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Need to Know: Ranking the Redskins' draft picks

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Need to Know: Ranking the Redskins' draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 5, 42 days before the Washington Redskins hold their mandatory minicamp.

Ranking the Redskins’ draft picks

Here is my ranking of the Redskins’ 10 draft picks as determined by factors such as needs, value, opportunity cost, how much the player will help the team in 2015 and beyond, and other such criteria. It is highly non-scientific, just my gut feeling before any of them puts on a Redskins helmet.

Also I like the group in general so a low ranking does not make me a hater; it’s all in relation to the rest of the players picked.

10. C Austin Reiter—Perhaps a better designation would have been N/A because I really know so little about him. I’m just not sure what a team that’s looking for big, power blockers and players from big-time conferences like the SEC is doing drafting a 296-lb. center from a non-power conference college.

9. G Arie Kouandjio—The knees, both of which have had surgery, are a concern. Perhaps they should have taken TE Blake Bell out of Oklahoma, who was still on the board. With Jordan Reed’s injury issues some insurance at the position is needed.

8. CB Tevin Mitchell—A few weeks into the 2014 season the Razorbacks were considering redshirting him because he had some troublesome hamstrings. And that was after he was benched in 2013. Had his best season as a sophomore and his career went downhill from there. Mitchel will need to reverse his career track if he is going to make it.

7. WR Evan Spencer—There’s a lot about Spencer to like but it might be hard to squeeze him on the 53-man roster. The four holdover wide receivers don’t appear to be going anywhere and fourth-round pick Jamison Crowder is sure to make it.

6. RB Matt Jones—I get the whole reach thing with him but that’s not a big deal. McCloughan said he was the best player on their board and I’m in no position to argue. He just doesn’t seem to be a potential every down back who could replace Alfred Morris should he get injured or leave as a free agent.

5. OL Brandon Scherff—I like the player a lot. But if you keep on taking low value positions with high draft picks you will continually have high draft picks. Perhaps on a side-by-side comparison edge rusher Vic Beasley doesn’t grade as high as Scherff but the value of a player who can get to the quarterback is much higher. Bottom line, Scherff had better be very, very good whether he plays tackle or guard, especially if Beasley and/or Leonard Williams become Pro Bowl regulars. We will see how it turns out.

4. ILB Martrell Spaight—He could be strong on special teams and he’s a sure tackler. But the Redskins have plenty of inside backers who struggle in coverage and that is not a strength of Spaight’s.

3. SS Kyshoen Jarrett—Anyone who watches Virginia Tech football knows that Beamerball, the tradition of the Hokies having great special teams, has not existed for a while. But the emphasis is still there and the decline of the Tech special teams isn’t Jarrett’s fault. He spoke very enthusiastically about playing teams for Washington during his conference call after he was drafted.

2. OLB Preston Smith—There are plenty of questions about new defensive coordinator Joe Barry but Smith could make him look like a genius in a hurry. I really like his versatility; McCloughan even talked about the possibility of him lining up at nose tackle in nickel situations. It will take him a year or two to learn all of the roles but when he does he could become a great weapon on defense. He was an under-the-radar pick that makes a ton of sense in retrospect.

1. WR Jamison Crowder—If he can do nothing besides break an occasional punt return for a long gain he will be worth the fourth-round pick. But he could do much more as a legitimate deep threat out of the slot. It might take him some time to learn the passing game but he could have impact as a returner right off the bat.

Timeline

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

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 42; Redskins training camp starts 86; Redskins @ Giants 142

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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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.