News And Notes From Thursday At The 2018 NFL Combine

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The Redskins.com crew provides news and notes from Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Thursday afternoon began with Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talking to Washington, D.C., media prior to the first prospect media sessions with the running backs and offensive linemen.

Like Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams said on Wednesday, Gruden wants to add running back depth this season. While Washington has three running backs with the ability to handle the third-down back role in Chris Thompson, Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs, Gruden wants to bring in a running back who can handle the every-down role.

“You know, I think for a second-down banger, we have Samaje and Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “But maybe another one in here to compete in that role, first and second down, maybe an all-purpose guy would be nice – a little return. I don’t know. There’s a lot of options, but whoever it is, we intend on giving them a great opportunity to compete for a lot of carries.”

Below are some nuggets of information from the running backs and offensive linemen in the 2018 NFL Draft along with a few additional notes from Gruden:

--When a reporter asked Sony Michel what the most underrated part of his game was, the Georgia running back believed it was his pass-blocking skills that had been overlooked too often. As a player in the same mold as Alvin Kamara, his electricity as a runner and pass-catcher is obviously what bursts off the tape, but his answer might remind you of Chris Thompson. In his interview with the media Thursday, Michel said that the competition with teammate Nick Chubb brought the best out of him and that in his meetings with multiple teams, he’s only prepared to be himself in front of coaches and scouts. With the Redskins interested in potentially bringing in another running back to compete with the group, Michel could be someone they consider in the second round if he’s still available.

--Rashad Penny led the nation at San Diego State with 2,248 yards and scored 23 touchdowns as a Heisman Trophy finalist. The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder said he met with the Redskins during his short time in Indianapolis this week but said he separates himself from other running backs based on his special teams play, thanks to his time as a returner. “I think that’s the most important part of the game,” he said. “If offense and defense isn’t going so well, then you can rely on special teams. I don’t think people know how important and how big of a play special teams makes on a game. So I think that’s the most important part.”

Check out these photos of Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

--In the 18 drafts of this century, only three guards have been chosen in the Top-10. Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff is the only star of that small, select group, and so it’s no wonder that Quenten Nelson has modeled his game after him. Nelson is widely considered the best offensive linemen of this draft class and his dry sense of humor, or complete lack of one, was evident Thursday at the podium. “I would consider myself a nasty player,” he said, very similarly to Scherff, after explaining to reporters that his mindset on the field is to dominate all of his opponents in order to take away their will to play the game. At 6-foot-5, 329 pounds, Nelson would likely be an immediate impact for on the interior line and upgrade any team’s run-game potential.

“I would say a lot of guys that have been the best players at their position had that characteristic of being nasty,” Nelson said. “Larry Allen, and guys in the NFL like Zach Martin, Brandon Scherff, nasty football players, and those are guys that I look up to and want to be like and play like, so I try to emulate that as best as I can.”

--The other Notre Dame offensive line prospect, Mike McGlinchy, gets asked a lot about being first cousins with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. He doesn’t mind the questions, mostly because of the respect he has for Ryan and the way he’s helped him throughout his football career.

“Matt has guided me every step of the way, whether he knew it or not,” McGlinchy said. “He’s been my football hero every since I was a little kid going to his BC games in fourth, fifth, sixth grade, and when he got drafted into the pros when I was in eighth grade or whatever, we all went up for the trip and it was at that moment that I said, you know what, I want to do that too. And everything that I’ve ever learned from him has been great.” He’s projected to be taken in the first round as well and will likely be a solid starter at right or left tackle.

--Isaiah Wynn smiled when he thought about the journey that he and Georgia running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have taken together over the last year, the culmination of which has taken them to Indianapolis, answering questions about their futures in the NFL. Wynn is one of the highest rated offensive linemen in this draft. He said the most impressionable moment of his week so far has been meeting with multiple teams during formal and informal meetings and describing himself in 15 minute intervals. “It’s a quick meeting but you get a chance to get a feel for the coaching…their terminology, what they practice as an offense.” At 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, Wynn believes that Quenten Nelson’s high stock will help him during the draft and elevate the crop of guards in this year’s class. 

--LSU’s Derrius Guice likened himself to five-time Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch. “I see angriness, I see somebody who refuses to go down. When I run, I think about him every time,” Guice said. “And when I go back and watch him, ‘Man, I really run like this dude.’ It’s crazy.” A potential first-round pick, Guice rushed for more than 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns in three seasons with the Tigers.

--Depending on what happens with Bashaud Breeland in free agency, Gruden is confident in the capabilities of both Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau to handle the outside corner role opposite Josh Norman. While Dunbar appeared on 372 defensive snaps during the 2017 season, Moreau is a little bit more of an unknown having appeared on just 59 defensive snaps as a rookie. Still, Gruden likes what the third-round pick brings to the table. “I’d like to keep Moreau outside for the time being because I think that’s where his strength is, but if we have to put him in there and get some work in OTAs, we’ll do that and take a look at him there,” Gruden said. “But he’s got a great skill set to do whatever you want him to do. He’s physical and can run really, really fast, so I’m excited to see him with more opportunity and more reps.”

--After the Redskins waived Nate Sudfeld in the cutdown to the active roster last September, Washington was unable to carry a third quarterback due to injuries across the team. Gruden said the team may try to add a quarterback in the draft or in free agency shortly after. 

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