Redskins rookies to watch this week
Pre-season Week Two is upon us as the Washington Redskins prepare to face the Indianapolis Colts. The big lineup difference is behind Center, as QB John Beck gets his shot, now that he is healthy, to lead the Redskins offense. Not going to go in depth here on the Beck/Rex Grossman competition, we did that yesterday. See the story below.
This is our pre-season version of the Redskins Youth Report, along running feature article here at DC Pro Sports Report. For the pre-season, we provide a peak at the Redskins rookies to keep an eye on in this week’s game. Here is last week’s article.
Here are your rookies to keep an eye on for Friday night. There may be rookies of interest to you not on this list. We specified the ones here for specific purposes. Feel fre to discuss and share your thoughts in our Forum or on our Facebook page.
S DeJan Gomes. With Laron Landry sidelined until next week, Gomes will likely see significant playing time, allowing him the opportunity to showcase his abilities. Gomes has played smart, doesn’t shy away from hitting, and has had a pretty good training camp. I really do not see Gomes having a problem cracking the 53 man roster.
WR Leonard Hankerson. Hankerson had a good week at practice finally holding on to the football much more consistently. There is little question that Hankerson has the excellent skill and talent to be an NFL wide receiver. He struggled early in training camp making the catches. If it was early jitters and adjustment, this game would be a good time to show the dropped balls are a thing of the past. Hankerson needs a solid game.
RB Roy Helu. Helu is in one battle. The battle for carries. The likely starter for the Redskins will either be Ryan Torain or Tim Hightower. However, Helu has tremendous upside, excellent footwork and speed, and is a favorite of Mike Shanahan, who spent his fourth round pick on the Nebraska product. Mike Shanahan also drafted PennState’s all time leading rusher, Evan Royster, a few rounds below. Royster got the bulk of the carries between the young backs last week. He rushed 15 times for 66 yards, equaling the 4.4 yards per carry of potential starter Tim Hightower. Shanahan has shown a preference of alternating players he is evaluating, rather than flipping much during games. That would lead to the inference that Helu will get 15 or so carries against the Colts. Helu needs to show his presence, speed, and ability to run in the system. He needs to show effectiveness in the pass offense a swell. Royster raised the bar. It’s Helu’s turn. Helu also needs to show he can be an effective pass blocker. His pass portections skills are not as refined as Rosyter’s, but Helu has an opportunity to show progression in that area. Big week for Helu.
OG Maurice Hurt. When ever you are a late round offensive line draftee, you will always likely land on this list for me in the pre-season. Redskins have added some depth to the offensive line. Sean Locklear can play both OG and OT, starting Center Will Montgomery can obviously play OG, if need be, and Erik Cook, last year’s sixth round pick, is versatile and can play both OG and Center. Hurt needs to show he belongs on the 53 man roster, rather than a trip to the practice squad. His path is not going to be easy. His training camp performance has had mixed results. Show it on the field Big Mo.
LB Ryan Kerrigan. Nobody questions how dominating Kerrigan may be. His high octane motor and football smarts landed him in the forst round of the NFL draft. However, Kerrigan is makign a big conversion from defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker, an adjustment for any talent, including Brian Orakpo, can be difficult. Kerrigan has already displayed the speed and power to rush the passer and play effectively at the line of scrimmage. Kerrigan needs to show, game in and game out, that he is progressing in his drop back coverage. It is not an easy task for a player that was not asked to that in college. It isn’t natural either, but it is essential to the Redskins 3-4 defense.
NT Chris Neild. The seventh rounder out of West Virginia did not see much playing time last week. He may see increased time this week. Neild is a big boy and could be a nice fit at nose tackle in this 3-4 system, behind Barry Cofield. He will likely see some time and needs to show he can play nose tackle and hold his own at this level.
WR Niles Paul. Paul had a good catch last game against Pittsburgh on a 16 yard out pattern, good enough to move the chains. Paul is in the thick of the final two or three wide receiver roster slots. Continued performance will make him a lock, which he is not near at this point. He will get his opportunities and needs to show that he can be an effective backup receiver.
WR Aldrick Robinson. After a disastrous performance last week against Pittsburgh, in which Robinson fumbled two punt returns, he needs to erase those memories. He need to look at the example of current punt returner Brandon Banks, who fumbled a few times in last year’s training camp, as ebncoruage that you can recover from a disastrous performance. Robinson needs to put mistakes behind him and show mental toughness. Fumbles do get you cut. However, recovery and perfromance erase those doubts. It will be interesting to see if Robinson is given an opportunity to redeem himself or if another player is back on the punt returns. If he is on returns, a drop this week could seal his fate.
LB Markus White. We continues to read his name in post-practice reports, indicating that White is making some kind of statement on the practice field. He could be a dark horse to win a reserve linebacker spot. White needs to bring the speed and power when he gets the opportunity on the field. The seventh rounder out of Florida State is making a similar transition like first rounder Ryan Kerrigan. White has pretty good speed and explosiveness and now needs to direct it and control it and not over play.