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Need to Know: Sorting out the roles for the Redskins’ 2015 draft class

May 3, 2015, 6:11 AM EDT

Matt Jones tackle

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 3, 44 days before the Redskins hold their mandatory minicamp.

Role playing

Here is a quick assessment of what the role of each of the Redskins’ draft picks might be in the coming season.

OL Brandon Scherff—He will be plugged in at right tackle and over the course of the season we will see if he is more suited to playing guard or tackle in the NFL.

OLB Preston Smith—I’m not even sure if the coaches know exactly how he will be used at this point. Smith will be used in a variety of roles, playing with his hand in the dirt and in a two-point stance. He and Trent Murphy, who also might line up in a variety of spots, will compete for playing time.

RB Matt Jones—The obvious spot to use him early on is in short-yardage situations, giving him the ball and having him bang out a couple of yards on third and one. He will compete with Silas Redd for carries when Alfred Morris needs a rest.

WR Jamison Crowder—Jay Gruden said that he could well be the punt returner from Day One and he will back up Andre Roberts as the slot receiver. It will be hard for a fourth-round receiver to get very many snaps as a rookie.

G Arie Kouandjio—It’s not realistic to think he could compete for a starting job this year. He will need to battle with Spencer Long (or Chris Chester if Long beats him out for the starting job) and Josh LeRibeus for backup roster spots. LeRibeus and Chester are better suited to the zone-blocking scheme so Kouandjio could benefit from the team’s move to more of a power scheme.

ILB Martrell Spaight—He likely will need to push his way past either Will Compton or Adam Hayward to land a spot as a reserve inside linebacker. To do that he will have to excel on special teams.

S Kyshoen Jarrett—Virginia Tech is known for its emphasis on special teams and that is how Jarrett will have to earn his way onto the 53-man roster. It will be tough for him to get a regular role on defense even if he does.

CB Tevin Mitchel—Like Jarrett, he will have to carve out a role on special teams. Cornerback is rather crowded and it will be tough for Mitchel to earn snaps on defense.

WR Evan Spencer—The same theme continues here; he is also going to need to play some special teams to make the 53. It will be interesting to see if Gruden carves out a roster spot for a sixth wide receiver. Holdovers Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Roberts, and Ryan Grant aren’t going anywhere and Crowder is likely to claim the fifth spot.

C Austin Reiter—Last year Chester was the backup center and that is a typical arrangement on many teams. Reiter might even have a tough time beating out Tyler Larsen, a second-year player signed as a free agent. If he can’t work his way onto the 53 a practice squad job is a possibility.


—It’s been 126 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 133 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 44; Redskins training camp starts 88; Redskins @ Giants 144

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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  1. Ken - May 3, 2015 at 6:26 AM

    Do you have any idea why they passed on Tre Jackson then picked Kouandjio?

    • Anthony - May 3, 2015 at 7:02 AM

      Tre was selected one pick before Washington selection.

    • abanig - May 3, 2015 at 11:22 AM

      We wanted more picks so we traded back and we didn’t have a different grade for the two. Kuandjo has the same upside as Jackson does.

  2. timwillhidetimwillhide - May 3, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    Well its Over Some on here argued up and down that they wouldn’t take Sheriff at #5 and there was no way they would Draft 3 linemen. In fact some people where quite rude about it acting like me and others had no clue what we were talking about. ….Where Are They Now???

    • troylok - May 3, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      Okay. You had one clue. So you weren’t completely clueless. You were incompletely clueless. I guess that is better.

      BTW, I’m not one of the people who criticized, but I thought Scherff (not Sheriff) was a reach. I have to believe for them to draft the guy this high, they believe he will some day be their left tackle. Seems like a stretch. I am just happy that we seem to have a sizeable plug for the right tackle position and we’re doing it with a guy who brings back some of the Hog-swagger.

      And I am completely happy with 3 linemen being drafted.

    • hail74 - May 3, 2015 at 10:50 AM

      I had no problem with you wanting Scherff but you also wanted 9-10 new olinemen and wanted them to sign broken down jake long. That I couldn’t agree with.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - May 3, 2015 at 11:33 AM

        Again I didnt want 9 or 10. I said 3 mid round guys or Shereff and a mid round and a late round linemen. I also wanted to sign 1 or 2 Afree Agents wich we still might do. Everyone kept trying to blend together what I wanted and were saying I wanted 9- 10 linemen which I never said.

        • brucefan1 - May 3, 2015 at 12:01 PM

          So what IS the pronunciation of this guy’s name anyway?! LOL!

          I hear “Shurf”, “Shairf” AND “Sheriff”(that last one I can’t figger! Ha)

          Not that it matters much — as long as we don’t call him “late to dinner” (my father always used that line) — until I hear it from Brandon’s mouth I’m gonna call him “Sheriff Shurf”.

          (Now back to your regular programming.)

    • abanig - May 3, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      To be fair, we draft a 4th round and 7th round g & c. For those who thought we wouldn’t draft 3 lineman, they did say if we did that we’d draft a mid and late round guy.

      Many people were trying to say we’d draft Scherff and a 2nd or 3rd round G or C, which didn’t happen.

      7th round picks are basically undrafted free agents that you like a little more than the udfa’s. It’s not like they took a major leap of faith by drafting a 7th round center.

      • sidepull - May 3, 2015 at 2:08 PM

        I bet if AJ Cann did not gone off he board right before they were to pick that he would have been a Redskin today. I think that Cann not being there was why they traded the pick. Who knows, I just doubt seriously that they would have traded the pick with Cann sitting there,

        • abanig - May 3, 2015 at 2:47 PM

          The truth is that there are more parts of the team than just the offensive line, that’s why you’ll rarely see a team take the same position back to back like the Bengals did his year

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - May 3, 2015 at 4:21 PM

          I could have seen them taking back to back Olinemen. They took care of allot of their major holes during free agency.

        • theproductdoctor - May 4, 2015 at 1:44 AM

          I agree,

  3. brucefan1 - May 3, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    In most cases a team can only hope that a lower round draftee can earn a backup spot or contribute on Teams. But what every NFL fan dreams of is that one of them really shows out!

    Gotta dream that Scot’s worked a little of his magic and found another Alfred Morris (too much?) or at least a “Breshard” Breeland somewhere in rounds 4 thru 7.

    Me? I got my eye on the little feller from Duke, Jamison Crowder. The TV guys were gushing over him! Watching his highlights, I saw a lotta Santana Moss in him. As a returner alone, I hope he can improve things. (Kinda like the ferocity of Spraight, too! Oh well…who knows?!)

    As far as early rounds, Preston Smith (who’s name I hadn’t heard mentioned in the pre-draft hype…hmmm) really intrigues me! Imagine if he CAN developed as an edge rusher as well as an edge-setter, as well as show versatility all along the defensive front?! If McC hit on this pick, the Redskins have a BEAST on their hands!!

    • troylok - May 3, 2015 at 10:00 AM

      I don’t know. Crowder’s a little guy in a big man’s game. He isn’t even all that fast according to his 40 time. He might be able to beat feet in the college game. I’ll be a believer after he gets one of those crunching hits on a return and he gets up smiling.

      Me? I think the safety from Virginia Tech is going to be a handful on special teams and they are going to start trying to find ways to get him on the field on defense. The dude is like another linebacker. I especially like the talk about how he covers tight ends. I remember the Giants game last year where we gave up three touchdowns to their tight end, so we need someone who can match up physically with those pass catching tight ends.

      • abanig - May 3, 2015 at 11:32 AM

        Yeah. Jarrett was a good pick also and he’s a tough safety who tackles. That’s why he was selected over some of the other safeties like UVA’s Anthony Harris, Gerrod Holliman, Derron Smith and Kurtis Drummond.

        I still think that Jeron Johnson is our starter at SS, Phillip Thomas is the back up. There’s a possibility Akeem Davis or Jarett work their way onto the team as just a special teams guy. Most likely, Jarrett is a special teams guy though.

      • brucefan1 - May 3, 2015 at 12:15 PM

        Good point on Crowder’s speed. But you heard the comparisons to Welker and Edelman, right? If he’s at all of their ilk, he could be sweet.

        Jarrett IS interesting too! There was one one of the Skins 2 DB picks that ESPN(?) keep listing as an LB. Was it him. (Probably just an oversight by on their part). As far as Mitchel is concerned, one of the local media guys speculated that the Skins might take a CB they could convert to a cover safety. Maybe him?

        Man we thought the buzz leading up to the draft was intense; the parsing of Mac’s pics and the scrutiny of them this summer might be off the chain!

      • ET - May 3, 2015 at 12:21 PM

        Jarrett is a good pick-up. He hits hard.

        Glad we avoided safeties (e.g., Holliman) that are ballhawks but can’t frackin’ tackle. I think Jarrett’ll make some big plays on ST this coming season, and hopefully become a solid backup or rotational player (Dare I hope a future starter? Too early).

        • ET - May 3, 2015 at 12:42 PM

          Also intrigued by Spaight. Most tackles in the SEC! He seems to have some big upside, and should be a good ST hitter while Olivadetti coaches him up.

      • dfranredskinsfan34 - May 3, 2015 at 11:40 PM

        I agree with you on that…seemed like every game we was getting beat over the middle by a tight end….not just the giants game either

    • abanig - May 3, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      Preston Smith has been a riser the past few months, he’s a versatile big olb that could slide inside and play DE some like Murphy.

      He was talked about by a lot of people recently. He will be a good player for the skins.

      I’d watch out for Tevin Mitchel. He could be a late round gem. In his first two years as Arkansas he was seen as one of the best young Dbs in the SEC. Then, he had a few injuries and it derailed his career his last two years at Ark.

      I think he could be another late round DB gem found by Scot. Mitchel has the talent, he just has to stay healthy.

    • wncskinsfan - May 3, 2015 at 1:25 PM

      love the Moss reference. agree. He’s a tough guy, could prove to be legit in the NFL. I cant wait to see him start receiving punts/kicks.

  4. mr.moneylover - May 3, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    I think most if not all these guys will make the 53 man roster…chris chester I think is a long shot to make the 53 man roster…jay gruden wanted to bench chris chester but he aint want to throw spencer long on the field if he wasnt ready to play …jay gruden instead just gave him a whole year to get his self ready to compete this year in training camp…..jamison crowder might get a few touches in the offense this year it probably depends on how bad andre roberts play this year….I also wouldn’t be surprised if ryan grant get the starting spot over andre roberts…andre Roberts only caught 31 out of 71 passes thats bad…CB tevin mitchel was a good pickup hes a player who play with attitude and physical that another player who I think jay gruden will give playing time back up breeland

    • abanig - May 3, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      I agree with you. I think Leribeus & Kuandjo are kept over Chester. I think Long and Lauvao start.

      I like Tevin Mitchel’s potential, he was highly regarded before injuries derailed his career starting in his junior year.

      I also agree about Roberts, he may not make this team is Grant, Crowder & Spencer shine as special teams players and show as much as receivers. Although, I can’t imagine Roberts playing as poorly as he did last year.

      Cooley did predict that Grant would be the slot guy over Roberts this year, for the record.

  5. mr.moneylover - May 3, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    The picks are good…I know atleast 5 players on the list are gonna be home run hitters for sure by looking at the film …martrell spaight remind me of the Lorenzo Alexander aka one man gang when he huge to lay them big hits this guy martrell spaight loves to lay big hits on ppl I agree with jay gruden hes gonna be a force to be reckoned with…if they put him along the side of keenan Robinson its gonna be trouble for the other team

    • abanig - May 3, 2015 at 11:38 AM

      He reminds me of London Fletcher

  6. abanig - May 3, 2015 at 11:17 AM


    QB (3) – Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

    RB (4) – Alfred Morris, Silas Redd, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

    FB (1) – Darrell Young

    TE (3) – Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

    WR (5) – Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder

    LT (2) – Trent Williams, Morgan Moses

    LG (2) – Shawn Lauvao, Josh Leribeus

    OC (1) – Kory Lichtensteiger

    RG (2) – Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio

    RT (2) – Brandon Scherff, Tom Compton

    Defense: (25)

    RDE (2) – Jason Hatcher, Frank Kearse

    NT (2) – Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker

    LDE (2) – Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean Francois

    ROLB (2) – Trent Murphy, Jackson Jeffcoat

    RILB (2) – Keenan Robinson, Will Compton

    LILB (3) – Perry Riley, Martrell Spaight, Adam Hayward

    LOLB (2) – Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith

    CB (5) – Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland, Deangelo Hall, Tracy Porter, Tevin Mitchel

    FS (2) – Dashon Goldson, David Amerson

    SS (3) – Jeron Johnson, Phillip Thomas, Akeem Davis

    Special Teams: (3)

    K (1) – Kai Forbath
    P (1) – Tress Way
    LS (1) – Nick Sundberg

    Practice Squad:

    C Austin Reiter
    S Kyshoen Jarrett
    WR Evan Spencer
    NT Robert Thomas
    DE Corey Crawford
    TE Devin Mahina
    OT Xaiver Nixon
    ILB/SS Dyshawn Davis
    QB Connor Halliday
    WR Quinton Dunbar

    • brucefan1 - May 3, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      Tracy Porter, huh? ;^}

      (But, all winking aside, if he can EVER stays injury-free he’s shown he CAN play CB in the league.)

      • krazyc64 - May 3, 2015 at 12:29 PM

        Throw these guys in the mix?

        Ty Long K UAB
        Devin Mahina TE BYU
        Tyler Rutenbeck WR Dubuque
        Takoby Cofield OT Duke
        Quinton Dunbar WR Florida
        Terrance Plummer ILB UCF
        Brey Cook OT Arkansas
        Corey Crawford DE Clemson
        Connor Halliday QB Washington State
        Dyshawn Davis LB Syracuse
        Ben Rhyne P Stanford

        • wncskinsfan - May 3, 2015 at 1:29 PM

          it’ll be interesting to see what shakes out with Chris Thompson and Philip Thomas. I have a feeling that those two might not make it.

  7. theproductdoctor - May 4, 2015 at 1:47 AM

    i hope Philip Thomas comes back health, He will be a nice addition. Archives

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