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Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller could be a playmaker for the Redskins

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Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller could be a playmaker for the Redskins

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 69 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.

Kendall Fuller
Cornerback
Virginia Tech

Height: 6-0
Weight: 196

What they’re saying
The playmaking production didn't happen by accident. Fuller has the twitch and the anticipation to challenge throws on the NFL level and come away with his fair share of interceptions, but scouts are very leery of the chances he is willing to take as they have concerns about his ability to carry long speed. With the way Fuller plays the ball in front of him combined with his tackling prowess, his home could be with a Tampa 2-oriented defense that values physical, zone corners over speed.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins’ cornerback unit consists of Bashaud Breeland, who could be very good but is still learning, Chris Culliver, who may or may not be recovered from a serious knee injury by the time the season starts, and some assorted players they either promoted off of the practice squad or signed off of the street. In short, it’s shaky.

Fuller is a playmaker who could contribute as a rookie and probably slide into a starting role as the slot corner in 2017. He reacts to the ball well, a trait that showed up as he picked off eight passes and defensed 34 in 2013 and 2014.

Fuller is not afraid to mix it up as a tackler in run support. And while I'm not real big on "legacy" type items, it should be noted that he is the youngest of four brothers who played defensive back for the Hokies including Kyle, who was a first-round pick of the Bears in 2014. The Redskins have done well with DB's who went to school in Blacksburg with DeAngelo Hall and Kyshoen Jarrett.

Potential issues: At 6-0 Fuller isn’t a small corner by any stretch but Scot McCloughan might want a cornerback he drafts early to be an inch or two taller. That doesn’t rule out Fuller but McCloughan will need to be impressed with his other traits to pull the trigger on him in the early going.

Fuller only played two season plus a few games at Virginia Tech and he has plenty of learning to do; scouting reports have noted he particularly has trouble with double moves. His career as a Hokie was cut short by a torn meniscus. He tried to play through it in 2015 but after three games he decided to have the injury repaired with surgery.

Bottom line: Although there isn’t a lot of concern over lingering effects from the injury to Fuller’s meniscus, the knee will still be thoroughly poked and prodded at the NFL Combine next week. If it passes muster he could emerge with a second-round grade. If there are still issues he could slide to the third.

Fuller could represent an opportunity for McCloughan to land a first-round talent later in the draft. He will need to be coached up but the Redskins could do that while having Culliver and Breeland start. The master plan for 2017 then may be to move on from Culliver and the $8 million in salary remaining on each of the final two years of his contract and go with Breeland and Fuller at cornerback.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 24, 13 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 5
—NFL Combine (3/2) 6
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 52
—NFL Draft (4/27) 62
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 198

Friday quick hitters

What about Baker? I’m not sure what the Redskins’ thinking is regarding Chris Baker. As with all their other free agents the Redskins haven’t been in communication with Baker’s camp, waiting for the chance to scope out the market at the combine next week. I think that Baker’s fate will depend on cost. If they can get in for around $7 million or less, he stays. If the bidding pushes his deal up much higher than that I think he’s gone.

McCloughan’s status: It’s not exactly news that Scot McCloughan doesn’t have the full powers that many NFL GMs have. He has always been more of a super scout, in charge of stocking the roster. He is not frozen out when it comes to contracts and financial matters but they never have been his strong suit and they are best left to Bruce Allen and, particularly, Eric Schaffer.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Anything new? So, was there much new in Jerry Brewer’s column in the Post yesterday? Given that the power structure has been in place for over two years now, it doesn’t appear that there was. Brewer essentially said it himself: “McCloughan isn’t necessarily losing power as much as he is having his lack of power revealed.” So during this past two years, while the team improved from 4-12 to playoff contention, things have been how they are now. Let me be clear, there were some disturbing insights in Brewer’s article such as the team’s lack of a response to a request for comment on Chris Cooley’s on-air musing about McCloughan’s alcohol consumption. But on how things work on the organizational chart at Redskins Park it’s been the same.

Who wants Kirk? We are at a point where the popular perception among the fans and media is that Allen is the one who will run Kirk Cousins out of town, either this year or next, while McCloughan and Jay Gruden are begging for him to stay. The narrative is that Allen is the bad buy and McCloughan is the good guy because that’s the way fans and some in the media perceive it. But I would pump the brakes on the notion that McCloughan is willing to pay whatever it takes to keep Cousins around. We haven’t heard from him this year but last year he said on multiple occasions that while he was interested in keeping Cousins around for the long haul the team needs to be careful not to give up too much of the salary cap to one player. That doesn’t sound like he’s all in on giving Cousins a blank check.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Cousins is right to go for the money: Some fans in my Twitter timeline are calling for Cousins to take less money from the Redskins to help Allen and McCloughan pay other players. That’s not happening, nor should it. Jim Trotter of ESPN referred to Cousins as a “mercenary” and he meant it in a positive way. What he is doing is using the NFL system to maximize his earnings potential. Look around at what has been happening around the NFL over the last few weeks, with players getting dumped when they are no longer of use to their teams—and instances of players getting cut will increase exponentially soon—and you should understand why there’s not anything wrong with a player getting as much money as he can while he can. If you add in the short careers they have and the risk that they might spend the last 40-plus years of your life having trouble getting out of bed every morning or sufferig from worse problems and you still don't get it, I can't help you. Cousins should get as much money as he can and it's the job of the team that voluntarily pays him that to figure out how to make it work around him. 

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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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Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs. 

"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."

Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster. 

In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. 

RELATED: DeSean Jackson wants to play for an elite QB

With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable. 

That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.

While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a  "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense. 

Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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