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Need to Know: Redskins who are still on the bubble

Need to Know: Redskins who are still on the bubble

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 10, 49 days before the NFL Draft.

Five Redskins who are still on the bubble

The Redskins released four players on Monday. But not all of the holdovers who remain under contract are assured of staying on the roster when training camp rolls around in late July. The statuses of Perry Riley and Andre Roberts have been well discussed. Here are some more players who could be on the bubble.

C Kory Lichtensteiger—His future could hinge on the draft. If the Redskins find a center they are confident can start they could decide to part ways with Lichtensteiger and his $3.8 million cap hit. But I wouldn’t count him out. While that cap number is a touch high for a backup he is versatile and that could help him survive.

ILB Adam Hayward—He has had two serious season-ending injuries in each of his two years with the team. A torn ACL suffered in the preseason cost him all of last year. He’s still under contract for this year with a cap hit of $885,000. After losing special teams stalwart Darrel Young there would be some reasons to hang on to Hayward. But if they don’t think he can stay healthy he could be gone.

OL Shawn Lauvao—This could be a tough call. He suffered a left ankle injury in Week 3 and he was out for the remainder of the season. The veteran also had to have surgery on his right foot, a procedure that was done just before the Redskins’ season ended. Lauvao has a $5 million cap hit and the younger and cheaper Spencer Long showed some promise playing in Lauvao’s left guard.. And for depth, the coaches are high on Arie Kouandjio, who was picked in last year’s draft. The handwriting could be on the wall but nothing is certain.

TE Derek Carrier—Here is another player who ended the season on injured reserve with a torn ACL. If Niles Paul is good to go for OTAs as he said he would be you have to wonder if there is a spot for Carrier. With Paul and Jordan Reed, the Redskins have two pass-catching tight ends and a third one would be of questionable utility. Carrier could go to make room for more of a blocking TE.

One thing to keep in mind is that these players, including Riley and Roberts, may not get cut immediately. Last year they waited until OTAs to release Chris Chester and Tracy Porter. And some could be around until a training camp competition.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 60 days ago. It will be about 185 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 39; 2016 NFL draft 49; Redskins training camp starts 149

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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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