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Redskins draft countdown: West Virginia WR Kevin White

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Redskins draft countdown: West Virginia WR Kevin White

The NFL Draft is just over six weeks away and I’ll continue researching draft prospects. 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.

Kevin White
Wide receiver
West Virginia

Height: 6-3
Weight: 215
40 time: 4.35 sec.

What they’re saying:
Strengths: Has desired NFL frame for the position. Goes and gets the ball with consistency. Had issues with drops in 2013 after transferring in from JUCO, but caught everything in sight in 2014. High points the ball. Asked to run more types of routes in 2014 and delivered with increased productivity.

Weaknesses: Pigeon-toed and runs heel to toe. Allowed to play in space and must learn to get off line of scrimmage against press coverage. Must answer questions abound about his top-end speed.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: I know that many of you are going to scream that wide receiver is not a need and the team can’t waste the No. 5 pick on a pass catcher. The first thing I would say to that is that you’re not paying any attention to McCloughan, who says that he will take the best player available. I’ve also said that need often does factor into the grade that determines the best available. But in this case that doesn’t matter because the team does have a need to draft a wide receiver.

You have to keep in mind that a draft is more about seasons 2-4 years from now than it is about the coming season. Even that high in the draft, the emphasis is on the future. Let’s look at the current top of the depth chart at wide receiver. Pierre Garçon will be 30 by the start of the 2016 season and DeSean Jackson will be 30 by the end of it. Their salary cap costs combined will come in at a little under $20 million. It will be time to replace at least one of them.

Once you establish the need the rest is easy. He’s the big, fast, physical receiver the team hasn’t had in, well, forever.

Potential issues: He’s only had one big year at the collegiate level. After starting out at a junior college he transferred to West Virginia. In 2013 he had just 35 receptions for 507 yards and five TD’s. Then in 2014 he exploded with 109 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. It’s fair to have concerns that he was a one-year wonder.

Bottom line: The conventional wisdom is that the Redskins will take an edge rusher at five and you can count me in as a fan of both Randy Gregory (Countdown profile here) and Dante Fowler Jr. (profile here). But I don’t necessarily see McCloughan going what the Mel Kipers and Mike Mayocks of the world think he will do.

It will be hard for McCloughan to resist White’s upside. I’d rate it as a mild surprise but not a complete shock, if he pulled the trigger on the big, fast wideout.

In his own words:

On what was behind his jump in production from his junior to senior years:
Motivation. My junior year I put bad film out there. That's not the kind of receiver, the kind of player I am. Going into my senior year, I just put everything on the line and do what I had to do . . . Like I've been telling teams. It finally clicked. I'm going to do what I have to do. I'm going to work hard and do anything and everything possible that I can.
Previously in Draft Countdown:

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!