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Redskins Draft Countdown: Duke G Laken Tomlinson

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Duke G Laken Tomlinson

The NFL Draft is just over 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.

Laken Tomlinson
Guard
Duke

What they’re saying:
"Some scouts see upside with him, but I think what you see is what you get. Clunky in a phone-booth type." -- NFL director of scouting "He was really impressive matching up against true power players at the Senior Bowl. He made Danny Shelton quit on a couple of reps when he couldn't get any push against Tomlinson." -- AFC general manager

via NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan are both going to move the Redskins towards more of a power blocking rushing attack, although there will be some zone plays incorporated. Power is what Tomlinson is about so he would be a good fit in that respect.

Last week Gruden talked about the right guard position and he indicated that he was comfortable going into OTAs with Chris Chester, who has been the starter for the last four years, and second-year player Spencer Long. But Chester is 32 and in the last year of his contract and Long is an unknown quantity. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Scot McCloughan draft a big guard and let him and Long battle it out with Chester possibly ending up as a cap casualty.

After this season, one of the younger guards could be a fit on the left side. Shawn Lauvao’s salary jumps up to $4 million per season after this year and the Redskins could go with a younger and cheaper pair of guards in Tomlinson and Long.

Potential issues: Gruden and Callahan aren’t going to go strictly with a power running game; like most NFL teams, they will mix in some zone plays. Tomlinson has issues on the second level so those will need to be worked out.

Bottom line: Tomlinson is one of the sharpest players in the draft. He is on track to graduate with a double major in psychology and evolutionary anthropology. His aspirations to go to medical school and become a surgeon will go on hold for him to pursue an NFL career. There is not doubt he will be impressive in interviews and that is an aspect that McCloughan values highly.

He is projected to be a second round pick and that may be too high for a guard. It’s a pretty strong draft for the offensive line so perhaps the Redskins will look for a guard later. Then again, the strength of the O-line draft may push Tomlinson down in the draft if other teams have the same idea. If he’s on the board when the Redskins pick in the third he could be hard to pass over.

It seems that Tomlinson would be a good fit with the Redskins and we’ll see if he’s on the board where the Redskins might think he’s a good value.

In his own words:

Tomlinson on doing film work:
“I pick up a lot from watching film, especially with a defender, you want to know what technique or what body posture he tends to go to for certain stunts or blitzes. So film work is real important . . . It’s something that over the years has been more and more important. As you play more, you have more of the experience to apply it to the game.”
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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Need to Know: The pace picks up as the Redskins return to Ashburn

Need to Know: The pace picks up as the Redskins return to Ashburn

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 16, 17 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 227 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 25 days.

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 3
—Redskins @ Rams (9/17) 32
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 39

The pace picks up at Redskins Park

The Redskins have returned from Richmond and they get to work in Ashburn today with a 1 p.m. practice. It has been nearly week since their first preseason game. Now they have three days to get ready to play the Packers on Saturday. After that, things keep moving quickly as the Redskins get ready to play the Eagles in the season opener on September 10.

—They will have a week of practice that is close to a regular-season week. They play the Bengals on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field so they will have a full seven day’s to get ready for so-called “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. I have the quotes around it because they still don’t game plan or scout the opponent much if at all. But the starters should play at least the first half.

—After that, it’s quick turnaround as they get a couple of days of practice before heading down to Tampa to play the Bucs in the fourth preseason game on Thursday night. The short turnaround isn’t much of a concern as it will be the front-line players participating in the Bengals game and the bottom half of the roster scrapping for the last four to six spots still up for grabs will be playing at Raymond James Stadium.  

—The coaches don’t get much of a breather after that. After the clock hits 0:00 in Tampa they will have about 40 hours to get the roster cut down to 53. Starting this year, there is no first cut prior to the fourth preseason game so they go from 89 (Trent Murphy going to injured reserve takes care of one roster reduction already) to 53. That means that 36 decisions must be made and 36 players must be informed that they are no longer part of the team.

—After 1 p.m. on Sunday, the Redskins can start signing members of their 10-player practice squad. While many of them are likely to come from the pool of players they just cut, not all of them will. The team then starts to prepare for the regular season.

—For the final item here, an answer to a fan’s question from Twitter.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

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What Su'a Cravens's surgery means for the Redskins' safety plans

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USA Today Sports

What Su'a Cravens's surgery means for the Redskins' safety plans

Su'a Cravens will miss the entire preseason for the Redskins, save for three snaps already logged against the Ravens.

In those three snaps, Cravens injured his knee, and on Tuesday, Adam Schefter reported the second-year safety will undergo surgery on the knee

The surgery will clean up swelling that occured in his knee following the Ravens game, per a source, and Cravens should be good to go for Washington in Week 1 of the regular season. 

For Redskins fans, there might be some reason to worry.

One argument might suggest that Cravens has never played safety in the NFL after being used his entire rookie season as a linebacker. Therefore, Cravens needs the practice reps as a safety. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

 

While certainly he could use the practice at safety, this concern seemse overblown. Cravens is a much more natural player in the secondary than he ever was at linebacker. In college, Cravens played his best at safety, and his versatility will allow him to do more from the safety spot.

Cravens has already dealt with a number of different injuries, and perhaps that might concern 'Skins fans. As a rookie, Cravens missed time with a concussion and then late in the year with an upper arm injury. He played in 11 of 16 games last year. None of the injuries seem like the lingering type, which is good news. 

With Cravens out the Redskins will turn to Deshazor Everett, a third year player out of Texas A&M. Primarily a special teams force, Everett got minimal playing time at safety in 2016. In his only real opportunity to play with the defense in a Week 14 win at Philadelphia, Everett grabbed a vitally important interception in the end zone. 

Everett is unknown, but has ability. He also has a big opportunity these next three games playing alongside D.J. Swearinger. 

Behind Everett, the Redskins best options are both working back from injuries. Rookie Montae Nicholson, a somewhat surprising fourth-round selection out of Michigan State, just returned to team drills during the last few practices in Richmond. Nicholson has size and track speed, but much remains to be seen if he can improve his cover and tackling ability. 

Don't forget about veteran DeAngelo Hall. He started the season on the PUP list, expectedly, after landing on the injured reserve in 2016. Hall hasn't played a full season since 2013, when Mike Shanahan was still the Redskins coach and RG3 the starting quarterback. A lot has changed since then. 

Watching from the sidelines in Richmond during training camp, Hall seemed more of a coach than a player working back from injury, though he was seen running on the drill field late in camp. It would be a major surprise if Hall played in the preseason.

The Redskins intend to go with Cravens against the Eagles. Everett will be the backup plan. Nicholson has much to prove, and Hall still seems far away from seeing the field as a player. 

MORE REDSKINS: With Murphy out, Redskins to rely more on injury-prone Galette

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