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Redskins reset 2015: Seeking ROI from revived RG3

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In a gesture as questionable as Robert Griffin III’s body of work thus far, the Washington Redskins exercised their option to pick up the fifth year of his rookie contract, however gingerly.

Griffin enters the final year of his initial, 2012 contract and will earn a base salary of $3.27 million, plus the final installment of his rookie signing bonus (3.45 million). The fifth-year option calls for Griffin to earn salary of roughly $16.155 million in 2016.

Although that salary is fully guaranteed, it is only for injury, which is a significant risk for the team considering Griffin’s brief pro history includes tore tendons in his right knee in 2012 and a dislocated right ankle last year that led to missing six more games.

Griffin will try to star in the Washington Redskins version of Back to the Future as he attempts to regain the offensive prolifics he showed as a rookie in 2012 before that knee injury changed his course.

In his second year under coach Jay Gruden, Griffin will try to lead the Redskins from the depths of a 7-25 streak over the last two seasons, including 4-12 last year when Gruden replaced Mike Shanahan.

This also marks the beginning of the Scot McCloughan era with the Redskins. After his impressive personnel work helping to build two of the best teams in the NFL — the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks — McCloughan squeezed another desk into the front office alongside veteran executive of many titles Bruce Allen.

McCloughan’s first draft does not seem dazzling on the surface as he ignored the chance to take USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams, touted by many as the best player in the draft, and instead grabbed offensive tackle Brandon Scherff at the No. 5 spot.

At 6-5, 320, Scherff was rated the top offensive lineman in the draft and not only does he fit McCloughan’s history of creating a tough-minded offense, he should help Griffin’s attempt at returning to stardom. Or at least health.

Scherff’s sizable presence will be expected when the Redskins hold their rookie minicamp next week, May 15-17.

Meanwhile, here is a look at the Redskins changes as they head into 2015:

2014 RECORD: 4-12, 4th in NFC East

COACH: Jay Gruden

2nd season as Redskins/NFL head coach

4-12 overall

2015 CAMP SCHEDULE

Rookie minicamp: May 15-17

OTA dates: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11

Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART

(Rookies in capitals)

Offense:

WR: P. Garcon, A. Roberts, J. CROWDER, J. Hamm

LT: T. Williams, M. Moses, X. Nixon

LG: S. Lauvao, J. Leribeus, A. KOUANDJIO

C: K. Lichtensteiger, C. Chester, T. Larsen, A. REITER

RG: C. Chester, S. Long

RT: B. SCHERFF, T. Compton

TE: J. Reed, N. Paul, L. Paulsen, C. Dixon

WR: D. Jackson, R. Grant, E. SPENCER, C. Lockett, R. Ross

QB: R. Griffin, C. Mccoy, K. Cousins

FB: D. Young

RB: A. Morris, S. Redd, M. JONES, C. Thompson, J. Campbell, M. Hill

Defense:

LDE: S. Paea, R. Jean-Francois, J. Gayle, L. Ross

NT: T. Knighton, C. Baker, K. Golston, R. Thomas, D. SIMON

RDE: J. Hatcher, F. Kearse, T. Robertson

LOLB: R. Kerrigan, T. Murphy, J. Jeffcoat

LILB: K. Robinson, W. Compton

RILB: P. Riley, A. Hayward, J. Davis, M. SPAIGHT

ROLB: P. SMITH, T. Williams

LCB: D. Hall, B. Breeland, T. Porter, T. MITCHEL

SS: D. Ihenacho, P. Thomas, J. Johnson, A. Davis, D. Cromartie-Smith

FS: D. Goldson, T. Robinson, K. JARRETT

RCB: C. Culliver, D. Amerson, J. Rogers, C. Bridget

Special Teams:

P: T. Way

PK: K. Forbath

LS: N. Sundberg

H: T. Way

PR: A. Roberts, D. Jackson

KR: A. Roberts, C. Thompson, B. Breeland

GRADING THE DRAFT — B

Per Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

Brandon Scherff wasn’t the most exciting pick at No. 5 overall but for a club that so often has gambled on dynamic athletes, the brawling blocker is the perfect “meat and potatoes” kind of pick to start the Scot McCloughan era in Washington. Jay Gruden’s scheme calls for bigger, stronger blockers than what former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan used and with Scherff and fourth round guard Arie Kouandjio, the Redskins certainly added that. Given the production of running back Alfred Morris and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in Washington, the addition of running back Matt Jones and slot receiver Jamison Crowder might be surprising, but each has the traits to project as early contributors in Gruden’s scheme. Tough-guy defenders Preston Smith, Martrell Spaight and Kyshoen Jarrett aren’t dynamic athletes, but are instinctive and highly physical.

SCOUTING ALL DRAFT PICKS

–Round 1/5 — Brandon Scherff, T, 6-5, 320, Iowa

USC defensive end Leonard Williams, considered by some to be the draft’s best player, was there for the taking, but after adding defensive linemen Ricky Jean Francois, Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea in free agency, the Redskins opted to address the other side of the line. Washington believes that Scherff, who’s penciled in at right tackle, will help them return to the glory days of the famed Hogs, who helped power them to four NFC titles and three Super Bowls from 1982-91.

–Round 2/38 — Preston Smith, LB, 6-5, 271, Mississippi State

As a senior defensive end, Smith recorded a tackle for a loss in 12 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games and became the only player in SEC history to be named the conference’s top defensive lineman three straight weeks. Smith led Mississippi State with 15 tackles for loss, 15 quarterback hurries and nine sacks while adding two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. He’ll begin his Redskins career at outside linebacker.

–Round 3/112 — Matt Jones, RB, 6-2, 231, Florida

In 28 career games at Florida, Jones carried 297 times for 1,431 yards (4.8-yard average) and 11 touchdowns. He posted three games with more than 150 yards. After his junior year ended after five games with a torn meniscus, Jones returned to start 10 of 11 games as a senior. Washington sees the sturdy Jones as a powerful, downhill runner who could replace Alfred Morris if the Pro Bowl back doesn’t return after his contract expires next winter.

–Round 4/104 — Jamison Crowder, WR, 5-8, 185, Duke

A first-team All-ACC receiver the past two seasons, Crowder was second in the conference with 85 catches while also returning two punts for touchdowns as a senior. Crowder led the ACC with 108 catches while producing 1,360 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013 while returning two punts for touchdowns. The Redskins have top receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, but third receiver Andre Roberts had a disappointing 2014 season. Roberts was also underwhelming on special teams with averages of 7.4 yards on punt returns and 23.7 yards on kickoff returns.

–Round 4/112 — Arie Kouandjio, G, 6-5, 310, Alabama

Started the past two seasons for the powerhouse Crimson Tide after undergoing multiple knee surgeries early in his college career. Kouandjio’s older brother, Cyrus, is a tackle for Buffalo. Veteran Redskins guards Shawn Lauvao and Chris Chester struggled in 2014. Backups Josh LeRibeus and Spencer Long have very little experience.

–Round 5/141 — Martrell Spaight, LB, 6-0, 236, Arkansas

The All-SEC weak-side linebacker led the Razorbacks with 128 tackles last season and will probably move inside for the Redskins. A two-time junior college All-America at Coffeyville (Kansas) CC.

–Round 6/181 — Kyshoen Jarrett, S, 5-10, 200, Virginia Tech

A versatile three-year starter who loves playing special teams, Jarrett was the Hokies’ top punt return man in 2012 and 2013. With their mother working full-time, Jarrett and his brothers helped care for their brother Daishawn, a legally blind triplegic with cerebral palsy who struggles cognitively and uses a wheelchair.

–Round 6/182 — Tevin Mitchel, CB, 6-0, 190, Arkansas

Started at least seven games during each of his four seasons. Father Eric was a wishbone quarterback at Oklahoma and was chosen in the sixth round by New England in 1989. A teammate of Spaight the past two seasons. Tries to play like Cleveland Pro Bowl corner Joe Haden.

–Round 6/187 — Evan Spencer, WR, 6-2, 208, Ohio State

Son of Tampa Bay running backs coach Tim Spencer and brother of Redskins scout Cole Spencer. Only caught 15 passes for the Buckeyes’ talent-laden national champions in 2014 after catching 22 in 2013 but threw a touchdown pass in the Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama.

–Round 7/222 — Austin Reiter, C, 6-3, 296, South Florida

Reiter started 36 straight games for the Bulls and was a candidate the past two seasons for the Rimington Award given to the nation’s top center. Best shot as a rookie might be the practice squad.

NOTABLE VETERANS ACQUIRED:

–CB Chris Culliver: UFA 49ers; $32M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$16M guaranteed.

–S Dashon Goldson (trade Buccaneers).

–RB Michael Hill: FA Colts; terms unknown.

–DE Ricky Jean Francois: FA Colts; $9M/3 yrs, $4M guaranteed.

–S Jeron Johnson: UFA Seahawks; $3.5M/2 yrs.

–DT Terrance Knighton: UFA Broncos; $4M/1 yr, $2M SB/$2.95M guaranteed.

–T Xavier Nixon (waivers Colts).

–DT Stephen Paea: UFA Bears; $21M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$7.85M guaranteed.

NOTABLE PLAYERS LOST:

–CB E.J. Biggers: UFA Eagles; $745,000/1 yr.

–DE Stephen Bowen (released).

–S Ryan Clark (UFA/retired).

–NT Barry Cofield (released/failed physical).

–WR Leonard Hankerson: UFA Falcons; $1M/1 yr, $255,000 SB.

–RB Roy Helu: UFA Raiders; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

–DE Jarvis Jenkins: UFA Bears; 1 yr, terms unknown.

–OLB Brian Orakpo: UFA Titans; $31M/4 yrs, $5 SB/$13.5M guaranteed.

–LB Ricky Sapp (released).

–LB Austin Spitler (released).

PRESEASON PEEK — Mark that calendar

All times Eastern

Aug. 13: at Cleveland (Thu.), 8:00

Aug. 20: DETROIT (Thu.), 7:30

Aug. 29: at Baltimore (Sat.), 7:30

Sept. 3: JACKSONVILLE (Thu.), 7:30


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