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Redskins Draft Countdown: Florida State OL Cameron Erving

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Florida State OL Cameron Erving

The NFL Draft is just over two 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.

Cameron Erving
Offensive lineman
Florida State

What they’re saying:
Strengths: Keeps busy and works to secure blocks in run game. Good foot quickness into pass set. Consistently in ready position with good hand readiness in pass sets. Uses good hand placement and has natural timing with hands. Converted defensive tackle who will continue to improve in the NFL with more experience at center. Displays good snap-to-step quickness.

Weaknesses: High-cut with tapered lower body, lacking power in legs. Pops straight up in pass rush. Susceptible to bull rush. Had issues handling the edge speed of Clemson's Vic Beasley in 2014 and his days of playing tackle are likely over. Relies on lean rather than hip thrust to generate power. Taught to absorb and control as a pass protector and needs to establish more pop in punch.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: Kory Lichtensteiger was at worst the Redskins second-best offensive lineman last year and given how Trent Williams struggled from time to time with injuries he was arguably the most consistent. But the team is looking to move to more of a power rushing attack and may be looking for someone with more heft to replace the 6-2, 296-lb Lichtensteiger.

Although they are in no hurry to push Lichtensteiger out if the right player is there in this year’s draft they could jump. And Cameron Erving could be the right player. He’s agile enough to have played left tackle for the Seminoles, although he is better in a phone booth than in space. At 6-5, 313 he has excellent size for a center and if they want him to add a few pounds his frame could handle it.

Potential issues: If the Redskins do have an eye on Erving availability could be an issue. Erving certainly doesn’t justify the No. 5 pick; in fact, he would be a reach anywhere in the top half of the first round. But mock drafts have him going as early as 18th to the Chiefs so he may be out of the Redskins’ reach in the second round.

His technique needs some refinement but there is nothing wrong there that some time under the tutelage of Bill Callahan can’t repair. He came to Florida State as a defensive lineman and has played all over on the line so it could take some time to clean up his fundamentals.

Bottom line: The good thing about the Redskins’ center situation is that there is no great urgency to get it fixed. Lichtensteiger just turned 30 and is under contract for three more years at healthy but reasonable cap numbers of just over $4 million per year. So if things don’t work out in regards to getting a long-term answer at the position this year it’s not a disaster. Lichtensteiger is smart enough to use positioning and leverage to get by in a power scheme for the time being.

So, if Erving drops to the second round and he’s the best available player when the Redskins draft, they take him. If things don’t fall that way they don’t have to reach or trade up to get an answer in the middle of the line.

In his own words:

Erving on his frequent position switches:
“Honestly when I made the switch a lot of people asked me how I felt about it in terms of the NFL. That wasn’t on my mind. I mean, I’ve always been the type of person that does what’s best for the team. When I moved from defense (after freshman season) that was what was best for the team. And that’s how I did. As far as moving from tackle to center it’s what the team needed at the time. So I did it. “
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.