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Need to Know: The Redskins' top five late-round draft picks

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Need to Know: The Redskins' top five late-round draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 30, the day of the fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL Draft.

Timeline

At FedEx Field: Josh Doctson, Su'a Cravens, Kendall Fuller news conference during draft day party.

At Redskins Park: Conference call with Redskins’ draft picks soon after each one has been made; Scot McCloughan talks to the media after the Redskins’ final selection.

—The Redskins last played a game 111 days ago. It will be 135 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 13; OTAs start 24; Redskins training camp starts 89

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Pay attention to these last four rounds of the draft today. The Redskins have found some pretty good players there. Since 1980 the Redskins have drafted 221 players in Round 4 and later. Here are the five best among those who played most of their careers in Washington.

G Mark Schlereth (Round 10-1989)—He actually split his career between the Redskins and Broncos even though he generally remembered more in Denver. But he played six seasons and went to one Pro Bowl in each city. Two of his Super Bowl rings come from the Broncos, one from Washington.

OL Raleigh McKenzie (11-1985)—Here’s another one that the Redskins drafted in a round that no longer exists. McKenzie might be one of the least-remembered Hogs but he did start for two Super Bowl winners. By the way, he’s currently a scout for the Raiders where he works for his identical twin brother, Oakland GM Reggie.

DE Dexter Manley (5-1981)—He remains the team career sack leader with 91 and with Ryan Kerrigan the active team leader with 47.5 he could be the career leader for quite some time. Manley could have more sacks but they weren’t an official stat until 1982, his second year in the league. In addition, his battles with substance abuse cost him a lot of games.

RB Stephen Davis (4-1996)—He could have threatened John Riggins’ career rushing record of 7,472 yards if Norv Turner had figured out what to do with him sooner. Davis languished on the bench and played some fullback for his first three seasons in the league. When he was made the starter in 1999 he responded by rushing for over 1,400 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns. In seven seasons in Washington he rushed for 5,790 yards before finishing up his career in Carolina and St. Louis.

QB Mark Rypien (6-1986)—Ah, the old days when a quarterback carried a clipboard for a while before being allowed to touch a football during a regulation game. Rypien spent two full seasons learning before replacing an injured Doug Williams in 1988. The rest, as they say, is history. His peak was short—he started 16 games in just two seasons. One of those was 1991 and he was good enough to lead the Redskins to one of the best seasons an NFL team has ever had including the Super Bowl, where he was the MVP.

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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.