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Redskins outclass NFC East for 2015 rookie haul

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Redskins outclass NFC East for 2015 rookie haul

Though it happens every year, judging a draft class immediately following the draft is largely an exercise in futility. Football players need to play before they can be properly graded. Now, with Redskins GM Scot McCloughan working away towards his second draft class, seems an appropriate time to look back at his first batch of Redskins rookies.

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks broke down the entire 2015 NFL Draft by division, assigning grades for each class and projections for the first round in 2016. While the Redskins were the best NFC East team on the field in 2015, when it comes to 2015 draft grades, Washington dominated. Brooks graded the Redskins 2015 rookie haul as an A-, and the next highest grade was the Cowboys at B-. Both the Giants and Eagles received a C+.

MORE FOOTBALL: ARENA LEAGUE COMING TO DC?

Highlighting the Redskins class was first-round pick Brandon Scherff. The guard out of Iowa started all 16 games for Washington and stabilized the right side of the line, an immediate impact player in a draft class full of them. Brooks called Scherff a "rock solid blocker" and added that the right guard brought a nasty attitude to the offensive line. Here's the rest of Brooks' analysis of the Redskins' rookies:

"Preston Smith made solid contributions with his workmanlike presence off the edge. He notched eight sacks as a situational rusher and flashed big-time potential as a future starter. Matt Jones showed glimpses of being a future starter at running back. Washington's ground game could revolve around him in Year 2 if Alfred Morris leaves as a free agent. Jamison Crowder is a star in the making as a dynamic slot receiver/kick returner. He is a terrific route runner with outstanding ball skills and playmaking ability. Look for Crowder to play a big role as a WR2/WR3 going forward."

For anyone that watched the 'Skins in 2015, it's hard to disagree. And other rookies like Kyshoen Jarrett and Quinton Dunbar emerged as strong players for McCloughan's squad.

As for the 2016 projections, Brooks expects the Skins to go defense, and specifically the secondary. 

The team's brass will spend a lot of time investigating Ohio State's Eli Apple, Virginia Tech's Kendall Fuller and Clemson's Mackensie Alexander to see if they can handle the CB1 role. The Redskins also need a playmaking safety to serve as an apprentice under veteran DeAngelo Hall. Boise State's Darian Thompson, West Virginia's Karl Joseph and Southern Utah's Miles Killebrew will draw interest as potential rovers in the back end.

After a strong performance in 2015, it's now time for McCloughan to follow it up. That's how the best teams are built, with strong drafts stacked on top of one another, and that's the strategy McCloughan has repeatedly said he intends to pursue. 

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 

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Redskins 53-man roster projection, ver. 2.0

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Redskins 53-man roster projection, ver. 2.0

<< Click here to see Redskins 53-man roster projection ver. 2.0 >>

The Redskins are halfway through the preseason and the first two games may have done more to muddy the waters when it comes to who will make the 53-man roster than they did to clarify things. 

Here is my second training camp prediction of who will make the final cut for the Redskins. See where players are safe and where the hot spots are for competition. 

Among the big battles taking shape:

—An injury and one player’s impressive preseason have juggled the wide receiver depth chart. 

—With Orlando Scandrick cut, the cornerback position looks set but the rookies had better not do anything to shake the coaches’ confidence in them. 

—There are seven safeties who may be worthy of roster spots, but only four are likely to make it. 

—Despite the Hogan-led rally last night, it still looks like the roster will have only two QBs. 

<< Click here to see Redskins 53-man roster projection ver. 2.0 >>

Redskins 2018 news:

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-Analysis: Five Redskins-Jets observations

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 and on Instagram @RichTandler