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Need to Know: Examining the Redskins' roster bubble—Defense

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Need to Know: Examining the Redskins' roster bubble—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 6, five days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.  

Redskins on the bubble—Defense 

I published my first prediction of what the Redskins’ 53-man roster will look like earlier this week (offensedefense). But not all of the players predicted to make the roster are equal. Some are locks to make it while others are on the bubble. And there are players who I don’t predict will make it right now who have a shot and are also on the bubble.

Let’s take a look at the players on the bubble (defined as someone who at least a 25 percent chance of making the 53-man roster but less than about a 75 percent chance) on Defense. We looked at the offense on Friday

Players predicted to make it who are on the bubble:

DL Stacy McGee, DL Ziggy Hood, ILB Josh Harvey-Clemons, ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton, CB Josh Holsey, CB Greg Stroman

Bubble dwellers on the outside looking in:

DL Phil Taylor, ILB Martrell Spaight, S Fish Smithson

Two things to note here. This is a snapshot of the situation right now. Players can move on and off the bubble as the offseason program and training camp unfold. Also, right now, there are no rookie free agents included. I need to get a look at them on the field before assessing their chances of making it. 

—McGee and Hood are caught in the numbers game on the defensive line. After adding two in the draft, the Redskins have five locks to make the roster. If they keep six like they did last year, either McGee or Hood has to go. They could keep seven, leaving room for both of them. 

—It’s ironic that Taylor, who has suffered from injuries virtually his entire career, likely needs to see a player or two get injured for him to have a realistic shot at the roster.

—A year ago, the Redskins traded up in the sixth round to draft Chase Roullier. Although many were skeptical that he would make the 53-man roster, he did, and he eventually became the starting center. This year they traded up in the sixth to get Hamilton. That doesn’t make him a lock to make the roster but apparently, they saw something they liked in him as they did in Roullier. He could well replace Spaight for one of the backup jobs, but Spaight won’t go out without a fight. 

—Holsey and Stroman are listed as on the bubble because they are seventh-round picks from the last two years and shouldn’t be locks. But Jay Gruden said that they likely will keep six corners and as of right now, Holsey and Stroman are CB-5 and CB-6.

—The Redskins like Smithson but it’s hard to see where the opening for him is. I think fourth-round pick Troy Apke is close to a lock and Deshazor Everett gained a lot of valuable experience last year as he filled in for the injured Montae Nicholson. Maybe he can perform well enough to persuade the Redskins to keep five safeties. 

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.

Tandler on Twitter

After looking at various tweets from beat writers covering the rookie camps of the Jets (Sam Darnold) and Browns (Baker Mayfield).

Timeline  

Four-time Redskins Pro Bowl linebacker Ken Harvey was born on this day in 1965. 

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 5
—OTAs start (5/22) 16
—Training camp starts (7/26) 81

We have reached the midway point of the Redskins’ offseason. The Redskins last played a game 126 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 126 days. 

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Newly signed WR Jordan Veasy credits Colin Kaepernick for opportunity with Redskins

Newly signed WR Jordan Veasy credits Colin Kaepernick for opportunity with Redskins

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick held a workout in November for a handful of NFL teams with the hopes of returning to the NFL, but the workout helped someone other than the former Super Bowl QB get a job.

Little known 24-year-old wide receiver Jordan Veasy, whom the Redskins signed to their practice squad this week, was on the receiving end of a 50-plus yard pass from Kaepernick at the workout that went viral on social media.

Veasy was undrafted out of the University of California in 2018 and has spent time with the Titans, Jaguars, Colts and Bills organizations, but has never played in an NFL game. He had previously met Kaepernick in 2016, when the two took a class in black representation in pop culture at Berkeley, according to the Washington Post.

"It helped," Veasy said to the Washington Post on the workout that led to him getting another chance in the NFL. "That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of it. Just being a part of the history of it, and I knew it was going to help me."

After being released by the Bills, Veasy had been training in his hometown of Gadsden, Ala., just two hours away from Atlanta, where the workout was held. It was an easy drive for Veasy, who figured that he might as well run routes in front of scouts when given the opportunity.

Just a week or so after the workout, the Cleveland Browns brought him to town, but Veasy left unsigned. He had not heard from any NFL teams since then until the Redskins called this week, according to the Post. 

While Kaepernick remains without a job, at least someone else was able to benefit from the workout.

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Dwayne Haskins has always admired Aaron Rodgers, now he gets to face him

Dwayne Haskins has always admired Aaron Rodgers, now he gets to face him

Sunday's game against the Packers will mark the fifth career start for Dwayne Haskins in the NFL. Yet, this one will be very different from the first four.

So far, Haskins has faced off against Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Jeff Driskel and Kyle Allen. In that group are a pair of second-year passers and a pair of backups who were on the field because of injuries. 

When Haskins makes the trip to Green Bay, he will find himself matched up with a marquee QB in Aaron Rodgers. In Haskins' brief tenure as a pro, he has often talked about how he hopes to one day be associated with the most talented signal callers ever, like Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Rodgers is in that group, too.

"He's one of my favorite quarterbacks," Haskins said on Wednesday. "I just like the way he's able to distribute the ball over the field... He's a very dynamic quarterback."

While Haskins is just beginning his journey in the NFL, Rodgers is putting together yet another sterling season. He's thrown 22 touchdowns to just two interceptions and is on pace to record his fourth straight campaign with a quarterback rating above 97. Since 2008, in fact, the worst rating Rodgers has posted is 92.7.

By comparison, the Redskins rookie currently sports a rating of 58.5. 

Rodgers' presence won't just affect the Burgundy and Gold's defense in Week 14. His ability to catch fire also puts pressure on his opponent's offense, because if he's in a groove it'seven more necessary to try and keep up. 

Haskins, though, explained that he doesn't want to think that way.

"You've got to score points against anybody," he said. "We had to score points to beat McCaffrey and the Panthers. Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback, he's going to keep his team in every game he plays. So, we've got to go in there scoring points, we know that. There's no press to outduel him or try to throw more than him. I'm just trying to move the chains and make plays when they need to be made."

That's a solid approach for Haskins, but odds are he will have to lead a more effective passing game if the Redskins are to win in Green Bay. Yes, his mediocre play has been hidden in the past two wins thanks to contributions from the special teams and running backs, but at some point a breakout is needed — both for him personally and the overall team.

In addition to battling a future Hall of Famer, Haskins also gets to soon do battle with Green Bay's renowned weather. Fortunately for him, that foe won't be at its most powerful — it doesn't look like it'll be cold enough to snow — and, unlike Rodgers, the 22-year-old knows how to handle low temperatures.

"Try and stay as warm as possible," he said. "Hand warmers, turtlenecks, soup, chicken broth, all that stuff."

So, he's already got the answers for the weather. And in a few days, everyone will get to see if he also has them for Rodgers.

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