Mailbag: Rookies who could take veterans’ jobs, and more. . .

The Redskins took David Amerson (1) in the second round - their first pick of the draft.

The Redskins took David Amerson (1) in the second round – their first pick of the draft.

The dust from the NFL Draft is settling, and the Washington Redskins added seven picks – all of whom will be in town later this week for the team’s rookie minicamp.

But for now, it’s time to tackle all of your questions sent in this weekend. Most are draft- and depth-chart related, but there are a few other topics.

Let’s dive in.

Which veterans should be concerned for their roles/roster spots as a result of the players drafted?

– John Little

Obviously they have to get into the video room and show they can pick up the Redskins’ offensive and defensive systems quickly, but under the scenario that Mike Shanahan & Co. get the kids coached up quickly, and the rookies have a good offseason, here’s a list of each rookie and the veterans that could “be concerned” for their roles on the team:

Why? The Redskins are looking for a fast cornerback with good height and length that can cover receivers on the outside. Currently, DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson most likely are the starters, and Hall would seem to slide inside to cover slot receivers for a second straight season, although Wilson can do so as well. Amerson doesn’t have the experience that Biggers does, but he’s two inches taller than the 5-foot-11 Biggers and possesses similar speed. (Biggers ran a 4.32 40-yard dash coming out of college; Amerson a 4.35). Crawford and Minnifield are both 5-10 and clocked 40 times in the mid-4.4 range.

Why? If healthy, Davis is the starter. But Reed could push Paulsen and Paul for playing time. He still has growing to do, being that he has only played tight end two seasons. But Shanahan loves the athleticism, speed (4.59 is his best 40 time), elusiveness and versatility he observed in Reed at Florida. Shanahan said Reed has the ability to play on the line, move over to slot receiver, or split out wide. Reed’s success could impact Davis’s future with the team. If Reed does well, Washington could opt to go with him as the more affordable option, and let Davis depart via free agency next offseason.

Why? Assuming that Brandon Meriweather makes a full recovery, he is the team’s starting strong safety. Shanahan obviously hasn’t yet seen Thomas on the field in Jim Haslett’s system yet, but his role at Fresno State was very similar to the free safety role in Washington’s defense, and because of that, Shanahan said he could possibly start. Reed Doughty is better suited as Meriweather’s backup, and it’d be Gomes and Pugh competing for that starting free safety job in training camp. (Tanard Jackson won’t be eligible for reinstatement until somewhere between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3, so for now, he’s not in the discussion). Rambo says he’s more comfortable at free safety, but Shanahan said he could play strong safety as well. If he’s able to do well at learning both positions, that versatility will pose a threat to Gomes and Pugh on the depth chart. Doughty’s leadership, experience and strong special teams play helps him when it comes to earning a roster spot. If Meriweather has a setback, it’s possible that Rambo could compete for that starting job. Both rookie safeties can help themselves additionally by doing well on special teams.

Why? The Redskins are looking for a more explosive, pass-catching back that can pose a threat to teams on third downs. That’s why they took Thompson and Jamison. Royster doesn’t so much fit this bill, but there are only so many spots on the roster. Helu is more in this mold, but he has to prove he can stay healthy. If Thompson (who also must prove he can stay healthy after missing time with serious back and knee injuries the past two years) comes in and does well, he could challenge for this role. Jamison could as well, or, if not, at the very least, he could bump Tristan Davis (injured all of last season) out of a job.

Why? Jenkins will have some learning to do as he converts from defensive end to outside linebacker (he has played some in high school and off and on in college, so that helps). But if he shows he can get learn quickly and get after the quarterback, then he can help in spots. You can never have too many pass-rushers. He’s not going to overtake Ryan Kerrigan or Brian Orakpo. Rob Jackson – although he’ll miss four games because of suspension – has starting experience, so he would be ahead of Jenkins on the depth chart. But guys battling for spots on the roster, like Tapp (also converting from end to linebacker), So’oto and Elmore could be overtaken by the rookie.

Remind me please why do we need another CB that constantly bites on double moves like Amerson does?  It really does not look like we’ve gotten much of an upgrade here.

– William Rizi

Amerson admitted he was susceptible to the double-move because he was trying too hard to make plays, but that over-aggression is something that could – hopefully, for the Redskins – be fixed through coaching. Raheem Morris will be charged with taking Amerson and his great athleticism and size and turning him into a disciplined, yet dynamic playmaker for the Redskins.

Why did the skins draft the second running back? I like the first one and the extra dimension he brings.

– James Eye

The Redskins basically have one proven back on their roster, and that’s Alfred Morris. Royster has his limitations, and can get you yards in chunks, but isn’t as consistent as Morris, and he doesn’t possess that speed you need as a third down back. Helu hasn’t proven he can stay healthy. So, the Redskins felt like they could take a chance on Thompson, who could fit that third-down role, and then late in the draft, Jamison was a player they had rated higher, and so they took him as well to see what he can offer.

I’m sure you’ll be inundated with these, but after choosing two DBs and a TE in the first three rounds, how can the organization justify the glaring absence of adding ANY offensive linemen? I realize the line worked for the Kyle Shanahan game-planning, but I would think adding a prospect on either the inside or outside of the line would be good for Washington’s most-watched knee!  Please tell me that Shanahan is good at picking up undrafted players or something to assuage my fears!

– Bill Black

The Redskins passed on the offensive linemen in the draft because they feel good about the players they have coming back as starters (Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus) and the guys they drafted last year (guards Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis, and tackle Tom Compton). They also felt like in offseason additions Jeremy Trueblood and Tony Pashos, they added two former starters that are capable of competing with Polumbus for that right tackle job, and if not the starting job, they can serve as experienced backups. There also is Maurice Hurt still on the roster, and he can fill in at guard or tackle. The Redskins immediately after the draft signed Utah’s Tevita Stevens, who played center and guard in college, and they also signed Florida’s Xavier Nixon, who started at right and left tackle at various points in his time with the Gators. Nixon is said to have great athleticism, but the knock on him is his consistency. Maybe he’s a guy the Redskins can have as a project to develop.

Seems like two things don’t work well in Ashburn: 1) Damaged goods and, 2) Guys who like the weed. Knowing this, please explain our draft choices.  I’m confused.

– Frank Saunders

The Redskins have indeed had three players in the past two seasons who have been hit with suspensions for marijuana use. Trent Williams and Fred Davis have been able to rebound from their troubles and say they have learned their lesson. With Tanard Jackson, it’s still hard to say how that will play out. But Mike Shanahan has shown he’s a guy that believes in giving players a second chance. He said he and the Redskins did their homework on Bacarri Rambo and are convinced that he learned from his off-field issues – most notably, the suspension that he served at the start of his senior season for failing a drug test. Rambo, himself, on Saturday described it as a selfish decision that he knows he can no longer make, because to do so would be letting his teammates down. We can only watch and wait to see if that was lip service or true conviction.

Do you think the skins can, or will they even be able to add any more free agents or is this it?  

 – Christopher Hunter

The Redskins currently have about $2.03 million in cap space, which is enough to make another free agent addition, but for now, from talking to people close to the league and team, it doesn’t sound as if any moves are cooking. That could always change. To be clear, the team is believed to need $3.5 million to sign its rookies, but that’s not a pressing move right now. If they desired, the Redskins could sign a free agent now, and then rework other contracts to create room to sign the rookies later this offseason.

Do you think the league should, or eventually will, stop testing and suspending players for pot? Young kids’ (e.g., Tanard Jackson’s) careers are being ruined for a practice that is increasingly deemed culturally acceptable and relatively harmless. What interest does the league have in the policy besides policing the morals of its players? Do you see any indications that the NFL or NFLPA is motivated to reconsider this private war on drugs?

– Amy Donahue

No, there’s no indication that the league is considering changing their stance on this matter. Every professional sports league, and a lot of companies outside of sports for that matter, conduct drug tests to ensure that they are hiring responsible individuals. A winning team is made up of disciplined players. If a player doesn’t have the discipline to steer clear of a habit that could threaten his career, it’s his own fault. And, if his lack of discipline is at the level where he’s willing to forfeit millions of dollars for a relatively harmless habit, do you really want him anyway?

When evaluating RGIII’s ability to return at “100 percent,” will it be based on how he performs physically, or will there be X-rays, MRI’s or scopes to look at the actual repaired ligaments for assessment, or both?

 – Joe Howell

Normally progress is evaluated by performance and the milestones that a rehab program has set in place. If Griffin wasn’t progressing, or was having some type of reoccurring pain in his knee, then he presumably would have an MRI exam done to help determine the cause of it.

Can you give me your opinion on Josh Morgan? Are the coaches committed to this guy? Because it just seems they could do better as a No. 2 wideout.

 – Kyle Lyons-Burke

I think that Morgan is a solid receiver, but I don’t believe that we saw his full potential last season. He broke his leg/ankle in San Francisco in 2011, and never was 100 percent last season. In practices, he didn’t run any routes that required him to do any sharp cutting. He said down the stretch of the season, the screws in his ankle were so painful that he struggled just to run full speed. Yet, he still had a team-high 48 catches for 510 yards (fourth) and two touchdowns. He was more consistent than Leonard Hankerson. After having surgery to remove the screws in his ankle, Morgan is expecting to be more effective this season. His contract voids after this season, so this is a crucial year coming up for him.

I’ve heard/read rumors of anywhere from 11 to 18 undrafted free agent signings.  who have we really signed?

  – Walter Crain

 The list isn’t yet finalized, but should be in the next day or two. Lots of rumors bounced around on Twitter over the weekend, but some of those wound up not being true. Also, a player could be on the verge of signing with one team, and then going with another. One player tweeted he was signing with Washington, and then his agent responded to me saying he actually was signing with another team. The Redskins should be publishing the finalized list soon. Here’s a link to an update on some players, whose agents have confirmed their signings.

More draft coverage from The Post:

Reid: Washington displays a sound approach in the 2013 draft

Opening Kick: Your thoughts on the draft

Shanahan talks about the draft picks

Redskins take RB Jawan Jamison from Rutgers in Round 7

Jawan Jamison scouting report | His college statistics

Redskins take another safety, Rambo, in Round 6

Baccari Rambo scouting report | His college statistics

Redskins draft two Seminoles in Round 5

At draft party, Griffin makes the case that he’s all the way back

RGIII does jumping jacks at Redskins’ draft-day party

The Early Lead: Patriots trade for RB LeGarrette Blount

Hokies Fuller and Painter drafted in Round 6

U-Va.’s Oday Aboushi goes to the Jets in Round 5

S Phillip Thomas says he’ll be “the steal of the draft”

Phillip Thomas scouting report | His college stats

Redskins select S Phillip Thomas in the fourth round

The Early Lead: After horrific knee injury, Lattimore is drafted by 49ers

Good Counsel’s Jelani Jenkins is taken in fourth round

The Early Lead: Chip Kelly and the Eagles draft Barkley in Round 4

D.C. Sports Bog: LaVar Arrington’s burgundy draft jacket

Shanahan breaks down Amerson and Reed’s attributes

Redskins draft TE Jordan Reed in Round 3

Jordan Reed scouting report | His college stats

Redskins draft CB David Amerson in Round 2

David Amerson scouting report | His college stats

When Amerson visited the Redskins | Amerson “spider chart” vs. Tyrann Mathieu

Round 3 wrapup: Glennon goes, Barkley and Nassib do not

Former Westfield HS QB Mike Glennon drafted by Bucs

Roundup of Round 2: Te’o, Smith finally chosen

The Early Lead: Smith goes to Jets, has Sanchez in his sights

The Early Lead: Te’o goes to Chargers in Round 2

The Early Lead: Honey Badger says Patrick Paterson helped him get to Arizona

Redskins restructure CB Josh Wilson’s contract to save $2 million

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