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Need to Know: Ragland? Henry? Who is more likely to be a Redskin?

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Need to Know: Ragland? Henry? Who is more likely to be a Redskin?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 24, the day the NFL Combine gets started in Indianapolis.

Betting on the Redskins’ draft picks

I’ve been doing a series on players who may be of interest to the Redskins in the 2016 NFL Draft. So far I have five players in the Redskins Draft Countdown series and it just so happens that five is the number of propositions I like to use when breaking out the $100 in imaginary casino chips to assess the chances of future events taking place.

So let’s take the $100, the five who have been featured in the series, and see what we come up with. As always, your bets are welcome in the comment section.

Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama, $20—Certainly this is an area they would like to upgrade although it’s not a hair-on-fire need like some believe it is. Will Scot McCloughan go for a defender who may be a two-down player with pick No. 21? It seems possible but perhaps unlikely.

Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State, $25—If you don’t think that wide receiver is an urgent need, look at this list of 2017 free agents. If Thomas is still on the board he likely will be the best big receiver available. Will he be close enough to being the best available football player for McCloughan to pull the trigger?

Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech, $15—There is a lot of mystery about Fuller. At this point he could be gone when the Redskins pick at No. 21 or he could still be there when they are on the clock in the second. I doubt that McCloughan takes him in the first but he could bite in the second.

Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss, $30—Remember that these bets are being placed on this group of players only. I’m going with Nkemdiche as the favorite here because he’s a D-lineman and I think that’s the position that is most likely to be taken with the first-round pick. While I wouldn’t rule him out I think there will be some options available who have less baggage.

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama, $10—If the Redskins didn’t already have Matt Jones I think that McCloughan would jump on Henry if he was there in the second round. He still might do it if he considers Henry to be a major upgrade over Jones. But the Redskins aren’t ready to give up on Jones so they might address other needs rather than taking Henry.

Timeline

—Former Redskins linebacker Mel Kaufman, who earned two Super Bowl rings, was born on this date in 1958.

—The Redskins last played a game 45 days ago. It will be about 200 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 14; 2016 NFL draft 64

In case you missed it

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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle 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.