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REDSKINS OTAS TO-DO LIST: Receiver group has talent but questions

REDSKINS OTAS TO-DO LIST: Receiver group has talent but questions

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin next Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today … 

Wide Receivers to-do list

Finlay: The Redskins were loaded at the receiver position in 2016. Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson each recorded more than 1,000 receiving yards before bolting in free agency this offseason. To offset some of that loss, Washington signed Terrelle Pryor from the Browns. The team still has Jamison Crowder, a player that could emerge as a 1,000 yard wideout this season, primarily from the slot position.

After those two, the Redskins have lots of questions. It starts with Josh Doctson, the 2016 first-round pick that barely played as a rookie. Doctson has looked quick and healthy this offseason, and if the Achilles injury is behind him, 2017 could be a breakout season. It will basically be his rookie season, however, so expectations should be around 750 receiving yards for the former TCU star this season. 

After Pryor, Crowder and Doctson, the Redskins also signed Brian Quick from the Rams and drafted Robert Davis in the sixth round out of Georgia State. Ryan Grant and Maurice Harris will be back with the team for training camp as well. 

Top of the to-do list for the Redskins at receiver: Ensure Doctson is ready to go Week 1. If he can go, Kirk Cousins can make it work with his new weapons.

Tandler: I agree about Doctson. The Redskins struggled mightily in the red zone last year and each time they left points on the field down close to the goal line it was hard not to wonder what the 6-2 Doctson could have done for them. His specialty is going up and high-pointing the ball. Those futile fade patterns could have been fruitful if Doctson and Kirk Cousins had been able to develop some chemistry before and during the season.

Cousins and Pryor started getting in sync with some work with Jon Gruden down in Florida last month (Doctson and other receivers also participated). Developing chemistry will be critical during the offseason. Remember that Pierre Garçon and Cousins both came to Washington in 2012 so by the time Cousins became the starter in 2015 the quarterback had thrown hundreds of passes to his No. 1 target. Cousins and Pryor won’t have that much time.

They also need to sort out the bottom of the depth chart. Is Maurice Harris worthy of being the first option off the bench? Is free agent pickup Brian Quick worthy of a roster spot? Does sixth-round pick Robert Davis need a year of seasoning on the practice squad? Will Ryan Grant’s top-notch work habits overcome his lack of productivity last year?

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Rookie camps are in the books as teams now move to organized team activities. Does that mean it's too early for fantasy football rankings? 

Probably, but seeing as the rookies are new to the scene, we might as well start projecting where and how they fit. 

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Sterling Shepard and Michael Thomas were among the rookies who produced and then some in 2016.

Based on the early rounds of the 2017 NFL draft, there’s hope for even more first-year standouts.  

Starting with the Bears selecting quarterback Mitch Trubisky second overall, 19 skill players were drafted in the first and second round.

That includes fellow first-round quarterback selections Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Several sleeper candidates followed. 

Here’s my look at the Elite Eight quarterbacks with the 2017 fantasy football season -- and beyond -- in mind.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

2017 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings:

Running Backs - No. 1, Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

* Wide receivers - No. 1, Corey Davis, Titans

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Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Nose tackle

Finlay: There's a lot to do on the Redskins defensive line, and it starts in the middle. Expect free agent addition Stacy McGee to have a big opportunity to take over the nose tackle job. McGee ranked as a +5.5 run defender last season as rated by Pro Football Focus, and at 6-foot-3 and 308 lbs., he has the size to man the middle. McGee has plenty of talent, health has been his hiccup. He has only played all 16 games in one of his four seasons, and in 2016, he played only nine games.

Beyond McGee, the Redskins have some lottery tickets. Practice squad players A.J. Francis and Joey Mbu both have the size to play nose, but neither have the experience. Could Francis or Mbu emerge for significant snaps with the Washington defense? Sure, but it would be unexpected. 

A bigger lottery ticket remains. Phil Taylor, a former first-round pick in 2012, has shown serious talent at the nose tackle position. At 6-foot-3 and 337 lbs., Taylor certainly has the size for the spot. At the same time, Taylor hasn't played an NFL game since 2014, losing both 2015 and 2016 to injury. Counting on Taylor would be short-sighted, but if he can remain healthy, there could be big value.

According to Jay Gruden, the most important piece of the nose tackle puzzle will come from new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Gruden said he expects Tomsula to "make" a nose tackle and improve the Redskins D-line. It's a tall order, but Tomsula has an impressive track record working in the trenches. 

Tandler: The organization’s refusal to get a legitimate nose tackle either in free agency or in the draft will lead to them again spend the spring and summer trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

That’s what they did last year with Ziggy Hood. He took a lot of snaps at nose tackle and he simply wasn’t a fit for the job. It wasn’t his fault that the Redskins allowed a league-worst 5.0 yards per rushing attempt on first down; he’s an end and he was much more effective there.

Matt Ioannidis, a 2016 fifth-round pick, also took some snaps at nose, with similar results. At 6-3, 308, he just doesn’t have the size to be effective.

The worst part of it here is that they really can’t get too far in identifying the 2017 nose tackle. In the spring with no pads and no contact allowed they really can’t do much besides work on technique and learn assignments. Tomsula’s effort to “make” a nose tackle won’t really get going until they get to Richmond in late August.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back