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Just like many others, Jay Gruden is very high on Trent Murphy

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Just like many others, Jay Gruden is very high on Trent Murphy

BY PETER HAILEY

Second year linebacker Trent Murphy has seen his stock rise about as fast as any Redskins player this offseason. 

The 24-year-old Stanford product truly impressed at OTAs, with eye witnesses describing him as faster, stronger, and just about every other -er in the book that relates to someone getting better. Those developments have led to many predicting that Murphy will be the main breakout player for the team in 2015.

When speaking about Murphy on Thursday, Jay Gruden said some things that will only add fuel to the hype behind #93's sophomore season. 

"Trent Murphy has done a really excellent job," Gruden said in his press conference before the first practice of training camp. "In OTAs, he probably had about 15 sacks, would've been sacks if we let the whistle blow. He's really put on some weight. He's stronger. He looks a little quicker. And he's got great knowledge of the system."

Gruden is especially fond of Murphy's enthusiastic work ethic.

"He's like a puppy -- he just gets in the weight room and he's just gonna get stronger and stronger and he's gonna become an angry dog here before too long," Gruden said. 

The starting job opposite of Ryan Kerrigan is currently up for grabs, as Murphy and rookie Preston Smith will be competing for the right to play there Week 1. Gruden acknowledged that taking Murphy's name off the top of the depth chart may be difficult, though.

"Trent's gonna be a tough guy to get out of that lineup. He plays hard, he's a physical guy, he's long, and he can move around quite a bit. Preston, we're excited about what he can do, and we got some young guys that played a lot last year that had to play when Orakpo got hurt and Trent got hurt, so those guys will also compete too." 

Competition is never a bad thing for a football team looking to get better across the board. And while it's obviously very early in the process, it sounds like Murphy has a leg up on everyone else for the other outside linebacker spot.

MORE REDSKINS: RYAN CLARK GIVES HIGH PRAISE TO SEAN TAYLOR

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

Today we are continuing to reveal the list of the players we ranked from 16-30.

Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—The team’s top draft pick (but not the second pick, who is in a higher-ranked group).  

—Two of the anticipated starting offensive linemen

—The team’s leading rusher from 2016

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second-leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skill set was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 

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