Quick Links

Redskins mock draft roundup: Edge rushers rule

vic-beasley-clemson.png

Redskins mock draft roundup: Edge rushers rule

The Redskins have a first-round pick for the first time since 2012 and not since 2011 has there been some doubt about the player the Redskins will take with that top pick. That means that Redskins fans have not been able to have fun with the mock draft game for four years. Let’s take a spin around the World Wide Web and see what the more well known draftniks have to say about who the home team will take with the fifth overall pick.

These are partial comments from the analysts; click to see the full breakdown.

Peter King, The MMQB
Trade back with Eagles
*Trade: Washington gets Philadelphia’s first- and second-round picks this year, and first- and fourth-round picks in 2016. Washington could be moving from five to 20 in the first round by doing this deal, with GM Scot McCloughan scoring points with his new boss for not giving away the store in a trade, but rather acquiring the store.
My comment: What amounts to two seconds and a fifth (picks in future years are generally discounted by a round when evaluating trade value) is not nearly enough to move back 15 spots and give a division rival their QB of the future. It would have to be an offer they can’t refuse and McCloughan could easily refuse this.

Don Banks, SI.com
DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska
With Brian Orakpo heading into free agency after his injury-shortened 2014 season, Washington goes out and lands a substantial upgrade for the pass rush in the draft’s top five.
Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports
DE Dante Fowler Jr., Florida
In the Fowler-over-Randy Gregory argument, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry had more success with the forceful edge players such as Melvin Ingram (when he was healthy) in San Diego . . .
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports
OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson
With Brian Orakpo set to hit free agency, pass rusher will be high on the Redskins' wish list. Beasley absolutely crushed the Combine . . .
Rob Rang, CBS Sports
OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa
Jay Gruden's success as the play-caller in Cincinnati came with one of the league's biggest offensive lines. He inherited one of the smallest in Washington and there is no question that upgrading the talent there will be an offseason priority.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report
Fowler
McCloughan has favored athletes with long arms and big hands in his previous stops, which is what makes Dante Fowler such a good fit here. Fowler is only 6'3", but his arm length of 33.75" is very good. Add in a 9.5" hand with an impressive 261-pound frame, and Fowler is one of the bigger edge-rushers in the class.
Ben Standig, CSNwashington.com
DE Shane Ray, Missouri
Ray recorded 14.5 sacks this season at Missouri. Not sure what the Missouri star's addition means for Trent Murphy in the starting lineup - please, don't tell me about packages-, but it should mean applying more pressure on the Tony Romo's of the world.

Quick Links

Redskins don't request roster exemption for Williams

Redskins don't request roster exemption for Williams

Trent Williams’ suspension ended on Monday and the Redskins did not wait to get him back on the 53-man roster.

NFL teams often request roster exemptions for players who return from suspensions that last multiple games. Such requests routinely are granted for the week leading up to the next game. It gives the team an extra player in practice while the formerly suspended player rounds back into shape.

But the Redskins apparently are going to throw Williams right into things. On Monday, they waived cornerback Dashaun Phillips and cleared a spot for Williams right away.

Yesterday, Jay Gruden confirmed what has been widely reported, that Williams will return to his left tackle spot. Leaving Ty Nsekhe, who did a solid job filling in while Williams was out, at left tackle and putting Williams at left guard is something that will remain something for fans and media to speculate on but not something that will happen on the field.

The Redskins managed to go 2-2 during Williams’ suspension. Perhaps one upside is that Williams may be fully healthy down the stretch after having five weeks off, including the bye week that preceded his suspension.

Quick Links

Where did Redskins run game go? Gruden wants to recommit to Fat Rob

Where did Redskins run game go? Gruden wants to recommit to Fat Rob

Since the Redskins inserted Robert Kelley into the starting running back spot, Washington's ground game has stabilized and improved. It's well documented that Kelley limits negative plays in the run game - something his predecessor Matt Jones struggled with.

Kelley got his first start in London against the Bengals, and he ran the ball 21 times for 87 yards and a touchdown, good for more than 4 yards-per-carry. From there, Kelley gained 97 yards against the Vikings and 137 against the Packers, both Redskins wins. And in those post-bye week victories over the NFC North foes, Kelley got the ball 22 and 24 times respectively. 

RELATED: THERE'S LOTS OF TALK ABOUT TRENT WILLIAMS AT GUARD INSTEAD OF TACKLE. DON'T LISTEN TO IT.

Coming off the Green Bay win, it seemed obvious that getting Kelley the ball more than 20 times per game was a big boost for the Redskins offense. Against the Packers, Washington piled up more than 500 yards of offense and Kelley averaged 5.7 YPC.

The 'Skins headed to Dallas riding high for a Thanksigving matchup, and quickly got into a big hole en route to a shootout loss. Jay Gruden explained after the game that being down multiple touchdowns early in the game forced Washington to get away from Kelley and rely on Kirk Cousins' arm. The QB's performance was impressive, he threw for more than 400 yards, but Kelley got just 14 carries.

In the Cowboys game, that made sense. 

Against Arizona this past weekend, Kelley again got just 14 carries. And that did not make sense.

"There’s no doubt about it, we would like to get more of [Kelley] involved," Gruden said on Monday.

The Redskins never trailed by more than a TD against the Cardinals like they did against the Cowboys. Washington even held two different second half leads in Arizona, and still, Kelley did not get the ball enough. 

Further, Kelley was running the ball well in the desert. Where he struggled against Dallas - 14 rushes for 37 yards, good for just 2.64 YPC - Kelley gained more than 60 yards on 14 carries against the Cards, good for a 4.5 YPC average.

"We ideally would like to get that running game going a little bit more – more touches for Robert because he’s been very good as far as running the football," Gruden said. "We have got to make sure that we get him more involved, maintain the time of possession and stay more balanced."

Beyond a balanced offense, Cousins often throws his best passes off play action. Without a commitment to the run game, the play action passing looks struggle. Usually one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL, Cousins did not play his best against the Cardinals. Some of that was missing throws, and some of it was heavy pressure from the Arizona defensive line. 

Regardless of the reason for Cousins' struggles - he completed only 21 of 37 pass attempts - more run plays might have helped the Redskins quarterback get into more of a rythym, not to mention slow down the Arizona pass rush.

In six wins this season, the Redskins have run the ball nearly 28 times per game. In five losses, that number dips to 19 runs per game. The proof is in the numbers. 

More Redskins: JAMISON CROWDER'S TOUCHDOWN DANCE WAS BETTER THAN HIS TOUCHDOWN