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Need to Know: How did the draft improve the Redskins' 2015 opponents?

Need to Know: How did the draft improve the Redskins' 2015 opponents?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 6, 41 days before the Washington Redskins hold their mandatory minicamp.

Enemy Intel: How the draft improved the Redskins’ 2015 opponents

The Redskins believe they improved themselves in the recent draft. But the 13 different teams they will line up against this season also got better during those three days last week. Let’s look at what the top draft pick for each team on the Redskins’ schedule.

Dolphins, WR DaVante Parker—The Redskins’ revamped secondary with three new starters will be tested by the 6-3 Parker, who was just a shade behind Amari Cooper and Kevin White as the top receiver in the draft.

Rams, RB Todd Gurley—We’ll have to see if Gurley, who suffered a torn ACL last season, is playing or if he’s on the PUP list. Rookie backs can get up to speed in a hurry so if he’s healthy, look out.

Giants, OL Ereck Flowers—He is huge and has a ton of potential but he’s likely to be far from a finished product in Week 3. If he plays right tackle, which seems to be what they’re going to do there, Ryan Kerrigan could have a good Thursday night.

Eagles, WR Nelson Agholor—Jeremy Maclin played against the Redskins 10 times and averaged almost five catches for 75 yards per game, an average of 15 yards per catch. He’s out and Agholor is in and has the potential to do the same kind of damage to the Redskins.

Falcons, OLB Vic Beasley—You could make a case that the Redskins should have considered Beasley, with his strong pass rushing skills, with the fifth pick instead of Brandon Scherff. Depending on where Beasley lines up they could go head to head.

Jets, DL Leonard Williams—Or maybe Washington should have taken Williams. It’s likely that Williams will move around in the Jets’ 3-4 defensive front to it’s likely that he and Scherff will go head to head.

Bucs, QB Jameis Winston—The top pick in the draft will be about halfway through his rookie season so he could be starting to get the hang of it or he could be so confused he doesn’t know which way is up.

Patriots, DT Malcolm Brown—Nothing flash here, just a good, solid defensive lineman. He probably won’t start but he’ll play a few dozen snaps and help his team.

Saints, OT Andrus Peat—It looks like he’ll start on the left side and could be pretty well settled in at this point. Trent Murphy and Preston Smith will test Peat’s pass protection skills.

Panthers, OLB Shaq Thompson—If he catches on quickly he could be a solid playmaker but it seems likely he will be of real concern to opposing offenses in 2016 or 2017.

Cowboys, CB Byron Jones—A solid corner but not really a playmaker. We’ll have to see how the Dallas cornerback situation shakes out. If they keep Brandon Carr Jones could end up starting. If he stays, look for Jones to play in nickel situations.

Bears, WR Kevin White—So they traded away Brandon Marshall but they got the 6-3 White to pair with the 6-4 Alshon Jeffry. These will be tough matchups for the 6-0 Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland, 5-11.

Bills, CB Ronald Darby—The Bills didn’t have a first-round pick, taking Darby in the second round with the 50th overall pick. The guy to worry about is Sammy Watkins; the Bills used their first-round pick in this year’s draft to move up to get the wide receiver. He’s 6-1 but plays much bigger, catching anything thrown within his area code.

 

Timeline

—It’s been 129 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 130 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 41; Redskins training camp starts 85; Redskins @ Giants 141

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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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back