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Need to Know: Sorting out the roles for the Redskins' 2015 draft class

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Need to Know: Sorting out the roles for the Redskins' 2015 draft class

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 3, 44 days before the Redskins hold their mandatory minicamp.

Role playing

Here is a quick assessment of what the role of each of the Redskins’ draft picks might be in the coming season.

OL Brandon Scherff—He will be plugged in at right tackle and over the course of the season we will see if he is more suited to playing guard or tackle in the NFL.

OLB Preston Smith—I’m not even sure if the coaches know exactly how he will be used at this point. Smith will be used in a variety of roles, playing with his hand in the dirt and in a two-point stance. He and Trent Murphy, who also might line up in a variety of spots, will compete for playing time.

RB Matt Jones—The obvious spot to use him early on is in short-yardage situations, giving him the ball and having him bang out a couple of yards on third and one. He will compete with Silas Redd for carries when Alfred Morris needs a rest.

WR Jamison Crowder—Jay Gruden said that he could well be the punt returner from Day One and he will back up Andre Roberts as the slot receiver. It will be hard for a fourth-round receiver to get very many snaps as a rookie.

G Arie Kouandjio—It’s not realistic to think he could compete for a starting job this year. He will need to battle with Spencer Long (or Chris Chester if Long beats him out for the starting job) and Josh LeRibeus for backup roster spots. LeRibeus and Chester are better suited to the zone-blocking scheme so Kouandjio could benefit from the team’s move to more of a power scheme.

ILB Martrell Spaight—He likely will need to push his way past either Will Compton or Adam Hayward to land a spot as a reserve inside linebacker. To do that he will have to excel on special teams.

S Kyshoen Jarrett—Virginia Tech is known for its emphasis on special teams and that is how Jarrett will have to earn his way onto the 53-man roster. It will be tough for him to get a regular role on defense even if he does.

CB Tevin Mitchel—Like Jarrett, he will have to carve out a role on special teams. Cornerback is rather crowded and it will be tough for Mitchel to earn snaps on defense.

WR Evan Spencer—The same theme continues here; he is also going to need to play some special teams to make the 53. It will be interesting to see if Gruden carves out a roster spot for a sixth wide receiver. Holdovers Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Roberts, and Ryan Grant aren’t going anywhere and Crowder is likely to claim the fifth spot.

C Austin Reiter—Last year Chester was the backup center and that is a typical arrangement on many teams. Reiter might even have a tough time beating out Tyler Larsen, a second-year player signed as a free agent. If he can't work his way onto the 53 a practice squad job is a possibility.

Timeline

—It’s been 126 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 133 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 44; Redskins training camp starts 88; Redskins @ Giants 144

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: 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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