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Redskins Draft Countdown: Connecticut DB Byron Jones

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Connecticut DB Byron Jones

The NFL Draft is just over 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.

Byron Jones
Defensive back
Connecticut

What they’re saying:
Strengths: Extremely smart and instinctive on the field. Shows above-average anticipation of routes. Is able to sniff out rub routes and works to avoid them. Flashes recovery speed downfield and gets head around to find ball and make a play on it. Uses instincts and adequate closing burst to disrupt the catch.

Weaknesses: Plays with high center of gravity. Has difficulty gearing down quickly and changing directions. Doesn't always play with feet under him. Will lose balance and footing too often. Not a quick-twitch athlete. Feet show noticeable stall before firing forward out of backpedal. Willing to tackle but not a physical player.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: As far as anyone can tell, Jones set a world record by posting a standing broad jump of 12 feet, 3 inches at the combine. The standing broad jump has not been an Olympic sport since 1912 so the official records are spotty, but nobody has been able to find a longer jump.

But the jump that created so much media buzz in Indianapolis in and of itself won’t draw the interest of Scot McCloughan. His instincts, speed (4.4 in the 40 at his pro day), and leadership are what the Redskins will consider when they look at Jones.

They also might pull out some old tape and watch him play in 2011 and 2012 when he started at safety for the Huskies. If the Redskins do end up taking Jones it could be with the idea of converting him to a free safety. The plan would be giving him a season as Dashon Goldson’s backup and getting him some snaps in nickel and dime situation and then have him ready to start in 2016.

[Related: Byron Jones to Redskins in Standig's Mock Draft 5.0]

Potential issues: It’s hard to sort out the “jump up the draft boards” media analyst hype over his broad jump from his actual standing among NFL teams. After the combine some mock drafts have had him going in the latter stages of the first round, which would put him out of reach of the Redskins.

However, NFL.com gives Jones a grade of 5.5, which translates to “chance of being an NFL starter”. Jones is graded behind some 75 other players, which translates into being a third-round choice.

There also is an injury concern with Jones. He missed the last five games of last season with a torn labrum. However, he was a durable player prior to that, playing in 43 straight games prior to the shoulder injury.

Is he physical enough to play safety if that’s where a team wants him to do? That is what McCloughan will have to sort out on tape and during other investigation.

Bottom line: He may not be a target for the Redskins with their second-round pick (No. 38) but if they should pick up a later pick in that round via a trade he could be on their radar. If Jones is still there when the Redskins are on the clock in the third round (No. 69) there could be some serious consideration.

Previously in Draft Countdown:

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A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

RICHMOND—The Redskins reportedly have been looking to trade running back Matt Jones since just before the draft. They may be able to find a partner just up I-95.

The Baltimore Ravens are in need of a running back after Kenneth Dixon suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this week. Terrance West, who gained 774 yards on the ground last year, is healthy and returning but the Ravens want more depth at the position.

That is where Jones could come into play. The 2015 third-round pick of the Redskins was the unquestioned starter going into last season. But fumbling and other issues prompted Jay Gruden to make him inactive the last nine games of the season. Jones further fell out of favor by skipping OTAs this year, a move he made on the advice of his now-former agent.

RELATED: Is Cousins overrated?

Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh said last year that he liked Jones “a lot” in the 2015 draft and he could well still be intrigued by his size and speed. ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley said that Jones could be a good fit for the Ravens in their current situation.

It should be noted that Hensley seems to be engaging in informed speculation and not relaying anything he heard from the team’s decision makers. He also speaks of the possibility of Baltimore picking up Jones after the Redskins release him.

But there could be some incentive for the Ravens to talk trade with the Redskins rather than waiting for Jones to hit the waiver wire. For one thing, getting their new back in sooner rather than later would benefit the Ravens, allowing the player to get acclimated to his new quarterback and offensive line. While the Redskins are inevitably going to cut Jones, they have no incentive to do so before the final cuts just before the start of the season. Perhaps the Ravens will want to give up some minor compensation, something like a swap of sixth- and seventh-round picks, to get Jones in for the start of training camp.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Hensley also mentions the possibility that the Ravens will look at former Redskin Alfred Morris for depth at running back. He currently is buried on the Cowboys’ depth chart behind All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden. However, there is the possibility of a domestic-violence suspension on the horizon for Elliott. While the suspension is likely to be brief the Cowboys probably don’t want to depart with any running back depth until the matter has been settled.

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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Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

At CSNmidatlantic.com we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offense, defense) right after minicamp. Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2017 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.

Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 1-10. Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—A 2016 free agent who needs to make more big plays.

—A rookie expected to bolster one of the weakest units on the team.   

—Each of the five highest-paid players on the team.

—What you won’t find: Any players who will be over the age of 29 in Week 1.     

Go here to see our ranking of the 2017 Redskins, players 1-53.

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.