- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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The era of the long contract negotiations ended when players agreed to the new collective bargaining agreement and its slotting system for draft picks. So signing rookies isn’t as hard as it was in the past -- which explains why the Washington Redskins signed six of their rookies to contracts Friday morning.
But everyone else has signed their contracts: guard Spencer Long (third round), cornerback Bashaud Breeland (fourth round), receiver Ryan Grant (fifth round), running back Lache Seastrunk (sixth round), tight end Ted Bolser (seventh round) and place kicker Zach Hocker (seventh round).
All of the draft picks are expected to attend the three-day rookie minicamp that begins Friday and runs through Sunday. Ten undrafted free agents and a number of tryout players also will attend.
Here’s a quick rundown on how the signed rookies fit in:
Long will begin at right guard, where he played at Nebraska, though the Redskins feel he can play all three interior positions. One scout felt he was better at center; the Redskins like him at guard. The Redskins also have former draft picks Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis and Maurice Hurt at guard -- and also signed veteran Shawn Lauvao to start and Mike McGlynn to backup. It’s a crowded field.
Breeland will compete to be a backup corner, the No. 4 at best. But they expect him to provide immediate help on special teams. Among the other corners jockeying for this spot: E.J. Biggers, Chase Minnifield, Richard Crawford.
Grant can play in the slot, but needs to get stronger. The Redskins need depth at receiver. They’re set with their top three receivers (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts). They also have Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss.
Seastrunk has a chance to earn playing time this season because of his ability to be a home run hitter out of the backfield, as coach Jay Gruden said Saturday. Seastrunk clearly has the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. But he’ll also need to show that he can handle a pass-catching role -- something the Redskins don’t need him to do this year, but will be one they’d like him for in the future. It’s not just about his hands as it is being able to handle pass-protection duties that will matter as well. "I really feel like I can catch the ball very, very well," Seastrunk said. “I feel like I proved that at the combine and at my pro day.”
Bolser must show he can help on special teams, something he did at Indiana. He likely would be more of a move tight end, rather than someone lining up on the line a la Logan Paulsen. Niles Paul is the No. 3 tight end right now.
Hocker will challenge Kai Forbath for the place kicker’s job. It’s hard to imagine the Redskins keeping two kickers, though Jay Gruden called it a possibility. Hocker has a stronger leg for kickoffs, but must show he can make field goals in an NFL game. Forbath is 35-for-40 the past two years combined.