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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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The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

Every NFL training camp is different, but there are a few consistent things you can count on happening at each one each year.

At some point, for example, a star will say that he's "just excited to hit a guy wearing a different colored jersey" after about a week of practicing against his teammates. Also on the list: a coach will tell reporters that his defense plans on being more aggressive and hopes to create more turnovers in the regular season.

One of the more pleasant camp traditions, meanwhile, is that undrafted rookie who goes from stand-in to stand out and makes the team by impressing in drills and preseason contests.

But while there will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for trying to figure out who'll do that for the Redskins in 2017, let's instead look back at a handful of the players who've already accomplished that in the past with Washington. Here are the seven best undrafted free agents the franchise has unearthed since 2010.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER WITH KEY STATS FOR KIRK COUSINS IN 2017

Logan Paulsen (2010)

No one will ever mistake Logan Paulsen's film for Rob Gronkowski's, but the former UCLA Bruin held down the third tight end spot for the Redskins from 2010-2014.

His two best years came in 2012 and 2013, where he posted 25 and 28 catches respectively, scored four total times and was on the receiving end of this magical fourth-down pass from Robert Griffin III against the Giants, a play that might've just been the peak of Griffin's rookie year. Now 30, Paulsen is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco, continuing to exceed expectations and extending what's been a fruitful NFL career.

Will Compton (2013)

Will Compton's made a steady climb up Washington's roster since entering the league as a free agent linebacker out of Nebraska.

He was cut in his first season back in 2013 but latched onto the practice squad. He eventually debuted near the end of 2013, though, and made the 53-man squad the next go-round. 2015 was when he first started playing regularly, then last year he started 15 contests while also serving as a captain.

In 2017, he'll have to compete with Zach Brown and Mason Foster for a starting gig, but he figures to play plenty no matter the outcome and he's one of Jay Gruden's most trusted defenders. Not bad for a guy who has admitted he "wasn't confident" as a rookie:

Houston Bates (2015)

Special teams often is the avenue a college free agent has to take to make a roster, and Houston Bates is an example of one who's been there, done that. He's appeared in 24 games for the Redskins in his first two NFL campaigns and will look to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last December so he can add to that total in year three.

Before that injury, he was Washington's most active special teams player with 292 snaps in 14 contests.

Quinton Dunbar (2015)

Quinton Dunbar has not only overcome being an undrafted free agent; the former Florida Gator has also made the successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback, too.

Like his classmate Bates, Dunbar has participated often in 2015 and 2016, and like Paulsen, his biggest moments have come against the Giants. As a first-year pro, he picked off Eli Manning in the end zone to the delight of a raucous FedExField crowd, and as a sophomore, he helped complete a risky fake punt and also notched another (absolutely insane) INT in New York:

Rob Kelley (2016)

This offseason, Jay Gruden joked that Rob Kelley has worked his way up from "ninth-string" to starter. He laughed as he said it, but it may not have been that big of an exaggeration.

Kelley never rushed for more than 420 yards at Tulane, but he ripped off 704 last year for the 'Skins. Now he's the top option in a talented backfield, and while Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson are nipping at his heels for carries, Gruden has repeatedly said how much he loves Kelley. He'll be fed plenty in 2017.

Anthony Lanier (2016)

Anthony Lanier's on this list not for what he's done, but for what he's projected to do. Gruden uses not one but two really's to describe how excited he is about Lanier, and a couple of months of working with assistant Jim Tomsula might be all the lineman needs to make the jump from a project to a problem. 

Maurice Harris (2016)

Last on the list is a receiver who displayed sure hands and a knack for converting third downs in limited action last year. Maurice Harris now looks like he'll be an early option off the bench in Gruden's offense and should see the field far more often than he did in the second half of 2016.

You may not be fully sold on Harris, but it sounds like his teammates are, so don't be surprised if he breaks out and develops into another option for Kirk Cousins:

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—First-down rushing, forcing fumbles

Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—First-down rushing, forcing fumbles

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 23, four days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 203 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 49 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 18
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 27
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

The Redskins by the numbers

5.01—The average yards per carry against the Redskins on first down last year.

I have noted this before but I took a closer look and it’s even worse. In 2016, four running backs—Isaiah Crowell of the Browns, DeAngelo Williams of the Steelers, Jordan Howard of the Bears, and Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys—gained over 100 yards against Washington on first down alone. It took Elliott two games to get there but the other three made it in one. If the Redskins don’t get this fixed (this is the second year in a row they have been last in the league here) their defense won’t get much better.

3.85—The Redskins average offensive gain per carry on first down.

This is not a very good performance here — the average is 20th in the NFL. But it does represent a significant improvement from 2015, when they were last in the NFL at 3.3 yards per carry. One difference was negative plays. Two years ago, they had 63 first-down plays go for no gain or a loss of yards. Last year they had 48 such plays. Rob Kelley, who was fourth-best in the league as a rookie last year at gaining yardage after being contacted behind the line, can claim a lot of credit.

8—The number of opponents’ fumbles the Redskins recovered this year.

A total of 17 other teams recovered more fumbles than the Redskins did last year and their recoveries were exactly half of what they were in 2015, when they had 16, the most in the league. It wasn’t surprising that their recoveries fell. The numbers crunchers say that fumble recoveries aren’t “sticky,” meaning that there tends to be a lot of variance for each team each year. And that makes sense as a lot of recovering fumbles is the bounce of the ball.

But it should be noted that the Redskins forced just 22 fumbles last year after forcing 36 in 2015. You have to get the ball on the ground to recover it and the Redskins could do a better job of forcing fumbles in 2017

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.

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