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Ranking Washington Redskins' Top 5 Sleepers to Watch in Camp

Marcel DavisCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2016

Ranking Washington Redskins' Top 5 Sleepers to Watch in Camp

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    With a strong training camp, wide receiver Cody Hoffman could catch on with the Redskins.
    With a strong training camp, wide receiver Cody Hoffman could catch on with the Redskins.Associated Press

    On a team with postseason aspirations, there isn't much opportunity for any of the unheralded players the Washington Redskins have acquired this offseason to make a splash, a la Alfred Morris.

    Even with that said, there are avenues in which undrafted underdogs like Cody Hoffman and Silas Redd can carve out a place on Washington's roster.

    After ranking such players on their likelihood to make the team, as well as measuring their potential impact, I present the top five sleepers to watch during Redskins' training camp.

5. RB Silas Redd

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    Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

    Behind Morris and Roy Helu, uncertainty rules over Washington's depth at running back.

    While their ability to thrive in the open field would be an asset to the team, Lache Seastrunk and Chris Thompson have durability concerns that can't be ignored.

    Injuries dogged Thompson in his collegiate career at Florida State and they again resurfaced in his rookie campaign. As for Seastrunk, he was consistently nicked up at Baylor, despite a relatively light workload. Furthermore, Seastrunk didn't showcase much skill as a pass-blocker or receiver in college, so the Redskins are unlikely to put him in situations that expose those deficiencies. 

    Then there's Evan Royster. A non-factor on special teams, Royster's lone contribution last season was two carries that netted zero yards.

    Enter Silas Redd.

    A capable receiver who can handle a heavy workload, Redd will have a real opportunity to open up some eyes during training camp.

    Similar in style to Morris, Redd's cutback ability and strength to power through contact and finish runs gives the Redskins a physical component currently lacking from their crop of backups.

    With the skill sets of Thompson and Seastrunk overlapping, there's a role for Redd as the team's No. 4 running back.

4. CB Chase Minnifield

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Two years removed from the knee injury that wiped out his rookie season in 2012, a healthy Chase Minnifield enters a muddied situation at the bottom of the Redskins' cornerback depth chart.

    Set with its nickel package after the signing of Tracy Porter, Washington has E.J. Biggers, rookie Bashaud Breeland, Richard Crawford and Minnifield fighting to fill out this position group.

    While Breeland is a sure bet, courtesy of where he was drafted, there's no other prohibitive favorite to make the team.

    Crawford himself is coming off of injury, missing the entire 2013 season with a knee issue. Furthermore, after the conclusion of minicamp and OTAs, he still hasn't received medical clearance to play, according to Mike Jones of The Washington Post.

    Despite multiple opportunities, Biggers has yet to distinguish himself during his four-year career. Re-signed this offseason because of his ability to play both safety and cornerback, the need for Biggers has diminished in lieu of the moves Washington made to bolster both positions.

    A strong performer during training camp in 2013, Minnifield's rust in the preseason sunk any chance he had at making the team.

    Now, with a year on the Redskins' practice squad under his belt, the combination of health and opportunity should allow Minnifield to demonstrate why he was once considered a second-round talent.

    More refined than Breeland, Minnifield should get the first crack at holding down a spot in the team's dime package.

3. WR Cody Hoffman

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    G.M. ANDREWS/Associated Press

    Even with the logjam that the Redskins have at receiver, the undrafted Cody Hoffman can't help but stand out.

    Amongst the smurfs that overrun Washington's receiving depth chart, Hoffman is essentially the lone tree. At 6'4", Hoffman's closest competitor in terms of size is the 6'2" Leonard Hankerson, who's currently injured.

    Set to battle incumbents Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson and Hankerson for one of the final receiver spots, Hoffman's distinct advantage in size gives him an outside shot at actually making the team.

    A sure-handed but raw route-runner, his play on special teams will also dictate whether he has future with the team. Speaking with reporters, per CSN's Tarik El-Bashir, head coach Jay Gruden said as much.

    “Special teams will be important to him as far as making the roster,” Gruden said.

    Although he had success as a return man during his tenure at BYUcourtesy of his 4.65 40-yard dash timekick coverage is where Hoffman will have to make his mark in Washington.

    Still, even in the event Hoffman manages to pull off a coup and make the team, there's a ceiling on the impact he can have this season. With the team being top heavy at receiver, Hoffman, barring injury, will see limited snaps on offense as a rookie.

    For this reason, he is stuck at the No. 3 spot.

2. WR Nick Williams

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    In the ongoing battle for Washington's final receiver spots, as well as the openings at kick and punt returner, Nick Williams isn't a player whose name is being bandied about as a candidate to fill either spot.

    Although his contributions last season as a receiver were minimaland likely are to be againthe Redskins missed the boat when Williams wasn't provided more of an opportunity to return kicks.

    Williams' lone return attempt in the 2013 preseason resulted in a 29-yard effort. Fast-forward to the five games he played last season, and Williams had just nine kick returns and one punt return.

    While he too posted a substandard return average, it was still the best on the team. Factor in his prowess as a returner during his collegiate career at Connecticut, though, and Williams should at the very least be given another shot to win the job.

    With 79 returned kickoffs and 52 punts just on his collegiate resume, Williams has substantially more experience than Thompson and Seastrunk on this front.

    Washington was last in the NFL in yards-per-kick-return average in 2013, so the impact Williams can have on the team's return game is reason enough for him to bypass Hoffman for the No. 2 spot.

1. S Akeem Davis

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    Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

    As weak as the safety position was last season, and still is, there's certainly an avenue by which Akeem Davis can make the Redskins.

    Just look at his competition.

    While Brandon Meriweather and Ryan Clark are essentially locked in as starters, the likes of Tanard Jackson, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas don't inspire much confidence as backups.

    Jackson hasn't taken an NFL snap since 2011 and Thomas missed all of his rookie season because of injury. In Rambo's case, he was simply ineffective and overmatched during his inaugural NFL season. Missed tackles and blown coverages were a staple for him in 2013.

    Although Davis also lacks experience, he at the very least has the physical talents to make a name for himself. At his pro day in 2013, Davis ran a 4.48 and 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, according to ESPN.com's John Keim.

    Formerly a linebacker during his collegiate career at Memphis, Davis' sure tackling would be a welcome addition to a secondary plagued by missed tackles last season.

    Afforded a learning curve to adjust to the safety position, Davis could emerge from training camp as Washington's No. 3 safety.

    And in this scenario, Davis would be an injury awayor a suspension in Meriweather's casefrom the starting lineup, thus making him the biggest sleeper to watch in training camp.

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