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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a receiver with their top pick?

Apr 19, 2015, 6:35 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 19, 11 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today I’m going to empty out the inbox and answer some good questions that don’t require a full post to answer. Let’s get rolling with the Sunday Quick Hits:


I would say that it’s Spencer Long. I think that he was close to moving up into a starting role last season but he couldn’t quite push Chris Chester aside. Given a full offseason (he was limited last year by a knee injury he suffered as a senior at Nebraska) he should be able to break through and become an upgrade over Chester. I don’t think that it will be a disaster if Trent Murphy starts; I think he’s the type of player who will work to continue to improve every year. Even if he didn’t have the issue of the Lisfranc injury Morgan Moses still might not be ready to start so a draft pick who can compete with Tom Compton at right tackle is almost a necessity.


A few things here. First, he’s an NFL head coach and that is a pressure-packed job. I don’t think Gruden is undergoing any more scrutiny than any coach who won just four games in his first year. But the stories that he is almost certainly out after this season are not based in anything other than sheer speculation. Dan Snyder is not anxious to pay off the final three years of Gruden’s fully-guaranteed contract. Nor are Snyder, Bruce Allen, and Scot McCloughan inclined to tear things up by the roots and start all over again. As long as Gruden shows improvement in terms of handling his job and some of the team’s on-field problems start to go away, Gruden is safe.


Roy, I’m not sure what it’s going to take to persuade fans like you that the Redskins are going to draft the best player available. Here’s McCloughan from his introductory presser: ““I’m never under the assumption that you draft for need. You draft the best available football player on the board.” And Gruden from the combine: “We have a lot of areas that we need to look at, and we’re just going to look at the best available player, period.” Add to that the fact that both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon both will turn 30 next year and will cost nearly $20 million against the salary cap, creating a need at WR and I don’t think there is any smokescreen involved here. If Kevin White or Amari Cooper is the best player on the board, that’s who McCloughan will take.

This is the question that everyone wants the answer to but we really don’t know. It’s been well established that McCloughan has let it be known that he is open to trading the pick but there are a lot of variables beyond that. Who is still on the board that someone might want to trade up to get? How much are the teams willing to give up to move up? If a player like Leonard Williams, perhaps the best player in the draft, is still on the board, do the Redskins abandon any notion of a trade and make the pick? For the time being, we know that McCloughan will make a deal if the right one is there but beyond that we’re just going to have to wait and see how it unfolds.


—It’s been 112 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 147 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 1; 2015 NFL Draft 11; Redskins minicamp starts 58

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 19, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    he should be able to break through and become an upgrade over Chester

    So hope we all!

  2. obxskins - Apr 19, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    I am in the minority here, but if we could get the road grader from Iowa and eith4er he or Long go to LG then we have really upgraded the line…praying Moses steps up, I could see them getting a guard in the 2nd round too so it will be exciting to see how it unfolds. If the Big Cat is there at 5 should the Skins get a deal like we gave up for RG3 or draft Williams? Any thoughts guys? #HTTR!

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:14 AM

      should the Skins get a deal like we gave up for RG3

      Nobody is going to offer us anything like that for the 5th pick. Maybe someone will overpay, but not like that. Here’s a basic value chart for picks. (

      (Of course, the actual amount a team will trade depends on the prospect and teams in question, as well as whether there are other teams in the hunt for that pick.)

      • captblood3000 - Apr 19, 2015 at 5:58 PM

        In my opinion, if Williams falls to #5, you trade that pick as if you possessed the #1 pick. It won’t be McCloughan’s fault that the 4 GMs before him didn’t draft BPA. But never say that something can’t happen in the draft. Two firsts and a second could work provided the Skins don’t drop too far in the first round.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 19, 2015 at 6:35 PM

          “Beam us up, Scotty.”

    • redskinscaio - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      I’d love to see the SKins draft an offensive lineman in the first round. You’re not alone!

  3. ET - Apr 19, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    I’d put $30 of Rich’s hypothetical $100 on an offensive pick at #5.

    $27 on White or Cooper, $2 on OL, $1 on Mariota, just to be safe. I do think OL is likely in the 2nd or 3rd rounds, as is WR.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 19, 2015 at 12:12 PM

      Sorry, ET, this is a $5 table. No $1 chips. haha

      • ET - Apr 19, 2015 at 1:07 PM

        Oh dang, I guess I’m too used to playing at the kiddie table.

  4. Eric styles - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    I pray we draft a top 5 WR that could save the team and RG3s career… His best passes are the shorter throws and White and Cooper can do so much after the catch it would create mismatches for D Jax and PG also. There’s more pass rushers and OL and all that in later rounds

  5. timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:22 AM


    Rich do you think if Gruden gives up at the end of games like he did last year will it have an effect on the locker room and his job status? Also how do you feel about him quitting at the end of games?

    I personally don’t like that he gave up at the end of games and feel it projects an environment where if you are losing you miles well give up. I know most of those games where out of reach but it just sits wrong with me not fighting to the end.

    I’m interested on your thoughts on this subject.

    • redskinscaio - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      What do you mean he gave up at the end of the games? If the game ends, then the game is over, you can’t score any more points or play more football at the end of games, the game is over.

      Or are you just confused with the fact that the Redskins’ 2 minute offense was so bad last year that it looked like that “he was giving up”? lol

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 19, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        He had them huddling up to call plays, called run plays, didn’t call time outs. If the game was more than 1 score out of reach he stopped trying in the final minutes/seconds of the game.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 19, 2015 at 12:18 PM

      The slow huddles have been an issue that has drive me crazy for years, going back to Shanahan and before. I’ve asked about it and I get no real answer.

      To answer your question, i don’t think it affects the locker room because it’s part of the culture. Seeing the Redskins fighting back and at least putting a scare in a team after they get down big is much more the exception than the rule. I haven’t looked up the numbers on this but I’m willing to bet that if they’re down by, say, 17 in the third quarter the final is usually worse than that, not better. And, again, it’s not just Gruden.

      I don’t know how to fix it but it will be a good sign when they can get off four plays in a minute when they need to and close the margin when they’re losing in the second half rather than having it expand.

    • bangkokben - Apr 20, 2015 at 2:38 PM


      I saw that too. It seemed to me that it happened on two obvious occasions in the middle of the year and both were with Robert after Griffin’s return. If memory serves me right it was the Tampa game and the San Fran game. Tampa was a game where Gruden quit with plenty of time left but Griffin was also playing horrible. Watching that game I concluded that Gruden had zero faith in Griffin and all the smoke we had heard about Gruden not believing that Robert could become a pocket passer was indeed not smoke but fire. (Gruden’s opinion that is.) Then after the game Robert – perhaps inadvertently – threw his team under the bus basically equating his game with today’s greats. Then Gruden got in the proverbial bus, threw Griffin under the bus and backed it over Griffin a couple of times. But gentlemen were wrong in their actions but what both said certainly rang true.

      The second game Gruden quit on was the very next game which everyone was then “focusing on San Francisco.” With the game close (4 points) on the penultimate drive – and second to last only because the ‘skins inexplicably got the ball again before the end of the game – Gruden started calling running plays. I was livid at the time. However, at one point even with the game on the line Griffin ran out of the pocket into a sack and more importantly took his time to shake off the hit. He ‘Haynesworthed’ it. This was time the team didn’t have. I believe this preceded the coach quitting although that is certainly debatable. Nor does it matter. The coach shouldn’t quit PERIOD.

      To me it was obvious that Gruden and Griffin couldn’t continue together at the time and McCoy started the next game against the Colts. Despite that game getting one sided early. McCoy still threw and some ‘skins had statistically good games and Gruden may have stopped trying to win at some point in that game but it was clear the defense after getting turnovers early wasn’t going to stop the Colts. The Colts had several scoring drives that were under a minute.

  6. redskinscaio - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    NTK –

    On the issue of “best player available”. What does that mean exactly?

    To me, “need”, is a factor that goes into what the best player available is. The position of the player is also a major factor that goes into the overall determination of who the best player is. I don’t understand this whole thing about not drafting for need versus drafting the best player available. Doesn’t the Redskins “need” to draft the best player available? Isn’t the best player available one that fills a need as well?

    It’s almost impossible to compare a nose tackle like Shelton to a wide receiver like Amari Cooper since they didn’t play each other, they didn’t play the same opponents, they play different positions, one plays offense and one plays defense… Cooper played behind one of the best offensive lines in college football.

    So logically, if I were the GM for the Redskins, and I have the choice this year, to pick between a good right tackle and a good wide receiver, where the wide receive is slightly a “better player” than the right tackle, I’m picking the right tackle because there is a need at the position.

    You know how GMs like to spread false rumors and smoke screens about who they are to select? Well, when they tell you that they are not going to draft for need but instead they are going to draft the best player available, that’s the smoke screen! Of course there is an exception. If you a have a need at a position, you are not going to draft a bad player just because you have a need there.

    For example, the Patriots lost their two best corners. They have a need at the position. They lost Browner and Revis. You’re trying to tell me that they are not going to draft a corner!? Yea right. Unless all the good corners are drafted, trust me, the Patriots are going Cornerback, early and often, unless of course all the corners available are terrible.

    In conclusion, the Skins have 3 very good wide receivers who will still be under contract this year and the next, no way they draft a wider receiver with the 5th pick, unless they have a big trade coming to get rid of Roberts, Garson or Jackson …

    • redskinscaio - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:47 AM

      PS. When I use the word, “you” i don’t mean you Mr. Tandler, I mean people in general. I read your article, I know you’re leaning a little bit towards Fowler to be the pick based on what the other teams ahead of the Redskins might pick. I understand that a wide receiver might be chosen by the Skins, I’m just trying to make an argument of why they shouldn’t be picking a wide receiver, unless they trade away one of their own…

      And I’m making another prediction, the Patriots will draft a corner, if not two with their first 2 picks, unless of course there is a stud defensive tackle or wide receiver available and the corners available are below par. They might even go Guard, since they traded away Mankins.

      If I were the GM, I would build the biggest, baddest offensive line the world ever saw. They’d be so good, that I could rush for a 100 yards in a game. They’d be so good, that RGIII would rush for 2,000 yards. They’d be so good, Alfred Morris would break the single season rushing recorder, they’d be so good, Darrell Young would be the first full back to rush for a 1,000 yards. HTTR

      • redskinscaio - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        They’d be so good, Chuck Norris would be proud. They’d be so good ISIS would lay down their arms. They’d be so good, the other team would just let the SKins score on purpose just so they can get the ball back faster in order to have a chance to catch up. They’d be so good you’d need a binding UN resolution to stop them.

      • Rich Tandler - Apr 19, 2015 at 12:25 PM

        First, calo, Mr. Tandler was my father (well, he was Col. Tandler but you get the point). The name is Rich.

        Second, it’s not 1970’s NCAA football anymore. You can’t be Nebraska and recruit five big studs off of the farms and get them to physically dominate game after game. Defenses are too good and if you don’t vary your attack they are going to stop you.

        Finally, you’re being short sighted. The draft is not about getting better in 2015, it’s about 2016 and beyond. The Patriots may well draft a corner or two but only because for years and years they took the best player available and have the depth to be able to do that. They didn’t need a QB when they took Brady; in fact, they carried 4 on the roster his rookie year. But because they took the BAP 15 years ago, they can reach a bit if they need to today. The Redskins are not in the position to be able to do that.

        • skins1970 - Apr 19, 2015 at 2:07 PM

          ITA with Rich.

        • Skulb - Apr 20, 2015 at 1:48 AM

          “off the farms”


        • ajbus1 - Apr 20, 2015 at 1:48 AM

          Boom. Drafting well in a nutshell.

        • Skulb - Apr 20, 2015 at 1:51 AM

          Just one thing though: wasn`t the point of the fellow above that it can be tricky to compare players in totally different positions? I mean, who`s the best; DJax, Trent Williams or Tress Way? I don`t know. Do you?

        • ajbus1 - Apr 20, 2015 at 10:40 PM

          I don’t think that was his point at all.

      • bowlregard - Apr 19, 2015 at 6:03 PM

        It seems to me that in recent years the Pats have liked to draft high players for their defensive front seven. The way they signed Revis and Browner last year was an aberration, but it sure worked. But BB knows there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Plus, Malcolm Butler might be looking to play a bigger role this year.

    • captblood3000 - Apr 20, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      Caio, have you ever been in a pickup game where they picked sides? Think of the Draft as a high stakes version of that. I first pick the guy who can’t be covered (Cooper). I can run away from the guy who can’t be blocked (Shelton).

      • redskinscaio - Apr 20, 2015 at 10:12 AM

        I love that analogy. I never looked at it that way. In that case I’d pick White who is taller and faster…

      • redskinscaio - Apr 20, 2015 at 10:16 AM

        It would be pretty cool to see the Skins run a spread offense. That’s what RGIII ran with Baylor, similar to what the Bills ran a few years ago. One running back, Morris in the back field and 4 receivers! Garcon, Jackson, Roberts, and Cooper or White. Spread the field, and then RGIII could also be an option to run, and guess what? With an open formation like that there’s less linebackers on the field to kill RGIII, and he can pretty much run away from the DTs

  7. troylok - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    I think it will come down to Fowler, White or a trade down. Fowler or White could both make an immediate impact. The Redskins have needed height in their receiving corps for a very long time and White would give them that. Fowler is an every down player who happens to excel at pass rushing. He would be an upgrade over Murphy and will give Barry the ability to create some plays with three standing up pass rushers (Kerrigan, Murphy and Fowler). There is no way Williams will make it down to #5. I just can’t see it. I don’t think the Redskins will accept a trade-down offer unless it is tilted to their favor.

    The unknown in any trade-down scenario is what another team might be willing to offer in players added to the draft picks. If McGloughin sees a scenario where he can immediately upgrade right tackle, running back, or safety with a player already playing in the league AND get draft picks, he could pull the trigger.

    • jtaylor68 - Apr 19, 2015 at 3:34 PM

      That is so true about the unknown in a trade scenario. What do you decide if the player you really want is there at your pick and then the phone rings offering a trade you can’t refuse ? If the mindset is BPA can you have a favorite/target player ?

  8. skinsgame - Apr 19, 2015 at 5:36 PM

    Just a few years ago the “sure thing” at receiver was Crabtree but the Raiders took Heyward-Bey. But there were 5 or 6 WR’s taken later in the draft that have ended up being better than those 2. The draft is a calcualted crapshoot. I’ll cross my fingers that Scot has a 50% success rate in every draft and that the team has the best position coaches to bring the picks along.

    One of the reasons I came to this site was to get away from the overbeaing hands of the moderators at the WaPo. Rich, while you are far from “overbearing”, blocking users is a silppery slope. Joe Green had a rough delivery but his opinions added to the conversation. Same with Joe Green Jr. Many users of this board can’t boast as much.

    • bowlregard - Apr 19, 2015 at 6:06 PM

      Al Davis was still around when they took Heyward-Bey. Al always liked speed at wideout, and a QB with a strong arm. It seems Crabtree never fully recovered from an injury suffered his first year or two. That’s the word on the street.

      • skinsgame - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:13 PM

        Mike Wallace was drafted in the 3rd round that year and he was the 11th WR taken, I believe and he’s a burner. Percy Harvin was taken after Crabtree as well. Lots of burners after Bey. Just goes to show, it’s an uncertain business.

  9. bowlregard - Apr 19, 2015 at 6:17 PM

    With regards to BPA, it seems to me there’s a couple of qualifiers. Like if RB is a position valued less than others these days, then a RB with a grade of 6.2 might have to take a back seat to an edge rusher graded at 5.8. And if a position in a particular draft is deep, then it might devalue that position overall, since teams might pass on a WR if they think they can draft one later.

    In this year’s draft, edge rushers might be high on a team’s draft board because generally good ones are hard to come by, whereas guards are valued less highly. I’m wondering to what extent this is actually the case in this year’s draft. Now I’m a little obsessed with Scherff because when someone writes a glowing report on him there are fewer reservations than with anyone else. So I’m wondering if he’s considered a top ten pick, but not a top five, because he’s objectively not good enough, or is it that the guard position isn’t valued as highly?

    • jtaylor68 - Apr 19, 2015 at 7:32 PM

      Bowl….since you are obsessed with Scherff…..if you are the GM and you have a choice between picking him(your BPA) or accepting a trade offer to pick multiple good players on your big board that could possibly fill multiple positions…what would you do? I have liked Beasley at 5 but I wonder if there would be a greater good for the team by dropping down. I guess we will find out just how Scott McC. views the way to go soon enough.

      • bowlregard - Apr 20, 2015 at 9:30 AM

        I imagine that’s a complicated decision with multiple variables. Some trade down offers you might accept and others you might reject. It depends on the deal. I think anyone would trade down if the deal is good enough. But if you really like the guy you’d take at 5 then you’re in a better position to demand a premium.

    • skinsgame - Apr 19, 2015 at 10:10 PM

      Seems like a GM would have a system for valuing a player and grading them with each position getting a ceiling. Hypothetically, a QB could have a maximum value of 1,000 points and a punter can have a max value of say, 100 points (or some variance of that). It doesn’t mean that that’s how they do it, but I would if it were me. A setup like that is the only way I can see the team ensures getting the proper players drafted at the draft position they believe they’re worth.

      If a GM is to put his stamp on a team and build a team the way he thinks is going to be consistent, he’ll have positions he values more than others and he’ll assemble the roster accordingly. It could lead to trouble with coaches but the coaches are usually employed at the GM’s discretion anyway. Well, that is if he’s a true GM. Right now, Scot is.

      • bowlregard - Apr 20, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        I’m just wondering how McClue views things. Right now he seems to be putting extra value on defense. Defense is surely what has made the Niners and Seahawks go lately.

        • skinsgame - Apr 20, 2015 at 7:16 PM

          The only inclination we have that he appears to be adding value to defense is due to free agency. People talk about “need” factoring into the draft but I don’t believe it does. Need is probably the biggest factor in free agency though.

      • captblood3000 - Apr 20, 2015 at 9:40 AM

        I don’t think that’s how GMs do it. Scherff is a great example. In mock drafts you typically see Scherff picked at around #10. Why isn’t Scherff picked higher? Because he has trouble with speed rushers. This is an athletic deficiency that will be difficult for Scherff to overcome. At the NFL level, Scherff, particularly at left tackle, could be a turnstile. Instead, Scherff projects to guard, where he should be terrific. But like I said, if he were any better, he could play tackle.

        You can apply the same analysis (tackle vs guard) to cornerback vs safety, or outside linebacker vs inside linebacker.

        • bowlregard - Apr 20, 2015 at 5:12 PM

          I understand tackles are viewed more highly than guards. You have to be more athletic and so forth. But at the same time I have seen guards be real game changers. Seeing how Tre Johnson played back when we had Terry Allen running the football made a real impression on me. Another was Larry Little back in the 70s with the Dolphins. These guys are game changers whether or not they’d be at all effective at tackle.

        • skinsgame - Apr 20, 2015 at 7:39 PM

          Tre Johnson is another example of calculated risks. He was the 5th offensive lineman drafted in that draft and better than all 4 taken ahead of him. Still, the 5th lineman taken after Tre Johnson was Larry Allen who was an absolute stud that Johnson could never hold a candle to. Larry Allen was a 7 time All-Pro and played 14 years. No other lineman in that draft comes close to that. And he was a guard and 9 or 10 other linemen were taken ahead of him.
          So, every team missed on Larry Allen? No, not exactly, but they grade differently and value positions differently based on philosophy. That’s how a player like him goes undrafted for so long in a draft where he ended up being the best player overall for the entire draft. Archives

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