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NFL Draft 2017 Washington Redskins: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

By
Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com
Washington Redskins' quarterback Kirk Cousins was named franchise player and head coach Jay Gruden received a two-year contract extension. File photo by Art Foxall/UPI
Washington Redskins' quarterback Kirk Cousins was named franchise player and head coach Jay Gruden received a two-year contract extension. File photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

In the team's most discussed personnel move, Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen says no new general manager will be hired to replace fired Scot McCloughan until after the draft.

On the field, the Redskins tried to address their defensive line by adding Terrell McClain (Dallas) and Stacy McGee (Oakland) via free agency. Those are not big names, but the hope is at ages 28 and 27, respectively, their best football is still in front of them. Washington also signed D.J. Swearinger (Arizona) to shore up safety.

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Meanwhile, signing elsewhere were wide receiver DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay) and Pierre Garcon (San Francisco), marking the first time a team lost two 1,000-yard receivers in the same offseason. The team signed quarterback-turned-receiver Terrelle Pryor, who reached 1,000 receiving yards last year with Cleveland in his first season at the position.

Notable was the signing of head coach Jay Gruden to a two-year contract extension and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to coach the Los Angeles Rams. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry was fired and the team hired from within, promoting Matt Cavanaugh (offense) and Greg Manusky (defense).

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Incumbent quarterback Kirk Cousins is franchised at $23.94 million and can be tagged again next year ($34.4 million), but the situation is uneasy as the team continues to be unwilling to commit to a long-team deal and the player's discontent seemed to increase after the departure of McVay.

Here is a closer look at where the Redskins are, how they got here and a shot at what they should do with their first pick in the draft.

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THE BREAKDOWN

2016 finish: 3rd NFC East (8-7-1)

2016 STATISTICS

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TOTAL OFFENSE: 403.4 (3rd) {b: RUSHING:} 106.0 (21st)

PASSING: 297.4 (2nd)

TOTAL DEFENSE: 377.9 (28th)

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RUSHING: 119.8 (24th)

PASSING: 258.1 (25th)

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TEAM NEEDS

1. Defensive line: The Redskins added two players at defensive end in McGee and McClain. But they also lost Chris Baker, who signed with Tampa Bay. He was their most disruptive player on the line the past two seasons. More youth is needed here.

2. Running back: Rob Kelley, a surprise as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2016, will likely be atop the depth chart when training camp begins. Chris Thompson is one of the league's best third-down backs. But they need help. Matt Jones, a 2015 third-round pick, didn't play the final two months of the season because of fumbling issues. The Redskins could make a splash here if one of the top backs in the draft falls to them.

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3. Safety: Washington added D.J. Swearinger in free agency and second-year pro Su'a Cravens will move to safety from dime linebacker. But the health of DeAngelo Hall (torn ACL) is unclear and both he and Will Blackmon, a converted corner, are over 30. The Redskins need youth here.

KEY PERSONNEL TRACKER (As of April 3)

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

QB Kirk Cousins: FFA; $23.94M/1yr.

TE Vernon Davis: Potential Unrestricted free agent; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

DE Ziggy Hood: UFA; $2.7M/2 yrs, $300K SB.

LS Nick Sundberg: Potential UFA; $4.5 million/4 yrs, $610,000 SB.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

LB Zach Brown: UFA Bills; terms unknown.

LB Chris Carter: UFA Colts; $855K/1 yr, $80K SB.

DT Terrell McClain: UFA Cowboys; $21M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$10.5M guaranteed, $3.25M injury only at time of signing.

DT Stacy McGee: UFA Raiders; $25M/5 yrs, $4M SB/$9M guaranteed, $2.75M injury only at time of signing.

WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.: UFA Browns; $6M/1 yr, $3M SB/$6M guaranteed.

WR Brian Quick: UFA Rams; $855K/1 yr, $80 SB.

S D.J. Swearinger: UFA Cardinals; $13.5M/3 yrs, $4M SB/$9M guaranteed, $3M injury only at time of signing.

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PLAYERS LOST

DE Chris Baker: UFA Buccaneers; $15.75M/3 yrs, $9M guaranteed, $3M injury only at time of signing.

WR Pierre Garcon: UFA 49ers; $47.5M/5 yrs, $12M SB/$20M guaranteed, $3M injury only at time of signing.

LB Terence Garvin: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.

WR DeSean Jackson: UFA Buccaneers; $33.5M/3 yrs, $20M guaranteed.

DE Ricky Jean Francois (released).

C Kory Lichtensteiger (retired).

MOCK DRAFT

NFLDraftScout.com analysts suggest (No. 17 overall)

Rob Rang (March 27 mock draft):

Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama. The Redskins surrendered an average of nearly 120 yards per game on the ground in 2016 and only three teams (the Chargers, Bills and 49ers) allowed more than their 19 rushing touchdowns. Foster was kicked out of the Combine after a run-in with medical personnel, but his talent is undeniable. Possessing remarkable closing speed and the physicality to intimidate, he could prove a steal at this point in the draft.

Dane Brugler (March 27 mock draft):

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State. McDowell has an impressive blend of size, athleticism and power to be effective from multiple positions along the defensive line.

Agree? Disagree? Still shopping?

Based on the team's current status, those are our suggestions for that first pick. To double check or find another candidate see NFLDraftScout.com's full mocks and ratings.

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Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. TSX team insiders contributed to this article.

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