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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 RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

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RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back