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Need to Know: How did the draft improve the Redskins’ 2015 opponents?

May 6, 2015, 4:58 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 6, 41 days before the Washington Redskins hold their mandatory minicamp.

Enemy Intel: How the draft improved the Redskins’ 2015 opponents

The Redskins believe they improved themselves in the recent draft. But the 13 different teams they will line up against this season also got better during those three days last week. Let’s look at what the top draft pick for each team on the Redskins’ schedule.

Dolphins, WR DaVante Parker—The Redskins’ revamped secondary with three new starters will be tested by the 6-3 Parker, who was just a shade behind Amari Cooper and Kevin White as the top receiver in the draft.

Rams, RB Todd Gurley—We’ll have to see if Gurley, who suffered a torn ACL last season, is playing or if he’s on the PUP list. Rookie backs can get up to speed in a hurry so if he’s healthy, look out.

Giants, OL Ereck Flowers—He is huge and has a ton of potential but he’s likely to be far from a finished product in Week 3. If he plays right tackle, which seems to be what they’re going to do there, Ryan Kerrigan could have a good Thursday night.

Eagles, WR Nelson Agholor—Jeremy Maclin played against the Redskins 10 times and averaged almost five catches for 75 yards per game, an average of 15 yards per catch. He’s out and Agholor is in and has the potential to do the same kind of damage to the Redskins.

Falcons, OLB Vic Beasley—You could make a case that the Redskins should have considered Beasley, with his strong pass rushing skills, with the fifth pick instead of Brandon Scherff. Depending on where Beasley lines up they could go head to head.

Jets, DL Leonard Williams—Or maybe Washington should have taken Williams. It’s likely that Williams will move around in the Jets’ 3-4 defensive front to it’s likely that he and Scherff will go head to head.

Bucs, QB Jameis Winston—The top pick in the draft will be about halfway through his rookie season so he could be starting to get the hang of it or he could be so confused he doesn’t know which way is up.

Patriots, DT Malcolm Brown—Nothing flash here, just a good, solid defensive lineman. He probably won’t start but he’ll play a few dozen snaps and help his team.

Saints, OT Andrus Peat—It looks like he’ll start on the left side and could be pretty well settled in at this point. Trent Murphy and Preston Smith will test Peat’s pass protection skills.

Panthers, OLB Shaq Thompson—If he catches on quickly he could be a solid playmaker but it seems likely he will be of real concern to opposing offenses in 2016 or 2017.

Cowboys, CB Byron Jones—A solid corner but not really a playmaker. We’ll have to see how the Dallas cornerback situation shakes out. If they keep Brandon Carr Jones could end up starting. If he stays, look for Jones to play in nickel situations.

Bears, WR Kevin White—So they traded away Brandon Marshall but they got the 6-3 White to pair with the 6-4 Alshon Jeffry. These will be tough matchups for the 6-0 Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland, 5-11.

Bills, CB Ronald Darby—The Bills didn’t have a first-round pick, taking Darby in the second round with the 50th overall pick. The guy to worry about is Sammy Watkins; the Bills used their first-round pick in this year’s draft to move up to get the wide receiver. He’s 6-1 but plays much bigger, catching anything thrown within his area code.



—It’s been 129 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 130 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 41; Redskins training camp starts 85; Redskins @ Giants 141

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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In case you missed it

  1. Jim Collins - May 6, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    Schreff was the only way the flush out RGIII as a pocket passer. Bob will have no excuses for real this year. They will easily be able to make a decision on RGIII this year after the line improvement. I hope he rises to the occasion. At any rate, Scot signed RGIIIs option, and built a line he can’t complain about. He has every receiver he could ask for. PROVE IT BOB… NO EXCUSES!

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - May 6, 2015 at 8:37 AM

      Pretty awesome all you need to do is Draft 1 player to fix an Oline that has 4 bad spots. I sooo wish this was true.

  2. bk70 - May 6, 2015 at 6:18 AM

    That raises the immediate question. Did the Redskins improve on speed of defensive players? We heard all about toughness and tackling abilities, but will the defense be able to catch players who get past them? Are you ready for some football? HTTR

  3. Jim Collins - May 6, 2015 at 6:22 AM

    If RGIII takes historic numbers of sacks this year we will easily be able to say it is his fault. I hope he is working on that footwork. One of his biggest issues was not dropping back to where the pocket was designed to protect him. The footwork places him in the protected zone and times the pass play for the open receiver. Without being in the right place and trusting the timing of the play, sacks could still mount. And that would only be in him. Come on RGIII we believed in you, PROVE IT!

  4. skinsgame - May 6, 2015 at 7:11 AM

    With Vince Wilfork gone, who is going to start in New England at defensive tackle if not Malcom Brown? I would expect that, no matter what Dallas does with Carr, it will benefit the Redskins. Either they keep Carr or they start a rookie CB. Pick your poison.The Redskins took some flak for drafting the OL Kouandjio and Matt Jones as well for so-called “durability questions”. Couldn’t pass a physical. Yet the Rams took a player with a torn ACL with the #10 pick and allegedly had one of the best drafts? Lol.

    Admittedly, I paid more attention to this draft than any other, maybe ever. The Redskins have a GM now and it made it so much more interesting for me. One thing I’ve noticed is the speculation and judgements are off the charts and some are laughable.

    • shermanp79 - May 6, 2015 at 10:14 AM

      That was a great pick for NE, they also took a couple of other guys who can get after the QB. It will be tough keeping up with their offense, if that D can finally really get after a QB, they could win it again. Their secondary needs that pressure, they are much weaker but RG3 needs to step up big if we have any shot of keeping it under a 14 point loss. The one shot is relentless pressure and I’m not sure we will be there next year. That short, slot WR dump is going to kill us.
      I think the R CB Jones is going to turn into a pretty good player. This year we may find Jackson going right by him. If they don’t get Peterson, their (Dallas) running game won’t be the same, they all get hurt. We could have a shot at winning both games if the QB play is just a bit above average. I think Romo gets hurt but also struggles again in big situations without Murray.

  5. mr.moneylover - May 6, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    When rg3 get protected we seen he can move the ball down field at a high level…even the great QBs need a lil bit more extra time to throw from the pocket sometime…week 1 we will know how well things work with this team

    • Skulb - May 7, 2015 at 12:48 AM

      Yeah I seen that too, three years ago. The offensive problems last year were comprehensive so to pretend like it`s because of too little time in the pocket is silly. Particularly when the Redskins QBs had an average NFL amount of time available to them of slightly over three seconds. If the zone blockers are going to be as horrible as they were at times last season I don`t care what you do with the line. It isn`t going to help.
      The best QBs in the NFL (Brady and Brees in particular) are able to make plays in 2-2,5 seconds and have no problems with bad lines. On many plays you could swap out the Partiots offensive line with training dummies and it wouldn`t make much difference because the ball would be gone anyway by the time rushers got to Brady. By contrast the slowest I saw Griffin last season was 12 seconds, at which point the entire offense had long since stopped and were looking back at him to see if he`d stepped on a land mine or something. This was the comical snap where he missed about five open receivers before skipping over the side line. His average in 2013, which had a better sample size, was 3,26 seconds, at least half a second too slow to deal with normal NFL rush speed/pocket durations.
      There are two solutions: the first is to make the offensive line and the blockers so good that you stretch the pocket duration to above Griffin`s average time to throw at 3+ seconds. The Seahawks have done this. Russell Wilson is one of the slowest QBs in the NFL at passing the ball but that`s OK because nobody can break down their lines. The second is to coach Griffin so he gets used to the tempo he needs to have and gets rid of the ball half a second faster. And the Patriots have done it this way with Brady and have the lowest pocket duration in the league. Either will work but you have to do at least one of these things.

      And even then you need good play calling, tactics and effort; all three of which were quite lacking last year too. The entire offense except Jackson was awful. Stop being awful is my advice!

  6. bowlregard - May 6, 2015 at 8:36 AM

    Eagle fans are worried about their offensive line. It was a weakness last year, and for the second straight year they took no linemen in the draft. On paper at least it looks like the Redskins defensive line will be too much for the Eagles’ offensive line.

    • bangkokben - May 6, 2015 at 10:12 AM

      Chip Kelly like Mike Shanahan has his own vision for linemen. If the Oregon-east experiment ever does blow up the ugliest thing will be the rebuild. Kelly is building that team for his system. As for the Eagles o-line, there are very few Redskin fans that wouldn’t have traded the entire ‘skins line for the Eagles line.

    • redskinscaio - May 6, 2015 at 11:57 AM

      In my opinion, the Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in football. They have Jason Peters, who is one of the best, and Mathis a guy who has gone to several pro bowls. Why do you think Sanchez was able to step in and have so much success?! Look at what McCOy did too. Watch what McCoy is going to do this year with the Bills’ offensive line.

      Trust me, Eagles’ offensive line was the STRENGTH of their team. Their weakness was their linebacking core. But, Chip kelly went out and traded away their aging RB McCoy and got one of the best young linebackers in the game in Kiko. That worries me as a Redskins fan. Chip is building a contender over there. He’s making great moves.

      • bowlregard - May 6, 2015 at 2:16 PM

        That was true in 2013, but last year not so much. Harrimann has gone to the Colts, and Mathis has been named as trade bait for quite a while. Injuries and age are catching up with them, except for Kelce and Johnson. Like much of the roster, the OL depends on being healthier than they were last year, as well as young players being able to step up.

    • ET - May 6, 2015 at 12:00 PM

      Most importantly, Bradford is a QB in need of good protection. I’d rate the Eagles O-line as so-so, but that may not cut it with a fragile QB. When Bradford goes down (when, not if), Kelly’s madcap visions will be seriously stunted.

  7. redskinscaio - May 6, 2015 at 12:09 PM


    Great article. I want to see Sherff go against Leonard Williams and hold him to zero sacks AND zero tackles! All the while, Alfred runs for 100 yards and scores a td. Sherff gets the game ball in the locker room and an old school Zorn’s, “hip hip, hooray” chant.

    Same thing goes for playing Vic Beasley and the Falcons.

    Against the Giants – I want to see Preston and Trent Murphy get a couple of sacks against Ereck Flowers, oh and against the Jets too. This way it helps to quiet the doubters who wanted Williams over Sherff.

    Rams – Todd Gurley is going to struggle because the Rams have one of the worst offensive lines in the game. To all the fans who don’t appreciate the value of a great offensive line, you’ll see. Poor Foles will be running for his life. The Rams should have gone with an offensive lineman with their first pick.

    Bucks beat us down last year. Now they have Winston.

    Drew Brees is going to have more time to pass the ball!?

    Tom Brady and the Patriots?!

  8. ET - May 6, 2015 at 12:25 PM

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys’ first two picks pan out. If Jones and Gregory come close to reaching their potential, the Dallas D will be significantly better. Gregory’s flame-out potential seems pretty high, however.

    • bowlregard - May 6, 2015 at 2:36 PM

      There’s been a lot of turnover on the Cowboys front seven. It remains to be seen how that pans out. As for Gregory, I figure the Skins strategy will be to run right at him.

  9. bangkokben - May 6, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    The most interesting matchups will be Scherff against Leonard Williams, Randy Gregory and Vic Beasley. If Scherff get beats by them it will be because he’s a rookie but I’m sure the blame brigade will be out in full force pointing fingers at Griffin, Chester, Lichensteiger, the tight ends and/or the running backs.

  10. abanig - May 6, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Did Rich write this? I’m sure it’s an auto correct issue, but there’s several typos in this and Rich doesn’t usually have any. Seems odd…

    Anyways, I’m most worried about seeing a Scherff vs Beasley match up. Hopefully, Trent Williams will be the one blocking Beasley. If that’s the case, I’ll feel a lot more comfortable being able to block him.

    Blocking the Jets defensive front is going to be hard for any team! I feel better now that we have Scherff but still, whomever our qb is that game better get the ball out fast.

    The rest I’m not too concerned about, unlike the past few years, this year I think we have the front seven to out pressure on opposing OLs & QBs and the Dbs on the back end to match up with other teams star wrs. Archives

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