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Need to Know: Ranking the Redskins' draft picks

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Need to Know: Ranking the Redskins' draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 5, 42 days before the Washington Redskins hold their mandatory minicamp.

Ranking the Redskins’ draft picks

Here is my ranking of the Redskins’ 10 draft picks as determined by factors such as needs, value, opportunity cost, how much the player will help the team in 2015 and beyond, and other such criteria. It is highly non-scientific, just my gut feeling before any of them puts on a Redskins helmet.

Also I like the group in general so a low ranking does not make me a hater; it’s all in relation to the rest of the players picked.

10. C Austin Reiter—Perhaps a better designation would have been N/A because I really know so little about him. I’m just not sure what a team that’s looking for big, power blockers and players from big-time conferences like the SEC is doing drafting a 296-lb. center from a non-power conference college.

9. G Arie Kouandjio—The knees, both of which have had surgery, are a concern. Perhaps they should have taken TE Blake Bell out of Oklahoma, who was still on the board. With Jordan Reed’s injury issues some insurance at the position is needed.

8. CB Tevin Mitchell—A few weeks into the 2014 season the Razorbacks were considering redshirting him because he had some troublesome hamstrings. And that was after he was benched in 2013. Had his best season as a sophomore and his career went downhill from there. Mitchel will need to reverse his career track if he is going to make it.

7. WR Evan Spencer—There’s a lot about Spencer to like but it might be hard to squeeze him on the 53-man roster. The four holdover wide receivers don’t appear to be going anywhere and fourth-round pick Jamison Crowder is sure to make it.

6. RB Matt Jones—I get the whole reach thing with him but that’s not a big deal. McCloughan said he was the best player on their board and I’m in no position to argue. He just doesn’t seem to be a potential every down back who could replace Alfred Morris should he get injured or leave as a free agent.

5. OL Brandon Scherff—I like the player a lot. But if you keep on taking low value positions with high draft picks you will continually have high draft picks. Perhaps on a side-by-side comparison edge rusher Vic Beasley doesn’t grade as high as Scherff but the value of a player who can get to the quarterback is much higher. Bottom line, Scherff had better be very, very good whether he plays tackle or guard, especially if Beasley and/or Leonard Williams become Pro Bowl regulars. We will see how it turns out.

4. ILB Martrell Spaight—He could be strong on special teams and he’s a sure tackler. But the Redskins have plenty of inside backers who struggle in coverage and that is not a strength of Spaight’s.

3. SS Kyshoen Jarrett—Anyone who watches Virginia Tech football knows that Beamerball, the tradition of the Hokies having great special teams, has not existed for a while. But the emphasis is still there and the decline of the Tech special teams isn’t Jarrett’s fault. He spoke very enthusiastically about playing teams for Washington during his conference call after he was drafted.

2. OLB Preston Smith—There are plenty of questions about new defensive coordinator Joe Barry but Smith could make him look like a genius in a hurry. I really like his versatility; McCloughan even talked about the possibility of him lining up at nose tackle in nickel situations. It will take him a year or two to learn all of the roles but when he does he could become a great weapon on defense. He was an under-the-radar pick that makes a ton of sense in retrospect.

1. WR Jamison Crowder—If he can do nothing besides break an occasional punt return for a long gain he will be worth the fourth-round pick. But he could do much more as a legitimate deep threat out of the slot. It might take him some time to learn the passing game but he could have impact as a returner right off the bat.

Timeline

—It’s been 128 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 131 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 42; Redskins training camp starts 86; Redskins @ Giants 142

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: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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