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Need to Know: A post-draft look at the possible 2021 Redskins offense

Need to Know: A post-draft look at the possible 2021 Redskins offense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 15, seven days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.  

Looking ahead—The Redskins core offensive players in 2021

Earlier this year, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2021 (offensedefense). That was before free agency and the draft. Now that the Redskins have their personnel mostly set, let’s revisit that look and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today (Tuesday), the defense later this week. 

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory, but if you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Ages are as of Week 1 in 2021

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30), Derrius Guice (24)
Changes from earlier projection: Added Guice

The key word here is “potential” blue chip players. I am hesitant to jump on the Guice hype train at this very early stage. But he does seem to have what it takes to be a blue chipper if he stays healthy and if he has some blue-chip players like Scherff and Moses blocking for him. He also has youth going for him. He doesn’t turn 21 until next month.

Trent Williams is the lone blue-chip player on the team right now. But he’ll be 33 when the 2021 season rolls around, and while he still can be a very capable player at that age, he likely will not be one of the very best in the game. A combination of age and injury could well keep Jordan Reed from being on the team three years from now. 

Solid starters: Paul Richardson (29), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes from earlier projection: Added Richardson, removed Jamison Crowder (28)

I could be very wrong about this but I’m starting to think that Crowder won’t be around past this year. If Trey Quinn, this year’s seventh-round pick, shows starter potential, they could very well let Crowder walk. The cap will force some hard choices and Crowder could be one they decide to let go. 

Richardson and Doctson are here based on potential and projection. Neither has accomplished enough to be locked in. If Doctson is here it would be on a second contract. Richardson’s deal runs through 2022. 

Potential starters: Chase Roullier (28), Alex Smith (37), Quinn (25)
Changes from earlier projection: Removed Spencer Long, Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, added Smith

I almost put Roullier up in the “solid starters” category. I might be persuaded that he has a better chance of still being around in 2021 than any of the receivers. But I’ll slow the roll with him a bit, given that he has just seven NFL starts.

Smith, of course, has a ton of NFL starts, 152 to be exact. Will he still be starting caliber at age 37? Since 2000 only seven quarterbacks have thrown for adjusted net yards per attempt of 6.0, about the number needed to rank in the middle of the pack these days, in their age 37 seasons. That puts the odds against Smith being effective in 2021 but we will see. 

The future is cloudy for some other players like Quinn (25) and Geron Christian (25), this year’s third-round pick. Health and opportunity could well dictate their chances of being long-term contributors. The same could be said of some players who got limited playing time as rookies last year—TE Jeremy Sprinkle (27) and WR Robert Davis (26). Maurice Harris (28) also could be contributing in three years if he can start producing consistently. 

Bottom line, here are the potential 2021 starters:

LT Williams
LG Someone who will be a college senior this fall
C Roullier
RG Scherff
RT Moses
QB Smith
RG Guice
WR Doctson
WR Richardson 
WR Quinn
TE ?

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Desmond Howard, the current ESPN analyst and former Heisman Trophy winner and 1992 first-round draft pick of the Redskins, was born on this date in 1970. 

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 28
—Training camp starts (7/26) 72
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 86

The Redskins last played a game 135 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 117 days. 

In case you missed it

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Las Vegas announced as official 2020 NFL Draft location

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Las Vegas announced as official 2020 NFL Draft location

DALLAS -- The NFL draft is heading to Las Vegas for 2020.

It almost certainly will arrive before the Raiders do.

"We believe the draft will be the kickoff to our inaugural season," said Raiders owner Mark Davis, who is moving the team from Oakland.

The league announced Wednesday at an owners meeting that the city where the Raiders will begin play in September 2020 will host the draft that April.

"Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world and will provide a tremendous experience for the NFL and its fans," Davis added.

The NFL began to bring the draft to different cities in 2015, when it was in Chicago. It was held there in 2016, too, then went to Philadelphia in 2017. Last April, the Cowboys hosted it in their stadium in Arlington, Texas, and next year it will be in Nashville.

Other cities in the running for 2020 were Kansas City and Cleveland, which was partnering with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in nearby Canton, Ohio.

"We remain committed to hosting an NFL draft in Northeast Ohio and will continue to work closely with the NFL to identify the ideal opportunity for our fans, our city and the league," the Browns said in a statement.

"There are many teams and cities across the NFL who are capable of creating an exceptional draft experience for fans, including the Titans and Raiders, and we are still hopeful we may ultimately share that honor in the future."

April 23-25 will be the dates for the Las Vegas draft.

"The events in the draft are going to take place on and around the Las Vegas Strip," said Peter O'Reilly, the league's senior vice president of events. "We'll take advantage of some of the large spaces around the Strip as well as some of the iconic locations that will provide an incredible backdrop for the draft. We're certainly highlighting the Raiders' new stadium that will be just months away from occupying starting the 2020 season."


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'Where is the humanity?': Chris Thompson opens up on the negative side of social media

'Where is the humanity?': Chris Thompson opens up on the negative side of social media

There are a ton of positives, from specific examples like what Derrius Guice has been able to do with Redskins supporters since being drafted or more general things like getting the chance to see what your favorite 'Skin is up to on an off day, that have resulted from the growing relationship between players and fans through social media. 

But with that increased connection comes increased volatility. Now, you don't have to be within earshot at a stadium to get on someone wearing Burgundy and Gold for a mistake they made or a loss they participated in. 

It's that second part — the constant criticism that largely goes unseen — that upsets Chris Thompson.

So, while he was responding to a question about Mason Foster's leaked Instagram messages, the running back made sure to comment on life as an athlete on social media overall.

"Dealing with the fans, it's hard because we're all human," Thompson said. "It's real tough when people keep coming at you and saying negative stuff towards you like we're not human beings and we're not supposed to say something at some point."

The veteran, who has distanced himself from things like Instagram and Twitter and has noticed how his mental state has improved because of that distancing, knows that ignoring the negativity is the proper route to take. It's far from the easiest route, though.

"Once you say something back to them it's like, 'Oh, you're not supposed to say anything,'" Thompson explained. "No, we're all human. If you say something, sometimes you should expect a response. And then on the flip side, there are some times we just gotta hold our tongue, and it's really, really, really, really hard sometimes. You don't know how hard it is."

Jonathan Allen is another Redskin who tries to limit his exposure to certain apps and sites these days. The fan interaction is something he enjoys, but in the end, it doesn't take much for those interactions to sour.

"The way I look at it, 99-percent of fans are great," Allen said. "They're supportive of what you do, they're always gonna love the Redskins. But there's gonna be that 1-percent of fans who aren't like that, and those are the fans that are gonna ruin it for everybody and give players the bad image of all the fans."

Thompson told one story of a recent message he got online from someone who blamed him for ruining his fantasy season by missing games due to injury. The 28-year-old couldn't comprehend how someone could write that to him while he's battling through broken ribs on both sides and an ankle issue.

Sadly, it was just one example that stood out among countless others, all of which make up the uglier side of technology in 2018.

"Where is the humanity?" Thompson said. "It sucks because we're not really looked at as humans. We're kind of robots. We're not supposed to have feelings, we're only supposed to show emotion on the field and everything should be about football, football, football."


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