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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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The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 8 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

5:13 left in Q3, Redskins ball 2nd and 8 at their own 29, Redskins leading 13-10

Kirk Cousins sacked at WAS 36 for -9 yards (Calais Campbell). FUMBLES (Calais Campbell) [Calais Campbell], RECOVERED by ARZ- Markus Golden at WAS 30. Markus Golden to WAS 10 for 20 yards (Chris Thompson).

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: The Redskins had survived a rocky start and they were in position to take control of the game after the Cardinals missed a long field goal attempt. But the situation turned abruptly when Campbell blew over guard Shawn Lauvao and hit Cousins, sending the ball flying. Golden scooped it up and returned it to the 10. Three plays later Carson Palmer threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd. That was the beginning of the end of the Redskins’ chances to get a road win that they desperately had to have.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: When the Cowboys opened the game by marching right down the field against the Redskins on Thanksgiving, nobody blinked, as Dallas' offense had been superb all season. When Arizona did the same thing the following week, there was reason for concern. The 'Skins were able to stem the Cards early, and even took a lead, before Campbell bull-rushed his way into the Washington backfield and blasted Cousins. The Cardinals defensive line was hitting Cousins all game, and this play almost seemed inevitable. It would later come out Lauvao was playing through injury, but bigger picture, the Cardinals loss was the first game the 'Skins truly needed and the team couldn't win. The loss dropped Jay Gruden's squad out of a playoff spot, and though the team would eventually inch their way back into contention, in hindsight, losing in Arizona was the first real indicator that the 2016 Redskins would not make the postseason. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!

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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.