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Recapping Training Camp For The Redskins' 2017 Draft Class

Posted Aug 16, 2017

From Jonathan Allen's steady improvement to Joshua Holsey's two-interception performance, here's a roundup of how the 2017 draft class performed while in Richmond.

From Jonathan Allen's steady improvement to Joshua Holsey's two-interception performance, here's a roundup of how the 2017 draft class performed while in Richmond.

Their first training camps are in the books.

The Washington Redskins returned to the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., this week to continue roster evaluation and preseason work.

While veterans such as quarterback Kirk Cousins and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan have been through this process before, this is the first time the Redskins’ 2017 10-man draft class has been through this.

Before we turn the page to the rest of the preseason, let’s recap the rookies’ first training camp in the order in which they were drafted:


Defensive Lineman Jonathan Allen
The first defensive lineman taken by the Redskins in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1997, Allen has been impressing his offensive line teammates with his strength off the snap.

Take this quote by five-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams, for example.

“He’s really explosive off the rock,” Williams said. “He learns quick. A couple moves that I would do and it would take a few times to catch on, with him it only works once and you’ve got to switch it up. He’s extremely strong so you have to be very mindful of playing with a good base when playing against him. He knows not to get past quarterback depth, which a lot of young guys make that mistake.”

Williams added that he was impressed with the “depth of the pocket he turns his rush back into you.”

“Like I said, he’s pretty strong, so it’s pretty eye opening,” Allen said. “He’s making good strides, man, just being a professional for only a few days.”

Allen built on his training camp performance with a sack during the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens. The Alabama product took advantage of stout coverage by the secondary to chase down a running Ryan Mallett for the sack.

“I had seen him step up in the pocket and had a good retrace and got him before he was able to cross the line of scrimmage,” Allen said.

What’s next for Allen is determining how he’ll fit in the defensive line rotation. For now, though, he was one of the more impressive performers in 1-on-1 pass rush drills.


Linebacker Ryan Anderson
Despite being just a rookie, Anderson – like Allen, his Alabama teammate – has already provided the Redskins an NFL-ready player on defense.

“They played in a lot of huge games,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. “The SEC, you can argue all you want, is the best conference in football and they played great competition week in and week out. Every game was a huge game for them, not to mention their record was what it was. Their defense was as stellar as it was. They got tons of turnovers.

“Ryan was just all around the football all the time. He was just a productive football player with sacks, takeaways, was good against the run, and both of them are very smart players, very attractive to us and luckily we got them both."

Anderson sprinkled in runs with the first- and second-team defensive units but could be asked to pick up an increased role now after Trent Murphy’s torn ACL and MCL in the preseason opener.

He’s currently listed as the No. 2 strongside linebacker on the unofficial depth chart behind Preston Smith.


Cornerback Fabian Moreau
The soft-spoken Moreau didn’t have much to say about his return to full participation last week, but his presence was felt.

After missing all of OTAs as he recovered from a torn pectoral suffered during his pro day activities at UCLA, Moreau along with fellow rookie Montae Nicholson returned to full practice participation on Saturday.

Eased back into the fold, Moreau flashed some of his potential on a pass defensed during Sunday’s session, as the cornerback remained stride-for-stride with wide receiver Zach Pascal on a pass 25 yards down the field to swat it away.

"It felt great,” Moreau said. “Just happy to be back on the field. Happy to be getting to work and just getting better each and every day."


Running Back Samaje Perine
Perine got some run as the featured back during a good chunk of training camp as Rob Kelley was held back some by a neck injury.

Perine showcased his strong running abilities from time to time, getting to the second level thanks to hard running. Gruden even joked that unlike most of the rookies who need to add some muscle to their frames, Perine is already “rocked up.”

The Oklahoma product had his number called quite a bit, too, when Washington went into red zone situations.

“He’s a powerful guy, and a lot of times in the red zone, you’re going to have some unblocked players whether it’s a safety, you might not be able to get the backside linebacker on some of these runs because everybody is so condensed down there, there’s going to be some unblocked players so you better have a back who can run through them or make them miss,” Gruden said. “We feel like he can do that. He can move the pile, get the tough yards, along with Rob Kelley, and that’s important down there.”

Now Perine needs to translate that into game situations, which he struggled with some during his preseason debut. He coughed up the football once and also dropped a pass.

Gruden is confident he can turn it around, though.

“We’re not losing faith in Samaje,” Gruden said. “We have total confidence that he will get right.”


Safety Montae Nicholson
Like Moreau, Nicholson (torn labrum) didn’t get the green light to be a full practice participant until this past Saturday.

Nicholson had never experienced a long-term injury like this torn labrum before – he played with it throughout his final season at Michigan State – but believes he can bring a physicality to the defense.

“It’s all brand new to me, but the support of teammates, the training staff, coaching staff and even my family back home was great,” Nicholson said. “They were telling me to take my time and be patient and that’s what I’m doing. I’m out here finally and ready to have fun and be with my guys.”

On one play Sunday, he knocked Perine to the ground on a collision.


Tight End Jeremy Sprinkle
In a group with talented veterans, Sprinkle already stands out with his 6-foot-5, 252-pound frame.

The Arkansas product appeared with all three offensive units during practices, showing the ability to be a reliable pass catcher and a capable blocker.

Sprinkle may not be asked to catch the ball a ton this year once a healthy Jordan Reed returns alongside Vernon Davis, but Gruden believes he can fill the blocking tight end role easily.

“He’s got long arms, he’s strong and I think he’s going to be a Y tight end in this league for a very long time,” Gruden said. “He’s going to get stronger and stronger every year and he’s got very good hands. He’s got deceptive speed, but you really like him as an in-line blocker. In the passing game, he’s got very good hands and he’s very good after the catch. Like I said, I’ve been impressed with Jeremy.”


Center Chase Roullier
Roullier worked mostly with the second-team offense while in Richmond but did get the opportunity to work with the starters during the practice session on Aug. 1 because Spencer Long was sidelined with illness.

Despite having not worked with quarterback Kirk Cousins during unit drills before, Roullier slide into the No. 1 center spot with ease.

“For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive,” Gruden said. “Chase has got a ways to go obviously but he’s on the right track. He’s a true center. He might have to play a little bit of guard from time to time. If he’s going to dress on game day, he’s going to have to back up guard and center. So, well get him going, but the starting point is to really find a good center. Ronald Patrick also got some extra reps and he did a good job at center also.”


Wide Receiver Robert Davis
During his introductory conference call with the media after being drafted, Davis noted that he was willing to do anything to help contribute immediately.

If it’s strictly special teams work, he’d do it. Being a blocker in the run game? He’d do that too.

During training camp, Davis showed off a little bit of everything, including the ability to be a reliable pass catcher. At practice last week, Davis would have had one of the longest touchdowns in Richmond when he disconnected from cornerback Quinton Dunbar on a streak down the left sideline for a would-be lengthy touchdown.

He also recorded a 31-yard reception against the Ravens.

“He has shown the ability to play big,” Gruden said. “He’s a big kid. He can run. Obviously now it’s just a matter of polishing up his routes and figuring out our system. He’s done a nice job. We’ve thrown a lot at him since OTAs for a rookie. He’s done a nice job.

“He’s a willing blocker in the running game. He’s strong. But as far as him producing, he had a nice catch on the angle route against Baltimore, had a couple other opportunities. [He was] a little short on some routes here and there. We’ve just got to polish up and tweak some of his stems and all that stuff.”


Linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons
For a majority of training camp, Harvey-Clemons was paired with fellow rookie Nico Marley on the second- and third-team defensive units.

Harvey-Clemons is still new to the linebacker position after a college career, but is benefitting some from the fact he previously worked with inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti when both were with Georgia.

Now he needs to take what he’s learned during his first training camp from Olivadotti and apply it on the field.

“The hardest part about [the transition] is the terminology,” Harvey-Clemons said. “Learning some of the checks and the new alignment as far as playing linebacker. I have a lot of different areas to line up, a lot of different new places to line up and I’m closer to the ball, so from that standpoint it is different.”


Cornerback Joshua Holsey
Holsey made some noise early in camp as he logged two interceptions on the second day of practices.

The first came on a deep pass attempt from Nate Sudfeld in the first set of 11-on-11 drills, as Holsey jumped up to intercept a pass that was heavily covered by the defense.

Then later in the afternoon, Holsey made perhaps the play of the day when he dove down to pick off a Colt McCoy pass. Holsey tracked the ball from the get-go then showed off his athleticism to make the grab.

Throughout camp, Holsey stayed close to DeAngelo Hall – who played cornerback for 12 seasons – as he tried to learn as much as he could from the three-time Pro Bowler.

“As a young cat, I’m trying to steal every little bit of knowledge he knows,” Holsey said. “So every chance I get to talk to him, I talk to him.”

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