Predicting the Washington Redskins' Receiver Depth Chart in 2013
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In New York, they have Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
In Dallas, they've got Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.
In Philadelphia, there's DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
In Washington, we have Pierre Garcon and...a group of unheralded guys.
Yes, the Redskins receiving corps pales in comparison to the stars that occupy the NFC East, but there is still a lot to like about this scrappy bunch of players. When healthy, every man fills a role and has a major impact on how well the offense runs.
Despite the lack of ideal star power, the Redskins enter the year with fewer questions at the position than usual. That's music to the ears of Robert Griffin III, who will need all the help he can get in order to get the Redskins back into the playoffs.
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It's unfortunate that various injuries kept Pierre Garcon sidelined for much of last year because when he played, the Redskins were nearly unbeatable. When Garcon suited up, Washington was 10-1 and averaged a staggering 29.1 points per game.
That's the reason there's so much optimism at the position for 2013. Garcon appears to be a bona fide No. 1 receiver, one with speed and power. His 59-yard touchdown against Dallas showed everything that makes him a great player—superb hands, blazing speed and the ability to get to the end zone after a long run.
For the season, Garcon only caught 44 balls for 633 yards, but that wasn't indicative of his overall impact. This offense changes when Garcon doesn't line up. All of the other receivers the Redskins have fit their roles perfectly when Garcon plays, but when he's out, the entire game plan changes because there is simply no one on the offense who can replace him.
Garcon, arguably, could be the most important player on the offense in 2013. When he plays, the offense goes; when he doesn't, it becomes rather stagnant.
If he stays healthy, he could post 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns and prove that he doesn't need Peyton Manning to be a great player.
Josh Morgan was inconsistent in 2012, but he fulfilled his role and will be looked to for more production this year.
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It seemed like Josh Morgan's entire season was defined by his poor judgment in St. Louis, but overall, he didn't have a poor season by any means.
Morgan's skill set is perfect for what the Redskins are trying to accomplish. On one side, there's Pierre Garcon and his hybrid speed/power game; on the other side, there's Morgan, a solid possession receiver with good hands who can run routes as well as anyone in the game.
Nothing Morgan does is spectacular, and his stats—48 catches for 510 yards—seem to make him appear replaceable. But he fits the role of a No. 2 option to a tee and will continue to produce if the rest of the receiving corps stays healthy.
He's never reached 1,000 yards in a season, and he probably won't this season either. That shouldn't matter. He'll eat up chunks of yardage and help the team convert on third down. He's a very good blocker as well.
He could be unseated by Leonard Hankerson if Hankerson shows consistency, but for now the Redskins should be happy with their second option on the outside.
He's not the player he used to be, but Santana Moss' value as a combo deep threat/possession receiver is never taken for granted in Washington.
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Santana Moss is entering his ninth season with Washington and while he is far removed from his unbelievable 1,483-yard campaign in 2005, he remains a very important component of one of the league's best offenses.
People tend to think of Moss as a deep threat—and he certainly is—but for several years now, he has occupied a different role. Moss hasn't averaged more than 14.4 yards per catch since that immaculate 2005 season and is now the team's go-to guy in the clutch and on third down.
Moss remains a fan favorite and is the perfect threat in the slot to chew up yards and give the defense trouble all over the field. One thing he must work on is his hands, though. He tends to drop a lot of passes, something that has become an increasingly large problem as the years have worn on.
That being said, you can't do much better than Santana Moss as your third receiver. He's reaching the end of a solid career, and you can be sure he'll give it his all to the franchise he has starred with for almost a decade.
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Perhaps no player proved more to himself and the coaching staff in 2012 than Leonard Hankerson. After a rather disappointing rookie season when he only played in four games, Hankerson broke out last year and posted 38 catches for 543 yards and three touchdowns.
While not stellar, it was an exciting showing from a player who has the potential to be the team's best receiver somewhere down the road. Hankerson is a lot like Pierre Garcon with regard to his size and speed, and his tendency to drop passes has already begun to improve. Some fans still get a minor heart attack when seeing him bobble a catch with no one around him, but Hankerson is solid for the most part.
2013 will be a huge year in terms of development for the 24-year-old Miami product. Fans and coaches alike will be expecting another year of improvement, and Hankerson has the potential to be one of the best players on the team.
All that remains is to see whether or not he can find the consistency to be an every-week starter in the NFL.
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Aldrick Robinson kind of burst onto the scene last year with a few big touchdowns in big games. His blazing speed and stunning tendency to be wide open allowed him to shock a few defenses with some surprising touchdowns.
That being said, Robinson will be fighting for a roster spot. He had a few highlight reel plays but only 11 receptions in 15 games. Nobody's sure what Robinson will eventually become (remember Anthony Armstrong? Let's hope it doesn't disintegrate into that strange situation), but for now, he'll gladly take his role as the deep threat/playmaker who can turn any play into a big gain.
Hopefully, Robinson can diversify his game and become a little bit more consistent. He likely won't have a superb year—20 to 25 catches seems like it would be his ceiling at this point—but if he turns a few of those catches into critical plays, he could form a niche on the team and catch on for a few years.
Twenty-three-year-old Dezmon Briscoe appears to be Robinson's biggest competition at this point, and it's entirely conceivable that the two players could end up splitting time. But since Robinson had a mildly productive year in 2012, he gets the nod.