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Need to Know: Redskins rookie camp roundup

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Need to Know: Redskins rookie camp roundup

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 16, eight days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 127 days ago. It will be 119 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: OTAs start 8; Redskins training camp starts 73; Preseason opener @ Falcons 87

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—Center Austin Reiter, a seventh-round draft pick last year, has put on some pounds. Last year he spent most of the year on the practice squad, making him eligible to attend this rookie camp, while being listed at 6-3, 296. His new weight has not been revealed but he is clearly bigger. But he still has some work to do to get a spot on the depth chart—bigger maybe not better. Last year it was telling that when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, the team signed veteran Brian de la Puente to be the backup center rather than bringing Reiter off of the practice squad. It’s hard to see him challenging Lichtensteiger for the starting job at center but he could battle Josh LeRibeus for the backup spot.

—There was a lot of fan buzz about Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, who was a lot of fun to watch in college. But the facts are that he’s 5-11 and from a spread-style offense. “He’s another shotgun-type guy and not used to being under center,” said Jay Gruden. “But I thought he handled it very well. Did a nice job and threw some good balls.” He also threw some pretty bad balls. He was one of the QB’s in this passing drill that frustrated Gruden (the video ends just before the coach's NSFW outburst quoted at the bottom of the Instagram post).

Gruden after this drill: I'm going to throw these f-ing balls if you can't do better.

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—A year ago, the Redskins paid offensive tackle Takoby Cofield the maximum allowable signing bonus to get the Duke product on board as an undrafted free agent. He spent last year on the practice squad and he is back to try to make the roster again. On the field on Saturday you could tell that he has spent a year practicing with an NFL team, moving fluidly and showing good fundamental techniques. He could have a legitimate shot at beating out Ty Nsekhe for the backup tackle spot. That won’t be easy to do since Nsekhe, who essentially was a 30-year-old rookie, held his own when he was called upon. But Cofield will have a shot.

—Su’s Cravens lined up at inside linebacker during camp and that confused many who thought he was going to be a safety or outside linebacker. But ILB is just a temporary stop for the second-round draft pick. “Initially we have to teach him a position, and right now it’s going to be the inside linebacker,” said Jay Gruden. That’s a good starting spot to learn the entire defense and that is a first step for a hybrid defensive player. It may be a while before we see Cravens’ full versatility on display. It’s a tall task for a rookie to learn one position in the four months between the draft and the start of the regular season. There could be a substantial learning curve when it comes to being able to handle multiple positions. How fast he can move around and become the chess piece that he is envisioned to be will be up to him and how soon he can learn multiple positions.

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Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins coaches appreciate Niles Paul. Not just for the immense physical skills, a 6-foot-1, 225 lb. college receiver turned NFL tight end and fullback. He works hard every day at practice, and demands the same from his teammates. 

Last season, Paul landed on the injured reserve after an injury in London during a Week 8 tie against the Bengals. Because of that, some speculation emerged that Paul could be the odd man out in the Redskins tight end group, behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and fighting with 2017 draft pick Jeremy Sprinkle, not to mention veteran Derek Carrier. 

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS MAKE RUN AT NICK MANGOLD?

After two preseason games, it's clear Paul is ready to fight for that spot. Against Green Bay on Saturday night, Paul logged a touchdown catch and a fumble recovery on special teams, showing the versatility that makes him so valuable to Washington. 

For Paul, he's just happy to be back on the field. 

"I got my season cut in half last year. I just want to be back on the field by any means necessary. I've just been missing it. I've been missing football in my life," Paul said after the game (full video above).

Paul's acrobatic TD grab showed that he still has the explosiveness to help the offense, but his special teams play is what will keep him on the roster. It also helps that head coach Jay Gruden complimented Paul for an outstanding camp and work ethic. 

"His speed looks where it was before the injuries. I mean, I think he's had an outstanding training camp so far. He's done so many different things. And that's one of the toughest positions," Gruden said of Paul. 

The Redskins offense hasn't hit full cylinder yet, but Paul thinks the return of Jordan Reed will help. 

"We're missing a major piece and that's Jordan Reed," he said. "We got some fine tuning to do."

Considering Reed's injury history, and backup tight end Vernon Davis starting the season at 33, a healthy Paul is a luxury for the Redskins. He stands to make nearly $2.5 million this season, but he also brings versatility. Paul is happy to play fullback, a role that seems to be growing, as well as all over the field on special teams. 

Washington will absolutely keep Reed and Davis. With his play this preseason, Paul seems a sure thing too. And if the squad wants to keep their draft pick in Sprinkle, who has tremendous size and has shown promise, four tight ends on the 53-man roster looks like the future. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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!

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With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

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USA Today Sports

With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

News broke late Monday night that Redskins' center Spencer Long underwent a minor knee scope and is expected to miss two weeks. That timetable spells good news for Washington, as that would bring Long back to the team before the first regular season game against the Eagles on September 10th. 

In the meantime, expect rookie Chase Roullier to take over at center for the Redskins. A 6th round draft pick, Bruce Allen and the Washington brass moved up to select Roullier, and the young player out of Wyoming had a strong training camp. 

RELATED: NILES PAUL FORCING HIS WAY TO A ROSTER SPOT?

"He’s done a great job, he really has. For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Roullier in early August. 

Still, Jay Gruden has been very clear about the need for a backup center on the roster. Last season the team brought in veteran John Sullivan during the year to provide depth at the position after Kory Lichtensteiger went down with injury.  Sullivan ended up starting one game for Washington, and is now playing with the Rams. 

With Long on the mend, the only other center on the Redskins roster is Roullier. Ronald Patrick is listed with the more generic OL designation though he has played center too.

It seems likely the team will move quickly to add another center, and one name that will get suggested is Nick Mangold. An 11-year veteran that played his entire career with the Jets, Mangold has more experience than Long, Roullier and Patrick combined.

He's also played the position at a very high level. Twice named to the NFL's All Pro team, Mangold has made seven Pro Bowls, most recently in 2015.

It's not entirely clear why Mangold isn't on an NFL roster already. He worked out for the Ravens this offseason, though some reports suggested Mangold wanted more guaranteed money than was discussed. 

A quick look at his Twitter feed does not suggest a guy missing the NFL life. A big soccer fan, Mangold seems very dialed in to London's Tottenham Hotspur and the New York City Football Club. (Check his Twitter out here)

If the team truly believes Long should not miss any regular season action, Mangold is probably not a fit. At 33-years-old with an impressive resume, Mangold likely doesn't want to come back just to be a backup, and Gruden has repeatedly talked about Long's ability and potential in the middle of the line. Should Long suffer a setback, the equation could change. 

Other names are likely to pop up for tryouts, as the 'Skins must consider more interior line depth. Making a run at Mangold might be something fans want to do, though it might not make sense at this point.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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!