- The Washington Times
Saturday, May 13, 2017

With two days of Redskins rookie minicamp gone by, Washington coach Jay Gruden has gotten good first impressions from his draft picks. That includes the 17th overall pick, Jonathan Allen, who on Saturday continued to put work in with ever-animated defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.

“I don’t think one word can properly describe him,” Allen said of Tomsula. “He’s been a great coach the two days that I’ve worked with him. I can’t even imagine what we can get into this year.”


Tomsula’s focus was on keeping the rookies’ hips low, working with Allen, undrafted free agent signings Brandon Banks and Ondre Pipkins and a few tryout players. In one drill, he had them start in a three-point stance, then explode off the theoretical line underneath an arbor-like structure made of white, PVC pipes. The structure was low to the ground, so the players had to stay low for a couple strides so as not to hit their heads. Tomsula was enforcing the fundamentals: generating power from the legs and going at blockers from a position of strength.

“It’s fast,” Allen said. “It’s fast, but I love it.”

Gruden said he’s continued to be impressed with Allen’s football knowledge and his hand and footwork since he’s gotten in the building. Those traits were already ones Washington loved about Allen when they drafted him.

“As far as skill set is concerned, Jonathan has everything you’re looking for in a defensive lineman,” Gruden said.

Gruden called it “news to him” that the San Francisco 49ers had offered a second-, third- and fourth-round pick in exchange for No. 17, something that was reported by the MMQB. Team President Bruce Allen is the pointman on trades, so all that means to Gruden is that Allen shot down any offer quickly, before consulting on it.

Having gotten a brief look at Allen, the Redskins are happy to have stayed put.

Pound for pound

Gruden said that second-round draft pick Ryan Anderson, who plays outside linebacker, weighs over 260 pounds right now which Gruden thinks is “heavy” for him. Anderson weighed in at 253 at the combine in March, but it’s not uncommon or difficult for players to drop weight around this time as they get into shape before training camp.

“He’s got to get in football shape, but I don’t think he’s far away at all. The type of guy he is, he’ll work his tail off and get in shape,” Gruden said. “All of these guys, they have been off really since the combine.”

Gruden will talk with Anderson and head strength and conditioning coach Chad Englehart, who will determine a target weight for Anderson.

“I feel like I’m getting my legs back, got to get in shape, got to get back in football shape, lose a little weight, man,” Anderson said.

Waiting for Moreau

Third-round cornerback Fabian Moreau and fourth-round safety Montae Nicholson both watched from the sidelines, unable to participate because they are recovering from injuries. Moreau tore a pectoral muscle at his pro day, and Nicholson had surgery to repair a torn labrum in March.

An optimistic timeline for both Moreau and Nicholson would have them ready to participate around the start of training camp in late July. Their focus this week will be on meetings, where they’ll start picking up the Redskins system for the secondary.

“That’s the only chance they have,” Gruden said. “You have to learn it mentally before you go out and do it physically. You’d like to let them learn and participate, but the best they can do is just learn.”

High on Holsey

Gruden paid some personal attention to cornerback Joshua Holsey during the hour-long session, and was impressed with the seventh-round pick.

“He likes to talk a little bit, as do I, so it’s a good match. We have a lot of fun with him. I think he’s going to be a good candidate for this football team.”

It’s early for roster projections, but Holsey’s potential as a special teams player should help him. He also fell to the seventh round, in part, because of multiple ACL injuries in college but, on Saturday, moved well.

“He’s really quick in and out of breaks,” Gruden said. “He’s a competitor, you can see that.”


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