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Need to Know: Will Matt Jones have a big role for the Redskins?

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Need to Know: Will Matt Jones have a big role for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 8, 82 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Three and out

Thoughts on the Redskins as they continue to tinker with their roster in preparation for OTAs starting later this month.

1. Scot McCloughan was quite effusive in his praise of Matt Jones on Thursday, comparing his third-round draft pick to Marshawn Lynch. I don’t know about that, but the high praise does hint at a big role for Jones, at least in relation to the very light role that tailbacks not named Alfred Morris have had in the last three years. I’ll put the top end at 115 carries, 500 yards. If Morris’ production returns to what it was in 2013 (276 carries/1275 yards) the Redskins would have quite the potent running attack.

2. If Adam Hayward, Martrell Spaight, and Will Compton are battling for two jobs as inside linebacker reserves, I’m not so sure I’d write off Hayward’s chances of sticking around. He was the special teams captain before getting injured last year and he was instrumental in getting some of the younger players to buy in to what they were doing. The special teams improved from historically awful to merely bad last year and if they are going to continue to get better I think that Hayward needs to stay. So it could be Spaight against Compton for the remaining reserve spot.

3. Free agency may not be over for the Redskins. You’d have to think that they are looking for a free safety to back up Dashon Goldson after not getting a long-term solution in the draft. Teams are adjusting their rosters now but there doesn’t appear to be anyone out there who they would be comfortable with. Keep an eye on the waiver wire; the backup free safety could arrive on the roster anytime between now and a week before the season starts.

Out: The Redskins already have some of their draft picks under contract (as of this writing, Austin Reiter and Tevin Mitchel) and all of them are likely to be under contract before rookie camp starts on Friday. The lockout of 2011 was a drag but the rookie pay scale is the best thing to come out of it. Rookie training camp holdouts were dumb since most of the time the offers didn’t budge and the draft pick signed for the same money he would have had before missing a week or more of valuable camp time.

Timeline

—It’s been 132 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 127 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 38; Redskins training camp starts 82; Redskins @ Giants 138

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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