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Washington Redskins: Rookie Progress Report

Tom NataliCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2015

Washington Redskins: Rookie Progress Report

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    Who won Sunday’s game for the Washington Redskins?

    Was it rookie sensation Robert Griffin III, executing the two-minute drill with ease? What about sixth-round draft pick Alfred Morris bulldozing his way against the best rush defense in the NFL?

    Either one is a solid answer. For the second consecutive year, draft picks (and not just first rounders) are finding a way to contribute to this team.

    That’s what builds cohesion and, ultimately, winning franchises.

    Now that a quarter of the season is completed, here is my progress report on Washington's rookie crop.

Robert Griffin III: A+

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    I’ve been writing about this guy for over a year now, and I’m still finding different adjectives to compliment him.

    He’s been incredible thus far, and the win in Tampa Bay illustrates why: after a debilitating second half, Griffin found it in himself to march his team to victory.

    Would that have happened with Rex Grossman or pretty much any other Redskins quarterback before him? More often than not, a Redskins loss would have been the result.

    The point I’m trying to make is that Robert Griffin is something special. I expected him to have a successful season overall, but ups and downs during a rookie season are inevitable.

    As of now, we can easily make the argument that he’s not only the potential Rookie of the Year, but he’s a viable MVP candidate, too.

    From a grading standpoint, I would give him an A++ if possible.

Keenan Robinson: B

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    Robinson’s been primarily used on special teams, but that’s exactly where you expect some rookies to be at this juncture of the season.

    He’s going to learn under London Fletcher and will eventually team up with Perry Riley at inside linebacker. That’s the ideal scenario, of course.

    I like his range and athleticism. Most importantly, he’ll be given at least a year before he's expected to make any substantial impact on defense.

Alfred Morris: A+

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    I can be very critical of Mike Shanahan, most of which I consider justifiable. On the other hand, he continues to find productive running backs everywhere.

    Nobody knew who Morris was going into the preseason. In fact, I thought he was going to be given reps at fullback, considering his size and explosiveness.

    All Morris needed was an opportunity; I know that’s probably the most clichéd comment I’ve written, but it’s certainly true. As soon as Morris was plugged into the starting lineup, Shanahan hasn't needed anyone else. He’s been a workhorse, and if he continues at this rate he will be playing in Hawaii come February.

    He’s improved in pass protection, too. A running style like his can deflate a defense, allowing the offense to control the time of possession.

Richard Crawford: C

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    I admit I’m being a bit harsh on the former seventh-round draft pick out of SMU.

    Transitioning from Conference USA football to the NFL wasn’t going to be easy, especially for a player who wasn’t even guaranteed a roster spot.

    However, with the injury and ineffective play of Cedric Griffin, Crawford has been forced into playing time. He’s definitely shown his inexperience at times, mostly in the Cincinnati game.

    However, if Cedric Griffin isn’t going to play any better, why not give the rookie needed experience?

    I’ll be keeping a close eye on Crawford throughout the remainder of the season to see whether he continues his development.

Incomplete Grades

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    The rookies mentioned below have been given an incomplete grade, as we just haven't seen enough of these prospects to make a fair and informed judgment.

    Josh LeRibeus hasn’t seen the field, so I really can’t say much about him. I will say this, however: I was fine with selecting an offensive lineman, but LeRibeus was known to be a project of some sorts.

    Couldn’t we have waited an extra round or two to select him? Maybe we could have addressed our terrible offensive tackle position or taken a cornerback?

    Kirk Cousins had an extremely impressive preseason. That said, he won’t see the field as long as Robert Griffin III stays healthy. On the other hand, I find it very interesting that Cousins has been active for all four games, but Grossman hasn't.

    If Grossman isn’t going to be active than what’s the point of keeping him? We know that he isn’t valuable to any other team in the league, and he doesn’t run the same offense anymore.

    Why keep him when he takes up a roster spot that could be given to an extra defensive back or some other position of need.

    After watching Adam Gettis playing with the first team in the preseason, I knew he wasn’t ready to be a major contributor come the regular season. He’ll need a year to adjust to the NFL. Basically, it’s similar to a “redshirt” year.

    Tom Compton remains on the practice squad, so there’s not much to say. However, don’t be surprised to see him later on in the season if Jordan Black loses the trust of the coaching staff.

    Jordan Bernstine had a promising future this year while contributing on special teams, unfortunately he’s going spend his rookie season on injured reserve.

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