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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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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

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

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

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

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!