Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 13, nine days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.  

Most improved 2017 draft picks

If the Redskins are better this year than they were in 2017 it won’t be all about this year’s draft class or the free agents they signed or even the team have better luck on the injury front. They will rely in part on some of the players they drafted in 2017 to take big steps forward and become big contributors. Here are my five candidates to be this year’s versions of last year’s Matt Ioannidis and Kendall Fuller. 

CB Fabian Moreau—The Redskins let Bashaud Breeland walk and believed they could trade away Fuller in part because they think that Moreau will develop into a solid cornerback. He played just 59 snaps on defense last year with only seven of those coming in the last 11 games of the season so much of their faith is based on projection. 

OLB Ryan Anderson—The team’s second-round pick got some opportunities as a rookie, playing 193 snaps. However, he did not record a sack. He was expected to take some time to develop and although he might be a little behind schedule he should be a regular part of the rotation and a strong contributor this year.

C Chase Roullier—The Redskins traded up to get him in the sixth round last year so they liked what they saw in college. When Spencer Long went out with an injury Roullier stepped in to start in Week 8 and did a good job. He did miss three games with a broken hand he suffered in the Saints game (it should be noted that he finished that game with the broken hand, which was his snapping hand). This year, Roullier will be with the starters from the beginning of OTAs on and he should take a couple of steps forward.  


TE Jeremy Sprinkle—He played 126 snaps last year, but he was the target of just three passes for a player who was the No. 2 tight end for much of the year with Jordan Reed missing extensive time with injuries. I don’t see Sprinkle become a significant part of the passing offense, but he should get more opportunities and improve his blocking ability as well. 

DL Jonathan Allen and S Montae Nicholson—These two players are together because they didn’t seem to be having a problem with the rookie learning curve, but their seasons ended early with injuries. Both now are 100 percent physically (Allen nearly returned late last year) and should be ready to go. Everyone will keep a wary eye on both of them, particularly Nicholson, and just like any other players they could get injured again. But if they can stay healthy they should impact two levels of the defense starting Week 1.

(h/t to Mike Downes on Facebook for the topic suggestion)

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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Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 74
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 88

The Redskins last played a game 133 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 119 days. 

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