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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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Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

For the second straight season the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins. While the two sides are speaking amicably about a long-term deal, the July 15 deadline for those negotiations continues to inch closer without much expectation that contract will get signed. 

A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017, that figure goes up to $24.

If the Redskins don't get a deal done with Cousins, many think the organization would not again go with the franchise tag because the price tag jumps to an exorbitant $34 million. 

Think again. 

Asked on Monday if another franchise tag would be an option for Cousins in 2018, Redskins team president Bruce Allen was clear.

"Yes," he said. "In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract."

Those options include the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. Both franchise tags carry the same cost, but the non-exclusive allows Cousins' representatives to shop his services around the NFL. If a deal gets struck, and the Redskins don't match the contract, Washington is due two first-round draft picks as compensation for losing their franchise player. 

The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag, and the Redskins can match another contract but risk only receiving a possible 2019 third-round compensatory pick if Cousins walks.

Considering those options, another year on the non-exclusive tag might make sense. The NFL salary cap will be at least $168 million, which means Cousins at $34 million would account for about 20 percent of the Redskins' salary cap.

That's a crazy allotment for one player. Crazy. The Redskins do have about $54 million in cap space for 2018, so technically, another franchise tag could work. 

But the entire manner of the contract dealings with Cousins and the Redskins has been quite unconventional. The Redskins have already made history by franchising Cousins a second-straight year. 

"I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one," Allen said. "Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons."

At this point, it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics to understand that the Redskins and Cousins have a different picture of the quarterback's long-term value. That could change by July 15th, it could, but it doesn't seem likely. The Cousins camp has little incentive to bend, as $24 million fully guaranteed for 2017 represents a great payday.

And maybe the Redskins don't plan on bending because the option of a third-straight franchise tag doesn't worry them. Or at least the option of letting Cousins shop his services on a non-exclusive tag, and then making a decision to match a deal or receive compensation seems a worthwhile endevaor. 

For Cousins, he's not counting out any possibility. 

"People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row," Cousins said to an ESPN podcast in March. 

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Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

The Redskins’ offseason starts to move into high gear today as organized team activities, better known as OTAs, get underway at Redskins Park.

Players have been participating in workouts at Redskins Park since April 17. The first phase of those session consisted of strength and conditioning. In the second phase, they were permitted to run plays but not with the offense lined up against the defense. Finally, in OTAs, they will go offense vs. defense.

RELATED: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

The practices, however, will not resemble an August scrimmage in Richmond. The players wear helmets but no pads and contact is not permitted. While players do block other players and there are collisions between players going after passes, the action is more like pushing and shoving that it is hitting.  

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule last year and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

MORE REDSKINS: Allen says new stadium ahead of schedule 

OTAs will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each of the next three weeks. The sessions will be open to the media on Wednesday of each week. While player attendance is strongly encouraged the practices are voluntary.

The week after OTAs end the team will hold its minicamp on June 13-14. Minicamp is essentially a continuation of OTAs but player attendance is mandatory.

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.