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PFT’s Week Six picks

Robert Griffin III,  Jonathan Massaquoi,  Jonathan Babineaux AP

Last week, the “mild” concussion to RG3 prevented me from taking a “major” lead over MDS in the picks contest.

Robert Griffin III exited, the Redskins lost, and what would have been a two-game win for the week turned into a push, with both of us going 10-4.

This week, Robert Griffin III is back, and his team’s game against the Vikings once again will decide whether someone gets a two-game swing, or whether we tie once again.

For the year, there’s still no tie.  I’m leading the way at 49-28, and MDS is 47-30.

Steelers at Titans

MDS’s take: The Titans have been blown out in four of their five games this season, and I see this as the fifth. The Steelers have their problems, especially with age and injuries on defense, but Chris Johnson and Co. aren’t the team to exploit those problems.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Titans 10.

Florio’s take:  Four years ago, former Titans running back Lendale White desecrated a Terrible Towel at the tail end of a regular-season game that secured home-field advantage in the playoffs for Tennessee.  Since then, the Titans haven’t been the same.  And the difference will never be as obvious as when the Steelers return to Nashville.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 24, Titans 9.

Raiders at Falcons

MDS’s take: Sunday’s biggest mismatch will take place in Atlanta, where the Falcons will have far too much for the Raiders to handle. The undefeated Falcons have had a couple close calls in the last couple weeks, but not this time.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 35, Raiders 13.

Florio’s take:  Could it be that the Falcons are 5-0 because they’ve already played three members of the AFC East?  After they move to 6-0 by beating the fourth member of the AFC West, it’ll be team to consider whether the Falcons can keep it up against teams from slightly more successful divisions.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 38, Raiders 20.

Cowboys at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens’ offense was surprisingly flaccid (that’s what she said) against the Chiefs, but at home against the Cowboys, the Ravens should move the ball effectively. Ray Rice will have a big day as the Ravens win.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Cowboys 17.

Florio’s take:  The team that closed down Texas Stadium by spanking the Cowboys will welcome them to a slightly more hostile environment with a similar result, thanks to superior talent on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 28, Cowboys 17.

Bengals at Browns

MDS’s take: The Browns are a better team than their 0-5 record suggests: They’ve played competitively against good teams. They’ll play competitively in the battle for Ohio, too, but they’ll come up short again.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 21, Browns 20.

Florio’s take:  This could be the Browns’ best chance to get a win before their Week 10 bye.  It also could be the Bengals’ best chance to restore their confidence before a three-game home stand against the Steelers, Broncos, and Giants.  The Browns have been competitive.  When in doubt, however, go with the team that isn’t 0-5.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 27, Browns 23.

Rams at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Hardly anyone has noticed it, but the Dolphins’ defense is actually quite good. Miami will put a lot of pressure on Sam Bradford and win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 14, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  Arguably the best game of the weekend, Rams coach Jeff Fisher gets a shot at the team he spurned.  With tough defenses and underrated offenses, the Miami offense should be able to do more against the St. Louis defense than vice-versa, given the absence of Danny Amendola.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 14, Rams 12.

Colts at Jets

MDS’s take: I was impressed with how well the Jets’ defense played against a good Houston passing game on Monday night: This defense looks a lot better without Darrelle Revis than I expected. I think they’ll give Andrew Luck enough trouble to eke out a close win.

MDS’s pick: Jets 19, Colts 17.

Florio’s take:  What once appeared to be a cream puff after a pair of sledgehammers won’t be nearly as easy for the Jets.  While the Colts will be better than expected, expecting them to go on the road and beat the Jets seems to be a little much, especially since the Jets are becoming increasingly desperate.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 20, Colts 14.

Lions at Eagles

MDS’s take: If the Lions’ defensive linemen were playing as well as their reputations (and their paychecks) say they should, I’d pick Detroit to force a bunch of Michael Vick turnovers and win this game. But the Lions just aren’t getting the kind of pressure you have to get to make Vick make mistakes, and so the Eagles will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Lions 17.

Florio’s take:  The Lions think they can recapture last year’s attitude simply by wanting to.  It’s not that easy, especially when the team remains flawed on both sides of the ball.  The Eagles have more talent — enough to overcome Mike Vick’s inevitable mistakes.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 24, Lions 17.

Chiefs at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: I’m not sure if Matt Cassel’s concussion makes the Chiefs more or less likely to win on Sunday, but either way I don’t see it happening: Tampa Bay’s run defense is good enough to contain Jamaal Charles and win this game.

MDS’s pick: Bucs 17, Chiefs 10.

Florio’s take:  This pair of potential playoff teams has been disappointing so far.  Those Chiefs fans who have been waiting for Brady Quinn to get a chance to play may be feeling regret, along with other negative emotions, before this one is over.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 13, Chiefs 9.

Bills at Cardinals

MDS’s take: I’m permanently off the Bills bandwagon. The Cardinals’ offense isn’t very good, but it doesn’t need to be to move the ball on this Bills unit. For all the money the Bills’ defensive front is making, you’d think they’d have one of the best pass rushes in the league, but you’d be wrong.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 20, Bills 10.

Florio’s take:  Yeah, the Cardinals aren’t as good as the Pats or the 49ers.  But they’re good enough to find a way to overcome a Buffalo team that has plenty of flaws on both sides of the ball — including an offensive line that’s currently even worse than Arizona’s.  Which is saying a lot.  Or not much at all.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 20, Bills 16.

Patriots at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I’m having a hard time getting a read on either of these teams. Are the Patriots the team that turned in a disappointing effort at home against the Cardinals, or the team whose offense has been all but unstoppable against the Bills and Broncos? Are the Seahawks the team that dominated Dallas or the team whose offense could hardly move the ball at all in their other four games? I don’t know, but I think the Patriots’ offense is good enough to put a lot of points on the board against a good Seattle defense.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 28, Seahawks 14.

Florio’s take:  After the Seahawks beat the Cowboys by 20, I said I’d never pick against the Seahawks at home again.  But I hadn’t looked at the schedule.  The Pats won there in 2008, without Tom Brady.  With him, the Pats will run their all-time record at CenturyLink Field to 2-0.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Seahawks 17.

Giants at 49ers

MDS’s take: Tom Coughlin says no one is giving his team a chance in this game. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say the Giants don’t have a chance, but I would say the way the 49ers have played the last couple weeks, on both sides of the ball, I have a hard time seeing the Giants’ path to a win.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Giants 17.

Florio’s take:  This is precisely the kind of game the Giants ordinarily win.  And if they hadn’t won in San Francisco in January en route to a Super Bowl victory, the Giants would win.  No amount of Rodney Dangerfield cliches from coach Tom Coughlin will overcome the fact that the 49ers are hungrier and, for now, better.  There’s a chance it will get ugly.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 31, Giants 24.

Vikings at Redskins

MDS’s take: Florio foolishly picked the Redskins last week, allowing me to escape with a tie in our Week Five picks. I hope he does it again this time.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Redskins 13.

Florio’s takeAdrian Peterson returns to the scene of his serious knee injury, and Robert Griffin returns to the scene of his “mild” concussion.  The Redskins have lost eight in a row at FedEx Field, and the Vikings have won three straight there.  With the talent gap between these two teams fairly narrow, it just feels like it’s time for both trends to end.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 27, Vikings 21.

Packers at Texans

MDS’s take: I never would have believed 10 months ago, when the Packers were on a 20-game winning streak, that they’d lose six of their next 10 games. But Green Bay will be 4-6 in its last 10 after losing to the Texans on Sunday night.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Packers 14.

Florio’s take:  Anyone who says this is a “must” win for the Packers hasn’t looked at their upcoming schedule.  They’ll bottom out at 2-4, and then the rebound will begin.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 27, Packers 20.

Broncos at Chargers

MDS’s take: In the battle for first place in the AFC West, I like Peyton Manning to step up with a big game and the Broncos to outscore the Chargers.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 35, Chargers 31.

Florio’s take:  The Chargers consistently have bedeviled Peyton Manning, and that was when Manning had a much better supporting cast.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 27, Broncos 23.

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Cowboys couldn’t get Lynch, likely will take a QB Friday

BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 30: Paxton Lynch #12 of the Memphis Tigers passes against the Auburn Tigers in the first half of the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field on December 30, 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

They went 1-2, as expected, but there was no run on quarterbacks late in Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft.

The Broncos traded up from No, 31 to No. 26 and selected Paxton Lynch, but no other quarterbacks were taken.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Cowboys tried unsuccessfully to make a trade back into the first round to beat the Broncos to Lynch. So, the Broncos have their quarterback of the future and probably won’t be further involved with trade talks involving Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford.

The Browns hold the first pick of Friday’s second round, at No, 32, and could also be looking to draft a quarterback. The Cowboys hold pick No. 34 and on Thursday were true to owner Jerry Jones’ earlier words that they’d pursue a quarterback, just not in the first round.

By most pre-draft rankings, Connor Cook is probably the next quarterback off the board. Cardale Jones, Dak Prescott, Christian Hackenberg and Jacoby Brissett, in some order, are in the next group. Whether Cook goes early on Friday or is around for 20 more picks is anyone’s guess.

The wheeling and dealing Browns will probably field calls about their pick and could move it to a team that wants to come up — and not necessarily for a quarterback. Other teams that could potentially be in the quarterback market in the second round are the Chiefs (Nos. 37 and 59), Saints (47), Bills (49) and Jets (51).

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Seahawks take Germain Ifedi to end round one

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The PFT simulated draft had the Seahawks taking guard Germain Ifedi at pick No. 26. They slid down to No. 31, and they still got him.

Ifedi becomes the last pick in round one, beefing up an offensive line that needs plenty of help.

It’s actually bad news for Ifedi, because it’s better to be the first pick in round two than the last pick in round one. The difference on the four-year contractual value isn’t significant, but the Seahawks now have the ability to use the fifth-year option to keep Ifedi away from the open market. Because the franchise tag is never used on an interior offensive lineman (the formula makes it left tackle pay), Ofedi would have been much better off over the long haul with a four-year deal.

The Seahawks will be better off with more help on the offensive line, especially at the inside. More and more teams are loading up the interior pass rush. Ifedi can help slow down the push up the middle that quarterback Russell Wilson will be facing.

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First round ends with Myles Jack still available

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2015, file photo, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack in action against BYU during an NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif. Jack is one of the top defensive players available in the NFL Draft, which starts April 28 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File) AP

Six of the 25 players that took the NFL up on invitations to attend the draft in Chicago remain available at the end of the first round with UCLA linebacker Myles Jack headlining the group.

Jack was expected to be one of the first players off the board for much of the pre-draft process and it wasn’t hard to find people who thought he was the best player in this year’s class, but concerns about the health of his knee triggered a free fall on Thursday night.

Jack admitted Wednesday that he might need to have microfracture surgery and said he understood that the questions about his knee could trigger a drop in the draft. That drop will extend into the second day, where he’ll join Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith as defensive playmakers available for teams willing to roll the dice that things will work out medically.

Jack will have some company during his second night in the green room. Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland also went unpicked and reportedly has a medical question mark of his own due to an enlarged aorta. A pair of Alabama defensive tackles — Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson — will also be back for Round Two.

Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd and Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones round out the group of draft attendees that didn’t hear their names called in the first round. The Browns will be on the board with the No. 32 pick when the draft resumes on Friday night.

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Panthers take defensive tackle Vernon Butler at No. 30

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Dave Gettleman can’t get enough hog mollies.

Despite having a pair of young starting defensive tackles, the Panthers General Manager added another one, using the 30th pick on Louisiana Tech big man Vernon Butler.

The Panthers just picked up the fifth-year option on 2013 first-round Star Lotulelei, and want to extend 2013 second-rounder Kawann Short.

But Gettleman loves having depth up front, and now the Panthers can put Butler alongside free agent pickup Paul Soliai and give the defending NFC champs one of the most solid interior lines in the NFL.

They have bigger needs, but they like big bodies, and this gives them another one.

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Cardinals pick Nkemdiche at No. 29

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The Cardinals selected Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche with the 29th pick of the first round.

Nkemdiche, 21, is regarded as one of the most talented players in the draft, but there were concerns about his consistency on the field and his behavior off of it. He fell out of a fourth-floor window last December in Atlanta, and that’s just one thing he discussed with teams on his pre-draft tour.

He had three sacks and seven tackles for loss last season.

The Cardinals clearly don’t mind taking players some teams consider character risks and have hit on Tyrann Mathieu, a third-round pick in 2013 who’s become a productive player and stayed out of trouble. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said after the pick that Nkemdiche is “a top-10 talent” and that Cardinals coach Bruce Arians “is the kind of coach” who can get the best out of Nkemdiche.

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Elway says Broncos are out of the Kaepernick chase

0612-colin-kaepernick-getty-4 Getty Images

They met with him twice. There won’t be a third session.

With the Broncos trading up from No. 31 to No. 26 to acquire quarterback Paxton Lynch, they’re out of the running for quarterback Colin Kaepernick. General Manager John Elway has confirmed the fairly obvious reality to Mike Klis of 9News.com in Denver.

The development leaves Kaepernick without a clear destination for 2016, unless the Jets decide to abandon the pursuit of 2015 starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and swing a deal for Kaepernick.  And it means that Kaepernick likely will remain with the 49ers for at least another season.

The question becomes whether Kaepernick wants to be there. At some point, he needs to realize that he has no other options, and that he should focus on being the best player he can be.

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49ers trade back into first round, draft Joshua Garnett

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Joshua Garnett #51 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates with the fans after Stanford defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 45-16 in the 102nd Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 2016 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers acquired a second first-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, and with it they selected Stanford guard Joshua Garnett.

San Francisco’s pick was No. 28 overall, acquired in an on-the-clock trade with the Chiefs. The 49ers sent their second-, fourth- and sixth-round picks to Kansas City to make the deal.

The 49ers wanted to bolster their offensive line, and they’ve done so with Garnett, who has a chance of starting as a rookie. Stanford coach David Shaw, working the draft for NFL Network, acknowledged that Garnett has to improve in pass protection but spoke highly of Garnett’s toughness and competitiveness.

Some thought the 49ers would look for a quarterback in this draft, but that search appears to be done. The 49ers will go with Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick, and Garnett will help protect one of them.

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Packers nab Kenny Clark with 27th pick

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Defensive lineman Kenny Clark #97 of the UCLA Bruins prepares to take the field before the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Packers used their first-round pick on a defensive player from UCLA, but they didn’t stop linebacker Myles Jack’s drop down the draft board.

Green Bay used the 27th overall pick to add defensive tackle Kenny Clark to their defensive line.

Clark has a wrestling background that he put to good use while tussling with opposing offensive linemen during his collegiate career. He was particularly strong at stopping the run, which should come in handy for the Packers after B.J. Raji opted to take at least the 2016 season off rather than re-sign with the team this offseason.

Clark won’t turn 21 until October, so there should still be a lot of room for growth in the years to come. He had six sacks and 11 tackles for loss during his final year in school and further development as a penetrator would make this pick look even better down the line.

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Broncos jump up to grab Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch

MEMPHIS, TN - OCTOBER 17:  Paxton Lynch #12 of the Memphis Tigers throws a pass during a game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Tigers defeated the Rebels 37-24.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Denver Broncos seem to have moved on from the idea of Colin Kaepernick.

Denver moved up five spots in the draft in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch with the 26th overall pick in the first round.

With trade talks stalling with the San Francisco 49ers over Kaepernick, the Broncos began to look elsewhere for potential quarterback solutions in the wake of Peyton Manning’s retirement.

The Seahawks picked up a third-round pick, No. 94 overall, from Denver to slide back five selections to the 31st and final pick of the first round.

With Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian the only quarterback currently on the roster, the Broncos had to be aggressive when Lynch and Connor Cook remained on the board late in the first round. Teams such as Dallas and Cleveland held early second round picks and could have been looking into similar trades to get the quarterback they needed as well.

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Steelers select CB Artie Burns at No. 25

BOCA RATON, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Artie Burns #1 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes during a game against the Florida Atlantic Owls at FAU Stadium on September 11, 2015 in Boca Raton, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Steelers selected Miami (Fla.) cornerback Artie Burns with the No. 25 pick in the first round.

Burns was also a college track star and is an early entry to the draft. He was a two-year starter at cornerback who had six interceptions last season.

The Steelers did not hide their interest in many defensive backs but saw Karl Joseph, at No. 14 to the Raiders, and Keanu Neal, at No. 17 to the Falcons, come off the ahead of most projections. Then the Bengals took cornerback William Jackson at No. 24.

Burns ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the Scouting Combine. Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin called Burns “a good piece of clay to mold in 2016.”

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Bengals take cornerback William Jackson at No. 24

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Dalvin Cook #4 of the Florida State Seminoles is tackled by Steven Taylor #41 and William Jackson III #3 of the Houston Cougars in the first quarter during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bengals can’t get enough first-round cornerbacks.

With the 24th overall pick, they just took Houston’s William Jackson III.

That adds to a secondary that includes former first-rounders Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard.

Jackson has the kind of size-speed combination that made the Bengals notice, but they also were able to beat the cornerback-needy Steelers to the punch, since the entire world knew.

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Laremy Tunsil’s strange night continues

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss looks on during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tackle Laremy Tunsil’s slide down the draft board stopped when the Dolphins took him 13th overall, but a night that started out badly thanks to a video of him smoking pot going public kept getting stranger.

After Tunsil was picked, his Instagram account appeared to be hacked in a similar fashion to his Twitter account with screenshots that purported to show conversations between Tunsil and a member of the Ole Miss athletic staff regarding payments to Tunsil from the school. Tunsil was asked whether he took money while he was in school at a press conference Thursday.

“I made a mistake,” Tunsil said, via Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “That happened. I’d have to say yeah.”

Kellenberger reports that an NFL staffer stepped in and stopped the press conference as follow up questions came Tunsil’s way. Tunsil was suspended seven games by the NCAA last year for receiving improper benefits while in school.

Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier said in a press conference that the team feels “very comfortable” with all the information they have about Tunsil. He added they’d heard rumors about the pot video and that it occurred two years ago.

There have been other fake statements and tweets attributed to Tunsil bouncing around on a Thursday evening that has him in the news for different reasons than most people expected.

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Vikings continue run on wideouts, taking Laquon Treadwell

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The Vikings have had plenty of receivers who can run but can’t catch. They now have a guy who can’t run, but who definitely can catch.

Mississippi receiver Laquon Treadwell is the 23rd pick in the draft, and the third straight receiver selected.

Treadwell slid due to a relatively slow 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. But he makes the contested catches and possibly gives the Vikings the kind of sure-handed, reliable, third-down option they haven’t had since Cris Carter.

The move comes at a time when the Vikings are hoping to get the most out of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as the team moves back indoors, where Bridgewater has performed significantly better in his two NFL seasons.

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Josh Doctson goes to Washington at 22

<> at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 29, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. Getty Images

With a run on wide receivers late in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft, Washington traded down one spot before selecting Josh Doctson of TCU at No. 22.

In the trade down from 21 to 22, Washington picked up Houston’s 2017 sixth-round pick. Houston picked another wide receiver, Will Fuller, at No. 21. Baylor receiver Corey Coleman went 15th.

Doctson wasn’t a player many were expecting Washington to take. With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson in Washington, wide receiver wasn’t viewed as a position of need.

But Doctson is a very good receiver, one some analysts thought should have gone ahead of Coleman and Fuller. Doctson should form instant chemistry with Kirk Cousins and be ready to impress immediately.

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Texans trade up to take Will Fuller 21st overall

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 31: Will Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catches the game winning touchdown over Will Hayes #32 of the Temple Owls in the fourth quarter on October 31, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Redskins were scheduled to pick 21st overall in the first round with the Texans right behind them, but the two teams have swapped spots.

The Texans took Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller with the pick and gave the Redskins a 2017 sixth-round pick to move up one spot. It would appear that Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan was able to do a good job of convincing Texans counterpart Rick Smith that Houston’s desired player would be going to Washington if the Texans didn’t make the deal.

Fuller’s arrival continues the offensive overhaul that’s gone on in Houston this offseason. He’ll join quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller as new faces in an offense that was short on pizazz outside of DeAndre Hopkins last season.

Fuller’s game had plenty of pizazz when he was in South Bend. He’s got all the speed you could want in a wideout and is a threat to score every time he has the ball in his hands. He sometimes has problems getting the ball in his hands, but will likely have plenty of chances to take the top off defenses with Hopkins gathering attention elsewhere.

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