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Need to Know: The Redskins' top five late-round draft picks

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Need to Know: The Redskins' top five late-round draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 30, the day of the fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL Draft.

Timeline

At FedEx Field: Josh Doctson, Su'a Cravens, Kendall Fuller news conference during draft day party.

At Redskins Park: Conference call with Redskins’ draft picks soon after each one has been made; Scot McCloughan talks to the media after the Redskins’ final selection.

—The Redskins last played a game 111 days ago. It will be 135 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 13; OTAs start 24; Redskins training camp starts 89

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Pay attention to these last four rounds of the draft today. The Redskins have found some pretty good players there. Since 1980 the Redskins have drafted 221 players in Round 4 and later. Here are the five best among those who played most of their careers in Washington.

G Mark Schlereth (Round 10-1989)—He actually split his career between the Redskins and Broncos even though he generally remembered more in Denver. But he played six seasons and went to one Pro Bowl in each city. Two of his Super Bowl rings come from the Broncos, one from Washington.

OL Raleigh McKenzie (11-1985)—Here’s another one that the Redskins drafted in a round that no longer exists. McKenzie might be one of the least-remembered Hogs but he did start for two Super Bowl winners. By the way, he’s currently a scout for the Raiders where he works for his identical twin brother, Oakland GM Reggie.

DE Dexter Manley (5-1981)—He remains the team career sack leader with 91 and with Ryan Kerrigan the active team leader with 47.5 he could be the career leader for quite some time. Manley could have more sacks but they weren’t an official stat until 1982, his second year in the league. In addition, his battles with substance abuse cost him a lot of games.

RB Stephen Davis (4-1996)—He could have threatened John Riggins’ career rushing record of 7,472 yards if Norv Turner had figured out what to do with him sooner. Davis languished on the bench and played some fullback for his first three seasons in the league. When he was made the starter in 1999 he responded by rushing for over 1,400 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns. In seven seasons in Washington he rushed for 5,790 yards before finishing up his career in Carolina and St. Louis.

QB Mark Rypien (6-1986)—Ah, the old days when a quarterback carried a clipboard for a while before being allowed to touch a football during a regulation game. Rypien spent two full seasons learning before replacing an injured Doug Williams in 1988. The rest, as they say, is history. His peak was short—he started 16 games in just two seasons. One of those was 1991 and he was good enough to lead the Redskins to one of the best seasons an NFL team has ever had including the Super Bowl, where he was the MVP.

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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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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

 

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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.