Is Brian Orakpo the best player in Washington?
Over the past few months, the Washington Redskins have been putting together a pretty solid roster. It is evident that they put an emphasis on adding depth and tightening up their secondary.
In this upcoming season, they will have their franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III back and healthy. Griffin III should be even better than he was last year as long as he stays healthy.
When ranking every player on the Redskins’ roster, it gets a little tough toward the top. As mentioned earlier, they have added/developed a good amount of talent to their roster on both sides of the ball.
Lists like these are tough because of everything you have to consider, mainly in terms of what has happened versus what could happen.
There is a certain medium you have to hit when comparing players as it gets to be pretty gray at times. It gets tough comparing a quarterback to a defensive end and a rookie to a veteran, but here’s my best shot.
Tevita Stevens could make a name for himself in these coming months.
Chigbo Anunoby, Jacolby Ashworth, Emmanuel Ogbuehi, Jeremy Kimbrough, Devin Holland, Kevin Matthews, DeAngelo Peterson, Tevita Stevens
This is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Washington’s roster.
Most of these guys are no-name players that don’t get much playing time, but there are also some rookies thrown in there.
There's really only one guy out of this group to possibly keep an eye on.
Stevens is someone who may benefit most from the lack of talent on the offensive line. He has pretty good size for an interior lineman, and could see the field if someone gets hurt.
Keiland Williams was a fun guy to watch with the Redskins a couple years back.
Nick Williams, Chip Reeves, Dorson Boyce, John Potter, Dominique Hamilton, Bryan Kehl, Chris Baker, Jordan Morris, Tristen Davis, Tony Pashos, Keiland Williams
There isn’t a lot of talent in this group, but there are a couple of guys worth keeping up with. John Potter, Tony Pashos and Keiland Williams are the ones who’ll have the best chance to start down the road.
I know, Kai Forbath has the starting place kicker job locked down, but if something were to happen to him, Potter would be a more than capable replacement.
Pashos will be one of many guys vying for the starting right tackle spot and has just about as good a chance as anyone.
As for Williams, he’s been on this team already. He knows the culture, the system. He was a valuable asset in the passing game a couple of years ago, and we might see that from him again.
Roddrick Muckelroy adds some nice depth at the linebacker position.
Nick Sundberg, Skye Dawson, Tom Compton, Lance Lewis, Ricky Elmore, Adam Gettis, Will Compton, Marvin Burdette, Darius Hanks, Roddrick Muckelroy
This group is a continuation of what I explained on the last side. There is certainly a chance that some of these guys will turn out to be starters some day, but some guys have a better chance than others.
With the exclusion of Nick Sundberg and Roddrick Muckelroy, none of these guys have seen significant playing time.
Recent draftees Will Compton and Marvin Burdette will have to fight their way onto the field given the depth at linebacker, as will Darius Hanks, Lance Lewis and Skye Dawson with the receivers.
The majority of these guys were late-round picks, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t talent here. Preseason will be these guys’ greatest ally in earning a roster spot.
It will be interesting to see how Stallworth fairs in his second go-round in Washington.
Maurice Hurt, Reed Doughty, Dejon Gomes, Vic So’oto, Xavier Nixon, Jordan Reed, Jawan Jamison, Donte’ Stallworth, Devery Henderson, Chris Thompson, Phillip Thomas
This next group of guys is chock-full of potential. It includes a handful of this year’s draft picks like Xavier Nixon and Chris Thompson, and also a couple of veterans.
Recently added receiver Devery Henderson should be a good weapon for RG3 and adds to the veteran presence in Washington’s receiver group.
Donte' Stallworth was also brought back recently and will be an intriguing player to keep an eye on through the remainder of the offseason.
Rex Grossman may not be around much longer.
Doug Worthington, Jerome Murphy, Jordan Pugh, Dezmon Briscoe, Sav Rocca, Chris Neild, Rex Grossman, Keenan Robinson, Eric Kettani, Jeremy Trueblood
Now nearing the middle of the Redskins’ roster, this is pretty much where the mediocrity ends.
Rex Grossman is nothing special, and Sav Rocca could be better.
The rest of these guys are pretty middle-of-the-pack. It’s an even mix between unproven guys like Chris Neild and Keenan Robinson, and middle-tier players like Jeremy Trueblood and Eric Kettani.
Dezmon Briscoe provides some solid depth for Washington, but won't see a whole lot of playing time because of the guys ahead of him on this list.
Roy Helu was originally thought to be the future for the Redskins' backfield, but not so much anymore.
Josh LeRibeus, Kedric Golston, Kory Lichtensteiger, David Amerson, Darryl Tapp, Phillip Thomas, Niles Paul, Roy Helu, Leonard Hankerson
This is really where the talent level of the roster picks up. You will see a lot of guys still trying to prove themselves—such as Roy Helu.
Helu has had an interesting career so far in Washington. If it weren’t for an unfortunate injury, Helu would likely be the starting running back for the Redskins, and we may have never seen Alfred Morris.
Leonard Hankerson is another interesting player. He was drafted to be an impact player right away, but hasn’t quite been good enough for Washington to be comfortable with him as the starter.
If he has a strong camp and a good preseason, he could push for one of the starting receiver spots.
Richard Crawford could be the answer for the Redskins on special teams.
Brandon Jenkins, Logan Paulsen, Bacarri Rambo, Evan Royster, Richard Crawford, Stephen Bowen, Kai Forbath, E.J. Biggers, Brandon Merriweather, Chris Chester, Will Montgomery
This is the part of the roster where you see a ton of talent and even more potential.
The rankings may seem a little high for Evan Royster and Richard Crawford, but their potential and flashes of ability played a role in their respective spots.
You will see a lot more of Crawford this coming season. He had a good showing as a returner down the stretch for Washington, and he will also see more play on the defensive side of the ball.
Two players whose rankings are heavily impacted by their potential are David Amerson and Brandon Jenkins. These two rookies will see the field a good amount their rookie season and will be depended on more and more as they grow within Jim Haslett's defense.
As for pass-catchers, Logan Paulsen was dependable when Fred Davis went down with injury, as did Aldrick Robinson when Pierre Garçon was injured.
The addition of E.J. Biggers through free agency only bolsters their secondary even more, solidifying a position that was once the Redskins’ biggest weakness.
Rob Jackson was a pleasant surprise in place of Brian Orakpo last season.
Things looked pretty bleak when both Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker went down with injury early on in 2012, but Rob Jackson sealed the cut pretty well.
He played well as both a pass-rusher and a coverage linebacker in place of Orakpo. He could be depended upon more in the defensive rotation next season.
Merling could be an awesome addition to Washington's 3-4 defense.
Signing Phillip Merling was one of Washington’s most underrated moves this offseason. He is a wonderful addition to Jim Haslett’s 3-4 defense and could find himself in a big role right away.
Although Merling hasn’t played a full season since 2009, he makes a big enough impression when he does play to take a chance on him.
He may struggle to leapfrog other guys on the depth chart, but he will have a good chance to prove himself during training camp and the preseason.
Darrel Young has been a great replacement for Mike Sellers.
Fullbacks aren’t often in the spotlight, but Darrel Young deserves all the credit he gets and more.
There were some doubters when he replaced Mike Sellers (including myself), but Young has showed why the coaches made the right decision in letting Sellers go.
Young was arguably just as important as Alfred Morris when it comes to the Redskins’ success with running the ball. He threw some nasty blocks for Morris throughout the season and also did well in pass protection.
Young was satisfactory when given the ball on short yardage plays, but he did very well in the passing game as a receiver out of the backfield.
Aldrick Robinson deserves to see more playing time.
Aldrick Robinson was a big-play threat every time he touched the ball.
Although he wasn’t targeted as much as other guys, he broke some big plays in the passing game last season. His speed and agility make him a nightmare in the open field.
If Robinson can work on running sharper routes, then he will be given more opportunities offensively.
Once a questionable draft pick, Cousins has proved his worth as a backup and possibly more.
Kirk Cousins proved to be an awesome choice in the draft when he came in for an injured RG3.
If RG3 does end up missing the start of the season, Cousins will be a reliable bandage and (realistically) will be trade bait for the Redskins after the 2013-2014 season.
Josh Morgan was an integral piece of the Redskins' receiving corps last season.
Josh Morgan turned out to be a pretty reliable guy for RG3 last season. He should be even better in his second year with the team.
Morgan has big-play ability and also makes for a nice combo along with Moss and Garçon.
Morgan has shown signs of immaturity at times, but demonstrated through the end of last season that he is growing up some.
As Morgan develops within Kyle Shanahan’s system, his numbers should start to balloon.
DeAngelo Hall is better than most people give him credit for.
DeAngelo Hall may not be the most consistent guy, but he is one of the better corners in the NFC.
A big reason why he was exposed so much last season was because he didn’t have much behind him in terms of safety help. Now that he will have some new young guys back there, along with Brandon Meriweather returning from injury, he should do better.
Now healthy, Carriker should be dangerous.
Adam Carriker is a consistent and talented pass-rusher. He is a big-bodied guy and is a great fit as a 3-4 defensive end.
Carriker was dearly missed last year when he went down with injury, but now that he is back, he should be an impact player like he was before.
Cofield has been an important piece of the Redskins defensive line.
Barry Cofield was brought over from a division rival a couple of years ago and has ironically become an important part of Washington’s front seven.
Cofield has been a solid nose tackle in his two seasons with the Redskins, and has been instrumental in the development of younger guys like Chris Neild.
Cofield is entering his third season with Washington, and it will be interesting to see what he can do with another year in Jim Haslett’s system.
Perry Riley is turning out to be a great understudy for London Fletcher.
It’s no surprise that London Fletcher is nearing retirement. It is becoming more and more important that Perry Riley continue to improve, and that’s what he’s been doing.
Over his first few seasons, he has shown vast improvement, partly due to Fletcher’s influence. He has good overall ability and is becoming one of the Redskins’ best.
You will be hearing a lot more of Riley’s name this coming season. Redskins fans, relax—this is the heir to Fletcher’s throne.
Santana Moss has aged like a fine wine.
Through the good and the bad, Santana Moss has been through it all with the Redskins.
Moss is nearing the end of his career, yet he is still making plays for Washington week to week. Now that he has RG3 throwing him the ball, Moss’ numbers have improved greatly.
He doesn’t have too many year left, but he is making the most of them.
Josh Wilson has played football at every level on a DMV team.
Josh Wilson was the most consistent player in Washington’s secondary last year, although that isn’t saying much. Wilson played well and was depended on as the No. 1 corner many times.
Now that the Redskins have restructured their secondary, Wilson’s numbers should get even better since he won’t have to carry the team’s pass defense.
Fred Davis could be the best overall pass-catcher the Redskins have.
Fred Davis was set to have a big year in 2012, but we didn’t see much of him after he ruptured his Achilles early in the season.
Now that Davis is healthy, he should be back to his old ways: catchin’ balls and scorin’ touchdowns.
When he’s in the game, he is one of Washington’s biggest red-zone threats.
It will be fun to see what Davis and RG3 can do offensively once they develop some in-game chemistry.
Pierre Garcon did well in his first season in Washington and should be better in year two.
RG3 leaned heavily on Pierre Garçon when the receiver was in the game, and he definitely missed him when he was out with injury.
It was evident from their first game together that there was a good connection between the two of them. Redskins Nation should be excited about these two returning to the field together in 2013.
"Chill out, Tony, I just want a hug."
Ryan Kerrigan has been a great player ever since he entered the league. He is very quickly turning into one of the NFL’s best outside linebackers. Every Sunday he shows why the Redskins passed on a good handful of quarterbacks to draft him.
The greatest part about Kerrigan is that his best days are still ahead. He’s still maturing as an NFL player and is one helluva player. Imagine where he’ll be in five years.
Al Mo has quickly become one of the NFL's best at his position.
Alfred Morris turned heads (more like broke necks) with his performance in 2012, and looks to have an encore in 2013. He ran for over 1,600 yards as a rookie with a less-than-impressive offensive line.
Now that Washington has taken steps to improve its O-line, it will be exciting to see what Al Mo can do in his sophomore season.
Brian Orakpo is one of the scariest defenders in the NFL.
Brian Orakpo has been an absolute star since being drafted by the Redskins.
He is coming off of an injury, but all signs indicate that he will be just fine for the season opener against the Eagles.
There’s really not a whole lot of better players than Orakpo in the NFL; he’s one of the best, period.
London Fletcher is one of the most underrated players in the NFL.
London Fletcher is (and has been for a long time) a fierce defender and competitor alike.
Year in and year out, Fletcher delivers for his team. He is a tackling machine and a leader in the locker room as well as on the field.
Fletcher is the consummate professional and team player.
Trent Williams is a great blindside protector.
Trent Williams is blossoming into a tremendous NFL player. He did a great job keeping RG3 in the full upright and locked position last season, even when his trenchmates weren’t much help.
Williams paved the way for the Redskins’ offensive attack behind Griffin III and Alfred Morris.
He is becoming what Chris Samuels was for many years in Washington: just a great player.
RG3 is the MVR (Most Valuable Redskin).
Robert Griffin III is the best player in Washington. It may seem like a cop-out to put RG3 at No. 1 on this list, but it’s deserved; this is a no-brainer pick.
He breathed life into a Redskins squad that had been pretty hopeless for the past decade. Griffin III is the ideal poster boy for Washington—soft spoken yet also a competitive leader with a veteran vibe.
He didn’t make many mistakes as a rookie and should be even better in his second year.
A lot of people think RG3 will be a bust or get hurt again, but that’s not likely.
You cannot attribute all of his success as a rookie to the read-option. Granted, it is gimmicky and will probably fall off just like the Wildcat offense has/is, but Griffin III is an Olympic athlete in a football helmet and pads.
Of course, hurdling doesn’t exactly translate to football, but his athleticism is too much to ignore.
He is a dangerous runner and passer, a combination not many have these days.
Griffin III is the real deal and has a bright NFL career ahead of him.