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  • You Will Be Mocked


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    Hope springs eternal.  April 26th, 8:00P.M. EST.  April 27th, 7:00P.M. EST.  April 28th, 12:00P.M. EST.  The words, “With the 13th selection in the 2018 NFL Draft the Washington Redskins select …” have been ringing in our heads for weeks, if not months.  Free agency is ostensibly over and, yet again, the front office failed to fill every need by spending.  Good.  That was and is a failed strategy in the salary cap era.  It is also why the draft is so critical to the attitude of fans.  No matter how poorly the team performed the previous season it is forgotten once the roster turns over.  The discussion is no longer of who did what last season.  Some of the who’s have moved on to other teams.  Some of the who’s have moved from other teams to the Redskins.  The most exciting time of year in the mind of a fan should always be right after the draft when the roster is the best it will be and the possibilities are endless.  No cuts, no injuries, no growing pains, no hyper criticism of preseason performances.  No judgements, no negativity.  We are the 2018 Washington Redskins and we are here to chew bubble gum and kick ass.  Since we’re fresh out of bubble gum …

     

    The NFL Draft, coincidentally, always takes place within a week of my birthday, which means I personally always hope the Skins will do me a solid by drafting the next perennial all pro at any position.  There’s plenty of time for hindsight later.  While it’s impossible to guess along with the Front Office in terms of how they rank prospects or whether they would elect to fill a need over taking a player not expected to be on the board at #13 it is possible to look at their draft history and make an educated guess.  Certainly there was no expectation Jonathan Allen would be on the board at #17 last season.  He was.  They selected him.  That was undoubtedly based on both his grade being higher than a bottom half 1st round prospect and his filling a position of need.  Who would they have selected had Allen been off the board?  Hard to say.  Let’s hope they weren’t looking at Reuben Foster.  We can be relatively certain Josh Doctson was specifically targeted at #22.  But he also filled a need.  We can be almost positive Brandon Scherff was their highest-ranked player still on the board at #5.  But he also filled a need.  The strategy seems to be drafting the best player available at a position of need.

     

    This begs a few questions, namely one specifically regarding what happens if either Derwin James  or Minkah Fitzpatrick were still on the board at #13.  James would be a candidate to fill the hybrid role Sua Cravens was supposed to fill.  But the team doesn’t need a safety as much as it needs a NT to help with the run defense.  So, would they elect to choose James over someone like Da’Ron Payne?  Fitzpatrick is strictly a CB at the NFL level.  Does his grade push him past other prospects if he is still available?  To fans it might seem obvious the defense is the area of greatest need.  Maybe the Skins place more value on a top prospect RB like a Derrius Guice.  But do they grade Guice as being that much better a prospect than a Rashaad Penny or a Nick Chubb?

     

    One thing that hurts every mock draft, and undoubtedly will affect the real one as well, is the lack of a third round selection.  That pick was traded to Kansas City for Alex Smith.  It would be helpful if they could package together some picks and move back up into the 3rd round.  Most of the top DL and RB prospects are gone by the end of the third which means they either necessarily reach on a prospect out of necessity or they miss out on a prospect they had targeted who had no chance of falling to them in the fourth.  The following mock drafts will reflect this problem, because while it’s easy to talk about trading back or trading up it’s a lot harder to find a team willing to trade.  While all mocks are fantasy there is at least some semblance of realism to a mock which involves no trades.

     

    One other point of contention is that the Redskins rarely discuss prospects or positions they are genuinely discussing behind closed doors.  They rarely sign prospects they have brought in for visits.  In fact, based upon history, we could almost be dismissive of any prospect or position they’ve openly mentioned.  Doug Williams has mentioned QB and RB so many times it seems those are not areas of need. There are those who would argue differently on RB but the offensive line was a shambles last season and the top two backs were injured.  It’s hard to evaluate much of anything under those conditions.  While it’s not out of the question the Redskins would select a RB with the #13 pick it seems unlikely.  They have more backs on the roster than they can keep.  They have positions of need which are unlikely to be filled in free agency.  Maybe Hankins signs and eliminates one need.  Maybe they find a veteran stopgap guard or center after cuts.  There are always linemen looking for jobs.  They would have to value a line prospect considerably to take one over a skill position.  But it is a position of need until it isn’t one.

     

    After running simulations hundreds of times using a composite draft board and the difficult algorithm, most of the time the choices have been between Vea, Payne, and Guice.  Of the three Payne seems like the choice because he is a three down player who fills a need.  Vea could be a dominant run stopper, definitely a need, but he is graded as a two down player.  Guice is nice but is he that much better than Chubb or Penny, both of whom are likely to be available in the second round?  After Payne the DE prospects fall off a cliff.  Yes, there has been some talk of Settle but if a team needs a DL once Payne is gone Settle could be next.  It seems unlikely he would still be on the board three rounds later.  And this is where the reaching comes in.  If they pass on Payne or Guice in the first, and obviously they have to pass on one since they only have one first round pick, they are pretty much forced to reach on Penny, Chubb, or Settle in the second.  They have got to get that third round pick back.

     

    Having said that, I’ll be posting several mocks for people to discuss.  I’ll try to explain the strategy behind each one as they are posted.  Some will be strictly BPA.  Others will be strictly need-based.  Here is the first one:

    2018 NFL Mock Draft 1

    https://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/draft.php?d=cqliel

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    Feeling A Draft


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    Let’s cut the crap.  I’m sick of this team.  If you’re being intellectually honest you’re sick of this team, too.  For much of the last twenty-five seasons the Washington Redskins have been a comedy of errors, which, while technically still a comedy, has left none of us laughing.  I’d like to pen something a bit more positive here about how the 2018 NFL Draft is going to be the one that rights the ship, about how the front office has finally learned from experience, about how Bruce Allen is an asset rather than a liability, about how Daniel Snyder isn’t the devil incarnate (OK, that may be a bridge too far).  All I have to draw on is my experience with this franchise, which tells me that for every one positive there will be two negatives. To be clear, my enthusiasm for this team is long gone.  If it reads that way now you know why.  Nothing about my utter distaste for the systematic dismantling of a one-proud franchise has been left to the imagination.  Having said that, there are a few thing the 2018 Washington Redskins could do to make me place more interest in what they’re doing than in, for example, watching flies fuck.

     

    The positions at which the Redskins do not need an upgrade can be counted on one hand.  The few free agents in whom they may express an interest will likely be out of their price range.  The 2018 NFL salary cap has been set at $177.2 Million.  This leaves the team with $47.727 million to spend as of now.  This does not include the Alex Smith contract, so the actual number is closer to $27 million.  One plus is the team has only $501k in dead cap.  Immediate impact players like a Bennie Logan or a Dontari Poe would cut heavily into the cap space at $8.0 million or thereabouts per season, so consider that unlikely.  If any needs are addressed in free agency it will be more likely to be someone like T.J. Ward, whose cap figure was only $4.625 million and who fills a position not easily filled in the draft.  If Allen Robinson becomes available the team will undoubtedly look in his direction but any bidding war would probably cause Bruce Allen to fold his hand.  Allen is not exactly known for calling the bluffs of other general managers.  The free agency market is thin on talent and even thinner on young talent.  This means they should be looking at the best player on the board regardless of position.

     

    Who are the best players?  It’s subjective but it’s not subjective.  If every other team in the league has the same top ten players and you have some player not in most team’s top twenty then you’re probably wrong.  At that level no one is smarter than everyone else.  A lot of it comes down to luck.  Last season, Jonathon Allen was not expected to still be on the board at #17.  There’s a good chance someone considered a top ten prospect will slip to #13 in the 2018 NFL Draft.  There are prospects who will no way in hell be on the board at #13 like Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson, Bradley Chubb, and Minkah Fitzpatrick.  Good thing none of them play a position of need.  (Someone out there won’t realize this is sarcasm.)  Before anyone brings it up, the Redskins are not trading the #13 pick back because even Bruce Allen isn’t that stupid.  Right?  They’re certainly not trading up.  The RGIII fiasco has made the front office gun shy on that idea.

     

    There are three players, who depending upon how the draft shakes out, could be on the Redskins radar  at #13.  If Vita Vea is on the board at #13 you draft him, anyone else on the board be damned.  For a team that insisted on switching to a 3-4 defense they have done jack  shit about filling the most important position in a 3-4 defense.  That needs to change.  I’d talk about the rushing defense here but there wasn’t one.  Along that same line, if Vea is off the board it is likely that either Da’Ron Payne or Tremaine Edwards will be on the board.  With any one of these three prospects the team can’t go wrong.  Vea is an immediate starter.  Payne and Edwards are freakish athletes for their positions.

     

    I’m sure someone will read this and be thinking the team should address another position first but realistically there is only one top prospect at several positions of need.  By “top prospect” I mean a player considered to be a top ten pick by one or more “experts.”  There is one running back.  There is one free safety.  There is one offensive guard.  There is one linebacker.  There is one wide receiver.  There are one or perhaps two cornerbacks.

     

    The pundits can talk all they like about how the NFL is passing league but what they don’t talk enough about is how the game is still won in the trenches.  The more opposing teams can be made one-dimensional the easier it is to win games.  The 2017 Washington Redskins were a case-in-point example.  Hopefully, they learn from their own ineptitude.

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    Fouled Up Cousins, Kirk


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    Sometimes, as a fan of the Washington Redskins, one cannot help but be pissed off beyond all words.  The 2015 team led us down the primrose path of high expectations.  The worst fans were predicting this seasons was a .500 record.  The best laid plans of Skins fans had the team winning eleven games this season.  Adding fuel to the fire were situations beyond the team’s control, such as Le’Veon Bell being suspended and Tony Romo suffering another unfortunate injury which kept him out of the week two contest.  A genuinely false sense of security abounded throughout the fan base.  Pittsburgh was going to be a tough game in any case but we were led to believe we actually had a chance of winning the game.  (Insert expletive of your choice here.)

    Dallas was a game for which no excuses can be made.  The Redskins lost to an inferior opponent because they did not and could not make the plays winning teams make consistently.  The team is now looking at a virtually impossible climb to earn a playoff berth and their team statistics say they will win six games or fewer.  While it seems easy to place the blame on the secondary, Bashaud Breeland in particular, the lack of a consistent pass rush and an inability to stop the run make it impossible for the secondary to cover good receivers indefinitely.  Eventually, any receiver will get open.  The Skins had three garbage sacks and very few hurries.  It may not even be legal to knock a quarterback down anymore.  If it is the team had us fooled this week.

    Ultimately, the game rests on the shoulders of the highest paid player in the league this season.  Depending on which fan you ask, Kirk Cousins either missed three touchdowns or four.  Either way, he is posting empty stats like they’re going out of style.  Who throws for 364 yards with only one touchdown?  Who makes that boneheaded throw in the end zone?  What kind of quarterback stares down his receiver in the end zone when the defense has a limited field to cover?

    What kind of jackass head coach abandons an effective running game on a 4th and less than one yard?  The same kind who pisses away all of his timeouts before they are actually needed.

    When I started writing this I had fully intended to make it some kind of reasonable and rational explanation as to why the team is now 0-2 but, quite frankly, I don’t have one and even if I did I’m so pissed off I doubt I could articulate it in any semblance of a cogent fashion.  If this team doesn’t beat the New York Giants like they sexually assaulted their children  I expect everyone to be fired.  Gruden can’t seem to find his ass with both hands, a flashlight, a GPS, and a proctologist.  Ditto, Cousins and the wide open receivers.

    Yes, the defense is a complete mess but we knew going into the season that the front seven was questionable, to say the least.  The plan was, necessarily, to outscore opponents.  Two games into the season the Redskins high-powered offense is averaging a whopping 19.5 points per game.  That’s tied for 20th in the league.  The team can’t win games like that.  The offense had best unfuck itself quickly.  That begins and ends with Kirk Cousins making the plays he should make.

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