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Need to Know: Will all seven Redskins draft picks make the roster?

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Need to Know: Will all seven Redskins draft picks make the roster?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 5, eight days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 116 days ago. It will be 130 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 8; OTAs start 19; Redskins training camp starts 84

Hot topic

Last year the Redskins drafted 10 players. Out of that group, six made the initial 53-man roster. WR Evan Spencer was waived-injured, they tried to get CB Tevin Mitchel on to injured reserve but the Colts claimed him, ILB Martrell Spaight went to injured reserve, and C Austin Reiter was released and later signed to the practice squad.

This year they selected seven players. Can all seven of them make the 53-man roster?

I don’t think that we have to go into any heavy analysis on the Redskins’ first three picks. WR Josh Doctson, S Su’a Cravens and CB Kendall Fuller are all automatically on the roster just like every other player picked in the first three rounds will be around the league.

Scot McCloughan traded out of the fourth round so their next pick was DL Matt Ioannidis in the fifth round. They certainly seem to have plans for him. “In base, we’re looking at him more at nose, but he can still play the three [technique],” McCloughan said at a press conference this week. “But in sub, which we’re in a lot more than base, he can move around the line.”

Words spoken in May do not necessarily translate to a roster spot and a significant role on the defense in September. But I think it’s fair to say that Ioannidis is about a 90 percent lock to make the roster.

It will be interesting to see what happens to developmental quarterback Nate Sudfeld, taken in the sixth round. Unless he bombs completely he is likely to be employed at Redskins Park this fall. But will he be the third quarterback on the active roster or will he be on the practice squad? If he is showing some promise and looks good in preseason games the organization might not want to risk getting him through waivers to make the practice squad. But if the preseason games end and it looks like he needs a lot of work still the practice squad might be the place for him.

They had two seventh-round picks. ILB Steven Daniels joins a somewhat crowded position with Will Compton, Mason Foster, and Perry Riley vying for starting jobs, Terrance Garvin signing on as a backup who also will help in special teams, and Spaight competing for a roster spot. If Daniels can provide a spark on special teams, something needed by the team following the departures of special teams regulars like Darryl Young and Jeron Johnson, he will have a very good shot at sticking around.

There is an opening for the other seventh-round pick, RB Keith Marshall. The Redskins still haven’t filled the roster spot vacated by Alfred Morris so he will have an opportunity. But it’s hard to see the Redskins making Marshall their only option. It seems likely that a veteran will be signed to compete for the job and one or two promising undrafted players could as well. Marshall may have to fend off some competition from a few players in order to land a spot on the 53.

Looking at the big picture, while all seven have a legitimate shot at the roster I don’t think that they all will. I’ll put the over/under at 5.5.

Stat of the day

The 2015 Redskins outscored the opposition by 57 points in the first halves of their regular season games (212-155). In the second half (including overtime), however, they were outscored by 48 points (1 76-224).

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Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 9, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and news conference and open locker room after practice approx. 2:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 15; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 23

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot),
Thursday injury report

Around Redskins Park

—The Redskins’ third-down defense is the worst in the NFL in a long time. They are giving up first downs on 48 percent of opponents’ third downs. Since 2002 only one team, the 2011 Chargers, has been worse over the course of a full season. The Redskins have a chance to improve in the last four games of the season. Their remaining opponents rank 15th, 22nd, 26th, and 27th in converting third downs on offense. So, while the damage is done perhaps they can avoid historically bad territory.

—Perhaps one of the reasons why the Redskins haven’t done well on third down is because Preston Smith, a player they were counting on to generate pass pressure and rack up sacks, isn't getting that done. He has 3.5 sacks on the year, two of them coming into one game. What are they looking for out of Smith? “Consistency is the truest measure of performance,” said defensive coordinator Joe Barry. “You have got to show up every single week . . . Preston is giving great effort, he’s trying. He just has got to show up in the statistic column.”

—Barry was candid in admitting that they were taken by surprise when the Cardinals snapped the ball on the fourth and one play from their own 34 in the fourth quarter. “I think everyone was a little shocked that the ball actually was snapped and they ran a play, but that’s football,” Barry said. The center’s hand is on the ball, ball is ready, the ball can be snapped, we have got to be ready to execute.” Should the season go south from here that play will be remembered as the turning point.

—Although whether or not the season goes south will largely be dependent on the play of Kirk Cousins, he doesn’t think about the pressure. “I just go about my business. I think you take it one game at a time, that’s the best way to manage it, and just enjoy the process,” he said. “We’ll see where we are in a few weeks but I can’t play the game today, I can’t play next week’s game today. All I can do today is prepare and go to practice and have a great practice, and I thought today I had a great practice and that’s a good step.”

—Jay Gruden wants to see the defense improve in two specific areas in addition to third downs. “Turnovers the last couple of weeks and red zone,” he said. “Those are three big time areas of concern . . . We’ve been lacking in all three of those categories of late.” They have had just one takeaway in their last three games and in their last five games teams have punched it into the end zone on 14 of 17 red zone opportunities (82.3%).

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A little more left arm use by Reed on this catch. #Redskins

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Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

The Redskins’ injury report is looking a little better today, three days away from their game against the Eagles. 

DE Chris Baker (ankle), CB Will Blackmon (concussion), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), C Spencer Long (concussion) didn't practice today. That is a substantial reduction of the number of players who were out of practice on Wednesday.

Going from out yesterday to limited participants today were S Donte Whitner (illness), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), and DE Anthony Lanier (leg).

Also limited were TE Derek Carrier (knee), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and OLB Preston Smith (groin).

A player moving from out of practice to limited is no guarantee that he will be able to participate come Sunday but it’s a step in the right direction.

On area of concern is the offensive line. Three players who started against the Cardinals have not practiced this week. One was Nsekhe and he already was headed to the bench after the return of Trent Williams from suspension.

RELATED: Five Redskins who need to perform vs. Eagles

According to Jay Gruden, the line will have enough bodies even if Long, Nsekhe, and Lauvao are out. Second year guard Arie Kouandjio would start at guard and John Sullivan, who finished up after Long left the game on Sunday, would be the starting center. They could activate Kory Lichtensteiger from injured reserve to back up guard and center and Vinston Painter would be the backup tackle.

It appears that Reed is making progress from the AC joint separation he suffered in his left shoulder on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.

“He looked good out there today,” said Gruden. “He’s still a little sore. Right now I have absolutely no idea (if he will play).”