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Need to Know: Gruden says Redskins defense better on paper but must prove it on the field

Need to Know: Gruden says Redskins defense better on paper but must prove it on the field

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 7, 17 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

Welcome to the midpoint of the Redskins offseason. It’s been 126 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 126 days.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 5
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 81

Quick post-draft thoughts on the state of the Redskins

—Although the Washington defense certainly seems to be improved, Jay Gruden warned against irrational exuberance. “You feel like you're better, everybody does at this time,” he said shortly after the draft ended. “It's how we gel as a unit that is the important thing – how they buy into Coach Manusky's scheme and Coach Tomsula's coaching, how they work well together and how they make each other better. That's a challenge that we have.”

—Earlier this week I assessed the chances that each of this year’s 10 draft picks have of making the team. I was not bullish on the chances of fourth-round safety Montae Nicholson sticking around on the 53-man roster. But looking back at how Gruden spoke more in terms of when he is on the roster and not if, perhaps I should take another look. “I think he ran a 4.4 at the Combine, and worst-case he’s going to help out our special teams and that’s important,” said Gruden when asked why they drafted Nicholson. “That’s one of the big three phases so that’s a good add for us.”

—Usually when you ask a player who was just drafted where he wants to play in the NFL, he just says wherever they want line me up. But Chase Roullier, who played by guard and center at Wyoming, was definitive in his preference. “I think I’ll do very well at center,” he said. “Being up there in front of the rest of the offensive line, being able to see that defense and really play to my strengths of being able to see the defense and read things I think will really help me a lot in the NFL.” He got his degree in mechanical engineering from Wyoming so the thinking part of the job shouldn’t be a great challenge for him.

—The Redskins announced the signings of eight undrafted players, bringing their roster up to 90. They can sign more after rookie minicamp next week, or at any time for that matter, but they would have to release a player for each one they sign. I’m interested in what 325-pound NT Ondre Pipkins out of Texas Tech can do as there is plenty of opportunity at his position. The same can be said of FS Fish Smithson, who also has to coolest name. But, honestly, it will be difficult to get a handle on which of these players has a realistic shot at sticking around until getting a look at them in pads in Richmond.

—As of now, the Redskins have seven 2018 draft picks, their own pick in each round. They did not trade for any future picks last week and it doesn’t look like they will get any compensatory picks next year. Yes, even though they lost key players in DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Chris Baker, according to Over the Cap the picks that may have come from the loss of those players were cancelled out by signing Terrelle Pryor, Zach Brown, Terrell McClain, and Stacy McGee. This is unofficial but the OTC guys seem to have the NFL’s super-secret formula figured out.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins WR Robert Davis had to learn to run block in high school

Redskins WR Robert Davis had to learn to run block in high school

The Redskins have their share of former five-star recruits on their roster. Wide receiver Robert Davis, drafted in the sixth round last week, is not one of them.

Davis is a good athlete with speed (4.44 in the 40 at the combine) and at 6-4 he has the size that should attract attention. But at Warner Robins High School in Georgia, Davis did not do much of the main thing that college coaches want wide receivers to do—catch passes.

RELATED: Grading the Redskins 2017 draft

“I went to a triple option high school, where that was the only thing we did. I only caught eight passes my high school career,” said Davis when asked about his run blocking ability. “I mean, blocking was what I did, and I am a skilled blocker.”

That’s not eight in a game or in a month or even in a season. That’s eight the whole time he was in high school.

So if you are wondering why Davis didn’t attract the attention of SEC schools like Georgia and Auburn, there is your answer. Instead he headed to Georgia State.

With the Panthers, Davis proved he could catch footballs. In his career, he caught 222 passes for 3,391 yards. He is the Georgia State all-time leader in both categories, although it must be noted that the program just came into existence in 2010.

MORE REDSKINS: Browns just laughed at report of Redskins-Cousins trade 

Back to the blocking ability, that could be key in him making the team and getting playing time if he does. Even though Ryan Grant is not very productive catching passes he got snaps last year because he can block. If Davis can block and become more productive in the passing game than Grant, that could give him an edge in making the 53 and getting on the field.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Which Redskins draft picks will make the 53-man roster?

Need to Know: Which Redskins draft picks will make the 53-man roster?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 3, 21 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

It’s been 122 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 130 days.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 9
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 21
—Training camp starts (7/27) 85

Which draft picks will make the team?

Not all of the 10 players the Redskins drafted are going to make the 53-man roster. Some of them have better chances than others. Let’s break out the imaginary casino chips here but we’ll to things a little differently. We’ll take out $1,000 worth of them and put down part of $100 on each player’s chance of being on the roster.

(Note: Injuries are always a possibility, of course. But the only injury factor considered here is for pre-existing issues. Also note that this is an early look. New stacks of chips will be broken out after OTAs and as training camp progresses.)

DL Jonathan Allen, $100—I think we can skip the analysis with this one.

OLB Ryan Anderson, $100—Ditto

CB Fabian Moreau, $80—This third-round cornerback is definitely in the plans. But health after he suffered a torn pectoral muscle lifting weights during his pro day may be an issue. Per the own timetable that he gave reporters after he was drafted, he plans on being on the field in late August. Players are notorious for being overly optimistic about returning from injury plus that doesn’t give much room for any setbacks or anything else that could go wrong. The other $20 is on Moreau starting the season on the PUP list.

RB Samaje Perine, $100—They have high hopes that he can add a power element to the running game and he is certain to make team. Pulling out another $100 in chips, I’ll put $65 on him leading team in rushing attempts this year.

S Montae Nicholson, $50—He also has a health issue as he is coming off of shoulder surgery. A setback could land him on PUP. But even if he is healthy, I’m not confident in his ability to beat out some serious competition at safety.

TE Jeremy Sprinkle, $90—It’s possible that Niles Paul will rise up and keep the rookie from taking his roster spot. But Jay Gruden said earlier this year that the team would be looking for a blocking tight end and it would be surprising if Sprinkle isn’t the guy. If they want to keep Paul they will figure out a way to go with four tight ends.

OL Chase Roullier, $60—On a team without a backup center there certainly is opportunity for Roullier. But I’m not convinced that Gruden will be comfortable going into the season with a sixth-round pick out of Wyoming as his backup center. He could look for a veteran on the waiver wire, a 2017 version of John Sullivan, to back up Spencer Long and put Roullier on the practice squad for seasoning.

WR Robert Davis, $35—To make the 53, Davis likely will have to beat out both Gruden favorite Ryan Grant and free agent signee Brian Quick. I think he can beat one or the other but both will be a tall order.

S Josh Harvey-Clemons, $30—He would have to push past Will Blackmon, DeAngelo Hall and possibly show that he can be a better asset on special teams than Deshazor Everett. In all, it’s a tough task and he could be destined for the practice squad.

CB Joshua Holsey, $60—I’m throwing a few extra bucks here because if Moreau goes on PUP, the chance of Holsey making the 53 improves. He also has a solid chance straight up if he can handle the slot, a problem area for the Redskins last year.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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