The Redskins First-Round Draft Pick Will Probably Be One Of These Guys

Something interesting I learned the other day: the NFL Draft happens this Thursday. I wasn’t aware of this, likely on account of the draft being boring as hell, and the Skins once again reverting to a complete dumpster fire over the offseason. Couple this with the fact that it’s happening at the same time as Game 1 of Caps-Penguins and you’re left with no legitimate reason to watch the draft. If you’re watching the draft for any reason other then your son is expecting to hear his name called, you should go to jail.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at who the Skins might take with the 17th overall pick!

As you may have gathered, I haven’t followed the draft speculation closely, so I decided to turn to the mock draft experts in this game of make believe. Using data collected from 11 sites (some of which have multiple people creating mock drafts), I tried to come to some conclusions about who Washington might end up being unable to keep beyond their rookie contract.

Here are the results!

Three players were selected more than once:

— Rueben Foster, ILB, Alabama (picked four times)
— Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State (picked two times)
— Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC (picked twice, once via a trade withe Jets up to No. 4 lol)

The positions most commonly selected:

— Linebacker: seven times
— Cornerback: three times
— Defensive lineman: three times
— QB, RB, WR: two times each

The full list of players selected:

Bleacher Report: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
ESPN: Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
SI: Mitchell Trubiskey, QB, UNC (via trade)
NFL: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
NFL: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
NFL: Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU
NFL: Mitchell Trubiskey, QB, UNC
FOX SPORTS: John Ross, WR, Washington
The Ringer: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Walter Football: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
USA TODAY: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
CBS: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
CBS: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
CBS: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
CBS: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
CBS: Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt
CBS: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
SB Nation: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
CSN Mid-Atlantic: Haason Reddick, ILB, Temple

And here is the only opinion that matters from @BurgundyBlog, who was nice enough to share his thoughts with us:

Needless to say, my preference will depend on the context. If Jonathan Allen somehow falls, you take him. Period. Same with Jamal Adams, Malik Hooker, or Solomon Thomas. Those are dream scenarios that I consider highly unlikely, but would make for an easy decision.

If it’s Reuben Foster who’s available, I’m doing it, but the Redskins never draft character flags in the 1st.

Christian McCaffrey will probably go top-10, but he is the one guy on offense who would really excite me. He changes everything. You can run anything when he’s on the field because he’s an exceptional slot receiver. Defensive coordinators would cower.

I’ve said for weeks that edge rusher is the most likely single position. Haason Reddick is ideal because he can probably play ILB on 1st and 2nd downs, then rush on 3rd. He is a freak athlete, quick-twitch, and highly productive. He’s probably my favorite pick of the more reasonable possibilities.

If Reddick is gone, my favorite pass rushers are not the ones most commonly mentioned as mid-1st targets. I like Tyus Bowser for that twitch (and inside versatility), and I strongly suspect that Bruce Allen has a major crush on TJ Watt — production, potential, family ties, and marketability.

There you have it. Now enjoy the Caps game.

The Wizards Forgot How To Shoot Straight

After the Wiz went up 2-0 on the Hawks, I got a full head of steam in the general direction of “THEY’RE GOING TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE ’70s”

And now that they’ve dropped two in Atlanta, I’ve reversed it all the way back to “HOW THE HELL ARE THEY LOSING PLAYOFF GAMES TO JOSE CALDERON AND KENT BAZEMORE”

The truth is somewhere in the middle, alongside the fact that the Wizards forgot how to put the ball in the basket.

Aside from John Wall, who is having a bit of a moment, and Brandon Jennings, who only plays 15 minutes per game, every single player in Washington’s rotation is in a four-game shooting slump. As measured by effective field-goal percentage:

Bradley Beal — down from .566 to .478
Marcin Gortat — down from .579 to .552
Otto Porter — down from .608 to .483
Markieff Morris — down from .497 to .380
Bojan Bogdanovic — down from .553 to .379
Jason Smith — down from .585 to .500
Kelly Oubre — down from .482 to .409

I realize it’s generally harder to score in the playoffs, and Atlanta is a good defensive team, but most of those aren’t even close.

The series starts anew — best of three, now — tomorrow night back in D.C. Get buckets.

The Orioles Are Doing It Again

After a long and severe drought in which Baltimore posted a losing record every season from 1998-2011 (!), the O’s won more regular-season games than any other AL team the past five years. We needed that.

They’re at it again. At 12-5, they have the AL’s best record. That’s a 114-win pace.

This after pretty much every expert prediction and forecasting model had them winning something like 80 games. Even after accounting for the fast start, Fangraphs only has them winning 85, and Baseball Prospectus has Baltimore going 67-78 the rest of the way.

That’s just what happens when your rotation is Dylan Bundy and pray for rain. It happened last year, when SI picked Baltimore to win 69 games. (They won 89 and made the playoffs for the third time in five years.)

Hell, it happens every year.

And the thing is, they’re not even playing that well. For all their slugging, they only score 4.00 runs per game, down from 4.59 last year. That drop is offset by their overall pitching improvement, though. Thanks to their remarkable bullpen, Baltimore’s team ERA is down to 3.53 from 4.22.

That ERA is bound to come back to Earth, but Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo aren’t going to slump for six months, either. Plus, Chris Tillman (16-6 last year with a 3.77 ERA) returns in a couple weeks.

Add it up and we’re looking at another contender in Birdland. When it rains, it pours.

Predicting The Redskins’ Record Now That Their 2017 Schedule Is Out

Here’s the slate, courtesy of your Washington Redskins:

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And here are my predictions, based on a few assumptions:

A) Kirk Cousins isn’t traded and returns as the quarterback.

B) The draft, like free agency before it, goes reasonably well.

C) Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen don’t go and get any big ideas.

Admittedly, these are large assumptions. On with the show:

Week 1 — Philadelphia

The Skins beat them twice last year, and this one’s at home, though I can’t properly convey how much a home opener against Philly scares me. Win. 1-0.

Week 2 — at the Rams

LA won four games last year and had -160 net points. They also hired Sean McVay, whose claim to fame is being super-young and a pretty good No. 2 to the legendary Jay Gruden. Win. 2-0.

Week 3 — Raiders

Sunday Night Football. Loss. 2-1.

Week 4 — at Kansas City

Monday Night Football. Loss. 2-2.

Week 5 — bye

Week 6 — 49ers

The Shanahans can stick it. Win. 3-2.

Week 7 — at Philly

This year feels like a split. Loss. 3-3.

Week 8 — Dallas

The Cowboys swept last year, and there’s no reason to think they’re any worse (or the Skins are any better) this year. Loss. 3-4.

Week 9 — at Seattle

“At Seattle” gives me nightmares. Loss. 3-5.

Week 10 — Minnesota

Win. 4-5.

Week 11 — at New Orleans

This is probably the most desirable game for a Mr. I road trip. Win. 5-5.

Week 12 — Giants

Thanksgiving night. I like a split with NY. Win. 6-5.

Week 13 — at Dallas

Thursday Night Football. Probably the toughest game on the sked. Loss. 6-6.

Week 14 — at the Chargers

Two LA games in one year. How exciting. Win. 7-6.

Week 15 — Cardinals

If this was in Arizona, I’d go the other way. Win. 8-6.

Week 16 — Broncos

If this was in Denver, I’d go the other way. Win. 9-6.

Week 17 — at the Giants

Win and they’re in. Loss. 9-7.

Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Bradley Beal Is Becoming So Much Like Ray Allen It’s Kinda Weird

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On a recent podcast with Zach Lowe, Bill Simmons got to talking about how Bradley Beal’s best NBA player comp is future HOFer Ray Allen. That should sound familiar to keen-eared NBA fans, including readers of this site, which wrote back in May 2012 that “Beal’s game is persistently compared to Allen’s.”

After reading about the Beal-Allen comparison yet again in Five Thirty Eight’s excellent look at Beal’s elevated level of play, I figure it’s time to check in. Through their first five seasons:

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.59.20 AM

Allen was more durable and shot better from the stripe. He also was a more active rebounder and assist-maker, but he turned it over more, too.

It’s worth noting, though, that Beal was a one-and-done at Florida, entering the league at 19. Allen was 21 as a rookie, with three seasons at UConn under his belt.

Hopefully Beal goes on to enjoy a similarly illustrious 18-year career, which saw Allen make 10 All-Star teams and win multiple NBA championships.

And hopefully Beal doesn’t bounce around to four different teams in the process. He’s doing fine in Washington, D.C.

Redskins-Ravens Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following Skins games. This time a 16-10 win at Baltimore to move to 3-2 that was thiiis close from being 17-16 …

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 10.16.41 PM

Winners

Jamison Crowder — 85-yard punt return to the house?! The Skins’ first PR TD in 125 games, since 2008. Pre-Obama.

Pierre Garcon — Good to see 88 in the end zone. First time this season.

Will Blackmon — Was not expecting a big kick return from 41, but here we are.

Trent Murphy — Picked up a half sack, is still pressuring QBs out there this year.

Jose Lobaton and Daniel Murphy — Loby hit a three-run homer, after hitting just three all season, and Murphy got two RBI basehits, after getting basehits all season long. This was a stressful and ultimately joyous afternoon.

Losers

Matt Jones — Fumbled on his own 15 and only got 2.2 yards/carry, bringing his bandwagon to a halt.

DeSean Jackson — Absent from the game plan for most of it. Got his first catch in the fourth quarter.

Jay Gruden and Sean McVay — While we’re on the game plan, and pardon me if I have this wrong, because I was watching a lot of Nats too, but I think they threw on 3rd-and-1 about five times and failed each time.

The run defense — Allowed 6.2 yards per carry. That Baltimore threw it 46 times is a gift.

Dustin Hopkins — Missed an extra point as well as his first FG of 2016, a 56-yarder that fell just short. I still love Dustin Hopkins.

Medium

Josh Norman — Banged himself up so badly in the first half he reportedly “could not move his right arm.” Then came back in only to get beaten for the game-winning (losing?) score … that was then overturned. God bless.

Duke Ihenacho — Broke up Baltimore’s fake FG pass attempt, which could not have been more obvious. Also whiffed on a 35-yard Terrance West run. Has a great name.

Kirk Cousins — The TD to Garcon was a beautiful throw. The INT inside his 20 was godawful. The results were just good enough.

Redskins-Browns Winners & Losers

Handing out labels after Skins games. This time a 31-20 win over Cleveland to get to 2-2.

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 4.14.54 PM

Winners

Josh Norman — Struggled with Terrelle Pryor Sr., but saved the day with a boss interception in the fourth quarter.

Jordan Reed — Good things happen when the ball is thrown to 86. Today those included his first two scores of the year.

Trent Murphy — A few tackles in the backfield plus his fourth sack of the year, a new career high.

Matt Jones — 138 yards and a TD on 24 touches, continuing his progression:

Week 1 — 33 total yards
Week 2 — 65 total yards
Week 3 — 79 total yards
Week 4 — 138 total yards

Arie Kouandjio and Spencer Long — Filled in fine at left guard and center, it seemed.

Dustin Hopkins — Nailed a 49-yarder to maintain perfection for the season. Continues to be a kickoff master.

Tress Way — Penned Cleveland on the 2-yard line when they needed it, averaged 53.5 yards on two punts.

NFC East — The Eagles, Cowboys, Giants and Skins are 7-1 outside of the division, with Skins-Steelers in Week 1 being the only loss.

Losers

The defense — Poor tackling. No resistance to the run. Couldn’t get off the field on third down. Allowed 70% completions and got just one sack on a rookie QB who was the backup to RGIII’s backup. Probably would’ve blown this game if not for two forced fumbles/recoveries in the second half.

Injured players — The Skins were already short, then Ryan Kerrigan, Su’a Cravens and others went out.

Jeff Triplette — Called Norman for “shooting a bow and arrow,” which isn’t a real penalty.

Medium

DeSean Jackson — Only five yards on two official targets. But also about 70 yards on two PI calls. Maybe throw the ball to 11.

Kirk Cousins — After a good start, this was Shaky Cousins. Threw a gross pick and made some bad decisions with the ball, but threw for three TDs on 78% completions. No longer on pace to threaten the season passing yards record, which is fine.

Redskins-Giants Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following Skins games, this time a 29-27 win at New York …

Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 9.34.54 PM

Winners

Su’a Cravens — Gorgeous game-clinching INT for the rookie safety/LB we all have high hopes for.

Kirk Cousins — This wasn’t Good Kirk, but it wasn’t Bad Kirk either (except for taking that sack at the end of the first half). A step in the right direction. By the way, he’s on pace for 5,275 passing yards, which would be the third-most ever.

Jamison Crowder — Four catches for 78 yards, including a 55-yard TD. Also broke off a 50-yard punt return that featured him dancing on both sidelines.

Quinton Dunbar — I have no idea what he was doing on the punt return he accidentally touched that later turned into a TD for NY. But that high degree of difficulty one-handed red-zone INT made up for it. Also caught a fake-punt downfield pass like he was DeSean.

DeSean Jackson — Five catches for 96 yards and one beautiful score. Continues to look good this (contract) year.

Josh Norman — ODB got some (seven catches, 121 yards), but it took 11 targets to do it, and he never found paydirt. Oh, and Norman made him cry.

Jordan Reed — Unreal one-handed catch-and-run on a long third down for a first.

David Bruton Jr. — Even though it wasn’t ruled as such, that looked like an end-zone INT to me.

Trent Murphy — Another sack. That’s three in two weeks.

Chris Baker — Absolutely crushed Eli, forcing a fumble.

Dustin Hopkins — Five-for-five on field goals, and the only kickoff he didn’t touchback was a short one that was returned shy of the 25 (more on that later).

Tress Way — Who knew Tress Way had an arm on him?

Jay GrudenNot calling timeout at the end of the half was bad clock management, and running it on third-and-three on the final drive was too conservative, but they did have a more balanced offense and got a much-needed win at New York, so here we are.

The raised fists — Nice to see, in light of Gruden’s earlier comments.

Losers

Bashaud Breeland, Shaun Lauvao, DeAngelo Hall and Kory Lichtensteiger — All hurt, and Breeland and Lavau better not be for long. Hall’s may be an ACL.

Dashaun Phillips — All I know is he can’t stay with Sterling Shephard.

Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 9.35.21 PM

Medium

Trent Williams — Had to play some left guard, where he’d never played before.

Matt Jones and Chris Thompson — Twenty-three carries for 88 yards. Okay.

Robert Kelley — Between the hair and lack of extra yards, it’s hard to tell the difference between him and Jones.

Orleans Darkwa — What’s an Orleans Darkwa?

Ben Kowitca (special teams coach) — Had a punt blocked (negated by penalty). Pulled off a successful fake punt. And I’m not sure if this is strategy or what, but each of the past two weeks Hopkins has pooched a kickoff high and to the right, and the other team hasn’t gotten it out to the 25. Something to watch.

Redskins-Cowboys Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following Skins games. This time a 27-23 home loss to Dallas …

Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 8.08.39 PM

Winners

Josh NormanHis office remained mostly stationary, set up on the left side of the field. He did shut Dez Bryant down whenever they were matched up, though, and punched a fumble out of Ezekiel Elliott’s breadbasket. As good as advertised so far.

Trent Murphy — One-and-a-half sacks and a forced fumble! Trent Murphy sighting!

Chris ThompsonThis blitz pickup, on a third-and-seven, is a thing of beauty. Nice catch-and-run for 38 on the final drive.

Jamison Crowder — That was a hell of a TD catch. Also caught six balls on eight targets.

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis — Ten catches and 121 yards on 12 targets for the duo.

Dustin Hopkins — Two shorts FGs and plenty of touchbacks. Did not leave a surprise onside kick well short of the 10-yard mark.

Alfred Morris — Scored an untouched go-ahead TD in his triumphant return. Wish we could cheer for him still.

Losers

Kirk Cousins — The missed connection with a wide-open Crowder and the back-breaking end-zone INT were bad enough. But it was the little things, too. He’s not good right now, and the Redskins are bad when he’s not good.

Those calling for Colt McCoy — Start Cousins until he’s hurt.

The defense — Dallas shouldn’t score 27 points when they don’t have Tony Romo. Chalk it up to adjustment issues? Maybe, but also to Norman and Ryan Kerrigan being surrounded by replacement-level talent.

Jay Gruden and Sean McVay — Fifty planned passes versus 15 planned runs in a game that was tight throughout. They were getting 4.1 yards per carry, too. The bloom is coming off of a lot of roses.

Bashaud Breeland — Had trouble with Dez and tackled Cole Beasley for pass interference on the goal line. Tough season for 26.

Kory Lichtensteiger — The much-maligned center somehow messed up the snap on a spike play, forcing a 10-second runoff with 18 to play. You don’t see that much.

David Bruton Jr. — Doesn’t tackle too good.

John WallC’mon, man.

Medium

Matt Jones — Thirteen carries for 61 yards and a badly needed TD. Doesn’t seem capable of breaking tackles or getting extra yards.

DeSean Jackson — Three catches for 40 yards. He’d be a monster right now if Cousins was cooking.

Josh Doctson — Caught and ran one for 57 when the whole defense was keyed in on DeSean. Was also targeted on three end-zone fades, none of which were caught.

Redskins-Steelers Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following Skins games, this time a season-opening 38-16 loss to Pittsburgh at home on Monday Night Football …

Winners

Matthew McCounaghey — The burgundy-and-gold suit was a nice touch.

Jordan Reed — Impressive on the first drive, at least.

DeSean Jackson — Six catches for 102 yards. Reinforced the opinion that he’s in for a big year.

Chris Thompson — Scored a TD on the day his brother got out of prison.

Sean McDonough — Liked him in his MNF debut, especially when he asked Jon Gruden, “Do you want to blast your brother?” for punting on 4th-and-1 from the Pittsburgh 40.

Arthur Moats — Started at LB for Pittsburgh. Go Dukes!

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Losers

Kirk Cousins — So that was terrible. Inaccurate out of the gate, he had one bad INT dropped and another bad INT caught. Rushed throws and failed to scramble — or even move, really — all night. Clear regression from the second half of last year. Showed why you don’t hand out a huge contract based on a 10-game stretch.

Jay Gruden — Chose to kick and punt on two 4th-and-short situations in Pittsburgh territory in the first half. Resulted in three points. Mike Tomlin went for it twice on 4th-and-1 in Washington territory. Resulted in 14 points.

Bashaud Breeland — Had the near-impossible assignment of matching up with Antonio Brown most of the night, one-on-one in many cases, and was burnt for two TDs. Better gear up for more WR1s down the line.

Matt Jones — Seven carries for 24 yards. (Didn’t fumble or get hurt, though.)

Jamison Crowder — Fair caught with no one in his area code. Fumbled after making a first down (Pierre Garcon recovered).

Trent Williams — Penalized twice. That should be his season total.

Greg Toler — Looked real bad in coverage on a 42-yard catch by Sammie Coates.

The defense in general — No pass rush. Couldn’t stop the run. Couldn’t get off the field. May be a long season.

D.C.-area Dancing With the Stars fansSorry, y’all.

Medium

Antonio Brown — Penalized for twerking. Is so, so good.

Josh NormanGot into a shouting match with a teammate, and it was downhill from there. Didn’t play bad, and nearly made a couple big plays, but he was on the other side of the field from Brown most of the night. Bummer.

Ryan Kerrigan — Strip-sacked Big Ben and then got stripped himself. Better luck next time.