Why Trent Williams Could Have a Breakout Season for the Washington Redskins

Brian Paxton@@thebrianpaxtonContributor IIIAugust 19, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 17:  Washington Redskins first 2010 first round draft pick Trent Williams #71 walks off the field after a defeat against the Indianapolis Colts at FedEx Field on October 17, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Colts won the game 27-24.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

When Trent Williams was selected fourth overall in the 2010 NFL draft, there were many pundits who criticized the Redskins for passing on Russell Okung.

Since then, Williams has been under a microscope during his time in Washington and never seemed to live up to his immense potential. After he received a four-game ban for violating the league's drug policy last year, everything seemed lost for the once promising left tackle.

But then something changed during this offseason. Trent came into camp in the best shape of his career and started dominating anyone and everyone he faced. Even Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo couldn't phase him.

If Trent Williams can reach elite status this year, he'll do wonders to help the development of Robert Griffin III.

There's no shortage of premier pass-rushers in the NFC East. As we saw against the Bears, pressure can destroy a rookie's chances of success. Williams needs to keep the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Pierre-Paul and Jason Babin out of the backfield, or else Griffin is in for a world of trouble.

Williams suffered a bone bruise in his left foot in the week before the preseason game in Chicago, but played in spite of the injury. He seemed a bit slower, but still held his own against Lance Briggs and company.

So far, Williams has played at a Pro Bowl level in practice and through first two games. It is clear through watching him that he plays like a man with something to prove.

Of course, he'll have quite a few games this year against great defenses to show how much he's really improved.

Aside from Williams, Richard Crawford has to be mentioned among the offseason's most improved. He's made great strides in picking up the defense and hanging with Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss in coverage.

In two games, he's looked the part of an NFL cornerback and earned himself some time playing with the first string. With Cedric Griffin struggling, he could easily wind up as the third corner on the Redskins' roster.