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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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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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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

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.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

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

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.