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Just two teams got fewer snaps from their rookies than the Redskins

Just two teams got fewer snaps from their rookies than the Redskins

The players that the Redskins selected in the 2016 NFL Draft will be hoping that their second impression next season is better than their first impression from a year ago.

According to ESPN's Bill Barnwell, only two teams — the Cardinals and the Vikings — received fewer snaps from their first-year pros than Washington did. Those three franchises, along with the Bills, were the only four in the league to see their rookies play less than 1,000 snaps.

Here's the full breakdown from Barnwell:

And here are a handful of reasons that the Redskins' number is so low:

  • 2016 first-rounder Josh Doctson (Achilles issue) didn't play after Week 2, missing the season's last 14 contests.
  • Second-rounder Su'a Cravens missed five full games due to injury, while third-rounder Kendall Fuller was inactive for three and then was in and out of the secondary rotation, never really nailing down a consistent role.
  • Fifth-rounder Matt Ioannidis also had trouble breaking through on defense, sixth-rounder Nate Sudfeld never left the bench, and seventh-rounders Steven Daniels and Keith Marshall didn't even make it to the final roster after rough preseasons.

Yes, injuries did limit the Burgundy and Gold, and if Doctson and Cravens were allowed to play the year from start to finish, the Redskins would've finished higher. However — and feel free to read this in your best head coach's voice — being available is a skill, and so far, it's a skill this bunch needs to develop. 

On top of that, aside from a few glimpses courtesy of Cravens, none of the other rookies did much to seize bigger roles or give coaches a reason to play them more often (undrafted guys Robert Kelley and Maurice Harris did, but none of the April selections really popped). So while health is certainly a reason for the low finish on Barnwell's list, so, too, is ineffectiveness.

It's true that rookie playing time and reaching the playoffs didn't seem to have a huge correlation in 2016, considering seven playoff teams sit in the top half of the rankings and five reside in the bottom half. With that being said, the Redskins' future feels much murkier because of questions surrounding guys like Doctson and Fuller, and a back half of the 2016 draft that lacks potential contributors.

And because of the underwhelming production, two groups will be feeling pressure in 2017: This past class, as they hope to take a leap from where they are, and this coming class, as they hope to avoid the position their predecessors now find themselves in.

MORE REDSKINS: EIGHT PLAYERS WHO MAKE SENSE FOR WASHINGTON IN THE FIRST ROUND

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Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.

  1. Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy. 
  2. Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
  3. Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.

Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

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.