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Need to Know: Which Redskins 2015 draft picks have a chance to start this year?

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Need to Know: Which Redskins 2015 draft picks have a chance to start this year?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 7, 83 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today's question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

Let’s look at each of the Redskins’ draft picks that has a realistic chance of earning a starting job this year and see what it would take for that to happen.

To keep it a bit more concise here, it doesn’t appear to me that Austin Reiter, Evan Spencer, or Tevin Mitchell have realistic shots at starting this season barring multiple injuries, so we will leave them out of the discussion here.

OT Brandon Scherff—All he really has to do is show up. Yes, Scot McCloughan said that he would have to compete for the job but if he can’t push out Tom Compton the Redskins made a big mistake.

OLB Preston Smith—This is a tough one to figure out because it’s unclear how Smith and Trent Murphy will be utilized. We could see Murphy at OLB on first and 10 and Smith on the edge in nickel situations. That would mean Murphy is the “starter” even though Smith could play an equal number of snaps, perhaps more. Or maybe the bigger Smith will line up in the regular defense, Murphy will come in on nickel and Smith will put his hand in the dirt and rush from the line. Bottom line is that Smith could play a substantial number of snaps without a start to his credit.

RB Matt Jones—Jay Gruden said that Alfred Morris’ role would be unchanged. Since Morris has started the Redskins’ last 48 games it doesn’t look like Jones will get a shot at starting barring injury.

WR Jamison Crowder—The Redskins do start a slot receiver on occasion; Andre Robert had four starts last year. Can Crowder push past Roberts and become the top slot receiver? It’s possible as Roberts was something of a free-agent disappointment last year but it seems more likely that Crowder’s main role is as a returner.

G Arie Kouandjio—There clearly is opportunity at guard on this team, particularly on the right side. It doesn’t seem that Chris Chester is a fit for the team’s new power-oriented scheme and Spencer Long wasn’t able to push him aside last year. I’m probably a bit more bullish on Kouandjio than most so I won’t rule out him being able to claw his way into the starting lineup at some point later in the year.

ILB Martrell Spaight—How fast can Spaight pick things up? Keenan Robinson missed three games last year and Perry Riley missed two. If he can push ahead of Will Compton to become that injury fill in, he has a shot at getting some starts. He may not be fully ready but it could happen.

SS Kyshoen Jarrett—He has a real good chance to make the 53 because of special teams play so he could be the backup to Jeron Johnson. It’s hard to see him pushing past Johnson to first string, however.

Timeline

—It’s been 131 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 128 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 39; Redskins training camp starts 83; Redskins @ Giants 139

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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on 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.