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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a receiver with their top pick?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a receiver with their top pick?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 19, 11 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today I’m going to empty out the inbox and answer some good questions that don’t require a full post to answer. Let’s get rolling with the Sunday Quick Hits:

I would say that it’s Spencer Long. I think that he was close to moving up into a starting role last season but he couldn’t quite push Chris Chester aside. Given a full offseason (he was limited last year by a knee injury he suffered as a senior at Nebraska) he should be able to break through and become an upgrade over Chester. I don’t think that it will be a disaster if Trent Murphy starts; I think he’s the type of player who will work to continue to improve every year. Even if he didn’t have the issue of the Lisfranc injury Morgan Moses still might not be ready to start so a draft pick who can compete with Tom Compton at right tackle is almost a necessity.

A few things here. First, he’s an NFL head coach and that is a pressure-packed job. I don’t think Gruden is undergoing any more scrutiny than any coach who won just four games in his first year. But the stories that he is almost certainly out after this season are not based in anything other than sheer speculation. Dan Snyder is not anxious to pay off the final three years of Gruden’s fully-guaranteed contract. Nor are Snyder, Bruce Allen, and Scot McCloughan inclined to tear things up by the roots and start all over again. As long as Gruden shows improvement in terms of handling his job and some of the team’s on-field problems start to go away, Gruden is safe.

Roy, I’m not sure what it’s going to take to persuade fans like you that the Redskins are going to draft the best player available. Here’s McCloughan from his introductory presser: ““I’m never under the assumption that you draft for need. You draft the best available football player on the board.” And Gruden from the combine: “We have a lot of areas that we need to look at, and we’re just going to look at the best available player, period.” Add to that the fact that both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon both will turn 30 next year and will cost nearly $20 million against the salary cap, creating a need at WR and I don’t think there is any smokescreen involved here. If Kevin White or Amari Cooper is the best player on the board, that’s who McCloughan will take.

This is the question that everyone wants the answer to but we really don’t know. It’s been well established that McCloughan has let it be known that he is open to trading the pick but there are a lot of variables beyond that. Who is still on the board that someone might want to trade up to get? How much are the teams willing to give up to move up? If a player like Leonard Williams, perhaps the best player in the draft, is still on the board, do the Redskins abandon any notion of a trade and make the pick? For the time being, we know that McCloughan will make a deal if the right one is there but beyond that we’re just going to have to wait and see how it unfolds.

Timeline

—It’s been 112 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 147 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 1; 2015 NFL Draft 11; Redskins minicamp starts 58

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

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

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Timeline  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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