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Need to Know: What are the Redskins' most important remaining needs?

Need to Know: What are the Redskins' most important remaining needs?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 11, two days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 122 days ago. It will be 124 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 2; OTAs start 13; Redskins training camp starts 79

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The Redskins have gone through free agency, the draft, and have signed about a dozen and a half college free agents. But they still have some needs on the team. These could be filled by someone stepping up from within, by signing a veteran free agent or by Scot McCloughan trading one of those extra 2017 draft picks that he stockpiled.

Here are the top needs that remain on the Redskins’ roster:

No. 2 running back—Or, is Matt Jones doesn’t pick it up a few notches over last year, they could be in search of a No. 1 running back. Chris Thompson isn’t built to handle a full load and seventh-round pick Keith Marshall is not a lock to even make the roster. The current free agent back who was the most productive last year was Joseph Randle, who rushed for 313 yards. But he is up to his neck in legal troubles. Joique Bell rushed for 2,235 yards in the last four years with the Lions. The preferred choice for a veteran still seems to be Pierre Thomas but a deal isn’t done.

Nose tackle—Can Kedric Golston plug the middle for 15 plays per game? Or will rookie Matt Ioannidis be the guy? The free agent options aren’t very attractive. They may go to training camp with what they have, see how Golston and Ioannidis work out, and either make a waiver claim or make a trade if they still believe they are in need.

Backup tackle—Last year Ty Nsekhe did a decent job of filling in for both Trent Williams and Morgan Moses. But he will be 31 around the midway point of the season and even though he’s a “low mileage” older player, with only two NFL games played prior to last year the Redskins may want to find a younger alternative. They didn’t draft anyone so perhaps they will give a shot to Takoby Cofield, who spent last year on the practice squad after being signed as an undrafted player.

Outside linebacker depth—You can’t have too many good pass rushers and the Redskins aren’t even close to having too many. They have three starting caliber players at the most important position on the defense in Preston Smith, Junior Galette, and Ryan Kerrigan but a lot of question marks behind them. Houston Bates may have some potential but perhaps McCloughan will want someone with more experience. And, no, the toxic Greg Hardy does not seem to be a possibility.

Stat of the day

The 1991 Redskins outscored the opposition by 261 points. That was the best post-merger point differential in the NFL until the 2007 Patriots outscored their opponents by 315 points. The Redskins are still second in that time period. They were had a point differential of plus-209 in 1983, a performance that ranks as the 15th-best since the merger.

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

RELATED: PRESTON SMITH ENTERING VITAL YEAR

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Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson’s tweet left 136 characters on the table but he didn’t need any more to deliver some good news to Redskins fans.

The wide receiver was the Redskins’ top pick in the 2016 draft. At 6-2 and an ability to high point the ball he repeatedly demonstrated at TCU, it was hoped he would add a different dimension to the Redskins’ fast but relatively short receiving corps.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

But it didn’t happen. An Achilles tendon injury flared up during preseason activities and he was very limited in OTAs. He was on the PUP list during training camp and the preseason games. Doctson was on the 53-man roster to start the season but after 31 snaps and one reception in two games he was shut down for the season.

Jay Gruden was apparently frustrated by the injury and throughout the season he wasn’t sure when Doctson would be ready.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

But last month via social media Docston sent out some pictures of him doing some strenuous work at Redskins Park. It appears that he was in Tampa today working with Jon Gruden and some other Redskins. The tweet from Doctson came a short time after this picture from one of Terrelle Pryor’s social media accounts was posted.

It should be noted that doing work in shorts a T-shirts does not equal being effective in an NFL regular season game. But it’s a good first step and considering Doctson barely took any steps last year that’s a good development.

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.