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Need to Know: Five things to watch during Redskins rookie camp

Need to Know: Five things to watch during Redskins rookie camp

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 16, 75 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Nickel coverage

Here are five things I’ll be looking for at today’s rookie camp at Redskins Park.

The top picks—It’s hard tell much about linemen in a no-pads practice session but it will be interesting to watch Brandon Scherff at work. I presume they will line him up on the right side because that’s where he’s going to be playing. Preston Smith will normally line up against the left side of the opposing offense so they may not go head to head much. But I have to think they’ll move Smith around. Tough to get a good feel for the defensive front and power-blocking linemen without pads but it’s possible to get a feel for their technique and how they handle themselves.

Receivers vs. defensive backs—My eyes will be on Jamison Crowder, who could push Andre Roberts for snaps at slot receiver at some point this year. Does he run routes and catch with his hands like an NFL receiver does? He should be able to get some separation against fellow rookies but how well does he attack the ball when a catch is contested? And Jay Gruden seemed to be pretty excited about sixth-round cornerback Tevin Mitchel, we’ll see what the coach likes about him.

Tryout quarterbacks—The Redskins had planned on having Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday there but he apparently is no longer interested in playing football. Now the Redskins will line up with Anthony Neyer of USC and Hutson Mason of Georgia behind center. Mason started all 13 games for the Bulldogs last year and completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 2,168 yards and 21 touchdowns. Neyer is considerably less experienced; he did not attempt a pass in a game for the Trojans. It will be interesting to see what they have.

Running backs—I’ll be most interested in the biggest running back there and in the smallest one. Matt Jones nearly has linebacker size, but how well does he move? And I expect Trey Williams, the 5-7, 195-lb. undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, to put on a pretty good show and outrun some defensive backs and make an impressive move or two. There also is a curiosity factor in seeing former Alabama QB Blake Sims try out as a running back. That’s where he played as a freshman for the Crimson Tide so he’s not totally unfamiliar with it.

Undrafted gems—It is likely that two or three undrafted players who are not on our radar right now will crack the 53-man roster when September rolls around. I could pull out a few names like Virginia Tech safety Detrick Bonner (a tryout player) or Duke offensive tackle Takoby Cofield. But it’s better just to watch and see who stands out enough to get a shot at the next round. That’s OTA’s starting the last week of this month.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Rookie minicamp, Redskins Park. Two sessions, 10:25 and 3:25, both open to the media. Jay Gruden will speak to media after the first practice. Players are available after both practices.

—It’s been 139 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 120 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 31; Redskins training camp starts 75; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 131

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195

Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches

1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.

2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?

Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.

4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.

Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.

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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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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