plan B's and Plan C's ready to go," Gruden said. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

Shortly after Kirk Cousins got the exclusive franchise tag from the Redskins on Saturday, two sort of conflicting reports. One, from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, was that Cousins “is not going anywhere” and a trade is essentially off the table. Mike Florio of Pro Football talk, quoting “a source familiar with the dynamics of the situation” reported that the Redskins would have to be “blown away” by a trade offer in order to pull the trigger on a deal.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

On the face of it, the reports conflict. One says that Cousins is available, the other says that he isn’t. But that valuation of them assumes the sources for these reports were intent on putting out the truth. The fact is that Cousins is very much available for the right offer.

A conversation along the lines of this one could well take place in Indianapolis this week:

“How much do you want for your house?”

“It’s not for sale.”

“No, really, how much do you want.”

“Really, it’s not for sale.”

“I’ll give you $50,000 over whatever it gets appraised for.”

“Sold!”

In short, you don’t need to have a “for sale” sign up in front of something to sell it. In fact, sometimes it’s better to act as though you have no intention of selling whatever it is. That can intrigue potential buyers even more.

The analogy falters a bit as it seems that the Redskins are unlikely to get a premium over whatever Cousins’ valuation on the open market might be. The receiving team will have to give the QB a massive contract. In addition, a team that wants Cousins is likely to be able to get him with no compensation in a year, when Cousins is likely to be an unfettered free agent. But you get the idea.

More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?

The message from the Redskins is, don’t come at us with a couple of mid rounders. There is some point where the compensation for giving up Cousins a year earlier than they might have to isn’t enough. It literally would be better to rent Cousins for one more season than get, say, a third-round pick with a 2018 fifth thrown in.

That being said, they are not going to get the RG3 type haul—three firsts and a second—in exchange for Cousins. The likely would accept something south of that in exchange for Cousins’ rights.

So, he’s not available at any price—unless the price is right.

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.