It’s safe to say that it’s been a pretty good preseason for the Washington Redskins. They’ve seen some great production from their rookies and have also found a few diamonds in the rough throughout their depth chart.
The biggest surprise for Washington this preseason was the emergence of Pat White, but considering there is a shroud of uncertainty when it comes to whether or not he’ll even make the roster, it’s hard to include him in a list like this.
This list will be restricted to players with a high or guaranteed chance of getting a roster spot.
Even with White excluded, there were still a few guys who had really strong preseason performances for the Redskins and will likely play an important role in all three phases of the game.
David Amerson, CB
David Amerson was Washington’s first selection in this past draft, and he’s sure playing like a top pick.
He has been playing with the first-team defense all camp long, and what he’s shown in practice is translating to the field.
At 6’1”, 205 pounds, he is a long, strong corner with great ball skills. Physicality was something Washington seriously lacked in their secondary last year, but it looks like Amerson has remedied that.
He’s a little raw right now, and of course growing pains are inevitable with rookies, but, as the season goes on, Amerson will become more and more refined, thus becoming a bigger part of Jim Haslett’s defense.
He might turn out to be the best overall corner Washington’s had since Shawn Springs in 2007.
Leonard Hankerson, WR
Now entering his third NFL season, Leonard Hankerson is looking better than ever.
His routes are sharper, he attacks the ball in the air more and he has seemingly ditched his problem with drops. He has the size and natural ability of a number one receiver, but in-game maturity is what he’s lacked to date—although, it appears that has changed.
If he continues to improve at a steady pace through the season, then Washington’s offense will be the most explosive it’s been in years. A mature Hankerson along with Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Fred Davis and the rest of the Redskins receivers would be a nightmare for most defensive coordinators.
Chris Thompson, RB
There’s no question that Alfred Morris is “the guy” at running back for Washington, but there are questions surrounding his running mates and who exactly they’ll be. Roy Helu is likely the only other lock for a roster spot at this point, even though Evan Royster has more experience in this offense than the rest of the backs.
Chris Thompson wasn’t exactly a popular draft selection by the Redskins this past April, but he could have a huge payout. Although the Redskins stand firmly behind Morris as the starter, they have been looking for a speedy change-of-pace back to complement the workhorse runner.
Thompson possesses great speed and makes sharp cuts in and out of the hole. Not only would he be a great scatback in Kyle Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, but he could also fill their need at kick returner.
He even ran a kick back for a touchdown last night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Although he won’t be a feature back in Washington, you can still chalk this talented runner up to the mystique of Mike Shanahan’s knack for finding gem running backs in the late rounds of the draft.
Roy Helu Jr., RB
Helu was someone who many Redskins fans had given up on. He was drafted to possibly become the starting running back for the team but was riddled with injury his first two seasons.
Now that he’s back and healthy, he’s more than earned himself the right to split carries with Morris. Between Helu and Morris, the Redskins have a powerful two-headed monster at the running back position, which will only help out the passing game and Robert Griffin III even more.
Helu not only has good feet but also pretty good hands. He’s been a consistent threat out of the backfield on screens and swing passes. He may not have the speed that Thompson has, but his overall ability more than makes up for it. He will prove to be a great weapon for RG3.
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