Redskins minicamp questions

May, 16, 2014
May 16
8:30
AM ET
The Redskins will start to see what they have in their rookie class when their three-day minicamp begins Friday. It runs through Sunday (with one day, Saturday, open to the media). They have a number of tryout players in attendance; some players will be told no thanks before the weekend is even finished. Some of the tryout guys might earn a contract, though that would also mean one of the current undrafted signees would then be cut.

Here are three questions entering the weekend:

What is Jay Gruden’s style?

This will be our first chance to be around him in a practice setting. Because he’s dealing with rookies this weekend, there’s a chance he’ll be a little different than he would be with veterans or when it’s closer to the season. In-season, for example, he might stick more with one group. Now, he might opt to walk around more and get a feel for more players.

For now the focus is on teaching and trying to see which tryout guys should be signed, if any, as opposed to preparing to win games. Still, we’ll get a glimpse of how he’ll be Saturday (the only day that’s open to the media).

What can you learn from the rookies this weekend?

Well, the higher they were drafted the better they should look. If not, well …

But, really, it’s about watching guys work. How do the defensive backs -- Bashaud Breeland in particular -- compete against the receivers? The opposite is true when looking at receiver Ryan Grant. Do they look fast or can you get a glimpse of what makes them excel?

For the coaches it’s really more about seeing how they retain information, going from the classroom to the practice field. Players' heads will be swimming in information, so they might not always play as fast in full-team work. Can they also take to coaching? How many times do they need to hear something before it clicks? Little clues are revealed this weekend.

Trent Murphy and tackle Morgan Moses will receive more attention because of where they were drafted and the expectation they can help this season. But I’ll be also curious to see how running back Lache Seastrunk moves. Really, though, it’s just a first impression and nothing matters until they do it against the veterans.

Which undrafted player has a shot to make the roster, if any?

One of the 10 undrafted free agents will become an intriguing story during training camp, gearing for either a roster spot or place on the practice squad.

The Redskins had two players who were former undrafteds start on offense last season in tight end Logan Paulsen and fullback Darrel Young.

Defensively, Ryan Clark entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He’s now entering his 13th season. Linebacker Akeem Jordan, who will compete for the starting position next to Perry Riley, went undrafted in 2007. Stephen Bowen was undrafted in 2006.

So which current undrafted free agent has a shot? Impossible to say without seeing them first -- and it will be real tough until seeing them in training camp. I asked one coach about the undrafted guys, if there was one he was anxious to see. His response? Need to see them first. Whatever these players did in college doesn't matter; they have a ton to prove here.

But the Redskins clearly want to look for more receiver depth considering four of the 10 they signed play that position. Of that group, BYU’s Cody Hoffman has size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and pedigree (his father played in the NFL), but had some of the worst measurables of any receiver at the combine. But he returned kickoffs. Indiana’s Kofi Hughes was a standout special-teamer. If you’re going to make it as an undrafted, and likely be the last player at your position group, excelling on special teams is a must.

There are a handful of interesting names among the undrafteds: running back Silas Redd; tight end Kevin Perry, a former basketball player; and nose tackle Chris Davenport. But it’s tough to pay close attention to them or the tryout guys. More of the focus will be -- and should be -- on the draft picks.

However, after this weekend, the Redskins will have a feel for which undrafted guys might be worth watching.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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