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Redskins draft countdown: Could Miami's Brad Kaaya be the heir apparent at quarterback?

Redskins draft countdown: Could Miami's Brad Kaaya be the heir apparent at quarterback?

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 38 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players the Redskins will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.

Brad Kaaya

Quarterback
Miami

Height: 6-4
Weight: 214
40-yard dash: Did not participate

Projected draft round: 3

What they’re saying

Three-year starter and pro-style pocket passer. Experienced and comfortable under center and in play-action offense. Has shown an ability to read the entire field when asked. Gets through progressions fairly quickly. Expedites release and throws to an area in front of the route when blitz is closing in. Always looking to throw past sticks on third down. Understands his arm limitations and rarely takes unnecessary chances throwing into space.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: In case you haven’t heard, the Redskins are having trouble getting Kirk Cousins signed to a long-term deal. If he doesn’t sign prior to the draft, the team will need to seriously look at their future at quarterback. If Kaaya is there in the third round, they could make him that future.

Although he played in a pro-style offense at Miami, he probably needs a year on the bench to get ready and assuming Cousins is around this year the Redskins would have that luxury. A review of some game tape releveled to me that his arm strength is average to below average by NFL standards. He can make up for that by making quick decisions and anticipating. Kaaya is at his best when he can step into his throws and fire them between the hash marks. Still, it’s easy to see him having problems throwing into tight windows in the NFL. He’s not the mobile type of quarterback but he can make plays on the move.   

In a very general sense Kaaya is similar to Cousins when he came out of Michigan State. Both are pocket passers who don’t have the strongest arms. Cousins overcame his deficiencies with lots of hard work on and off the field. Can Kaaya do the same?

Potential issues: Kaaya has some problems throwing outside the numbers; against Notre Dame last year he underthrew one out pattern that easily was picked off. He also showed no knack for throwing deep passes; if it’s possible to overthrow long balls and show a weak arm in the process, that’s what he does.

Since Kaaya is a quarterback who shows some potential to be a starter there is a good chance that he will be overdrafted. He clearly is a mid-round talent since he likely will need a year of clipboard holding and probably a season of rocky on the job training before a team can really determine if he can be its future at the position. But it’s easy to see a team trading up in the second round to grab a guy who is 6-4, won the job at Miami as a true freshman, and started 38 games over three seasons.

Bottom line: When evaluating Kaaya one should note that he played for three different head coaches and in two different offensive systems in his three years. That could be why his stats are good but don’t really pop off the page.

It seems that the best plan for a long-term answer at quarterback is to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract. But whether it’s the Redskins reluctance to commit the money or Cousins being leery of the front office issues that have ground on during all five of his seasons in Washington, that may not happen. Unless they really think that Nate Sudfeld can be the starter in 2018 or if Colt McCoy can revive his career next year at age 32 they must do something to be prepared for Cousins’ departure.

Is Kaaya the right guy? He may be if he still is there when the third round comes around. But for a team with as many needs as the Redskins, a second might be too much to gamble on a player who is far from a sure thing.  

In his own words:

When asked about what he would do to win over the locker room where he was drafted Kaaya sounded like a guy the Redskins charity foundation would love:

I mean, do exactly what I did at Miami, earn my stripes and earn my respect. I’m not gonna go in there thinking I’m the guys already. I realize that everything is earned. No matter what my opportunity is, no matter what the situation, I’m going to be around the city no matter what. I plan on staying in the city I’m drafted to . . . Just getting out in the community and making an impact on people. I feel like football gives you that platform to make an impact on a lot of people around the country and even across the world. And I feel like being in the position that all of us are in right now, we have kind of a moral obligation to help people and make an impact.

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

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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Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players that could make big impact

Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players that could make big impact

Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.

  1. Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy. 
  2. Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
  3. Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.

Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

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.