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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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In case you missed it

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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