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Redskins draft countdown: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook

Redskins draft countdown: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 10 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.

I am not a scout but I will pass along my observations from watching some game tape of each of the players profiled here.

Dalvin Cook

Running back
Florida State

Height: 5-10
Weight: 210
40-yard dash: 4.49

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Explosive lower body and coordinated feet to start, stop and redirect quickly. Elusive athlete and can make defenders miss in a phone booth, showing exceptional body control and instincts in his jump cuts. Senses his surroundings well and anticipates spacing in his runs. Quick to read blocks and sets up his moves with patience and feel. Runs balanced with a low center to escape tackle attempts. Runs with better-than-expected toughness between the tackles

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: Rob Kelley is a great story and he’ll gain some yards for the Redskins. But he’s not a great running back and that’s what Dalvin Cook can be.

He averaged 6.5 yards per carry and 11.8 yards per pass reception in his three seasons at Florida State and he scored 48 total touchdowns. Last year Cook rushed for 140 or more yards in seven of the 13 games he played.

The Redskins could be in their last year with Kirk Cousins as their quarterback. If he is gone in 2018 they could struggle to move the ball through the air. A running back like Cook, who has the potential to score from anywhere on the field from anywhere every time he touches the ball, could help a new quarterback get adjusted.

Film review (2016 unless indicated): vs. Miami, vs. Michigan (Orange Bowl)

Cook ran out of a variety of formations in FSU’s pro-style offense. He took handoffs out of a single-back set, the I-formation, on either side of the quarterback in the shotgun and from the pistol.

His blend of vision and acceleration is impressive. On one play against Miami he saw a crack in the middle of a pack of blockers and defenders. He burst through it, found open ground and turned a five-yard play into a long gain.

Cook will need some work with pass protection. A lot of the time his tendency was to lean into a blitzer rather than setting his feet and delivering a block. He seemed tentative at times, perhaps because, like most star college backs, he didn’t work on it a whole lot. That will change when he gets into the NFL.

He’s not a big back but some of his more impressive runs are to the inside, where he finds some space and makes four yards when zero yards seem to be there.

In the Orange Bowl against Michigan he lined up wide left and ran a go pattern. He got a step on the defender and made the catch for a 45-yard gain. Lining up wide likely would be more of an occasional wrinkle than a regular alignment but he could give the defense something to think about.

If a defender who wants to bring Cook down, using proper tackling form is strongly suggested. He slips through arm tackle attempts with relative ease.  

Potential issues: There are a few potential red flags. One is injuries. He has had shoulder surgery three times, one on his left shoulder and two on his right. While none of them was serious, the fact that he has had three of them is a concern.

So has the fact that he has been arrested three times. Charges were dropped twice, once for robbery and once for possessing and discharging a weapon on school property. Those incidents took place when he was in high school. In 2015 he was charged with misdemeanor battery outside of a bar and he was found not guilty.

A guy can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and run afoul of the law once or twice. When it happens a third time you must at least question his judgement.

Finally, ball security was a major problem for Cook. He fumbled once every 63.8 offensive touches. To compare, Leonard Fournette of LSU lost the handle at a rate of 82.1. On the other end of the scale was Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, who coughed up the ball just once every 243.7 touches. A fumble rate of about once every 100 touches is acceptable in the NFL so Cook will have to work hard on hold on to the ball.

Bottom line: Sure, the Redskins might want a defensive lineman who is stout against the run and capable of rushing the passer to be available with pick No. 17. Maybe a stud inside linebacker would help. But there is a good chance that there won’t be one of those on the board worth the 17th pick.

So if you can’t help your defense with the first-round pick maybe the next-best thing is to help your running game. Cook could keep the chains moving and keep the defense off of their field. If the Redskins decide that the red flags are worth the talent there might not be another move that they can make that will help their defense more than drafting a back like Cook.

In his own words:

On working on ball security:

You’ve got to take care of the ball as a running back. It’s something that I watch a lot of tape on and it’s always the man you don’t see. When you’re fighting for those extra yards you’ve got to take care of that football and chinning the ball is something I worked on and I feel like I improved on it.”

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 Week 3 injury report: Five are listed as questionable

Redskins Week 3 injury report: Five are listed as questionable

The Redskins had a tough, physical game against the Rams last Sunday and it shows on the team’s injury report. Five players are listed as questionable for the coming game against the Raiders at FedEx Field.

TE Jordan Reed (chest), RB Rob Kelley (ribs), ILB Mason Foster (shoulder), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), and CB Josh Norman (shoulder) are the players who are questionable.

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS' WIN IN LA

Of those players, Reed was the only one to miss a practice this week. He was out on Wednesday and was back on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday. The Pro Bowl tight end told reporters in the locker room that he will be in the lineup on Sunday.

There is particular concern about Kelley’s injury. He is likely to start as he usually does. But CSN is reporting that the team will have four running backs on the game day active list instead of the three they went with in Weeks 1 and 2. Mack Brown will dress for the Redskins after being inactive in both previous games.

MORE REDSKINS: A STRONG START FOR SMITH BUT MORE IS NEEDED

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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Pierre Garcon was fantastic vs. the Rams, but don't lament his departure just yet

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USA TODAY Sports

Pierre Garcon was fantastic vs. the Rams, but don't lament his departure just yet

Thursday night's Rams-49ers game was surprisingly fun. It was also unofficially the Check Out All These Ex-Redskins Now Playing or Working in California Bowl.

Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, two former Washington offensive coordinators, are now in charge of the two teams. Old 'Skins like Aldrick Robinson, Derek Carrier and John Sullivan, meanwhile, were a part of the on-field action.

It was Pierre Garçon, though, who pushed Burgundy and Gold fans to take their phones out of their pocket and pen sad tweets. That's because the 31-year-old wideout caught seven Brian Hoyer passes (that's impressive on its own, by the way) for 142 yards vs. Los Angeles on Thursday Night Football.

And while his team lost 41-39, Garçon didn't deserve to with plays like this:

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Even with that standout performance, however, Redskins fans shouldn't be cursing the franchise for letting Garçon go. Not yet, anyway.

This past march, the veteran left D.C. after five seasons to sign with San Fran. His deal was a rich one: five years for $47.5 million ($17 million guaranteed at signing). The Niners can get out of it after two years, but it still is a sizable contract even with that potential exit.

That kind of money is the first thing those who miss Garçon should think about. Now, the Redskins didn't exactly handle their negotiations with him that smoothly, but in the end, unless he gave Washington a nice discount, he just would've cost a lot to keep.

Secondly, it's easy to slam the 'Skins for losing Garçon while Kirk Cousins and Co. have stalled through two games in 2017. But the reason that's happening thus far has more to do with Cousins' inaccuracy in Weeks 1 and 2 and an offensive line that's not at the level it should be than with that familiar No. 88 not lining up outside anymore.

RELATED: NEGATIVES LEAD TO POSITIVES FOR CHRIS THOMPSON

Would Garçon have made a difference for the Redskins against the Eagles and Rams if he were still here? Yeah, probably. But when Jay Gruden's unit starts operating at its normal speed and precision — and it will — the upset voices lamenting Garçon's departure will get quieter.

This is nothing against the guy who was the NFL's 2013 receptions leader and who's well on his way to another productive campaign. It's just that it feels premature to make the connection that allowing him to move on is what's ailing the Washington offense, or that it was a disastrous decision. 

Give Garçon's far cheaper replacements (Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson) more time. Wait for the quarterback and his linemen to sync up again. In a league with just 16 games, that's very hard to do, but let's see if those in the area long for Garçon in December as much as they are currently longing for him in September.