Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 19, 21 days before the start of the NFL league year and free agency.
Mayock talks draft
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock held an epic pre-combine information dump with reporters yesterday. The session lasted about two and a half hours and the transcript runs 77 pages and has 22,753 words (you can go here to view the entire transcript).
The Redskins are second-class citizens in this draft because they don’t hold a first-round pick. But Mayock did manage to answer a couple of questions concerning their draft needs.
At safety, he honed right in on Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien. “He had a great Senior Bowl week,” said Mayock. “I've got him as my number three safety. I think he's a guy that's going to be around somewhere in that middle to end of the second round. I think he could start immediately for the Washington Redskins, and he makes a ton of sense.”
But if Cyprien is gone, the Redskins might not want to reach for the next-best safety at that point in the draft. “After those three [Kenny Vaccaro of Texas, Matt Elam of Florida, and Cyprien], there is a little bit of a drop off, and it depends on what kind of player you like. [Eric] Reid, Zeke Motta, Phillip Thomas, J.J. Wilcox – they're all kind of third‑round picks.”
How about LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu a.k.a. the Honey Badger? “Tyrann Mathieu is a really interesting wildcard this weekend,” said Mayock. “My gut tells me he's a better football player than he is an athlete. He's small. I'm not sure he's going to run real well. So I think teams are going to look at him as kind of a nickel and a kick returner.”
Mathieu displayed his ability as a football player as a sophomore at LSU in 2011. He intercepted two passes, returned two fumble recoveries for touchdowns and returned two punts for TD’s.
Mayock alluded to Mathieu’s “off-the-field issues”, which consist of multiple failed drug tests that led to a premature conclusion to his LSU career. That situation would make him unlikely to be drafted by the Redskins even if they might be intrigued by his playmaking ability on the field. Since December of 2011 the Redskins have had six players suspended for violations of the NFL’s drug policy and it is difficult to see them bringing in a player with issues like Mathieu has.
My man Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell), who covers the Redskins for the Washington Times, snapped the picture below at a store at Potomac Mills mall, which is in Woodbridge, Virginia.
That’s right. A retail establishment declaring itself to be in the territory of a team that plays 62 miles away when another NFL team plays its home games 37 miles away. And you have to drive past FedEx Field to get to M&T Bank Stadium.
There is nothing wrong with latching on to a winner but I would venture to say that this store would not have dared declare itself to be Colts territory had that franchise won a Super Bowl while in Baltimore when the Redskins were winning division titles and championships in the 70’s and early 80’s.
The lesson for Dan Snyder and the Redskins organization is that one winning season after three straight years of double-digit losses and a generally miserable two decades is not enough to turn even their natural geographic territory into Redskins country.
The Redskins have an opportunity to reclaim their territory. Robert Griffin III is one of the most exciting and marketable players in sports and he can bring the kind of success needed to bring the masses back to your side. It’s a pretty good bet that despite the banner, those burgundy No. 10 jerseys you can see hanging up are still among the best selling items in the store.
In case you missed it
- RG3 is back in town
- All is quiet at Redskins Park
- Will the Redskins put the franchise tag on Fred Davis again?
- A look at inside linebackers the Redskins might examine at the combine
Days until: NFL Combine 2; NFL Draft 65; start of training camp 156