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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a non-Heisman QB?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a non-Heisman QB?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 2, 28 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Nickel Coverage

Five thoughts on the NFL draft, which gets underway in Chicago four weeks from today:

—Earlier this week I touched on why the Redskins might not want to trade down in the draft this year. I have come up with another reason why they might want to stay put with the No. 5 pick. Scot McCloughan is not as prepared for this draft as he usually is. He spent the fall in the Pacific Northwest doing consulting work for NFL teams. He was not on the road getting the nitty-gritty about prospects. He also is working with a personnel staff he’s not very familiar with. This could be his worst draft with the Redskins. McCloughan may just want to play it straight this year and wheel and deal for multiple picks starting in 2016.

—Here is why I like Dante Fowler more than the other big-time edge rushers in this draft. He might not be quite as good a pure pass rusher as Shane Ray or Vic Beasley but he will be better setting the edge against the run. Maybe you’d rather have Ray or Beasley in there on third and ten. Problem is, it’s often going to be third and three because offenses will run right at them. Fowler can stop the run on first and second downs and then do a more than adequate job getting after the QB on third down.

—I will be somewhat surprised if the Redskins don’t take a running back sometime between the second and fourth rounds. Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska and T. J. Yeldon of Alabama are two guys I’m looking at right now but I need to start looking deeper. I’m not sure they’re sold on Chris Thompson and Silas Redd. Gruden has spoken highly of them recently but he doesn’t have much choice right now since they’re the only depth on the roster behind Alfred Morris. As Stephen Stills would say, this is a case of “Love the One You’re With”.

—Will McCloughan go through seven rounds without taking an offensive lineman? I know that the team doesn’t perceive the need there to the extent that the fans do and I don’t think McCloughan is the type to force a pick. On the other hand, they need bodies. The Redskins went with 10 offensive linemen last year. Out of that group, Tyler Polumbus is gone and Josh LeRibeus is on the bubble. If Spencer Long wins the starting job at right guard the organization may not want to keep Chris Chester around as a $4 million dollar backup. There are three potential openings right there. I think McCloughan will grab one or two at some point. Perhaps he’ll get them later on, sometime on Saturday afternoon, and rely on Bill Callahan to coach them up.

—The chances are pretty good they take a quarterback, one not named Mariota (he’ll be gone by pick No. 5). It would be borderline irresponsible to go into the season with no quarterbacks under contract for 2016. Will they be the team that overdrafts either Brett Hundley or Bryce Petty in the third round? Perhaps they’ll be patient and get rewarded with Garrett Grayson, more of a pocket passer out of Colorado State, sitting there in the fourth round.

Timeline

—It’s been 95 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 164 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 18; 2015 NFL Draft 28; Redskins training camp starts 119

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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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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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.