Redskins mailbag: Roster needs, draft prospects and more

With the coaching staff complete, the Redskins are in all-out evaluation mode, both in the area of their own players, players with expiring contracts, other team’s free agents, and talent in the draft.

We’ve got a little bit of a thinner mailbag today, but there are still some issues to tackle as we discuss roster needs, a few draft prospects, a question about players’ jerseys and the salary cap.

Here we go:

With an incredibly deep draft approaching, with over 100 underclassmen declaring and a lot of future first-round talent available in rounds 2 and later, do you have any insight on how the Redskins will approach the offseason to fill their roster? Will they target proven/more expensive talent to fill positions that take a while to develop, such as wide receiver? Will they look to the draft to fill their guard, defensive end, inside linebacker needs?  

— Kevin Sambat

Because it’s still super early, especially with the draft being pushed back to May instead of the usual late April, it’s hard to tell exactly what direction the Redskins will go in the draft. Free agency takes place in March, so after that’s out of the way, you’ll have a better idea of what holes remain when it comes to the draft. Because the team has more than 20 players with expiring contracts, they’ll be pretty active in free agency. We know the priority is to re-sign Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley, DeAngelo Hall and Chris Baker. But more holes remain in the secondary, both at corner and safety, and then there are needs on offense at wide receiver and the offensive line. Because the Redskins have money to spend, unlike years past, they could add some impact free agent players at key spots, and then use the best-player-available approach in the draft to further bolster the roster. From talking to Scott Campbell, the director of player personnel, and Jim Haslett, the defensive coordinator, I do know that the Redskins — as do other teams — think that the higher number of underclassmen will help make this a deeper draft. Some of these younger players will probably bump some seniors further down in the draft, and that could result in teams being able to find more impact players in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft than in previous years.

Since the Redskins don’t have a first-round pick, mock drafts have lost most of their fun. What are a couple names we can be looking for early 2nd round? Any chance of one of Notre Dame’s guys are still there? (Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix or Zack Martin)?

— David Cook

There’s definitely more of a wait-and-see approach required now, and that makes projections harder, especially this early, when free agency hasn’t taken place and teams needs remain up in the air. It’s still early to call on your Notre Dame trio, but I have seen some second-round projections for some of them. But some players that stood out at the Senior Bowl, who play positions of need that seem like they could be around by the time the Redskins are on the clock in the second and third rounds include Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Baylor guard Cyril Richardson, Wisconsin inside linebacker Chris Borland, Virginia tackle Morgan Moses, Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff and Utah cornerback Keith McGill.

Leonard Hankerson's injury is part of the reason the Redskins might be looking for wide receiver help in the draft. (Associated Press)

Leonard Hankerson’s injury is part of the reason the Redskins might be looking for wide receiver help in the draft. (Associated Press)

Do you think that Redskins should go for a receiver in the 2nd round if prospects like Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, and Odell Beckham Jr. Is still on the board?

— Nana Boamah

Wide receiver is definitely an area where the Redskins seem to need help. Pierre Garcon is the clear-cut No. 1, but Leonard Hankerson tore ligaments in his knee and might not be ready right away, Josh Morgan had an inconsistent campaign and is going to be a free agent, and Aldrick Robinson is undersized. But it’s hard to say if wide receiver or defensive back will carry the highest priority. We should have a better idea after free agency. Florida State’s Benjamin is a big target at 6 feet 5, 235 pounds, and that skill set could certainly help the Redskins. But I don’t know that he’d last past the first round. Matthews also has good size at 6-3, 209, but doesn’t have blazing speed. Beckham, a junior out of LSU, has good athleticism and also could help as a return man. But his size (5-11, 193) and speed (4.49-second 40-yard dash) is just average.

How often do NFL players get new jerseys? Is it every game? Do they repair jerseys between games? Does it depend on the position?

— Peyton Craighill

It all depends on how much wear and tear a jersey has taken. Most jerseys survive the whole season, and the locker room staff repairs any small rips or snags. If a jersey gets badly torn, then a player would receive a new jersey. Some players keep their old jerseys, or trade them with teammates or with a player friend on an opposing team. There’s also a site on which they can sell game-worn jerseys.

NFL teams are allowed to carry over cap space from prior years. Since the Redskins were assessed the $18 million cap penalty last year, it could be argued that they had $18M+ that could carry over to this year since they were technically under the cap set by the league. Have you heard if they will have the option to carry that $18 million over from last year? Adding that to the already $30 million would put the Redskins in a great position. 

— Bernie Pfeiffer

The Redskins have had to operate the past two years as if that $18 million was spent each year, and so because they had $18 million less than the other teams committed to salaries, they now have that money freed up this year, and that helps add up to what is expected to be between $20 million and $30 million of cap space. They can’t add an extra $18 million of cap space.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

Coverage from The Post:

Offseason questions: What’s Riley worth? | Should Orakpo be re-signed?

Opening Kick: Which quarterbacks would you rather have than Griffin?

Gruden finalizes staff | Kyle Shanahan officially named Browns offensive coordinator

D.C. Sports Bog: When Seahawks GM Schneider was with Redskins | More Bog

The Early Lead: Wilson joins Jay-Z, Beyonce at Nets; does Letterman | More

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