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Stirring a Frosty pot

Stirring a Frosty pot

I have a moderate issue with former Redskins punter Derrick Frost complaining that the Redskins cut him just because Durant Brooks was a draft pick. He told Jason LaCanfora of the Post:

"I feel like I was dealt with dishonestly. I want to thank Danny Smith for the three years he gave me here, and I feel like he always treated me well, and I will continue to think that. But I think we all know who made the decision, and when you've got a draft that isn't starting to look so good, you're going to do whatever you can to make it look as good as possible."

If you have to vent about losing your job and point fingers and blame everyone but yourself, that's fine. But complain to your wife, to your brother, to your best friend over a few brews at the local pub. Don't complain to a reporter.

Twenty-two players were released by the Redskins on Saturday. Several of them, such as Billy McMullen, Marcus Mason, Ryan Boschetti, and Matteral Richardson, had legitimate cases to pop off as well. But they chose not to, being smart enough not to burn bridges to one of 32 organizations that can give them the dream jobs coveted by many.

Despite all of that, I can cut Frost a little slack here. You're mad, your cell phone rings, it's a reporter. Or you pick up the phone, see that reporter's number in your address book and you hit the call button. The filter in between your brain and your mouth isn't there. You spout off, you hang up and that's that (well, except that you give another reporter the same stuff at a different time).

But that wasn't that as far as the Washington Post is concerned. Frost's words became the launching pad for a Mike Wise column that is nothing short of stupefying. Here's the lead:

If I'm Vinny Cerrato today, I really need Durant Brooks to be the next Ray Guy or Sean Landeta. Heck, I would settle for Dave Jennings. Because if Brooks, the rookie whom Cerrato surprisingly plucked in the sixth round of the NFL draft, 18 spots ahead of the now legendary Colt Brennan, doesn't at least approach numbers and performances better than his predecessor, well, Derrick Frost might turn out to be right.

When a column starts off like that, you know it's in trouble. The implication that Brooks has to be as good as Guy or Landeta or even Jennings to be better than Frost is ridiculous. He just needs to be as good as Chris Kluwe, Adam Podlesh, Daniel Sepulveda, or any of the 24 punters that finished ahead of Frost in net punting average in 2007.

Let's proceed to the nut of the article:

When every draft pick is held onto in the NFL, it normally means the franchise did its homework around draft time. But when the incumbent punter says he got fired because the GM is trying to make his draft-day résumé look better, well, that's a little extraordinary, right? To say nothing of keeping Justin Tryon, a defensive back outplayed by a number of others.

Let me get this straight here. All of a sudden Derrick Frost is the expert on all things Redskins, including the workings the front office? I must have missed all of those times when reporters and columnists flocked to Frost to get a real feel for the pulse of the team and for the direction of the organization.

Oh, wait, you mean he popped off and all of a sudden he's newsworthy?

The last throwaway line about Tryon is another gem. I think that the Redskins got exactly what the expected out of him when they drafted him. They knew he had good speed and suspect coverage skills. You can teach the coverage skills, you can't teach the speed. Keep him on the team as your fifth corner, work to hone is coverage skills, and see what you have in 2009.

The Redskins have been criticized over the years, and justifiably so, for slapping together a team for the here and now rather than building for the future. So this year, in late April, they identified 10 football players who they thought would help them win games in the future. Not necessarily in 2008, but in 2009 and beyond.

And now, in late August, the organization still believes in those players. Perhaps the team would be a little better in 2008 if they had kept Billy McMullen as a sixth receiver rather than Rob Jackson as a tenth defensive lineman or Frost instead of Brooks or even Stu Schweigert rather than Chris Horton.

But it's apparent that this roster was not built with 2008 as the sole focus. A team that has been accused, again with considerable justification, of shifting direction on a whim, sticks by its guns and sticks with its plan to start retooling for the future.

But Wise can't see that. He picks up one of Frost's rolling balls and runs with it.

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How a simple bet between Alabama rookies Allen and Anderson could pay big dividends for Redskins

How a simple bet between Alabama rookies Allen and Anderson could pay big dividends for Redskins

The Redskins ranked at or near the bottom of the NFL in a number of defensive categories in 2016, and the first and second round selections in the 2017 Draft should help to address that.

A huge part of the Washington defensive problems stemmed from an inability to get off the field on third downs, and Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson should immediately provide a pass rush boost. In 2016, the duo combined for 18.5 sacks, 8.5 coming from Anderson and another 10 from Allen, two huge pieces for the excellent Alabama defense.

On the pro level, Anderson may actually be in position for more sacks as he's likely to play outside linebacker in the Redskins 3-4 scheme. Allen will be more of an interior presence, a natural fit for the 'Skins defensive end spot in the 3-4.

That doesn't mean the two won't compete to hit quarterbacks. 

RELATED: Gruden squashes notion that Alabama defenders do not succeed in NFL

Asked Saturday if there would be a bet between the two college teammates about who gets more sacks their rookie season, Anderson quickly responded, "definitely."

Though he was surprised by the bet, Allen wasn't going to back down from the challenge. (Full video above)

"I guess there is now, I didn't know about it 'til now," Allen said. 

As for the stakes of the bet, Allen said the pair of rookies will figure that out behind closed doors. 

"His bank account is a little longer than mine so we will have to figure something else out," Anderson said.

What's clear from hanging out with both players is their familiarity with one another will help both players transition to the NFL. Allen and Anderson said they had an emotional response when they learned they would continue to play together in Washington. 

"There's very few players that have better film or resume than this guy right here," Allen said of Anderson. 

Anderson, as the Redskins press group has quickly learned, has a certain way with words. Honest and funny, but to the point.

"I'm excited to have one of my dogs with me here," he said of Allen. 

The Redskins ranked ninth in the NFL in sacks in 2016, but will lose Trent Murphy for four games to start the year. Sacks are just one metric to measure defensive success, though an easily quantifiable and fun metric for fans.

Where Washington has to improve is on 3rd downs. In 2016, they allowed a confounding 97 third down conversions, good for 31st in the league. There's only 32 teams. What's worse? The 'Skins gave nine fourth down conversions too.

Regardless of sack totals, Allen and Anderson were brought to Washington to help this defense get off the field. Coming from the Crimson Tide, the two rookies seem up for the challenge. 

MORE REDSKINS: Grading the Redskins 2017 draft

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Grading the Redskins' 2017 draft

Grading the Redskins' 2017 draft

Since we don’t know how the careers of the players picked by the Redskins yesterday will turn out we must dig in a little more to come up with a grade for the draft headed up by Bruce Allen. Here’s my assessment, feel free to leave yours in the comments.

Strategy—B

There really isn’t enough to love or to hate here. They didn’t do much wheeling and dealing while on the clock, making only a minor deal with the Vikings to move up two spots in the sixth round in exchange for moving down 10 slots in the seventh.

For the record, the trade (picks 201 and 220 from Washington to Minnesota in exchange for picks 199 and 230) was just about a wash on the Jimmy Johnson trade chart, with the Redskins giving up a statistically insignificant one point of value.

Whether center Chase Roullier, the player they traded up to draft, makes the team and has an impact or not is not going to make or break the draft but it should be noted that they gave up something of value to get him so it was a player they wanted to make sure they got as his name was still on the board.

The deals that got them up to 10 picks had already been made by Scot McCloughan on draft day last year as he added picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds with various trades.

Perhaps they deserve the most credit for a potential deal they did not make. As their first-round pick got closer and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen remained on the board it had to be tempting for them to spend a mid-round pick to jump up and grab him before anyone else could. But Gruden said that they had a number of players to choose from as the pick approached and they decided to stay put. The gamble paid off as Allen fell into their laps at pick No. 17.

RELATED: Redskins roll the dice in the 7th round

Talent/fit/needs—A-

The Redskins needed to bolster their defense and they certainly gave it a go. Their first three picks were on defense as were four of their first five and six of 10 overall.

But the raw number of the picks doesn’t really tell the story; it’s the value of the picks that really matters. According to that Jimmy Johnson pick value chart, they spend 1,596 points on defense and 126 points on offense.

They hit on their biggest needs with their first two picks. They had not drafted a defensive lineman in the first round since 1997 and the neglect of the position was evident. In Allen they got a player with Pro Bowl potential in their biggest area of need.

Allen will help the pass rush from the inside and then in the second round they acquired some edge rushing ability with Ryan Anderson. It seems that this pick was strongly influenced by Scot McCloughan’s draft board. His height, weight, and combine numbers were not what a lot of teams are looking for in an edge rusher but his tough mentality and obvious love for the game are attributes that McCloughan valued.

Although Gruden expressed his confidence in Rob Kelley to be his running back it appeared to most outside observers that an upgrade was needed and they got that in Samaje Perine. You can’t have too many good corners and Bashaud Breeland is set to be a 2018 free agent so they took Fabian Moreau in the third round. They had no backup center Roullier could develop into that spot. Gruden said earlier this offseason that they needed a blocking tight end and that is what Jeremy Sprinkle is.

They didn’t hit on all their needs. With the top three inside linebackers set to be free agents next year many thought they would spend a top pick there. And although there were a few possible nose tackles on the board in the later rounds they bypassed that position. You can’t solve everything in one draft but the Redskins have now had eight drafts since converting to the 3-4 defense and they still haven’t found a solution at nose tackle.

As far as value goes, it doesn’t get much better than Allen, who was a consensus top-five talent who lasted until the 17th pick. Moreau may have been a first-round pick before tearing a pectoral muscle lifting weights during his pro day.

On the other end of the value scale, the fourth round seemed to be way too early to take safety Montae Nicholson. There is something to be said for taking a guy with good measurables who didn’t have good game tape and taking a shot at developing him. But the fourth round is too soon for taking such a chance.

READ MORE: Breaking down the Redskins late round picks

Overall—B+

After their first two picks, they didn’t shy away from red flags. Moreau and Nicholson both have injuries that will keep them out of action until sometime in training camp. Sprinkle had a highly-publicized shoplifting citation that got him suspended from Arkansas’ bowl game. Seventh-round pick Josh Harvey-Clemons failed multiple drug tests during college.

They did stay away from players with histories of high-profile violent incidents like Dede Westbrook, Joe Mixon, and Caleb Brantley.

How those red-flag players turn out will be the key to this draft. It’s fine to take some chances, especially when you go into the draft with 10 picks. But you have better win more than you lose.

There were enough players taken who seem to be sure bets to be productive, if there is such a thing in the draft, to make it unlikely that the draft will be a total bust. Allen, Anderson, and Perine are clean prospects who have very high floors. Allen and Anderson may have Pro Bowl ceilings.

Given that, they seem to be assured of having a least a productive draft (again, with the caveat that nothing in the draft is certain). If Sprinkle develops into a good third tight end who can block and be a threat to catch a pass, that’s a plus. If Moreau can develop into a starter, this could be a pretty good draft. If sixth-round WR Robert Davis can contribute on special teams and be a productive fourth or fifth wide receiver, that would be another plus.

In short, the Redskins did some good work towards giving this draft a chance to be a success. Now it’s up to the coaches, to luck, and seeing how players who are projected to play well at age 22 actually perform on the field when they get older and suddenly have a six-figure salary. 

MORE REDSKINS: Clear winner from Redskins 2017 Draft?