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Redskins going defense first in many mock drafts

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Redskins going defense first in many mock drafts

With the entire 2015 season now in the rearview mirror the mock draft industry is cranking into full gear. Let’s take a look around at some of the more popular mocks that have been posted lately and see who they have the Redskins taking.

Rob Rang, CBS SportsReggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
General manager Scot McCloughan might see Ragland as able to provide an immediate impact similar to the one Patrick Willis made when Washington's top scout was heading up the 49ers front office.
The Redskins are adequately set at inside linebacker with Will Compton and, if he re-signs, Mason Foster. But Ragland could be the kind of difference making player that the defense needs to move from mediocre to Super Bowl caliber. He’s a smart player who tackles well and has good instincts. Right now, early in the process, he has to be considered one of the favorites to be the Redskins first-round picks.

Dan Brugler, CBS SportsMackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
The Redskins have had good luck drafting cornerbacks out of Clemson (Bashaud Breeland) and if Alexander falls to No. 21, I don't think he'll be around at pick No. 22.
While the Redskins could well go with a cornerback in the first round I would be very surprised if Alexander got the call. McCloughan is looking for bigger, longer cornerbacks and Clemson has Alexander listed at 5-10 and his measurement at the combine later this month could come up shorter than that. And Bruce Allen drafted Breeland and while he’s worked out pretty well I don’t see McCloughan feeling any compulsion to go back to the Clemson well again.

Note: Mel Kiper of ESPN (article behind pay wall) and Chad Reuter and Bucky Brooks of NFL.com also have the Redskins picking Alexander. Reuter also explains the pick with the Breeland-Clemson connection.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.comJaran Reed, DT, Alabama
While Reed won't offer much as a pass rusher, he is an elite run defender with tremendous power and hand usage.
A different Alabama defender headed the Redskins way per Zierlein. I don’t quite get this one. The Redskins certainly could use some help stopping the run but you can find D-linemen who can do that later in the draft. If you’re going to spend a first rounder on a 3-4 DE he doesn’t have to be J. J. Watt but I think he should bring you something as a pass rusher.

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.comSheldon Rankins, DE, Louisville
Rankins is a disruptive interior defender and he would complement the edge rushers in Washington.
At 6-1 he might be a bit shorter than McCloughan would prefer. But he is strong, powerfully built and does bring some pass rush. I think he’s probably a long shot for the Redskins at No. 21 but he’s worth keeping an eye on.

Chris Burke, SI.comJosh Doctson, WR, TCU
Washington can take its pick between Doctson and Ohio State's Michael Thomas for the “big” receiver it needs—Doctson stands 6’3”, 195. His height, hands, leaping ability and body control combine in a highlight-reel package.
Yes, I know most fans are on the “build the defense” bandwagon. But Kirk Cousins needs receivers to throw to and both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are turning 30 this year and are in the last season of their contracts. There is not adequate depth behind them. Given that most receivers take a year to catch on to the NFL the Redskins would be wise to get started on a succession plan now.

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 19, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 13
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (11/23) 24
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 40

Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

—Before the game, I confidently told someone on Twitter that Ryan Grant would get about as many targets (6) against the Rams as he did against the Eagles. But as it turned out, Grant was targeted just twice. The second time was on the game-winning touchdown in the last two minutes. A big difference between this week and last was that Kirk Cousins attempted just 27 passes against LA compared to 40 vs. the Eagles. That led to fewer opportunities for receivers and Grant was one of those who saw his chances drop the most.

—Cousins started well and finished strong but he didn’t do much in the middle. It seems that he was rolling along well until he misfired on a fade pattern to Josh Doctson and then on another throw to Chris Thompson. That ended a goal to go opportunity in a situation where a touchdown would have given the Redskins a commanding 17-0 lead. The next time the Redskins had the ball Cousins was sacked on his first passing attempt and he fumbled a snap a little later. In the third quarter and early in the fourth he completed some passes but many of them were for a minimal gain. To his credit, he didn’t panic and force a turnover. And, of course, he came through on the final drive, completing three of three passes for 42 yards including the 11-yard game winner to Grant.

—During the week leading up to the game, Jay Gruden emphasized the importance of getting to the quarterback. It didn’t play out as well as I’m sure Gruden would have liked. They got two sacks of Jared Goff, one by Preston Smith and one by Ryan Kerrigan, both in the Rams’ possession late in the first half. They pressured Goff on other occasions but overall their pass rush possibly was not as good as it was against the Eagles. Then, they at least got to Carson Wentz even though they had issues bringing him down. Too often, Goff had plenty of time to operate and that helped keep the Rams in the game until near the end.

—Chris Thompson has been the Redskins’ offensive MVP so far. He has improved each year and yesterday he was at his peak. What you really had to like on the 61-yard touchdown run on the draw play was his patience. He was almost standing still as he took the handoff from Cousins as he carried out the pass-blocking fake and chose his path for when he got the ball. He said that the play was designed for him to go one way but his read took him someplace else. It took him to the end zone for the second time that game.

—One surprise early in the game was that Montae Nicholson started at strong safety in place of DeShazor Everett. Nicholson made no glaring errors before he left the game with an AC joint sprain. The depth chart here apparently is set after the team announced that Su'a Cravens, the starter until he left the team to contemplate retirement, will not return this season. 

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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NFL Power Rankings: Serious contenders already starting to emerge

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NFL Power Rankings: Serious contenders already starting to emerge

The NFL season is already one-eighth of the way done. That's a bit sad, isn't it?

Playing two games in professional football is roughly equivalent to playing 10 in the NBA or 20 in MLB. That means two things: 1) The season flies by, and 2) Contenders begin proving themselves early.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

This year is no exception. So far, those trending toward the top of CSN's rankings have looked dominant, and figure to be in the hunt all season long. Those at the bottom, meanwhile? Hey, it's never too early to start doing some draft prep.

Wondering where your team is (and how far Dallas fell, because that's something everyone enjoys)? Check out the link above or below.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS