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Redskins Draft Countdown: Clemson edge defender Vic Beasley

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Clemson edge defender Vic Beasley

The NFL Draft is six weeks away and I’ll continue researching the prospects throughout the lead-up to the draft. 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.

Vic Beasley
Edge defender
Clemson

Height: 6-3
Weight: 246
40 time: 4.53 sec.

What they’re saying:
What I liked:  You are looking for pass rushers with explosion who will transform themselves on occasion to an absolutely unstoppable force.  Out of his stance he explodes up field and either goes right around the edge with a blur and the type of body angle that says “edge force” or he sets that up to spin back inside.  He is relentless and he cannot wait to blow up a play.

What I did not like:  It completely starts and stops with the reality that he is 6’3, 235.  Basically, he is the same size and weight as Seattle safety Kam Chancellor.  It means that he would be one of the very smallest edge rushers in the NFL and you would have to know that the second he gets there, opposing teams would run right at him.  He is not stout and he is not going to stand his ground when teams do run at him.
Bob Sturm, Dallas Morning News

How he fits the Redskins: I think that the need for another edge rusher after the departure of Brian Orakpo is pretty well established. Yes, Trent Murphy can start there if you need him to and although he works hard and can be effective he is not the sort of premiere pass rusher you want going after the quarterback’s blindside. Beasley is among a group of players who could fill that role.

Beasley is a playmaker, with 25 sacks and additional 44.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The plan would be to have him and Ryan Kerrigan, who can also be a disruptive force, make for a week of sleepless nights for opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators.

Potential issues: As Sturm noted above, Beasley is on the small side. Other than the obvious issues that might create in rushing defense, Scott McCloughan generally prefers bigger players. Compared to the other top prospects at edge rusher the Redskins might be considering with the fifth pick Beasley gives away 15 pounds to Dante Fowler and is almost two inches shorter than Randy Gregory.

It should also be noted that being a bit smaller isn’t necessarily a fatal flaw in McCloughan’s book. “I think it is a big man’s game, but I think it’s a football player’s game. It’s not about the height, weight and speed,” he said as his introductory news conference in January. “It’s about consistency and being a football player every day.”

In other words, McCloughan delivers a slightly more elegant version of the old saying that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. It’s likely that McCloughan will like Beasley’s fight.

Bottom line: Taking a stab at what might happen in a draft that isn’t for another five and half weeks is risky. But it seems to me that the three things the Redskins are most likely to do with the No. 5 pick are, from most likely to least likely, are draft an edge rusher, trade the pick, or draft a wide receiver. Beasley, Gregory, Fowlers, and Shane Ray will all go under the microscope at Redskins Park.

The odds are that not all four will cut it in the NFL, at least to the extent where using the No. 5 pick was be justified. At the very least McCloughan will have to pick out the player or players who aren’t going to make it and avoid them. If he can pick the best player out of those who remain, that’s a bonus.

So Beasley will get his shot and we will see how it works out for him.

In his own words:

Beasley on where he’ll play in the NFL:
“The majority of the teams are going to want me to play outside linebacker and I’m fine with that . . . Outside linebacker, D-end, I’m willing to play either one. Whatever the team I get picked by and whatever position they want me to play, I’m willing to move wherever they want me to move.”
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!