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Was Brandon Scherff really a "safe" pick for the Redskins?

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Was Brandon Scherff really a "safe" pick for the Redskins?

After the draft, the conventional wisdom was that the Redskins made a very safe pick in tackle Brandon Scherff, perhaps the safest pick in the draft. That’s because, well, nobody is exactly sure. Maybe because we always say that offensive linemen taken at the top of the draft are bust proof.

But a look at the record reveals that linemen taken near the top of the draft are anything but safe picks. The guys at Football Perspective took a look at the performances of O-linemen who were taken early in the drafts from 2009-2014. The record is spotty at best.

—Last year three tackles were taken in the top 11 picks. Greg Robinson (2 overall, Rams) was the one of the worst starting tackles in the game while Jake Matthews (6-Falcons) was THE worst according to Pro Football Focus. Taylor Lewan (11-Titans) started the season on the bench and then was mediocre for six games before an ankle injury ended his season early.

—Do you want to go back a little further to see someone who has had a chance to establish himself? Matt Kalil (4-Vikings) had a good rookie season in 2012 but he has not played well since; he gave up a league-high 12 sacks last year.

—Let’s go back to 2009. Jason Smith (2-Rams) has been out of football since 2012. Eugene Monroe (8-Jaguars) was up and down for Jacksonville before they dealt him to the Ravens for a couple of late draft picks. Taken in between them was Andre Smith (6-Bengals), who was thought to be a risky pick due to weight issues but he has turned out to be a good pick for Cincinnati after a couple of tough years to start out.

—How about guards? In 2013 Chance Warmack (10-Titans) and Jonathan Cooper (7-Cardinals) were top-10 picks. Warmack has started 32 games but has been nondescript while Cooper has battled injuries and has taken just 182 snaps in two seasons.

All of this doesn’t mean that Scherff is destined to fail. There have been some successes near the top of the draft. The Redskins got a good one in 2010 in Trent Williams (4) and the Cowboys started to build one of the best lines in the game in 2011 when they took Tyron Smith (9).

Each draft is different and each player is different. Scherff could turn out to be an All-Pro or at least a solid player. But it's likely that the same was said about Robinson, Kalil, Jason Smith, and Cooper. I don’t even have to go look that up because it’s said about virtually every lineman that is taken early in the first round.

Like every edge rusher, every quarterback, every wide receiver, every player at every position taken in the draft, Scherff will have to work every day and prove himself. He has been given a good chance, with a team that desperately needs his services and one of the best offensive line coaches in the game in Bill Callahan. Scherff might become a success but, as a look at history reveals, he might not.

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

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

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.