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Need to Know: Ranking the Redskins' rookies—Who will have the most impact in 2016?

Need to Know: Ranking the Redskins' rookies—Who will have the most impact in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 28, 30 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. It will be 76 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 17; Preseason opener @ Falcons 44; Final roster cut 67

Ranking the rookies: Who will have the most impact in 2016?

It’s hard to quantify “impact”, especially when comparing players across different positions on both offense and defense. For this post I’m looking at who will play the most and who will be most relied upon the most to play key roles. This is for this coming season only; I’m not projecting anything beyond 2016.

CB Kendall Fuller (3rd round)—Although he will have some competition, the bet here is that he will emerge as the slot cornerback. Technically this is not a starting role but usually the nickel back plays well over half of the defensive snaps. Stopping other teams’ three- and four-receiver sets will be critical to improvement in the defense.

DL Matt Ioannidis (5th)—I think he has a shot at starting at nose tackle at some point during the season, although the odds are better that he is part of the D-line rotation. I see him shaping up like Kyshoen Jarrett did last year, starting off with a small role and then earning more and more playing time in important situations as the year goes on.

WR Josh Doctson (1st)—The top draft pick is third on this list for two reasons. For one thing, rookie receivers generally take a season to learn the NFL game before they have a big impact. There are exceptions, of course, but they generally take time. Also he is currently the fourth receiver on the depth chart and his snaps will be limited.

LB Su’a Cravens (2nd)—I debated if I should put him higher on this list but I’m not sure that he can master multiple positions on defense to make plays on defense immediately. I see him being relatively quiet through the first few months of the season, catching on in December, and then really showing what he can do in 2017.

LB Steven Daniels (7th)—We’re getting into guys who may have to spend some time on the practice squad before having an impact on Sundays. Daniels has the right mindset to succeed but the depth chart at inside linebacker is very crowded and it’s hard to see Daniels getting much playing time.

RB Keith Marshall (7th)—Unlike the situation that his fellow seventh-round pick is facing, Marshall has plenty of opportunity. Matt Jones will start at running back and Chris Thompson will hold down the third down duties but as of right now the backup/relief spot is wide open. Unfortunately, Marshall was unable to do much to win the job in the offseason as he was hampered by a hamstring injury during minicamp. He’ll get another shot in training camp and if he doesn’t make the most of it he could be destined for the practice squad.

QB Nate Sudfeld (6th)—I trust I don’t have to go into much detail to make everyone realize that if Sudfeld takes the field this year the Redskins are in trouble. Big trouble.

In case you missed it 

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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.