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#HailMail: Greetings From The NFL Scouting Combine


INDIANAPOLIS -- Throughout the NFL Scouting Combine this week, the Washington Redskins have made national headlines about their options with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Do they draft Chase Young? Do they trade back? Do they select someone else with the second selection? We contemplate those questions and more in the latest mailbag.

What's more important during the NFL Scouting Combine: interviews, medical or field work? -- @RedskinsRant

There does not seem to be a consensus about what aspect of the combine is the most important.

It really varies from prospect to prospect and franchise to franchise. For a player like Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the medical evaluation was by far the most important because it showed teams that his once-fractured hip had fully healed. For other players, such as those who might have character concerns, the interview process is imperative.

As for the on-field drills, those can also go a long way towards determining a prospect's draft stock. A blazing 40-yard dash can move a wide receiver up draft boards, just as an inconsistent throwing session can hinder a quarterback.

Simply put, every facet of combine week is crucial. Some just hold more weight than others.

What few things and/or player additions could the Redskins bring to the table to show the fans that we will be competitive contenders again? -- Thomas M.

I'd argue the Redskins have already done plenty to show fans that they're hellbent on revitalizing the franchise.

Fewer than 12 hours after the regular season finale, they parted ways with their longtime team president. Two days later, they announced the hiring of head coach Ron Rivera -- a proven winner with a glowing track record.

In the months since, Rivera has voiced his obsession of establishing a sustainable winning culture and has made significant changes towards achieving that goal.

The Redskins basically have a completely new coaching staff, a new head athletic trainer, a new vice president of player personnel and a new vice president of football administration. They've already gotten rid of three expensive veterans.

Much more needs to happen to convince the fan base that the Redskins are legitimate contenders, but they're off to a promising start.

Why would the Redskins consider taking another quarterback in the draft when they need to sure up the defense and improve the offensive line? -- David C.

The simple answer is that quarterback is the most important position in football, and the Redskins' new regime may not be 100% convinced that Dwayne Haskins is the best long-term solution.

Rivera and his coaching staff have praised Haskins repeatedly. They were impressed by the end of his rookie campaign and believe he can become a franchise quarterback.

Just read what Rivera said about Haskins from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday:

"We have a very good young player," Rivera said. "The more I learn about him, it puts us in a pretty good spot. I'm excited about him. One thing I have seen is his commitment. He's been around a lot. I walk by the weight room, there he is. I walk by the locker room, there he is. That's a sign of a young man learning that he needs to be around."

However, the Redskins have the No. 2 pick in the draft and have their choice of nearly every choice available. They're taking advantage of that luxury by exploring all options, including meeting with with top quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.

The other reason to show interest in these players is for trade purposes.

For example, if other teams think the Redskins might draft Tagovailoa at No. 2, they'll be more willing to trade up to snag him. That makes the Redskins' selection even more valuable.

Assuming Chase Young at No. 2 and the holes on the roster, how will the Redskins address them with so few other picks? -- @dbrown937

While the Redskins hold the highly coveted No. 2 pick, they only have six total selections in the 2020 NFL Draft.

They lost their second-round pick when they traded back into the first round for Montez Sweat in 2019 and gave up a sixth-round selection when they traded for Case Keenum, though they did get a seventh-rounder in return from the Denver Broncos.

So, the Redskins have a first, third, fourth, fifth and two sevenths. They'll also likely pick up another fourth-round selection to compensate for the departure of Jamison Crowder in free agency.

With a lack of overall selections, the Redskins may need to rely more on free agency in order to fill out their roster. There's also the possibility that the Redskins acquire more picks, either by the draft or player trades.

Are the Redskins going to be active in the upcoming free agency by adding players who will help us win games and make it to the playoffs? -- Scott M.

Based on their needs (see above) and salary cap space ($61 million), the Redskins will likely be active once free agency opens March 18 at 4 p.m.

Specifically, the Redskins need a No. 1 tight end and a starting cornerback to play opposite Quinton Dunbar. They could also use a veteran receiver to pair with sophomore Terry McLaurin, more depth on the offensive line and a few more linebackers.

Under Rivera, the Redskins are trying to become a consistent winner now. How free agency goes will determine a lot about the future.

"I think we'll always be aggressive to add to our roster and upgrade our roster if we can," vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith said in a press conference at the NFL Combine on Tuesday. "You want to try to ideally take care of your own, use free agency to set yourself up for the draft if you have needs, if you have, what we call positions of focus. As far as setting our needs and saying we're going in after this, we won't know until free agency unfolds what players are available."

With the retirement of Vernon Davis, the release of Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen bypassing the Redskins for the Seahawks, Jeremy Sprinkle is up to the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart. Would the team look to a veteran free agent and to getting one from the NFL Draft to help with Sprinkle? -- Carl F.

Yes and yes. Rivera has made it clear that the Redskins need a tight end, and there's a multitude of ways they could go about finding one.

They could splurge on Pro Bowlers Austin Hooper or Eric Ebron, take a risk on the exciting but injury-prone Hunter Henry or pursue cheaper options such as Vance McDonald, Tyler Eifert or Charles Clay.

There should also be several quality tight ends available when the Redskins are on the clock in the third round of the draft. Harrison Bryant (Florida Atlantic), Thaddeus Moss (LSU), Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt) and Adam Trautman (Dayton) are some names to keep an eye on.

What are the Redskins' plans for adding an extra wide receiver to complete the offense? -- Brian D.

Rivera has not mentioned any specific plans to add wide receivers, but a pair of NFL Network analysts provided several prospects the Redskins might go after come draft time.

Daniel Jeremiah told that this year's wide receiver class is "infinitely deep" and that the Redskins should try and add playmakers around McLaurin. He then mentioned Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC, John Hightower from Boise State and Van Jefferson of Florida as players who should be available in the middle to later rounds.

Since McLaurin is a speedster, Charles Davis recommended the Redskins pursue a "big, strong, physical receiver" to complement him.

Arizona State's Brandon Aiyuk is one of those wideouts, Davis said, as is Clemson's Tee Higgins and Arkansas State's Omar Bayless.

Do any other players have potential of getting cut to save money? -- Nicholas W.

The only other player the Redskins might have considered moving on from was Ryan Kerrigan and his $11.6 million salary cap hit in 2020.

That does not look like it will happen, however. At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, head coach Ron Rivera told NBC Sports Washington's J.P Finlay that Kerrigan is in the team's plans for this upcoming season.

Kerrigan is 31 years old, and he's coming off the lowest sack total of his career, but he's been a model of consistency, durability and professionalism since joining the Redskins in 2011. So even if Kerrigan does not start -- which may be the case if the Redskins draft Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft -- he will still be a productive and integral part of the roster moving forward.

What does Del Rio do with Kerrigan if the Redskins draft Chase Young? -- Corey S.

As I mentioned in the answer above, there's a chance Kerrigan would not start if the Redskins select Young. In that scenario, Young would likely work opposite of 2019 first-round pick Montez Sweat.

Kerrigan would still play plenty, as pass rushers are typically in constant rotation to keep everyone fresh. He just would not carry the label of being a starter, which does not mean much as long he's still producing when called upon.

With the shift to the 4-3 defense, where will Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen line up? -- Corey S.

Just as Kerrigan would rotate with Sweat and Young off the edge, the Redskins' three main interior linemen will likely rotate through the two defensive tackle spots.

In the past, Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis were defensive ends and Daron Payne was the nose tackle in the team's 3-4 defense. But with two edge rushers moving up to the line of scrimmage in a 4-3, there's only two starting spots for these players.

The switch in scheme could end up helping Allen, Ioannidis and Payne because they will not take on as big of a workload. There were times last season when opposing offenses wore down their unit with multiple long drives, but that would be less of an issue with at least one of the three getting a breather on every play.

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