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5 Takeaways: Jay Gruden's Rookie Minicamp Presser

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Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's media session with reporters following the team's 2016 rookie minicamp at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.


1. When it comes to evaluating the college free agents and 33 tryout players, it's about finding players that fit the Redskins' definition of a football player.

While the team's draft class naturally gets all of the attention this time of the offseason, at least one or two college free agents and/or tryout players stands out every year at offseason workouts.

At this weekend's rookie minicamp, which provides the coaching staff close hands-on guidance, it was about finding potentially finding more diamonds in the rough that could play a larger than expected role moving forward.

"We just look for a skillset that can help us," Gruden said. "Obviously it is position specific. Obviously we're looking for some guys that pick up the system rather. It's not all physical, some of it is mental. You have to have a little bit of both. You have to be able to handle the packages we throw at you and then you have got to go out there and you have got to produce and show us the skillset: speed, length, pass rush ability, blocking ability, whatever it might be. That's what we're looking for."

The coaching staff tries to give the young players as many opportunities as they can over the course of rookie minicamp to turn a positive performance into a roster spot down the line.

One of those players that might have really done himself well this weekend is cornerback Lloyd Carrington, who signed with the Redskins as a college free agent out of Arizona State.

"I like Lloyd," Gruden said. "Lloyd did some good things, man. He's a physical corner. He did some good things off. He can mix it up. We had him as a free agent already on our team so he just verified the spot to get an opportunity in training camp. So, we're happy to have him."

2. Josh Doctson has flashed the talent the Redskins expected out of their first-round pick.

While Doctson admitted that he's being restrained to around 80 percent speed right now, the coaching staff, particularly Gruden, has been impressed with how the TCU product has looked.

Doctson may not get as many reps as Rob Kelley and Jamison Crowder at first, that doesn't mean his rookie season will be limited. The Redskins are really excited to unleash the 6-foot-2, 202 pounder in the red zone.

"To be a first round pick, you obviously have a great skillset and he's done nothing to disappoint, that's for sure," Gruden said. "You know, he's a smart kid, too, which sometimes you don't know that coming in when you throw a lot at them, how they're going to handle the terminology and all that. And he's done a great job so far."

Doctson worked with the veterans during Phase 2 workouts from Monday through Thursday  before participating in this weekend's rookie minicamp.

Gruden admitted that after seeing him for the past six days, Doctson has a "long way to go," as do all rookies, but the potential is most certainly there.

"He's been very impressive in everything – his demeanor, his work ethic, his ability to learn and we're happy that he is where he is," Gruden said.

3. The plans for Su'a Cravens are fluid, but he will have an impact on the defense as a rookie.

Despite being listed as safety, Cravens worked with the inside linebackers all throughout Saturday's practice, from going through coverage drills to 11-on-11 action.

Cravens said the coaches want to start him out there at first, but eventually he'll see action at other positions, including safety, as well.

"We're going to continue to figure that out," Gruden said. "You know, that's what our job is – to try to get him in the best situation possible where he's most comfortable. But initially we have to teach him a position, and right now it's going to be the inside linebacker, and then from there we might branch off where it's the nickel and it could be safety later on."

Playing at linebacker give Cravens something he can "sink his teeth into."

"Obviously we have high hopes for them and they showed a lot of good things and things we can correct and that's going to be the process from now until training camp until our first regular season game," Gruden said of both Cravens and Doctson. "It's going to be about coaching them up and trying to utilize their skill the best we can."

4. Defensive end Matt Ionanndis could contribute at nose tackle.

Despite Kedric Golston being the only listed nose tackle on the Redskins' current 90-man roster, Gruden believes Ioannidis – who is 10 years younger than Golston – could see some action in the middle of the defensive line this season.

"He could just be 'DL' – is what he should be – because those guys are very interchangeable," Gruden said. "Man, he's strong and I think eventually he could put on some weight and be a good nose guard."

The Redskins' OTAs and mandatory minicamp will give the coaching staff a clearer vision for Ioannidis, but they liked what they saw out of him at Temple.

In four seasons with the Owls, Ioannidis appeared in 43 games with 115 tackles (29 for loss) along with seven passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and two fumbles forced.

"Like a lot of these guys, we're kind of getting to know them as they are getting to know the system and all of that stuff," Gruden said. "And we'll try to find out the best place for him based on where we need him and where his best success rate will be."

5. Jonathan Allen is currently at about 90 to 95 percent healthy.

While Fuller wants to pounce on any opportunity that will allow him to get back on the field as quickly as possible, Gruden wants to take it slow with the third-round pick.

Fuller tore the ACL in his right knee last fall and is only doing rehab work on the sidelines with the training staff right now.

But once he returns, Fuller will be thrust into a large role.  

"We just want to be a little safer with him and not rush him back," Gruden said. "We want to make sure he's good to go. We'll slowly start to incorporate him in some of the drills once we start our OTAs. Next week will be a good week for him and he'll have three good days with the trainers again. And then when we start our practices, we'll try to implement him in there just a little bit and see how he does."

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