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Redskins Draft Countdown: Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson

The NFL Draft is four 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.

Garrett Grayson
Quarterback
Colorado State

Note: Grayson was unable to participate in the combine drills or Colorado State’s pro day due to a hamstring injury. He did a workout for NFL teams last week; here are his numbers from that session:

  • 40-yard dash: 4.72 and 4.78 seconds
  • Vertical jump: 34 inches
  • Broad jump: 10 feet, 1 inch
  • Short shuttle: 4.35 seconds
  • 3-cone: 6.97 seconds

What they’re saying:
Strengths: Good instincts for the position. Keeps his eyes downfield and shows good spatial awareness to slide up and laterally in the pocket to avoid rushers and extend the play. Good overall athleticism for the position, showing balance and coordination when asked to roll out, as well as good accuracy.

Attempts to lead receivers away from hits, showing above average accuracy in doing so. Good touch on deep passes, including wheel routes, post-corners and verticals . . . Grayson is rarely mentioned among the top quarterback prospects but his vision, pocket mobility and accuracy are intriguing.

Weaknesses: Grayson has a unique wind-up and delivery of the ball that could irk some scouts. His delivery is slower than most and he holds the ball further back, theoretically leaving it all the more vulnerable for defenders to slap away.

He wasn't often asked to drive the ball to the sidelines in CSU's offense and shows only average velocity when doing so.
Rob Rang, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: With so many colleges running the spread offense and its various offshoots, it is getting harder and harder to find an NFL quarterback prospect who ran something similar to an NFL offense. Although the Rams didn’t run a classic West Coast offense, the system Grayson played in was about as close to a pro offense as you’re going to find. As Jon Gruden said, "There's a lot of parts of Colorado State's system that I recognize, unlike a lot of college football."

The Redskins do have three quarterbacks on the roster but none of them is under contract past 2015. If Robert Griffin III can’t show some substantial progress as a pocket passer and if Kirk Cousins can’t shake his interception issues they could be wearing different uniforms next year. It might be a stretch to think that Grayson could be ready to be a starting quarterback in 2016 but the team would be wise to get someone in the quarterback room. Grayson has the potential to fit the system and perhaps develop into a starting quarterback.

Potential issues: Given the way that desperation for quarterbacks can often lead to teams drafting them much higher than they should be, the Redskins may have to use their third-round pick to get Grayson. He might last until the fourth but almost certainly not beyond that. With a lot of needs, can the Redskins afford to use a mid-round pick to add a player who is unlikely to be able to help out at all in any aspect of the game this season?

Bottom line: It will be interesting to see just what Scot McCloughan’s philosophy regarding drafting quarterbacks is. When McCloughan was a scout with the Packers, GM Ted Thompson took a QB almost every year. Some of them, like Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks, became trade bait. Others faded into oblivion like late-round picks often do.

When McCloughan making the draft picks in San Francisco, he used his very first pick on quarterback Alex Smith. In the five subsequent drafts for the 49ers, he tabbed just one QB, Nate Davis in the fifth round in 2009.

If McCloughan is thinking that he’s going to draft quarterbacks frequently, Grayson might be a good one to start with. As noted, dropback quarterbacks with NFL potential are rare and are not going to become any more common in the foreseeable future. It might be wise to get one in the system.

In his own words

Grayson on where he ranks among the QBs in this draft:
“We’re all competing to be the (No.) 1 guy. We obviously know, 1 and 2 guys are kind of at the top of this class, but as a competitor, you’re always trying to be that No. 1 guy. So every one of us – none of us are working to be the third guy, we’re all working for that No. 1 spot. You set out your goals and every day you go to the gym and every single one of us is working to be that No. 1 guy taken.’’
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

The Redskins are looking at potential free agents and continuing with the draft process as they try to move team from residing in the middle of the pack in the NFL to becoming annual contenders to go deep into the playoffs. The process is all about trying to build a solid 53-man depth chart. Let’s get out the crystal ball and see what that depth chart might look like.

Earlier this week we looked at the offense; today the defense is up. Although there could be a change to a 4-3 base defense in the making depending on who the coordinator is, we’ll line them up in a 3-4 until there is word to the contrary.

*Pending unrestricted free agent

Defensive line

Starters: Chris Baker*, draft pick/free agent X 2
Backups: Matt Ioannidis, Ricky Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier

It seems that Baker wants to stay and give that the Redskins would be starting their D-line virtually from scratch without him the chances of coming up with a deal seem strong. I will spend the entire 99 days between now and the draft saying that it’s not a given that they will take a defensive lineman, or any defensive player, with their top draft pick. But someone like Malik McDowell of Michigan State sure would fit in well here along with a free agent like Bennie Logan of the Eagles. The organization will be looking for leaps forward from Ioannidis and Lanier.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Outside linebacker

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Backups: Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Lynden Trail

Although nothing is certain until pen is put to paper, the chances of Galette giving it another go after two torn Achilles in two years are strong. Trail and Houston Bates will battle for a fifth spot, if there is one. Given Smith’s inconsistency and the uncertainty of Galette’s health it wouldn’t be surprising to see them draft an edge rusher.

Inside linebacker

Starters: Will Compton, free agent
Backups: Martrell Spaight, Mason Foster, draft pick

I’m putting Compton there in dry erase marker, not in Sharpie. They love his leadership and work ethic but he must make more plays. I have a free agent starting beside him because it’s a tough position for a rookie to learn. But if they spend a high draft pick that player could jump into a starting job quickly.  Foster moves into the nickel role that he performed well after Su’a Cravens went out with an injury. Steven Daniels, a 2016 seventh-round pick who spent the year on injured reserve, could push Spaight for a job.

Cornerback

Starters: Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar
Backups: Kendall Fuller (nickel), Tharold Simon, free agent/draft pick

This could go in a lot of different directions. The only spot set in stone is Norman’s. I have Bashaud Breeland moving to safety, which is something of a speculative hot take. If they make that move, they could spend a high draft pick or substantial free agent money on a corner or they could stay in-house with Dunbar or Fuller. Simon could make the team and contribute or he could be cut.

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

Safety

Starters: Su’a Cravens, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, draft pick

Safeties are hard to find. In college, potentially good safeties gravitate towards cornerback, where the NFL money is better. If a good one hits the free agent market, the laws of supply and demand push the price up beyond the value of the position. For those reasons, the Redskins might try Breeland at safety. Some in the organization have believed for a couple of years that safety is his best position. Cravens announced that he would be moving to safety so that change is firm. Duke Ihenacho, who is a free agent, could be back but I think he moves along. Blackmon is a good veteran reserve who can play nickel also. Even though he made a key interception when forced into duty against the Eagles, it still seems that they don’t trust Everett at safety and perhaps a mid-round pick will replace him.

Specialists: LS Nick Sundberg*, P Tress Way, PK Dustin Hopkins

I predict that Sundberg will be the first of the team’s pending free agents to agree to a contract. Hopkins may get some camp competition but it is unlikely to be of more than the token variety.

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.

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Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 18, 99 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 43
NFL free agency starts 51
First Sunday of 2017 season 236

The coordinator search and more

Did the Redskins underachieve this year? I know that a metric like Football Outsiders' DVOA is not the final word in the quality of a team but looking at it year after year it usually does work out that the teams with the better numbers in DVOA usually win more games than those with worse numbers. The Redskins finished 2016 eighth in DVOA. Considering that 12 teams make the playoffs, that could be considered a playoff quality team. Yet 15 teams finished with a better record than they did. I’m sure there are some holes in the formula for the stat but just looking at that it sure appears that the Redskins did leave some wins out on the field.

John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are prepared to switch to a 4-3 defense if that is what their new defensive coordinator prefers. They have been in the 3-4 since Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010. Whether it is because of the scheme or lack of draft and free agent resources spent on the line and at safety, the defense hasn’t been very good. As Keim notes, they will need to make some personnel changes if they do change but with a full load of draft picks and $62 million in cap space this may be the time to do it.

I expected the angst that was all over Twitter when word of the Rob Ryan interview got out. But it’s pretty dumb to get all worked up over an interview (with all due respect to readers here who may have been upset). It’s not a hiring. Look, somehow or another Ryan managed to stay employed as an NFL defensive coordinator for 12 straight seasons. I don’t know how to research it without going through some very time consuming and tedious steps but I’d be willing to bet that only about a few dozen men in the history of the league have been able to remain a defensive coordinator for that many season in a row. The organization can learn something from sitting down and talking to him for a few hours.

I understand that we want things to talk about in a relatively slow time. But I just don’t see why there is fear out there over the possibility that Kyle Shanahan will get hired as the coach of the 49ers and somehow steal Kirk Cousins away to be his quarterback. The Redskins can maintain his rights via the franchise tag. They could tag Cousins and trade him to the 49ers but there would be a heavy price in terms of draft picks. But while it’s possible, it’s unlikely. The chances are very, very good that Cousins will be in a Redskins uniform this year via either the tag or a long-term deal. 

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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.